I just finished the book Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, which all the FH interns are reading before our briefing in 2 weeks. What an awesome book!
The first chapters are all about our life's purpose (suiting, considering I just finished a philosophy class entitled "The Meaning of Life," where I was quite challenged by a Christian's fundamental purpose on this earth). Key quotes worthy of mad highlighting, underlining and exclamation-pointing in my notes:
Piper is consisently refrencing Paul's words on "boasting in the cross" as our single goal for life as Christians. I never understood when Paul would say this. Boast in the cross? Meaning boast in the electric chair, the lynching rope, the lethal injection, as Piper says? This seems wierd. Also, this is to be our only goal for life? Boasting? Well, boasting = rejoicing. The crucifixion of Christ and the results of his death is the example of God's grace and love for us as sinners. God does not owe us anything but death and condemnation, yet thanks to the cross, we are saved from these things (if we chose to accept it). Thus, "Every breath we take, eery time our heart beats, every day the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is, for how, a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgement." And for this we must be ever-grateful.
But what does this look like in everything in life? Well, I am asking God to show me this. The book gives some examples (why not go pick it up yourself and check it? hehe), but I am convicted to apply it to my personal life, beginning now, this summer. So I will keep you updated on what God teaches me :)
Ok. Now the last part of the book was equally as jaw-dropping for me as the first 3. Chapter 5 is all about risk for Christ, and chapter 9 is all about missions. Key quotes:
I am especially inspired by the story of Esther (see the book of Esther in the Old Testament) and her response to risk:
She lived by the words of Paul long before they were recorded:
What can the world take away from us? What can separate us from the love of Christ? For if we die, we only satisfy the deep longings of our hearts: we are unified with God in a perfect state! So for those concerned with my safety in an unstable developing country, I would love nothing more than to die fulfilling my purpose in life to spread the gospel. Yes this is a bit dramatic, but even as I visited Tijuana, Mexico recently and received severe warning not to go due to the violence and swine flu, I was feeling this exact way: If I perish, I perish! We will all die anyway, and what a better way to leave this earth? "To live is Christ and to die is gain!"
And on the subject of missions:
The condition of our world, which is encouraging and convicting, and contrary to our often ethnocentric beliefs!
Finally, this section made me think of all of my support team: