John Piper reads his poem based on the book Pilgrim’s Progress

John Piper posts an incredible artwork inspired by one of my favorite books, and I must share it with you tonight.  Thanks!

The poem I’m about to read is called “Pilgrim’s Conflict with Sloth.” It brings together three things that I am facing and loving: one is poetry, another is work, and another is this transition in my life that some people call retirement, as I step away from being the senior pastor of Bethlehem. So I set myself to ask how I feel about stopping. Am I stopping? Am I going to keep working? What’s the right view of work? Why do I love poetry so much?

All of this came together in a poem in which I encounter sloth as an enemy on the road. And the way it works out is that the poem is my wrestling. It’s the way my mind works. I wrestle with: Who am I? Am I a workaholic? Am I not? What’s a right theology of work and theology of rest? And what does it mean to come to junctures like this in your life?

So, if you wonder about work; if you love poetry; if you’ve ever come to transitions in your life and felt like you’ve met enemies along the way, this poem may be helpful for you. This is “Pilgrim’s Conflict with Sloth.”


Devo #2 Seminarian Thoughts

Fear The One Who Cares

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

    Fear is a raw emotion and something that all humans experience from their very first breath on into old age.  The existence of fear is not something we take into question often, but what to do with fear is a more common question that the Christian should be prepared to answer rightly.  In the letter of 1st Peter we find the early Christians facing severe persecution and even death for their faithful allegiance to Christ.  These serious situations and fearful events still carry on to this day in other countries around the world to Christians just like you and me.  In America we do not usually face death or physical pain for our faith, but we do face hard times or trials in our daily lives.  Whatever the case may be we know that Scripture can apply to many situations and guide how we respond to life’s circumstances in troubled or anxious times.  In the Bible we can see that God wants you to cast your fears, your anxieties, your troubles and worries on Him through a trusting relationship in Jesus Christ instead of dwelling on them forever.  God is a fortress for those who believe in Him; a safe place to turn when life gets tough.

May we stay close to Him and pray openly to Him in those most important times of need. 

Devotions for Seminary–250 words or less

The Dark Night

Hebrews 12:6  For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. (NASB)

For those who have a relationship with Christ there are various stages of growth and experiences to have with Him throughout our journey here in earth.  We often like to speak of the joyous times, the devoted times, and the blessed times. On the other hand though it is necessary to remember that in any relationship there are ups and downs because we are human and have a sinful nature that prevents us from keeping that stage of perfection indefinitely here on earth.  We go through trials, we go through seasons of doubting, we go through what most would call spiritual valleys in our faith walk, and most of all we go through tests amongst these things.  Discipline from the Lord is advanced through testing; is advanced through growth in our knowledge of who God is.  Sometimes you may find yourself in what St. John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul” which is when the Lord removes your spiritual pleasures and devotional rewards in order to test your endurance, your perseverance and your commitment to Him.  I would encourage you to embrace these times of emptiness, weakness and discipline for they are from the merciful Lord who loves you and will not let you suffer for long.

Merciful God, please let us stay joyful even in the darkest nights of our spiritual life, Amen.