Monday, March 30, 2009

Chapter 6 of When I Don't Desire God

I'm back at blogging. March was exceptionally hectic getting some tasks accomplished at work. But enough biography for now.

In chapter 6 of Piper's When I Don't Desire God, he gives a compelling, one-sentence definition of sin. He writes,

"God is infinitely valuable, and we have offended him infinitely by valuing other things more" (p 72).

This is why sin is so tricky. It's not just about "doing bad things." That is part of it. But sin also includes "doing good things for bad reasons," not to mention desiring, pursuing, and valuing the wrong things. Sin is, fundamentally, "valuing other things more" than we value God.

Depression, despair, and grumbling are complex, but they all at least embrace a distortion of valuing the right things. The greatness of God seen in the gospel once again draws us towards valuing the right things: the Holy God mercifully sacrifices his only Son for unworthy sinners in order to make them right with Him, thereby opening the eyes of their heart to value Him as they ought.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Approach to JW's

My sister Becca just mentioned that some Jehovah's Witnesses had come by her house recently. Conversations with cult members are difficult because they have a lot of training in being really persuasive. I don't have much help to offer in this area, but I thought I would post some notes from a class lecture from Dr. Timothy Beougher's Personal Evangelism class, with some of my own thoughts. The specific notes are on how to approach Non-Trinitarians, specifically JW's.

"Concept statement – if the Bible teaches there is only one God, and the Bible calls three persons God, then I must, in faith, accept that God is Triune even if I don’t fully understand it."

Based on that statement, you walk the person through the following verses, one at a time: Deut 6.4, Is 43.10-11, Is 44.6, Rev 1.8, Rev 22.13, 16, Rev 1.17-18, Heb 1.1, 2, 8, Acts 5.3-4

Your point all along is very simple, and in line with the above concept statement: You are showing them that the same things that are said about the One true God of the Old Testament are clearly said about Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament. Pretty amazing, and good for the soul to reflect on such truths.

UPDATE: I cut and pasted all those verses into the ESV Bible website to pull them all up at once. Here's the link.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

One More Quote from Chapter 3

Why fight? Why fight for joy?

The fight for joy is “a way of saying that we are weak and desperately need the mercy of God” (39).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapter 3 of When I Don't Desire God... about the nature of that call to fight for joy. Piper takes a few pages to elaborate on why we must fight, quoting the Apostle Paul, "My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Philippians 1). Far better! Paul says knowing the presence of Christ is better than living! Piper concludes,

"Surely, then, this is worth fighting for. It may feel strange at first, but when we see what is at stake, no battle will seem more important. Loving Christ involves delight in his Person. Without this love no one goes to heaven. Therefore there is no more important struggle in the universe than the struggle to see and savor Christ above all things--the struggle for joy" (Page 35)
.Did I mention you can read this book for free at the Desiring God website? Click here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fight for Joy?

I'm excited about a book I just started called When I Don't Desire God, by John Piper. He has written many books based around the idea of what he has called "Christian Hedonism," which is succinctly defined by him in the phrase "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." This book seems like it is singing that same tune, but with a twist. He wants to answer the question people have asked him so often: "What do I do when I don't desire God?" His answer is,in short, that it is a battle. It's a fight for joy in Christ:

The fight for joy in Christ is not a fight to soften the cushion of Western comforts. It is a fight to live a self-sacrificing love...The key to endurance in the cause of self-sacrificing love is not heroic willpower, but deep, unshakable confidence that the joy we have tasted in fellowship with Christ will not disappoint us in death (pp 20-21, emphasis mine).

It's going to be an important book for me right now. I'm very excited about reading it. Please pray that God would use it to bring honor to his great Name through me.