Saturday, April 19, 2008

T4G Day Three

I was very eager to listen to John Piper preach on Thursday morning. His subject was how the supremacy of Christ produces radical living. His main thesis was that Christ’s supremacy has this effect because it causes us to hope in a treasure so great that we are willing to risk and suffer and even die if we must to have it—and to invite others to have it as well.

I have heard this theme many times from this pastor and mentor of mine, but I was no less inspired to “go outside the camp” where Jesus is (Hebrews 13:13). To risk for the glory of his name and the good of others and the joy of my own soul.

After his message, the question was asked, “What does it mean for us to go outside the camp? Where is that place?” Answer: wherever Jesus commands you to go, and you will know this in part because it will be uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. But this discomfort, this danger is very strange: it produces immense and lasting joy, because it is not an end in itself but a necessary means to the end of sharing in the glory of Christ. As Paul said in Philippians 3:10-11, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Oh how this message encouraged me to lay down my life for the glory of God and the good of others and the joy of my own soul! Kevin and I had a significant time of discussion after this message. Please pray that the Lord will help us live in the things to which he’s called us.

After a short break, C. J. Maheney brought the final message of the conference. It was an encouragement to pastors to live in the joy of Christ, as did Paul, and it too ministered to my soul. I love C. J.

We’ve been on the road for about eight hours now, and we have about six to go. Kevin and I are sharing the journey with several brothers from Bethlehem, and we’re really enjoying the fellowship. It’s been a great week, but I can’t wait to be reunited with Kim and Rachel, and share with them in the joy the Lord has given me this week. Unfortunately, after sharing only a few hours together in the morning I have to leave again for a day. But the Lord is good, and he will work all things together for his glory and our joy.

Once more, I want to thank you for praying for us. God answers prayer, and he has answered yours. If the blessing he’s poured upon us this week is any indication, he’s answered yours. So thank you in Christ.

To God be the glory,

Pastor Charlie

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