Monday, April 30, 2012

Treatment for a self-centered heart: Look at Him

"We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self. Indeed, what could be more ludicrous in a vast and glorious universe like this than a human being, on the speck called earth, standing in front of a mirror trying to find significance in his own self image? It is a great sadness that this is the gospel of the modern world.

But it is not the Christian Gospel. Into the darkness of petty self-preoccupation has shone the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God' (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Christian Gospel is about 'the glory of Christ', not about me. And when it is -- in some measure -- about me, it is not about my being made much of by God, but about God mercifully enabling me to enjoy making much of him forever."

-Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ministers, Not Messiahs

A great quote from Bishop Oscar Romero. This is a helpful reminder to me that ministry is God's work. It is something he is doing. I simply have the privilege of participating. It is a work that is far beyond me. It doesn't depend on me and my performance. I don't have to be a messiah. I am a minister of what God has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. He is the master builder and messiah.

"It helps now and then to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetimes only a tiny fraction of that magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. 
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything. 
That is what we are about. 
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. 
We lay foundations that will need further development. 
We provide yeast that will produce far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something and to do it very well. 
It may be incomplete, but is is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and to do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. 
We are the workers, not the master builder; ministers, not messiahs. 
We are prophets of a future, not our own."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Purpose of Affliction

"Tuesday August 2nd: Was still laboring to make myself more comfortable with regard to my house and lodging. Labored under spiritual anxiety; it seemed to me that I deserved to be kicked out of the world; yet found some comfort in committing my cause to God. It is good for me to be afflicted that I may die wholly to this world and all that is in it."

-The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

I am so quick to question the source and purpose of any affliction on my life, because I am in love with my own comfort. At the end of the day, it reveals what can be my limited belief in the sovereignty of God, and His love that keeps me. Brainerd reminds me of the great purpose behind affliction. I may think of it as something that holds me back. Rather, if it is causing me to die to myself, I am assured the Lord is using it to carry me forward in grace.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Waiting For the Real Superman

A great article from Christianity Today on the impact a Christian charter school is making in the inner-city of Minneapolis. It encourages me so much to see institutions exemplify the gospel by intentionally seeking out the lost and broken.

Waiting For the Real Superman

True Community

"There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community."--M. Scott Peck

I like this quote because I think it captures one of the immanent desires of every human heart; the desire to know, and to be known. Or, in other words, to love and to be loved. As humans, we were created for community. We were made to be in communion with God, and we were made to be in communion with one another. As Peck states, ultimately, there is no life without community. 

But what holds us back from this community for which we were created? What holds us back from the peace and life we all long to experience and feel through this transparent community? It is the fear of being known fully. It is the fear that when we are vulnerable, and people see the real us, there will not be community, but there will be rejection. 

The gospel allows us to experience true community, with God and with others, because it frees us to openly recognize our hidden mess. It frees us to acknowledge our sin, our brokenness, our fears, our inadequacies. So, as Peck touches on, experiencing true community or "life", starts with taking the risk of being vulnerable. It starts with the recognition of our own need and our own longing to be known and loved amidst our hidden mess. It starts with coming to Jesus as we truly are, poor and needy sinners. Here, is where true life is experienced. This is where we experience grace, joy, and love the most. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

No Ordinary People

Good stuff from my bronameth, Erik Most. You can find his blog HERE. 

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit..."

The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses p.46

I wonder how many times in my self centeredness I've engaged with people flippantly, in favor of my own agenda, or busy schedule, motivation, or intention. What would our relationships look like in our families, friendships, churches, work, and institutions if we internalized this sense of all peoples created in the image of God?

Wheaton College: Who We Are

A great video on Wheaton College. A couple years after graduating, I still love this place!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions

Here is David Platt's full message from T4G 2012. I encourage you, find an hour to listen to this. It is well worth it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


HT: Ray Ortlund

“See the man at midnight [described in Luke 11:5-8]. Imitate that man. Act it all alone at midnight. Hear his loud cry, and cry it after him. He needed three loaves. What is your need? Name it. Name it out loud. Let your own ears hear it. . . . The shameful things you have to ask for. The disgraceful, the incredible things you have to admit and confess. The life you have lived. The way you have spent your days and nights. And what all that has brought you to. It kills you to have to say such things even with your door shut. Yes, but better say all these things in closets than have them all proclaimed from the housetops of the day of judgment. Knock, man! Knock for the love of God! Knock as they knock to get into heaven after the door is shut! Knock, as they knock to get out of hell!”

