Two Extended Quotes Worth Pondering from This Weekend's Sermon

Mike Cosper in Rhythms of Grace, How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel:


We’re profoundly forgetful creatures, and the consequences of forgetting our God are frightening. Adam and Eve forgot God’s word in the garden, and the Devil, the world’s first heretic, twisted their judgment and led them down a path toward death. Ever since, the authors of the Scriptures have been crying out warnings for us to remember, to guard our hearts and protect ourselves from forgetting:

  • “Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you” (Deut. 4: 23).

  • “Take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deut. 6: 12).

  • “You shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you” (2 Kings 17: 38).

  • “The wicked return to Sheol, / all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9: 17).

We continue to gather in the light of this profound weakness. Like the children of Neverland, we’re forgetful, or “prone to wander,” as the old hymn says. Worship scattered happens in the midst of a not yet restored world, where those around us have long forgotten their Maker. Their idolatry— their love of money, fame, and glamour— is like the pagan Asheroth totems that dotted the landscape around Israel. We, like them, are quick to forget our God and quick to install the totem in our living rooms, revolving our lives around it. Our only hope is to remember the gospel— remembering who we are and whose we are as we rehearse the story of redemption that calls us out of the wilderness and back to the garden.

And this one from Paul Tripp in a study guide for his book The Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens:

Step back for a moment from the daily pressures, interactions, and decisions of child rearing to reflect on our calling as parents. God has chosen us to be part of the most significant work on earth—the formation of a human soul.

He has called us to prepare human beings for life in a broken and fallen world.

He has commissioned us to teach young hearts how to think, desire, and choose.

God has allowed us to be his voice as he unfolds the deepest mysteries of the universe to children who are still learning how to think.

Most importantly, he has called us to help rescue them—not just from an evil world, but from their own sinful and foolish hearts—by leading them to Christ. There is no higher, more holy calling than this!

Much of this work takes place in the teen years. As teens assume greater responsibilities, enjoy new relationships, and experience greater independence, their hearts are exposed. This provides us with some of the deepest heartaches and greatest opportunities of our parenting years.

The question is, Are we ready to make the most of the opportunities? The answer is, Only as God enables us. As parents, most of us long for comfort and peace. We instinctively hate the tumult that teenagers bring into our lives. We don’t like wondering what will come next as our lives careen from crisis to crisis. Yet standing in the middle of this turmoil is Christ the Redeemer. He really is “an ever present help in trouble.” He really is up to something good. In his love for our teens, he fights for their hearts by exposing them to us, so that he can use us to turn their hearts to him.

This is a drama of eternal significance, but it is easy to miss, even when it is happening right in front of us. It takes place in the mundane little moments and the boring, familiar locations of our daily lives.

That’s why we need to open our eyes to what is happening around us. Life is not lived in the “grand” moments of existence! Most of us only make three or four big decisions in a lifetime. Most of us will never be written up in history books. Not long after our deaths, the ones we leave behind will struggle to remember us. The fact is that most of the important things we do will take place in the midst of the utterly mundane. This is the place where God does his miraculous work of reclaiming and redirecting hearts. He is the sovereign Lord of the everyday and ordinary! His glory is waiting to be revealed in every little moment. As we see this, we can share it with our teenagers.

One more thing should be said about this glorious task of parenting: we are not up to the job! We simply don’t have the love, patience, wisdom, and perseverance it requires. We are parents who still need parenting ourselves. We are wisdom givers who find ourselves in the grip of our own foolishness. We are sinners calling our teenagers away from sin. We are idolaters who want to help our teenagers smash their idols. We fall woefully short of the job description!

Yet there is hope when we face our foolishness and inability. The hope is found in Christ. He is our wisdom! He is our strength! His grace reaches to the deepest level of our weakness. He died not only to give us eternal life, but also to give us everything we need to do what he calls us to do in the here and now. He does meet the demands of our job description and we find our capability in him. Because of him, we can approach this awesome task with courage and hope. He is here in his power and glory, and he is for us!

Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash