Trust

so he sat behind his natural defenses
and there he wrestled with the song
he heard his name in every line,
his life in every measure
faced with feelings he could not explain

there was hunger in his hollow hesitation
there was posturing for peace
but even where the spirit willed
the flesh was still maintaining
ground to give only for a sign
and the call went out again

take this bread, drink this cup
know this price has pardoned you
from all that’s hardened you
but it’s going to take some trust

he lost a heartbeat when he heard the testimony
another soul forsaking pride
and quickened by the Spirit
he’s so sure that he could hear it
Jesus his Savior calling him to come

take this bread, drink this cup
know this price has pardoned you
from all that’s hardened you
but it’s going to take some trust

come every soul by sin oppressed
there’s mercy with the Lord
and He will surely give you rest
by trusting in His word

–Smalltown Poets
from Smalltown Poets, 1997

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We, Together, Hear the Silence

I’m a sound addict.  Even as I write about silence now, I’ve got Paganini blasting in my study!  But yesterday morning in church during one of our silences, I became aware of how corporate a labor such public silence is. Everyone works to be quiet.  People stop moving their bulletins or looking for something in their purse.  There’s no movement.  We, together, hear the silence.  It engulfs us.  It enhances our unity.  It is something we all do together.  Together we consider what we’ve just heard.  Together we contribute to each other’s space to think.

–Mark Dever, “Making Silence Together”
from Between Two Worlds

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Oh What an Infinite Good He Planned through Your Fall!

We may content ourselves by saying over the sin of Adam and Eve what Joseph said over the sin of his brothers when they sold him into slavery: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20).

As for you, Adam and Eve, you meant evil against God as you rejected Him as your Father and Treasure, but oh what an infinite good he planned through your fall!  The Seed of the woman will one day bruise the head of the great Serpent, and  by His suffering He will display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God.  You have not undone His plan.  Just as Joseph was sold sinfully into slavery, you have sold yourselves for an apple.  You have fallen, and now the stage is set for the perfect display of the glory of the grace of God.

–John Piper
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (2006, p. 85)

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The Greatest Display of the Glory of God’s Grace

The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace that ever was, or ever could be.

This was the moment — Good Friday — for which everything in the universe was planned.  In conceiving a universe in which to display the glory of His grace, God did not choose plan B.  There could be no greater display of the glory of the grace of God than what happened at Calvary.  Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world.

–John Piper
Suffering and the Sovereignity of God, (2006, p.82)
read 8/3/08

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The Law Cannot Make a Man Love Me But It Can Keep Him from Lynching Me

Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there’s half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.

–Martin Luther King
Address at Western Michigan University, 1963
From Between Two Worlds

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The Church Must Love Through Word and Deed

Regardless of our political views, it is indisputable that millions of people who once looked to the government will now need service and aid from churches and other agencies.  The church will be forced by demographics to see what the Bible has always said.  Love cannot be only expressed through talk, but through word and deed (1 John 3:17).

–Timothy J. Keller
Ministries of Mercy (1997, p. 26)
read 9/15/08

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Homeless Children

[Homeless children] are either desperate for attention, wildly aggressive or totally withdrawn.  They will bite and kick and then hug you, or they won’t talk at all.  Unless kids like this can be reassured the world is safe, they are likely to be criminals by 12.  By 14, they may kill.

–A pediatrician who tends homeless families
quoted in Ministries of Mercy (Keller, 1997, p.20)
read 9/15/2008

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