Alexander Whyte, “The Man Who Knocked At Midnight,” in Lord, Teach Us To Pray (New York, n.d.), pages 174-176.


This is awesome. Lord, give us hearts of humility, confession and belief in your willingness to forgive, for the sake of Christ.

"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed."
(Mark 1:35 ESV)

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

"Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society."

Pastors: Leading Their People to Death-Defying Devotion

"A high view of God's sovereignty fuels death-defying devotion to global missions"

"Pastors who believe that God is sovereign over all things will lead Christians to die for the sake of ALL peoples"

Just a couple opening quotes from David Platt's message he delivered at Together 4 the Gospel (T4G). I haven't read any of Platt's books (although I plan to) nor have I listened to much of his stuff, but from what I have heard, I love this guy and his passion for the gospel.

Being a Christian is intrinsically linked with mission. A legitimate belief in the God of the Bible fuels radical self-giving in the form of mission. I'm thankful for Platt, especially for that 2nd quote about pastors having the privilege of leading their people to die for the sake of the gospel going to ALL peoples. Most churches, and most pastors don't have the stomach to preach this. Yet, it is in the Bible. It is what Jesus said was necessary to follow him. Most pastors prefer to build up comfortable buildings for people to gather, giving them a few snippets of good advice for living, and enough assurance to soothe their religious conscious. This is nice, but this is not Christianity. This is not being a disciple of Jesus. This is not holding a high view of God's sovereignty. I'll be posting Platt's message here in a little bit. It is an hour long, but is well worth the time. John Piper is calling it the best sermon on missions he has ever heard. So, if you want to have your world rocked, check it out!

Psalm of Affections

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
(Psalm 16:2 ESV)

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
(Psalm 16:5-6 ESV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
(Psalm 16:9 ESV)

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11 ESV)

The word choice and tone in these lines remind me that the Lord is our joy. He is our contentment and glory. May I quit viewing God as merely a helper in time of need, and that's it! Rather, may the Lord be the object of every glad affection in my heart too! May He be the reason for our happiness, for in Him we have a rich inheritance: His presence forever.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meditating on the Law

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, 
and on his law he meditates day and night"
Psalm 1:1-2

Why would someone delight in the law of the LORD? And Why would someone meditate on the law day and night? When I first read verses like this, my initial thoughts are usually that this seems like legalism. Good people try really hard to meditate on the law, while the sinners/scoffers are those who don't do the law. The law can't justify me, so why in the world would I meditate on it?

Let me say that I think this is a misunderstanding of the law and why the psalmist would write these things. Here are a few random thoughts on meditating on God's law and what it means for us. 

First, the law was a gift given to Israel. It wasn't originally intended to be a punishment or form of condemnation. Rather, it was given to Israel so that they would know more about the God who brought them out of Egypt. God's law is a written inscription of his character. It gives us a glimpse of his holiness and his character. Therefore, we are able to know more of who God is when we meditate on this law. 

Second, the law was given as a gift that showed Israel how to live life as it was intended to be. The law was given after the Fall, because before the Fall, there was no need for correction. Since the Fall, everything got jacked up. Our relationship with God was shattered, our relationships with each other were broken, and our relationship with creation was marred. The law was an agent to bring things back to the way they were supposed to be. The law was God's instructions and guidelines to live as his holy people. This was not a form of supression intended to hold Israel down with these intense rules. Rather, it was a form of love, showing Israel the best way to live. It was for Israel's good. 

These are a couple reasons why a psalmist might be so excited about the law! He (unlike us) didn't view it as a burdensome legalism. Rather, the law painted a portrait of the awesome God he served. The law was a gracious gift from the Creator. The law shows us what life should be like. Meditating on the law makes sense then, because by meditating on it, we are able to see God and understand him more. 

Lastly, as it relates to us, should be meditate on the law day and night? My only thought here, is that we should meditate on the law as well. We should meditate on God and all his excellencies. Only, for us it may look a little different. Jesus was the perfect fulfillment and embodiment of the law. He was the exact image of God, and the perfect living representation of everything in the law. It is through Jesus that we know God and his character most clearly, and it is through Jesus that we see what life was supposed to be like. 

We were created in the image of God, and were intended to live in that. However, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, that image, like a broken mirror was shattered. What remains is a broken picture. The law gave us an inscription of what it looks like to live as a restored image bearing human. But, as we all know, we fail to do this. Jesus on the other hand, is himself, the perfect image bearer. He not only gives us an example of what it looks like to live in the image of God, he himself has the power to restore us to our image bearing humanity. 

