Sacrifices are vices unless
True conviction accomp’nies the gift.
Heartless rituals will never bless,
Nor can they ever mend the great rift.
We feign well true repentance and faith,
Rending garments but never the heart.
Ev’ry prophet who preaches, “Thus saith,”
We deny with a devilish art.
Lest we follow destruction’s wide path,
Let us perish the heart’s apathy.
Learn the weight of the Lord’s love and wrath,
And, by his grace alone, let us see.
I speak of beauty, but I feel it not;
Emotion cannot pass beyond the clot.
The intellect amasses stores of facts –
Is there any conviction in my acts?
I speak, but maybe merely for the sight.
My motivation is not love, but right.
Lord, take these stone-like aspects; make them flesh.
Remove the fallen focus and refresh
My mind and heart to know and love the truth,
And let me follow with the faith of youth.
Inhabiting eternity, yet near,
You, Lord, deserve allegiance, worship, fear.
By grace through faith, I rest in your great pow’r
And, ransomed, sing, “I need thee ev’ry hour.”
Let me not sit still and silent,
Let not shyness win,
Not while there is still a tyrant,
Not while there is sin.
Let not my excuses keep me
From the work ahead.
Lead me, Lord, to better share thee
With the blinded dead.
Let compassion and conviction
E’er compel my will.
Take my style of speech and diction,
With your message fill.
Let me never fall nor foment
Failure; let me please.
Let intention drive each moment.
Onward with the keys.
When I read verses like Philippians 3:17 (“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”) or 1 Corinthians 11:1 (“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”), I think of John Piper. Piper has consistently been an encouragement and a challenge to me, from first encountering his work when I was a high school student to seeing him preach last month at a missions conference. No matter how many authors I read, and no matter how many preachers I hear, I still hold John Piper in the highest regard. Today, I simply want to express my thankfulness for his ministry by highlighting a few things that have deeply influenced me in my walk with the Lord.
God, guide your Word like a sword for my reckoning,
Wrecking all hopes in my heart for this waste.
Cut to the quick for the purpose of quickening
Works of your Spirit to sever the sickening
Sludge that I sought in my haste.
Clauses like claws are accustomed to scratch away
Any remainder of wretchedness here.
Tear away sin and, in so doing, tear a way
Through the commotion that coaxes my heart astray
Till I have learned how to fear.
Let ev’ry phrase of your holy book break my heart
For ev’ry way I dishonor your name.
Never relent; pierce my soul from the very start
Till I reflect your resplendence with ev’ry part,
Living as proof of your claim.
Youth ministry can be a challenge.
Ok, that’s an understatement. Let me try again:
Youth ministry is a crucible through which one’s faith is put to the test in frightening and unimaginable ways. But that’s not to say there isn’t joy there as well.
O God, I humbly must confess
My love for all unrighteousness.
My love for you, I know, is less
Than my desire for filthiness.
And I, by my own might, cannot
Erase the blemish, ban the blot
Of sin. This wound I cannot clot.
Apart from help, this life will rot.
So come before this heart of dross
That festers underneath the gloss
Makes of this man a total loss.
O God, how I deserve that cross.
I know there is no good in me.
Your son, I could not hope to be,
For by your Word, I better see:
My only hope must come from Thee.
And though I cannot earn your peace,
By grace you do from sin release
My soul, and cause my death to cease.
Your holy blood has washed my fleece.
Depravity cannot repel
The Savior snatching souls from hell.
And though we wear this dying shell,
Our ears will hear the wedding bell.
So let me never now lose sight
Of your great glory, grace, and might,
And let your holy, saving light
Shine through and make me ever bright.