Change, Part One

What good are words, and what will they achieve?
For they are small before the might of hate
And faulty too: they bend beneath the weight
Of generations. Can we e’er relieve
The burdens under which our brothers heave,
All hoping against hope that soon the wait
Will end in rest, in justice, in a state
Of peace and love and welcome? Now, we grieve,
For hope remains a hope, a thing unseen,
Desire unsatisfied, dream unfulfilled.
Bring justice, Lord, grant peace, and intervene.
Convict and humble us till we are stilled.
Let tragedy be not the final scene.
Let now the hard soil of our souls be tilled.


Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

Apathy

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.

Toward Deeper Faith


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.”

Mission

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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.

John Piper

 

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.

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Conviction

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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.