So, yes, meditate on the law, but do so in the context that Jesus is the perfect embodiment and fulfillment of the law. Jesus did what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do. Jesus saved us from the condemnation that the law brought, and he gives us power to once again live as true humans made in the image of God. He restores life to what it was meant to be. The law was powerless to do this. So yes, delight in Jesus, the perfect fulfillment of the law!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Confession and Community

Following text is from Defiant Grace by Dane Ortlund...

"The fundamental distinction between churches is not that some of them have sinners and others do not. The fundamental distinction is that some churches have honest sinners and other churches have self-protecting sinners. The question is not whether we are sinful or not, but whether or not we are honest about it. James 5:16 was not written to a segment of the church but to all members: 'Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.' "


I think the more fully we know the Lord's loving desire to forgive us, for the sake of Christ's work on the cross, the quicker we will fall on our knees in confession and repentance. I believe it is in that place where His grace manifests itself most complete in our lives.

Let us pray to that end.

I'm Good

Love this song from Trip Lee's new album, The Good Life. Check out the official music video.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Clinical Correlation?

I can't help but post this. Nothing like bringing what seems like two very different intellectual worlds together!


HT: Kevin DeYoung

The Anatomy of Holiness

What exactly does it mean to be holy? What does it look like?

Here’s one to think about it: consider growth in godliness as the sanctification of your body.

  • The mind is filled with the knowledge of God and fixed on what is good.
  • The eyes turn away from sensuality and shudder at the sight of evil.
  • The mouth tells the truth and refuses to gossip, slander, or speak what is coarse or obscene.
  • The spirit is earnest, steadfast, and gentle.
  • The soul rests and rejoices in Jesus.
  • The muscles toil and strive after Christlike virtue.
  • The heart is full of joy instead of hopelessness, patience instead of irritability, kindness instead of anger, and humility instead of pride, thankfulness instead of envy.
  • The sexual organs are pure, being reserved for the privacy of marriage between one man and one woman.
  • The feet move toward the lowly and away from senseless conflict, divisions, and wild parties.
  • The hands are quick to help those in need and ready to fold in prayer.

When I lose track of what holiness is actually about, I try to scan down the body from head to toe and remember what God desires from me. And just as importantly, I need to remember who Christ is and is making me to become.

Jesus: The True Hero

An excerpt from The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi. Here, Mangalwadi is writing about how the Bible completely redefined heroism, with Jesus being the true hero.

"Classical heroism with the Bible because while the former valued power, Christ's heroism prized truth. Other kingdoms fostered heroic deeds by cultivating racial, geographic, linguistic, religious, class, or caste pride and hatred. Jesus made love the supreme value of the kingdom of God. This love was not sentimentalism. It went beyond loving one's neighbor as oneself. Its supreme manifestation was the cross: sacrificing oneself for others, including ones enemies.

Jesus' heroism replaced brutality with love, pride with meekness, and domination over others with self-sacrificing service. He exemplified this when he humbled himself, took a basin of water and a servant's towel, and started washing his disciples' feet. This, he said, is what the kingdom of God is all about. He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords. All power in heaven and on earth, he claimed, was his. But he had come not to be served, but to serve, not to kill but to give eternal life. These were not homilies delivered by a guru who sat on a golden throne. These teachings changed history because they emanated from a live lived in the public arena."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Weekend

Below is an update on my Easter weekend. It was originally posted to the Rebirth: East St. Louis blog (where I work). Enjoy reading it. For the full posts, and some sweet pictures and video, check out:
An East St. Louis Easter
Video and Pics

