So Manny comes back to the Dodgers from his suspension, and his numbers cut in half. It seems as though his "fertility medication" had a little more to do with his slugging that he was aware of; or at least wanted to admit.
This is ridiculous. We should have tried to get Albert Pujols.
CLICK HERE to check out this great story on him from the LA Times. Pujols sounds like a pretty solid believer. Good stuff.
John Piper's second message at the WorshipGod conference was entitled "The Heart of Worship." CLICK HERE to go to Sovereign Grace's website and hear the message for yourself.
Piper dealt with the heart condition and experience of joining with all creation in the exaltation of God's glory. He made the point that this very act (exalting God's glory) is a desired end, and not just a means to something else, but it does have effects on us to move us to other God-glorifying acts.
In-and-of-themselves, when we sing, pray, preach, meditate, and study God's word, these things praise God's glory. The New Testament writers hardly ever used the word most normally used for "worship" in the O.T. because the process had now become internalized!
So what do these experiences mean? They mean that we are satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ. This has been Piper's message for 30 years and countless books. He's developed the idea of "Christian Hedonism" and the helpful motto: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." If you're not familiar with this idea, or want to find out more about it, check out Piper's book "Desiring God." I think this is a book every Christian should be REQUIRED to read; if only to help them think through the idea of God's glory, and our joy.
He went on to outline much of his familiar material as it relates to the worshiping heart; namely:
1) That the pursuit of joy is NOT an option...since God is and should be our greatest and most fulfilling joy. He also pointed out a common misconception people believe: that "to the degree you seek your own benefit in an act, that act is morally corrupted." It is not wrong to serve God, and to worship him, and to follow him because it will work out to our benefit; that's how God intended it!
2) That pursuing satisfaction in God makes worship extremely God-centered. Meaning, that to seek our own joy and fulfillment IN CHRIST is NOT self-centered. When we sing "I'm desperate for you," or "I could sing of Your love forever" we are not focusing on "I" but on God.
3) That being satisfied in God protects worship as an end, not a means. Contemporary Evangelicalism uses "worship" for all kinds of things: evangelism, to raise attendance, to be relevant, to make money, to make us feel good. Worship is its own end, and results in our greatest joy; it should not be used to manufacture something else.
4) Being satisfied in God explains why the worship service and all of life are BOTH worship. Because whether we are singing, praying, eating pizza, or playing video games, we are living in light of the gospel, and doing everything for the glory of God.
Oh man, what a week. It seems like a really daunting task to try and recap what I experienced without just referring you to someone else's blog who did a really good job.
I flew out Monday night and arrived at 5:30am at which point John Martin picked me up and we went back to the hotel for a bit. The rest of that day we went to the Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia, and saw all the big sights in Washington D.C. and had an amazing dinner at this place called Old Ebbits Grill. It was my first time having crab cakes, and I was all-out stuffed; but it was worth it.
Wednesday we made a quick trip to Baltimore (REALLY quick, like find a starbucks, stand outside for a while, visit Fort McHenry, run back to register for the conference!). We had a lovely dinner at Corner Bakery, and then headed to the first session with John Piper.
I'll just write about that first session for now, as it would be really boring to read my entire recap in one post. The worship at Sovereign Grace Churches is PASSIONATE. They foster such a gratitude for the gospel into their people, that when they sing about the grace they've received in the cross, they can't help but be ecstatic about it! The music is really simple and not too heavily influenced by any one particular style, but the musicians are solid and they make the most of the slim rehearsal times they had (that was part of the conference mentality, that they wanted to do things the way we did them at church, not with all kinds of extra luxury rehearsal).
John Piper talked about "The God of Worship" and basically said the same thing he has said in all of his books, but that is eternally relevant and helpful for us to be reminded of: that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. To this end, God's act of putting his son on the cross was primarily an act to preserve and proclaim his own glory; that because he had "passed over sins" for hundreds of years for millions of rebels, he needed to show that he was not simply turning a blind eye. Crushing his son showed that he did indeed require death as a payment for sin. As a secondary goal however, his act proved to be an act of infinite love, as he sacrificed his own son instead of US!
For Christians, the only true, eternal happiness is found in the perfect glory of God, and so God, in upholding that glory, is actually preserving our infinite source of happiness!
So while it is true that God loved US and sent his son... in reality, he loved himself MORE! Piper calls this the "God-Centeredness of God," and he said that many people get hung up on this idea, and it turns them off to the idea of God. They want a God who is concerned solely for them. Pretty interesting thought: that God's favorite thing is himself. That being true, he wants to share with us the greatest thing he has to give us: himself!!
AHHHHH, man, my head is exploding, so I'll pick this back up later!
Paul and Jessica Hoover. In love with God, life, and each other. Paul is the worship director at Crossroads Community Church, and Jessica is a middle school English teacher at Legacy Christian Academy.