Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crises Reveal the Cracks

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
-1 Peter 1:6-7

“To begin with, the older I get, the less impressed I am with flashy successes and enthusiasms that are not truth-based. Everybody knows that with the right personality, the right music, the right location, and the right schedule you can grow a church without anybody really knowing what doctrinal commitments sustain it, if any. Church-planting specialists generally downplay biblical doctrine in the core values of what makes a church “successful.” The long-term effect of this ethos is a weakening of the church that is concealed as long as the crowds are large, the band is loud, the tragedies are few, and persecution is still at the level of preferences. But more and more this doctrinally-diluted brew of music, drama, life-tips, and marketing seems out of touch with real life in this world - not to mention the next. It tastes like watered-down gruel, not a nourishing meal. It simply isn’t serious enough. It’s too playful and chatty and casual. Its joy just doesn’t feel deep enough or heartbroken or well-rooted. The injustice and persecution and suffering and hellish realities in the world today are so many and so large and so close that I can’t help but think that, deep inside, people are longing for something weighty and massive and rooted and stable and eternal. So it seems to me that the trifling with silly little sketches and breezy welcome-to-the-den styles on Sunday morning are just out of touch with what matters in life. Of course, it works. Sort of. Because, in the name of felt needs, it resonates with people’s impulse to run from what is most serious and weighty and what makes them most human and what might open the depths of God to their souls. The design is noble. Silliness is a stepping-stone to substance. But it’s an odd path. And evidence is not ample that many are willing to move beyond fun and simplicity. So the price of minimizing truth-based joy and maximizing atmosphere-based comfort is high. More and more, it seems to me, the end might be in view. I doubt that a religious ethos with such a feel for entertainment can really survive as Christian can survive for too many more decades. Crises reveal the cracks.”
-John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ, pp. 22-23

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

What we believe and what we treasure are revealed in crisis. When everything around us begins to give way our heart and affections are laid bare. When the scorching heat of trial evaporates all hope the dross becomes apparent. Our God is a consuming fire. Crises reveals the cracks. This is not only true for the Christian, it is true for the church universal, and it is true for Christ Our Redeemer. Crises reveal the cracks, and in spite of what we say we believe God has designed suffering and trial to bring congruity between what we say we believe and what we truly believe. Last Sunday we celebrated our first anniversary as a church plant. It has been a wonderful first year. We have seen the kindness and favor of God multiplied times. In this time of blessing we should be cognizant that difficulties and crises will come. Crises not only reveal cracks, they are the God-appointed means He uses to reveal the dross in our lives and conform us into the image of His Son. While rarely ever pleasant, crises are a means of grace for us and God has appointed them for our good and His glory. To experience suffering and trial is to experience blessing of a different kind. God’s means to help us in the middle of difficulty is a robust and God-honoring theology that finds it’s grounding in the Scriptures. Accurate views of God and accurate views of man will help us when difficulties come. When Satan’s temptation came to Jesus in the stark Galilean wilderness His response was the citation of Scripture. God’s self-revelation through the words of Scripture is our anchor during the storm.

Thanking God for trial that confirms the faithfulness of God and the truthfulness of Scripture,


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