Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just in...

We interrupt the normal seriousness of this blog to say...


Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cycle of Life for a Believer

Been working in Colossians lately, and thought there is a beautiful cycle of life happening in verses 9-10. Paul prays that the church in Colossae might be filled with knowledge of God's will in spiritual wisdom and understanding. But these are never ends to themselves, they are the means to walking in a holy manner, a manner worthy of the Lord. But again it doesn't end there; we are to produce fruit in every good work. We don't necessarily have to work at this -- bearing fruit happens automatically when our lives are in tune with God, connected to the vine. Then, as we bear fruit, we end up increasing our knowledge of the Lord, which takes us back to the top and the cycle begins again.

"And so, from they day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of the Lord." Co 1.9-10 ESV

Knowledge, then faith-based action on that knowledge, leads to a holy life, which leads to greater knowledge of God and his will. Paul's prayer for you is my prayer for you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Are you free for the next 8 months?

I'm trying to make sure I don't come across as dissing one of my heroes. After meditating on this a couple of days, I've hopefully come to a place where I can write what I'm feeling honestly and upliftingly.

Last week John Piper announced an 8-month sabbatical. I love John Piper. He preached in my church last year during Advent, and I wasn't about to miss it. I read "Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist" years ago, and was thoroughly changed by it. I don't always agree with him, I'm not necessarily too reformed in my theology, but John Piper is a godly man and as I said, one of my heroes.

This blog really isn't about him though, and that's what I hope comes across. It's more about the reaction I've seen from others about his announced sabbatical. He's leaving because in his soul he feels there are some perhaps hidden, underlying issues in him personally and in his family relationships that God wants him to deal with. There's no obvious sin, no big confessions or anything, just that he senses he's not where he needs to be.

I think I know that feeling. I've been dealing with it lately too.

The response, at least in the circles I read in, have been awesome in support of his choice. And in my heart, I'm with them. I'm glad he has the chance to do this.

In some ways I wish I did.

Which leads me to why I really wanted to write this blog. I wanted to make a pitch for the "every-day" man or woman who cannot take an 8-month sabbatical. I wanted to say that you -- those of you who live lives and work jobs and love your spouses, and those of you who have hurting lives and jobs you don't enjoy and fight with your spouses, and everybody who lives with a grand milieu of both good and bad, love and apathy, success and struggle -- to you I say that God CAN and WILL speak to you even if you can't take 8 months off, even if you feel like you can't take 8 hours off. For those who work for hourly wages, who work two jobs, who live below the line of poverty, who are single parents, or whatever circumstance of life you're in, God CAN and WILL give you great relationships with your spouse and kids, he CAN and WILL give you wisdom and direction in life.

He will reveal himself to you, in spite of your busyness. Ask, seek, knock; he is available to you.

I'm glad for John Piper, and pray that God speaks deeply into his life during this time. If you can take a sabbatical, I would recommend you do it for sure! But if you're like me and can't take that kind of time off right now for whatever reason, don't be discouraged that you might somehow be missing something from God. God still very much wants to reveal himself to you. He doesn't love John Piper any more than he loves you.

And while I wouldn't dream of speaking for John, I have a feeling he would agree.