Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Purpose Driven God

I'd like to re-visit a John Piper statement I cited in one of my previous entries.  His words "God pursues His own glory in all that He does" have resonated between my two ears for some time now and I'd like to continue to unpack them.  So here we go...

Some time ago, I was enjoying a tasty afternoon lunch in the always cozy T.J. Rockwells with some great friends.  As we chipped away at the mountain of food in front of us, the topic of spiritual gifts came about.  Our conversation essentially boiled down to the simple question of "Why?"  Why does God choose to heal some who are suffering and not the others after they have both been prayed over?  Why do a select few receive the gift of prophecy or gift of tongues?  Or why have only the seemingly privileged felt a physical stirring of the Spirit within their bodies?

These questions stir up a bigger pot of issues.  They beg for answers as to why God does (or does not) act, answer prayers, enable His people, or "show up" when we think He should.  This issue is a foundational type of issue for us to wrestle with because it reveals what we think about the person of God.  But that God is a big God.  Real big.  Trying to wrap our feeble little minds around the motives of the Almighty is as futile as trying to empty the ocean of its water with a coffee mug.  Nonetheless, the Scriptures offer some great insight if we look close enough (go figure).  Take these few examples...

Yaweh empowers Moses to split the waters of the Red Sea during the exodus from Egypt so that "the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen" (Exodus 14:18).

He gives strength to a baby faced teenager named David to slay a giant so that "all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear.  For the battle is the Lord's , and He will give you into our hand"  (I Samuel 17:47).

Jesus even allows his friend Lazarus to be delivered to death's clutches, only to raise him up again "so that the Son of God may be glorified through it" (John 11:4).

This is our God.  His purpose?  His own glory.  I'm still in the process of taking Piper's challenge: to read everything in the Bible under this context.  So far, I haven't found any evidence to disprove his theory.  Take your pick: miracles, signs, wonders, protection, provision, or a complete lack thereof.  If He grants them, He gets the glory.  If He doesn't, He will somehow still get the glory (even if we don't understand how).  In my current circumstance, He has determined that He should get greater glory in my sickness than in my health.  Let me just admit that that thought is a tough pill to swallow (both literally and figuratively).  But through the process of obtaining glory, He is bringing hearts back to Himself and moving ever closer to making all things new.  His methods are strange, wonderful, difficult to understand, beautiful, and confusing all at the same time.

But He is God and I am not.  I find strange peace in that purpose.

In the Shadow of His Glory,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Get Up With The Gratitude

Short, sweet, and to the point...

So today I was in tune enough to recognize several little graces that God so generously doled out today.  First, it was unbelievably gorgeous outside today so, naturally, I had to take advantage of it.  After I gassed up the tractor, I pushed play to the ever-encouraging lyrics of Kristian Stanfill and gave the lawn a fresh cut.  Secondly, in a non-cancer patient fashion, my legs held up long enough to endure a resistance band workout and bike ride around Hudson.  What a joy it was to "feel the burn" again!  Finally, I capped off the day with some summer grillin' and a wonderful sit down dinner with my family (minus one brother).  This day was the first in a long time that I haven't thought much about my current circumstance very much.  I was just happy and content to still be doing life. 

There was nothing extraordinary about this day.  Nothing happened that will show up on the evening news.  But I was reminded today to be thankful for the places and things where we seem to miss God the most: the simple things.  I don't know where it is you are in life or what you are doing.  To be honest, it doesn't matter.  Thank God that you have life.  Thank God that you have breath.  Thank Him for giving you the privilege of waking up today to serve Him.

As PAX217 used to say... "Get up with the gratitude!"   



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Save The Date: Team Hoj Fundraiser

Hello everyone,

We hope this message finds you all in the midst of a great summer!  TEAM HOJ has an awesome opportunity to share with you in a continued effort to support Michael!  On August 21st, TEAM HOJ will be hosting a fundraiser at The Block in Hudson, OH from 6pm to 9pm.  The night will be jam packed with several components including live music, a silent auction, desserts, coffee, and a great time of fellowship.  Michael will also be sharing from his heart and reflecting upon this chapter of his life.  We are anticipating a wonderful evening, but there is no way we can pull it off alone.  We need YOUR help; here's how...

1.  Sign up to donate a tray of desserts for the fundraiser.
2.  Donate items for the silent auction by August 14th (i.e. sports tickets, business services, gift baskets, etc.)
3.  Sign up to volunteer for the evening (i.e. set up, tear down, etc.)
4.  Attend!  And help spread the word!
5.  If you are unable to attend for any reason, but would still like to give to the cause, send your donation to...

     PO BOX 448
     Valley City, OH 44280

We would truly appreciate your participation!  If you would like to help in any way or if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email as soon as possible so that we can continue assembling the details for the night. 

Hope to see you there,

Uncle Jeff and Aunt Karen