Thursday, October 30, 2008

60 Seconds With A Living Hero of the Faith

Author, pastor, and theologian John Piper is one of my modern day heroes of the faith. I love his books, his teaching, and his ministry Desiring God. All of it has helped me to more fully grasp the message and heart of the gospel as well as to understand that the purpose of man is to be completely satisfied and happy with God as our supreme treasure in life. Dr. Piper opened my eyes to the beauty of Christian Hedonism. When my family found out John Piper had a Desiring God conference coming to Austin, we immediately decided to attend the event, giving up a debate Round Robin and my last cross-country meet of the season.

After all of that, do I even need I to expound on how special this picture is to me?

Monday, October 27, 2008

James 3: A Story

Here's a great short film made by Desiring God ministries. My brother Pat posted it on his blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Growing Up

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week. It all adds up, and we grow older.

Today, I turn fifteen. 15. I like it. It seems good. I guess I have a year to find out.

But it makes me think. If every birthday is a chapter in my life, then one day I'll find out that I'm on the last chapter, right? Chapter 78, Chapter 53, Chapter 36, or maybe Chapter 15. Will I look back and wish the storyline had been different?

Sometimes I wish I could be a teenager forever - full of energy, ability, and potential. But sooner or later I'll die (yes, that's blunt). What will matter then? What will last? People who know me will die too, and I will lie forgotten 6 feet under the ground. Sounds depressing now, yet even if my existence is forgotten here on earth, I don't think that I'll care at the time. I'll be too busy worshiping God. He knows my name among millions of others.

As I grow older, the question pops up all the time, "What are you going to do?" The answer is found in pondering what the point of life is and consequently how I should live my brief chapters. Of course, live to the fullest. Sure, live all out. Take the risk. But that will still fade away. What does it mean to leave a legacy? Is that important anyway?

Last week, I read Ecclesiastes. It is a very depressing book about the futility of life and how everything we do is a "vanity of vanities". Oh, how it resonated with my heart as I reflected on how true it was! Is there anything that is not just "striving into the wind"? At the very end of the book comes the answer:

"This is the conclusion when all has been heard, fear God and keep his commandments." ~Ecclesiastes 12:13

It sums up what life is about: God.

Of course, I've known for years that "the purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever" as the Westminster catechism says. Sure, I agree, but it was so generic that I could never fully grasp how that truth specifically applied to my life. But now I have a better understanding because of...a tomato.

Co-Creator of VeggieTales and voice of Bob the Tomato, Phil Vischer recently told his life story at a chapel service at Baylor University. God gave Vischer a big idea to create Christian children's animated films, and it became an actual reality as his company, Big Idea, began to thrive and reach out to thousands of families all across the world. Then it all came crashing down due to finances and some unwise business decisions. The company closed and was auctioned to a secular company, and Vischer lost it all. Amidst a very trying time, Vischer asked God why He would give someone a big dream, grow it into a thriving ministry reaching thousands, and then let it die?

It was then that Phil Vischer heard the quote I wrote in my last post:

"He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone."

That quote helped me understand that the only thing that matters in life is God. Nothing else matters. The purpose of life is "To know God and to make Him known" as the famous slogan goes. And now I understand it. If all I ever did was know God closer and deeper, I would have lived my life well. Only one thing makes life meaningful: God. He is so great, transcendent, merciful, righteous, and gracious that He commands us to "love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength" (Mark 12:30). Everything really does mean EVERYTHING.

Life is about God. It seems like I'm saying the obvious. I guess I am. But I pray it becomes more and more real in each of our lives this coming year.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you." ~Matt. 6:23