Friday, April 18, 2008

John Piper on Sacrifice

I was unable to post last night because we were barreling northward in a church bus. There is nothing quite like being stuck with thirteen other guys in a rolling rectangle for hours on end. We had lively conversations about Biblical inerrancy, slept in odd positions, and watched the Bourne Ultimatum on a borrowed laptop. All three were very enjoyable. I am happy to be home and to see my lovely wife.

John Piper preached yesterday morning. His message was titled, "How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice." His text was Hebrews 13:13 - "Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured." He referenced other texts in Hebrews to demonstrate that the surpassing value of having Christ impels us to risk-taking ministry. It was a deeply moving message. Piper pled with us to not spend our lives accumulating endless possessions and cultivating churches that idolize ease. Rather, he said, we ought to embrace suffering because of the promise of eternal, deeply-satisfying fellowship with Jesus.

Here's an excerpt from early in the message:

"My desire and prayer to God is that your life and your ministry would have a radical flavor. A risk-taking flavor. A gutsy, counter-cultural, wartime flavor that makes average American people in your church uncomfortable. A strange mixture of tenderness and toughness that keeps people a little bit off-balance, a pervasive summons to something more, something hazardous, something wonderful. A saltiness and a brightness about your life and about your church. Something like Jesus."

Finally, a closing ballad:

Amid the sweeping tide of ease and leather La-Z-Boys,
John Piper bellowed, "These are not the most enduring joys!
The fellowship of Jesus blazes hotly like a lamp
And beckons us to join him on the hill outside the camp."

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