A Divine Mentor

The Divine MentorI have been home in bed for two days trying to conserve my strength as I battle the flu. It has given me much time to read, between nodding off from exhaustion. One of the books occupying my time is Wayne Cordeiro’s The Divine Mentor (Bethany House, 2007). I have known Pastor Cordeiro’s ministry story for some time and the concepts related in the book but I had never read the book itself. 

But last week I taught my ART OF BIBLICAL MEDITATION seminar in Baltimore for a group of hungry men (and one woman) and it was the book I recommended as a great place to begin the process of learning more about daily meditation on the word of God. Glad I did. 

Here’s a quote from the flyleaf of the book:

In The Divine Mentor, you will discover how to enjoy a dynamic, vital, and intimate relationship with God as you learn to hear Him speak daily through the Bible. You’ll embark on an adventure that will introduce you to His handpicked mentors, men and women who may save your health, your marriage, your ministry and your future.”

The book is not complex. It is simple without being simplistic. It is practical and inspirational. 

If you are looking for a book to inspire both you and the people you are discipling to be in the word on a daily basis, you won’t go wrong with this choice. 

Buy it.
Read it.
Apply it.

Religion is Good for You

This sound clip from BreakPoint.org is worth your ear (Link here). We who are Christians don’t worship Christ because He is good for us (though He is!) but because we believe the evidence that He rose from the dead. At the same time, it is interesting to hear what even secular studies reveal about religious belief on the culture around us.

Will non-believers in Christ take note? Probably not, but it is encouraging nevertheless and I hope it would spur you to pray for your non-believing friends—that they might be given eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of God continues to do in our very imperfect lives. He makes us new.

He forgives us.

He makes us new.

He transforms us.

He makes us better men and women than we would have been without Him.

And in just two weeks we get to celebrate with the whole family of God around the world, that He rose from the grave, conquered sin and death, and one day soon, is coming back to receive us to Himself. Hallelujah, what a Savior.

Here’s the link.

Pray for Paul Washer

Just heard the news that Paul Washer, evangelist and founder of Heart Cry Ministry, had a heart attack. He is apparently in critical condition and has been taken into surgery. If you are unfamiliar with his ministry, here is a video of the message that launched his ministry into a larger worldwide impact. The message was given at a youth conference in 2002.

It was a shocking message because of its blunt, passionate, clarity, and it fearless proclamation of the gospel of Christ. Pray for this brother.

Here is an update link on how Paul is doing. Keep praying for a complete recovery. The article also reveals more of the deep integrity of the ministry he has established.
Link here.

Desiring God

Rereading Classic Books

Desiring GodLast night, while re-reading for the fourth time, John Piper’s Desiring God, I was reminded why I am a “Christian Hedonist.” Buy the book and read it slowly.

Back in college when I first came to trust in Christ, when I first starting reading the Bible regularly (hours a day at times), and became entranced with the teachings of Christ, I remember the seed of what John Piper has termed “Christian Hedonism” and how it began to take root in my soul. I remember a paper I wrote for a Philosophy class on why men (mankind) do what they do. What is it that drives their motivations? 

I wrote that all men do what they do, even the corrupt and evil things they do because they think that that thing is what is going to give them happiness. We are misguided but the thing we want, happiness, is a good thing, a moral thing.

Then I read C.S. Lewis and his book Reflections on the Psalms, (similar to Piper), and his discussion of why praise of God and the command to praise God, is not God on an ego trip but God inviting us to deeper happiness and truer joys. Years later I would read Piper’s book Desiring God and there, with far more eloquence and depth of understanding than I had ever developed, Piper explicated and named the thing, CHRISITAN HEDONISM.

Last night, while re-reading Desiring God I came across this:

Christian hedonism is a philosophy of life built on the following five convictions:

  1. The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful.
  2. We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
  3. The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God. [My addition, “in a joyful embrace of obedience to an always good God.” (mps)]
  4. The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.
  5. To the extent we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: the pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. That is, 

The chief end of man is to glorify God
BY
enjoying him forever.

p. 23

Yes!

I am a Christian Hedonist and I commend the philosophy to you.

I commend you to live for your greatest joy.
I commend you to live for the best and most flourishing of life.
I commend you to find all your joys in Him.
You will only be satisfied when you are most delighted in Him.
So delight yourself in Him and find yourself satisfied.

Goodbye Illinois

Saturday Afternoon Musings

I heard a marvelous message from Psalm 32 from my friend John Crooker, serving as the Interim Pastor at Trinity Church about a month or two ago when I visit Trinity Church. It is always a joy to hear the word of God poured through a godly man’s heart, with a love and desire to serve the people of God. And it is exciting to see a congregation listening, open, and responsive to his labor.

I covet that experience for every congregation and every pastor in America. 

So, as Stephnie and I complete the process of packing and accepting and getting settled in our new call to a new church, we also begin the process of saying goodbye to so many friends in Watseka but also to our friends and children in the Chicagoland area, our hearts are full and our hopes are deep that those we know would love Jesus with their whole heart and follow him.

The day after Easter we are scheduled to close on a house in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Over the month of May, we will be moving things out of storage and into our new home, getting to meet our new neighbors and making room in our hearts for new friends. But we won’t forget you. We miss and love you all and look forward to seeing you again soon, maybe when you come to visit!

With the apostle Paul, we say,

“Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all things;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18