I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. Mine was a particularly good Easter. I was able to go home, be with family, see friends and enjoy some really good food! What made it even better, is that I had the unique opportunity this weekend to share all of those things with a couple of our East St. Louis guys, Cortez Spencer and Luther Wright. Yes, that is correct. This weekend I had the privilege of having Cortez and Luther come up and spend Saturday and Sunday with my family and me. The weekend was an awesome experience on many different levels.
 First, the weekend was a great chance to simply spend some quality time with Cortez and Luther, continuing to build our relationship and get to know them better. We were able to play some pickup basketball, meet several of my teammates from college, cookout on Saturday night, go to church on Sunday, and have an Easter feast with the rest of my extended family. I really think the weekend, and being in a different context, allowed for several unique conversations about God, life, circumstances, etc… As you can imagine, an entire weekend along with a 4.5 hour car ride is a great chance to share in some good conversation.
 Also, as I reflect back on the weekend, I think it was a great picture of reconciliation. In the gospel, Jesus breaks down all the existing barriers and walls that both separate us from God, and that separate us from each other. Because of Good Friday (Christ’s death) and Easter (Christ’s resurrection), these barriers are completely shattered. The gospel reconciles us to God, and also reconciles us to each other. For those who don’t know, I grew up in Wheaton, IL, which, socio-economically, may be the polar opposite of East St. Louis. It’s affluent, the crime rate is nearly non-existent, and the population is mostly white. Having Cortez and Luther up was a huge reminder of how Jesus unites us. Only the gospel can bring together a random guy from Wheaton, IL and two sophomore high schoolers from East St. Louis together.  As the Apostle Paul writes, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” In other words, Jesus breaks down the religious, racial, ethnic, geographic, and economic barriers that would otherwise separate us. He completely shatters the hostility that exists between us (Ephesians 2). I think Cortez and Luther coming up to Wheaton was a picture of how Christ has broken down certain barriers for all of us. It was a beautiful scene to be sitting around a table, sharing meals with each other, learning from one another, and mutually enjoying good fellowship with one another. There are many differences that exist between us, but in Christ, we are one. We are united under the good news of Jesus. Praise God for the way he not only reconciles us to God, but also reconciles us to each other!
 I think the coolest thing about the weekend was simply the opportunity for Cortez, Luther and I to mutually share in each other’s lives’. Shane and I spend a great deal of time in East St. Louis. We are at the school, in the kids’ neighborhoods, on the football field. We have tons of opportunities to share in their life. This weekend was such a great chance to have two guys share and be a part of my life. I can’t even describe how blessed I have been through guys like Cortez and Luther, and in particular, how much of a blessing it was to have them spend the weekend with my family. This weekend wasn’t a one-way exchange. I can recall how Cortez was able to play the piano with my nana (Grandma). At one point, she was improvising Amazing Grace on the piano while Cortez was belting out the words. Imagine that! An 86 year old Italian women from the south side of Chicago collaborating with a 17 year old African-American from East St. Louis to play a rendition of Amazing Grace. It was priceless! It was also cool to see the way in which Cortez and Luther were able to encourage the many people they met this past weekend. Their stories, and the evident ways in which God is working in their lives were such a blessing to those who they met. This weekend certainly was not a one-way exchange. Rather, I’d argue Cortez and Luther were much more of a blessing to my family and I than we were to them. Their courage in traveling up to a completely foreign place, to stay with a bunch of strangers is not only commendable, but is an inspiration. I am thankful for these guys!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Grace of the Cross

"Make it the ground of all my comfort,
the liveliness of all my duties,
the sum of all thy gospel promises,
the comfort of all my afflictions,
the vigour of my love, thankfulness, graces,
the very essence of my religion;
And by it give me that rest without rest,
the rest of ceaseless praise."

- The Valley of Vision


I read that as the following.

May the cross of Jesus be...
1. our new identity,
2. our fuel to perform the work set before us,
3. the basis of our worldview,
4. our victory in every trial,
5. our excitement as we begin each morning,
6. the purpose of our short time on earth.

I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

A great hymn by written by John Newton (guy who wrote Amazing Grace). I don't think there has been a time in my life where these words have been so true. Here is a video of the song with the lyrics. They are well worth listening to and meditating upon.

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That though mayest seek thy all in me"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Quote

"The proclamation of Easter Day is that all is well. And as a Christian, I say this not with the easy optimism of one who has never known a time when all was not well but as one who has faced the Cross in all its obscenity as well as in all its glory, who has known one way or another what it is like to live separated from God. In the end, his will, not ours, is done. Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life. His life and our lives, through him, in him. Existence has greater depths of beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary ever dared to dream. Christ our Lord is risen."
Frederick Buechner

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Cross and Confession

"It is none other than Jesus Christ who openly suffered the shameful death of a sinner in our place, who was not ashamed to be crucified for us as an evildoer. And it is nothing else but our community with Jesus Christ that leads us to the disgraceful dying that comes in confession, so that we may truly share in this cross. The cross of Jesus Christ shatters all pride."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

The Power of Confession

"In confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply they become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of what is left unsaid sin poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen in the midst of a pious community. In confession, the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and closed isolation of the heart. Sin must be brought into the light. What is unspoken is said openly and confessed. All that is secret and hidden comes to light. It is a hard struggle until the sin crosses one’s lips in confession. But God breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron (Ps. 107:16) Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of another Christian, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders, giving up all evil, giving the sinner’s heart to God and finding the forgiveness of all one’s sin in the community of Jesus Christ and other Christians. Sin that has been spoken and confessed has lost all of its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear apart the community."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together


But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 ESV

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Staying Christian in Seminary

An unbelievable helpful post from Dane Ortlund, How to Stay Christian in Seminary.

