Why are we not Christ-centered?

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 9.58.38 AMOne of the reasons we are not as Christ-centered and cross-saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything — everything good, and everything bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children — was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But the fact is that is is not ours by right. We are double undeserving of it.

1) We are creatures, and our Creator is not bound or obligated to give us anything—not life or health or anything. He gives, He takes, and He does us no injustice. (Job 1:21).

2) And besides being creatures with no claim on our Creator, we are sinners. We have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). We have ignored Him and disobeyed Him and failed to love Him and trust Him. The wrath of His justice is kindled against us. All we deserve from Him is judgment (Romans 3:19). Therefore every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is, for now, a free and undeserved gift to sinner who deserve only judgment.

-John Piper “Dont Waste Your Life”

Serving Others…

“The second service that one should perform for another in a Christian community is that of active helpfulness. This means, initially, simple assistance in trifling, external matters. There is a multitude of these things wherever people live together. Nobody is too good for the meanest service. One who worries about the loss of time that such petty, outward acts of helpfulness entail is usually taking the importance of his own career too solemnly.”
-Bonhoeffer “Life Together”

The Worst Vacation Ever

photoA month or so ago we decided to make plans to take a family vacation during a week in May. Vacations aren’t something that we are able to do a lot of with my work schedule and with our family (few places are “Karson friendly”) but this was going to be different because one of our college students volunteered to come along with us and be Karson’s caregiver for the week so that he could get the attention he needed, and the other boys could still enjoy the vacation. It literally had the makings to be such a great week for our family- we felt like a break from everything would be good for everyone…

The night we had settled the details I came home to a jury summons for the Monday of our vacation week…when our plans were to leave the Saturday prior…and it hasn’t gotten better. We decided we could just move everything back and still get a vacation, but then the plans to be gone the following Sunday didn’t work out (Sundays are a work day for me so I have to make sure certain people are going to be able to be there if I am going to be out). Then they picked me to serve on the trail jury that starts Friday (who knew a Pastor who was an ex-Fireman would be chosen), and then kids started dropping on Tuesday. Most of Wednesday was spent in the ER with a sick Karson…and Thursday hasn’t been so great either.

It has literally been the worst “vacation” ever. Nothing has gone according to plan. When we decided to try and redeem the week and spend time together as a family I made a mental list of all of the things around the house that I needed to get done…none of those things have happened. It’s been the most unproductive, frustrating week for me. To make it better, I have had a lousy attitude because things haven’t been going the way I envisioned them.

Yesterday evening I was reminded of something…I was failing this test. I had allowed my entire focus to be how things weren’t going they way wanted them to go, and not what God was trying to teach me through this time.

Instead of focusing on the negatives of the week I want to direct my mind, direct my heart to focusing on the positives like:

  1. Since I was already off I didn’t have to take time off to help out with the sick kids, including taking Karson to the ER yesterday.
  2. Since I was already off I didn’t have to scramble at the last minute to get someone to teach my favorite students last night (shoutout to Blake for being willing to teach.)
  3. We have an amazing network of friends reaching out to us with well wishes and prayers.
  4. We are so blessed in that ER visits are not the norm for us. So many families have sick kids and spend so much time in hospitals.

There are scores of other positives as well, many more than the negatives. Ultimately I think that this chaos and the problems of this week can be attributed to spiritual things. Our family is stepping out in faith into the unknown, but into what we believe God has for us, and it goes without saying that this will bring about spiritual attack.

This week will still go down as the worst vacation ever, but we aren’t bitter about that. We’ll joke about it even…because we recognize that this life is not about our enjoyment. God is still sovereign…


“This [risk] is…

“This [risk] is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something–someone–worth losing for. When we really believe this, then risking everything we are and everything we have, to know and obey Christ is no longer a matter of sacrifice. It’s just common sense. To let go of the pursuits, possessions, pleasures, safety, and security of this world in order to follow Jesus wherever he leads, no matter what it costs, is not sacrificial as much as it is smart. In the words of Jim Elliott, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
-David Platt

From “Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It” by John Piper