Your Pain is Not Meaningless

The past several days I have been listening to a song by Shane and Shane such a powerful song of lament and pain taken from the book of Job. The lyrics are both challenging and life-giving.I come, God, I come

I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

For those who don’t know or profess Christ’s name, there are no guarantees in life. As an adopted son or daughter of our Heavenly Father, we have a couple of powerful guarantees. We are guaranteed that we will suffer in this life.

We are also guaranteed that that suffering will be momentary and also meaningful. Paul says this so powerfully in 2 Corinthians 4

17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

John Piper expounding on this passage says the following:

3 Things every pastor should say during Christmas

Yesterday I talked about the value of old things and how consumerism keeps us from understanding and seeing the value in redeeming something old rather than always looking for the rush something new provides. One of the mistakes many pastors (kids pastors, youth pastors and senior pastor alike) make is during Christmas we demonize culture rather than show people how to redeem it. If you attend church during Christmas in most churches, you will hear some form of this rant. “Christmas is not about stuff, or buying things; we need to put Christ back in Christmas.” While this is true, it falls short. The church for the past few years has done a good job of talking about what Christmas isn’t and haven’t done a good enough job describing the beauty of Christ.

3 Things Every Pastor Should Preach During the Christmas Season:

My interview with Matt Perman on Gospel Productivity.


I recently read a book entitled What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done” By Matt Perman. Here is my review of the book I did a few weeks back. I loved the book how it tackled the whole issue of productivity from the standpoint the great commandment and the great commission. I often talk with my team and tell them we are not efficient with people we are efficient with problems so we can extend grace to people. That’s the heart beat of this book. After I finished reading this book I reached out to Matt to do a blog interview below is that interview.

1. You talk a lot about the need to eliminate and create larger chunks of time – Drucker starts time management by telling executives they need to “Know thy Time” You didn’t mention in your book to specifically track where your time goes. Was this on purpose?  

This is a great question, because originally I did have a section talking about the importance of tracking your time. Tracking your time is an important step because, as Drucker points out, you can’t manage your time unless you know where it actually goes. And, unfortunately, our memories are almost always wrong on this. The only way to truly know where your time goes is to track it. Once you track your time (for a period of about two weeks), then you identify the time wasters, cut them out, and consolidate the time that remains.

I cut those pages out in part due to the need to reduce page count and in part because tracking your time is just plain really hard to do. I wanted to develop a system that was as uncomplicated as possible and that people would actually do. I didn’t think most people would actually take the advice of tracking their time. If I had it to do over again, though, that is something I would probably update, or at least include in a footnote.

2. I loved your list of books to read at the end of each chapter. As a reader I found it exciting and also expensive. If you could recommend just one book as the next book to read after reading What’s Best Next what would that book be?

The one book I would recommend reading after What’s Best Next is Tim Sanders’s book Love is the Killer App. The reason is that it is all about the importance of generosity as the best way to succeed at work, which is one of the most important principles I emphasize in What’s Best Next.  

Logos: John Piper Sermon Manuscript Library


One of the latest additions to the Logos library is the sermon manuscript library from John Piper. Like Keller I believe Piper through his obvious teaching gift has done a great service to the Church by cataloging their messages. Both Keller and Piper tend to preach more exegetically. When you have 30 years of messages from these two profound teachers you have many Bible passages covered.

Piper and Keller are not the first pastors to have their messages turned into a commentary, John Calvin, Matthew Henry, R C Sproul are just a few who have done this. What make Keller and Piper unique in the set of pastor theologians is they are parsing scripture from a postmodern vantage point. There are many similarities between our world now and Matthew Henry’s world. There are also vast differences.

Are you a Christian Hedonist?

Desiring God

I am a big John Piper fan but have only recently gotten around to reading his book Desiring God – Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. In this book Pastor Piper delivers a compelling argument that our lives as Christians are to be lived chasing satisfaction, joy with reckless abandonment so long as the pursuit of those things find their purpose in God and ultimately glorify Him.

The theme throughout this book that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” God gets the glory and we get the joy. Such a powerful thought. That thought alone is worth the price of the book. This truth is so fundamental. As a pastor I see so much dysfunction in people trying to be happy rather than finding their joy in God. I find myself so often allowing my service to Christ and others to be what it was never intended to be. I am created to glorify God not through depriving myself of happiness but in finding my happiness in Christ.

CS Lewis explains this concept so beautifully “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Every chapter had a few points that really rang true. The chapters that challenged me most personally were Money, Missions and Suffering. I plan on adding this book to a short list of books I reread.

Desiring God should be read by every christian at least once in their lives because of the truth Piper pulls from scripture are so precisely accurate and so horribly convicting.

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.

In the New Testament, God is clearly active, creating a people for Himself by calling them out of darkness and enabling them to believe the gospel and walk in the light. John teaches most clearly that regeneration precedes and enables faith.

The pursuit of joy in God is not optional

Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable but also that He is desirable.

True worship must include inward feelings that reflect the worth of God’s glory. If this were not so, the word hypocrite would have no meaning.

The great hindrance to worship is not that we are a pleasure-seeking people, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures.

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.

Faith is born and sustained by the Word of God, and out of faith grows the flower of joy.

A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.

Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence.

The great danger of riches is that our affections will be carried away from God to His gifts.

Generosity confirms that our hope is in God, not in ourselves or our money.

My assumption is that people without the gospel are without hope, because only the gospel can free them from their sin.

Suffering of sickness and suffering of persecution have this in common: They are both intended by Satan for the destruction of our faith and governed by God for the purifying of our faith.

How many Christians do you know who could say, “The lifestyle I have chosen as a Christian would be utterly foolish and pitiable if there is no resurrection”?

God’s universal purpose for all Christian Suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.

Paul’s suffering complex Christ’s afflictions not by adding anything to their worth, but by extending them to the people they were meant to save.

In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy. God Himself shines as the brightness at the end of our tunnel of pain. If we do not communicate that He is the goal and the ground of our joy in suffering, then the very meaning of our suffering will be lost. The meaning is this: God is gain. God is gain. God is gain.

*I was provided a free copy of Desiring God by Multnomah press in exchange for my willingness to write an honest and personal review of the book.