Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln Memorial’

Sermon 07-30-17: “The Rest of Your Time on Earth”

August 10, 2017

The first question-and-answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The apostle Peter would surely agree. As he puts it in today’s scripture, we are to “live for the will of God.” Yet don’t we often push God to the periphery of our lives? I pray that this sermon inspires us to put God back at the center.

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6

My sermons are now being podcast! My podcast is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

My family and I returned late Wednesday night from our vacation in Washington, D.C., and New York City. We rented basement apartments through Airbnb in both cities. Our place in Washington had private parking in an alley driveway. So we parked the car once, and took the subway or “Ubered” wherever we needed to go.

But New York City was different. We rented a place in Brooklyn, and, like everyone else there, we had to park on the street. Can I tell you that the only thing I dreaded about the trip—the thing that filled me with the most fear about going to New York—was driving in the city and parking. Lisa read that 40 percent of traffic in Brooklyn is people driving around looking for parking. Having now experienced it firsthand, I believe it! And you know, I just wanted to blend in with everybody else, but you can’t blend in with a Georgia license plate on back of your car! They see that and think you’re an idiot who doesn’t know how to drive!

But you know what? We did O.K. And we learned how the system worked.

Because here’s the thing: Even if you’re not going anywhere by car in New York City—even if you’re going to take the subway everywhere—you can’t leave your car parked for very long in any one place. Why? Because at least once—usually twice—a week, a street sweeper cleans alternate sides of each street, and you can’t be parked on one side of the street when that side is scheduled to be cleaned. The times are posted on signs. So for example, on Monday morning, “our” side of the street was being cleaned from 8:30 to 10:00 and then again on Thursday morning. Well, we were leaving on Wednesday, so we knew if we could only find a new space on Monday morning, we’d be golden.

So early Monday morning we had to move our car. So Lisa and I got up early—Lisa accompanied me for moral support—to move our car and try to find an empty space somewhere else.

And guess what? We failed. We found no empty spaces anywhere near home—except on the side of the street that was being cleaned, of course, which didn’t help. Read the rest of this entry »

To be made in God’s image says far more about God than it says about us

August 10, 2017

I wrote a shorter version of the following for our church’s weekly email blast.

In my sermon a couple of weeks ago, I referred to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, whose text was engraved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial, alongside the Gettysburg Address. When my family was in Washington a few weeks ago, we read aloud the text of both speeches.

As great as these speeches are, however, what impressed me most was the statue itself. For me, this image of Lincoln communicates strength, wisdom, steadiness, and faith. This memorial inspired me to spend about 20 thinking about Lincoln and the principles for which he stood.

You know what I didn’t think about? The marble out of which the sculpture was made, the biographical details of the sculptor who created it, or how difficult it must have been to do so. No, I thought about the man in whose image the sculpture was made.

Does this give us a sense, then, of what Genesis 1:27 means when it says that we are made in God’s image? Our reason for existing is to reflect the glory of God, rather than our own glory. When people encounter us, they ought to learn something about who God is, and who Jesus is. We ought to inspire others to praise the One in whose image we’re made.

Do we?

To say the least, to be made in God’s image is intended to say far more about who God is than who we are. It’s funny: I think I’ve gotten that exactly backwards for most of my life!

With characteristic eloquence, pastor John Piper puts it like this:

So our existence is about showing God’s existence or, specifically, it’s about showing God’s glory. Which I think means God’s manifold perfections—the radiance, the display, the streaming out of his many-colored, beautiful perfections. We want to think and live and act and speak in such a way that we draw attention to the manifold perfections of God. And I think the way we do that best is by being totally satisfied in the those perfections ourselves. They mean more to us than money and more to us than fame and more to us than sex or anything else that might compete for our affections. And when people see us valuing God that much and his glory being that satisfying, they see that he is our treasure. Show me more! I think that’s what it means to glorify God by being in his image.[†]

John Piper, “Question 4” in The New City Catechism Devotional (Wheaton: Crossway, 2017), 30.