Day 246: Piper Sermon

June 2, 2012

In my attempt to learn more about what God requires of husbands, on Thursday I listened to John Piper’s sermon called “God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace.” In it, Piper claims that I, as a husband, should show you grace since God in Christ showed me grace. In addition, he claimed that if I make gratitude for God’s grace a focal point of my life, it will be easier for me to be gracious to you.

Whenever I sin–whenever I act pridefully, selfishly, in lust, with anger, or whatever–I betray God by denying him his rightful place as king over my life. I essentially tell the king of all things that he cannot be king of my heart. And the penalty for such betrayal is death. Well, Christ took my penalty upon himself and made me right with the king. Given that, I should live in gratitude to God and in recognition of his grace.

When you commit something against me or irk me in some way, how can I not show you grace when I’ve been granted grace abundance? If I’ve been forgiven such a debt, how can I not forgive you your debts?

On Thursday night, you did something to make us late to a dinner party. I was incredibly irked by that and let you know–almost the entire way to the party. Even as I did, though, Piper’s sermon was in the back of my mind. Finally, I was able to calm myself down and ask for your forgiveness for getting so upset.

It’s unbelievable how perturbed I can get by the small things you do against me when God forgave me for the cosmically wretched things I’ve done against him. May I eventually be so grateful for God’s grace that I cannot help but show you grace.

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Day 200: A Hike to a Cross and a Few Surprises

April 19, 2012

If you haven’t noticed, I try to do a fun/big/more involved act every fiftieth day of the blog. This time, I didn’t do something very involved (which might be surprising, since day 200 is a big milestone). Instead, I did something that I thought would be meaningful–I took us on a hike to a cross to pray for our marriage.

On early Sunday morning while at the church retreat near Malibu, I had a friend watch our kids so we could go on that hike. Before we began, we stopped by the cafeteria and grabbed some espressos. When we started hiking, you expressed your concern that our hike might turn into the fiasco of a few months ago, but I assured you that the trail was wide and relatively flat.

At one point, a trail that branched off the main trail shot directly up a hill and had ropes that one could use to assist oneself in getting up the hill. I wanted to check it out, but you didn’t, so you stayed while I went. When I got to the top, I noticed that the main trail wrapped around the hill and intersected the trail I had just climbed. So, I decided to take the main trail back down in order to scare you. I sneaked around the hill until I could see you, then started running toward you and screaming. “Hey,” you said in a nonchalant tone when you saw me, “I knew you would do that.” I guess I’m pretty predictable.

As we continued on our hike, we saw some other crosses in the distance:

Eventually, we found the right one:

But, when we got closer, we saw that the hill that it stood on was really overgrown, so we didn’t attempt to get up it. Instead, we took in the view, then turned back. Initially, I wanted us to leave some prayer requests for our marriage at the foot of that cross, so I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t make it. But then I thought of another cross that I saw on the hike up:

I facetiously called this the Graffiti Tower of Faith.

So, we decided to leave our prayer requests there. I pulled out a piece of paper for you and one for me and we wrote our respective requests on our respective papers. You asked God that we’d be good examples for our children, for strength for our marriage, and for one other thing I can’t currently think of. I asked that our marriage would be characterized by love and unity. We placed our requests at the base of the tower, then prayed for our marriage.

Our prayer requests are on the right. Notice the heart-shaped coffee sleeve by the cups.

As we continued hiking back, I noticed something yellow stuck high up in a tree. “What’s that?” I asked. “It looks like a deflated balloon,” you replied. “Look, it has a note attached to it! I’m gonna climb the tree to get it.” “No, don’t do that. Just leave it alone–I’m sure the message is personal.” “No, I’m going to get it!” I climbed up the tree and grabbed the balloon. When I came down, I detached the note and started to unroll it. “Please don’t read the note,” you started to say, until you saw the handwriting on it. “It’s your message! That’s your writing! How did you do that?!” “Let’s just say that I’ve already been on this hike.” “You’re crazy, but you’re getting pretty good at these dates.”

PS: It seems that I got a little too familiar with a poison oak plant on our excursion. Maybe I should’ve been gettin’ familiar with you instead.

By posting this picture, I'm getting close to breaking my self-imposed anonymity rule for this blog. Still, I wanted the readers to see this.