What's the secret to soul-health while in seminary?

There are many good things to be said. Stay prayerful, be involved in the local church, cultivate meaningful friendships, fight for sexual sanity, find a brother to confess your sins to, get enough sleep, don’t neglect your wife if married. All important.

But above all else I would say two things to a young man given the privilege of seminary: you are justified by another, and you are strong in weakness.

1. You are justified by another. 

Fallen human beings are walking courtrooms.

In a strange and wonderful text in Isaiah 28, God declared that the inscription on the cornerstone of the future temple would be, “Whoever believes will not be in haste” (Isa. 28:16). Have you tasted that?

Internal, tense, anxious, emotional scurrying about will define your seminary experience if you do not settle the astounding truth that for those united to Christ the courtroom verdict over your life is now a past reality rather than a future one. It’s behind you, not before you. A period, not a question mark. You are justified.

The unanswered questions of the heart not at rest are: Am I ok? Do I matter? Who am I before others? How do I measure up? Am I significant? What’s the judgment over my life?

But when Jesus came he didn't tell us to prove ourselves. He said he gives rest (Matt. 11:28-30). He came to stop the haste. Paul even took Isaiah 28 and said Jesus is that cornerstone so that whoever believes in Christ will not be in haste (Rom. 9:3310:11).

In seminary as much as any time in your life you must remember that the sigh of the soul you so desperately desire is yours, freely, abundantly, as you trust in Christ, the radiant Friend of screw-ups. United to him, you are co-justified with him. For you to be un-okayed, Jesus would have to be un-okayed. His verdict is in, and therefore yours is in.

That’s hard, strangely hard, to remember. For various reasons it’s especially hard to remember in seminary. While studying the Bible as a full-time student I found I could write a paper on justification by faith alone and then seek to be justified by its publication.

At Covenant Seminary I startled myself with how quickly I slipped into impress-mode around professors I admired. I forgot the verdict was in. I was bolstering what God thought of me with what others thought of me. Justification plus. Haste.

The pressures of seminary will force you either into greater rest or greater haste. One thing determines which way you go: regular bathing of heart in the gospel of a secured, irreversible verdict won by the now un-condemnable Christ.

His unflappable hug, his undentable favor, is impervious to your mediocre grades, fickle human approval, up-and-down marriage, number of Twitter followers, or how long it’s been since you abused Youtube.

How do you stay Christian in seminary? Above all else, defibrillate your heart daily with the invincible favor of God shining down on you because of the love and sacrifice of another.

Only the doctrine of justification by faith alone will enable you to experience seminary as joyful, relaxed ministry training rather than frantic, fretful impressing.

2. You are strong in weakness. 

Few things bring our weakness to the surface like seminary. Spending all day with classmates who read faster than you, memorize paradigms more easily than you do, and preach better than you do pours gasoline on the flames of our insecurity. Ongoing moral failure--for young men in today's hypersexualized world I am thinking especially of sexual failure, though spiritual pride, laziness, envy, intellectual haughtiness, and a bent toward divisiveness also reveal our weakness.

Seminary gathers up all our latent insecurities and forces them before us. We begin to ask questions of ourselves.

Am I supposed to be here? we wonder. Shouldn't I be better at the languages if this is where God wants me? Shouldn't I be able to preach in front of 8 brothers in a homiletics practicum without my eyes being chained to my notes and my palms sweating? Shouldn’t my finances be less strapped if seminary is the Lord’s good purpose in my life? Shouldn’t I be able to finally kick that habitual sin if I’m spending so much time pondering God and the Bible?

Brother: those soul-squeezing questions are your friends. Without them you would coast through seminary and graduate a shallow, twaddling little man with no depth and trite answers.

God’s grace is sufficient for you. Get over yourself. You are weak. You are inadequate. You always will be. And the story of the Bible is God’s delight in taking weak, inadequate men and doing the unthinkable. Stop insulting the Holy Spirit. Your weakness is the single crucial prerequisite for him to make your life a miracle. To think “I don’t have what it takes” is precisely what it takes. Don’t try to overcome your weakness. Leverage your weakness into a lifetime of 1 Corinthians 2:1–5 ministry.

God’s power is made perfect in your weakness.