God’s Greatest Adversaries are His Gifts

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife. The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies, but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of the earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

– John Piper, A Hunger For God, p.14

2008 Reading

Here are a list of books that I am currently reading or plan on reading by the end of the year 2008. Several of these books I’ve already started reading and am slowly reading through each. After each title I’ll give a brief blurb why I am reading it, how much I’ve read so far, etc. (Click on the image of the book for more details about it.)

I’ve been reading through this with a group of men from my church, but the group hasn’t met for a while. So far we’ve gotten through the fifth chapter. It was partly because of the fifth chapter on reading the Bible and Christian literature that I was compelled to write this post. I’m not a huge fan of his writing style, but there are many truths that have provoked me and I pray that God may use this to grow me into a more godly man.

The Atonement is a book that I decided to read for a few reasons. I have resolved to read at least one book on the cross per year and this is that book. I need to meditate frequently on what God has done for me in Christ, so that I don’t wallow in condemnation of my sin, let my feelings inform me, or slip into legalism and self-atonement. I don’t ever want to forget that Christ died for my sins. I don’t ever want to lose sight of Calvary. I picked up this book while eagerly anticipating Shai Linne’s sophomore album with the same title. I wanted to prepare myself to hear the precious truths of what Christ has done on my behalf that I could not achieve. I just read chapter two on “Sacrifice” this afternoon and it was gold.

I’ve been reading through this book with my care group. So far we have read through seven chapters. Recently was I really encouraged and challenged by my friend, Michele, who was significantly impacted by the message of this book. She realized that she was “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) and therefore she ought to glorify God in her body.

I borrowed this book from a friend a long time ago, but I didn’t begin reading it until recently. I figured since I’m 24 now it might be a good idea to start thinking about marriage. Hopefully this book will somewhat prepare me to love one woman as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

Another dating, relationship-type book. I’m reading this not only in preparation for marriage/courtship, but also to learn to apply the roles of biblical masculinity and understand biblical femininity. C.J. Mahaney endorsed this book at last year’s New Attitude. I’ve read the first two chapters and it’s quite different from what I expected it to be. The author not only uses scripture, but many times draws truths from other secular resources.

I plan on reading this in the summer. My pastor and several friends highly recommended reading this book. I’ve been wanting to read a puritan book for a while because I’ve never read through a whole one yet.

I plan on reading classic with another group of men. (Hopefully, this won’t fall off like the other group.) I’ve read through about half this book, but never finished it. (I’ve written a post on it before.) I think this book will be more profitable when I read and discuss it through with other men who are older and wiser than me.

Na ’08

I just registered for New Attitude 2008. Watch the promo video below and check out the website for articles, blogs, free downloads and updates on the conference. The theme this year is on the Doctrine of Scripture. The line up of preachers are C.J. Mahaney, Josh Harris, Eric Simmons, John Piper, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever. You should register now! I can’t wait!

One Bit of Truth to One Bit of Life

In the last session of New Attitude, C.J. Mahaney, in a message about applying God’s Word to our lives after the conference, encouraged the singles to simply apply one bit of truth to one bit of life. The one truth I felt convicted by the Spirit to apply is to involve God’s people more into my life.John Piper at Na 07
Prior to the conference, my attendance and participation in the life of my local church had been lacking. I missed church on Sundays and Care Group on Tuesdays pretty regularly. I used the excuse that I was busy with schoolwork, which was true, but in my heart I knew that I could have been more involved and could have pursued fellowship outside these church meetings. Naturally, in my flesh, I am proud and like being independent. I don’t like humbling myself by confessing my sin to others. In my pride, I believe that I can pursue sanctification in solitude apart from others’ help. After avoiding fellowship, overtime my heart began to be hardened and I was blinded by my sin to point where I felt no conviction and didn’t even desire to repent.

But praise God that He had brought my sin into the light before my caring brothers in Christ at New Attitude. By God’s grace, He has given me the will to repent and the desire to pursue Him. Thank God for not leaving us alone, but in His kindness, has provided a community of believers to help us on the path to holiness.

Here are a list of Scriptures that I am seeking to meditate on and memorize in order to apply this truth.

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6)

So far I’ve memorized Hebrews 3:12-13 and I am currently meditating on Hebrew 10:24-25. (If you see me, ask me to recite them!) If you know of any other verses that communicate the importance of this truth of involving others, please comment and let me know. I’m looking, in particular, for more verses that have a promise or benefit behind this command, so that I may be more motivated to include others in my spiritual life. Thanks!