why me?

These are questions we tend to ask when things aren’t going the way we would desire for them to go.  Why me?  Why this? Why now?

Justin Taylor posts an answer tree from David Powlison, “God’s Grace and Your Sufferings,”  in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (pp. 172-173)..

here is a paragraph from the middle, but you really have to go read and perhaps meditate on the whole thing

As that deeper question sinks home, you become joyously sane. The universe is no longer supremely about you. Yet you are not irrelevant. God’s story makes you just the right size. Everything counts, but the scale changes to something that makes much more sense. You face hard things. But you have already received something better which can never be taken away. And that better something will continue to work out the whole journey long.

I have the Kindle version of Suffering and the Sovereignty of God on my iPhone. Obviously, I need to read past the introduction.

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Restless hearts

Justin Taylor posts the following quote from C.S. Lewis regarding our restless hearts.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (HarperOne, 1980), pp. 49–50:

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

The reason why it can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.

HT: Tony Reinke

new First Things blog

there is a new blog in the fold at First Things. It is Evangel. Headed up by Dr. Russell Moore and written by him and several others including Justin Taylor and Joe Carter. Looks like a good one to check out.

30 years

speaking of Justin Taylor, you have got to check out his post about John Piper’s call to the ministry 30 years ago if you haven’t already.

The picture is worth the trip over this link.

but the testimony is good too.

The decisive night of wrestling was on Monday, October 14, 1979—30 years ago today. His wife and two young sons were asleep. But Piper was up past midnight, writing in his journal, recording the direction God was irresistibly drawing him to.

The journal entry for that evening begins in this way:

I am closer tonight to actually deciding to resign at Bethel and take a pastorate than I have ever been. . . .

The urge is almost overwhelming. It takes this form: I am enthralled by the reality of God and the power of his Word to create authentic people.

In effect the Lord was saying to him:

I will not simply be analyzed; I will be adored.

I will not simply be pondered; I will be proclaimed.

My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized; it is to be heralded.

It is not grist for the mill of controversy; it is gospel for sinners who know that their only hope is the sovereign triumph of God’s grace over their rebellious will.

The calling to preach and pastor had become irresistible.

gospel coalition

Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor have moved their blogs over to the Gospel Coalition’s site.

Here are their new digs:

DeYoung Restless and Reformed

Between Two Worlds

spiritual leadership

John Piper’s article on spiritual leadership is a treasure trove of extremely valuable information.

I found this bit on marks of a good teacher especially interesting since I have spent a lot of time teaching.

9. Able to Teach

It is not surprising to me that some of the great leaders at Bethlehem Baptist Church have been men who are also significant teachers. According to 1 Timothy 3:2 anyone who aspires to the office of overseer in the church should be able to teach. What is a good teacher? I think a good teacher has at least the following characteristics.

  • A good teacher asks himself the hardest questions, works through to answers, and then frames provocative questions for his learners to stimulate their thinking.
  • A good teacher analyzes his subject matter into parts and sees relationships and discovers the unity of the whole.
  • A good teacher knows the problems learners will have with his subject matter and encourages them and gets them over the humps of discouragement.
  • A good teacher foresees objections and thinks them through so that he can
    answer them intelligently.
  • A good teacher can put himself in the place of a variety of learners and therefore explain hard things in terms that are clear from their standpoint.
  • A good teacher is concrete, not abstract, specific, not general, precise, not vague, vulnerable, not evasive.
  • A good teacher always asks, “So what?” and tries to see how discoveries shape our whole system of thought. He tries to relate discoveries to life and tries to avoid compartmentalizing.
  • The goal of a good teacher is the transformation of all of life and thought into a Christ-honoring unity.

But the whole thing is well worth a read and a reread. His bits on a leader needing to be Restless, Intense, Articulate and a Hard Thinker were also quite good. :->.

HT to Justin Taylor.

David Powlison on marital intimacy

fascinating talk from David Powlison on marital intimacy. Part 2 below about transparency in small groups about struggles is critically important. making prayer requests that are personal, real, and humbling is extremely important. If you are part of a group where the culture says that it is not ok to not be ok, then you need to find another group where you can be real even when you aren’t ok.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

HT to Justin Taylor