Pastor Jason Meyer on why children with disabilities are good – no, necessary – for the church:
His entire sermon can be watched, heard or read here.
Pastor John and Pastor Jason do not handle the issue of abortion in a trite way. They bring deadly seriousness to it, appropriate to how we should consider this murderous practice.
Yet, a happy, deep ‘yes’ welled up within me as Pastor Jason reached into his pocket, much as Pastor John had done four years before. You’ll see what I mean in this 3 1/2 minute video:
Symbols have power in our lives, and that little reminder of an unborn baby has had a huge impact on my pastors, and they have a huge impact on me.
So I wonder, if a little model can have that kind of impact, what sort of impact does a real child have on my leaders at my home church?
Actually I don’t wonder about it at all. I know the love and regard my pastors have for my son. I know my son has had an impact on how they think about the little ones who come who are different because of disability.
And I know they won’t even hesitate when asked if their pro-life stand includes unborn babies with disabilities and the ones who will die – in fact, they will up the ante significantly by proclaiming, ‘yes, they are GIFTS!’
May all pastors everywhere say the same about the little image-bearers with disabilities in their churches!
I speak now to all who find themselves suffering. I call you to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand. In your suffering, make sure that you think about more than your suffering. Pray that God would draw you near the cross—to see the shocking suffering of the Son of God. God sent his Son into this world of suffering to put an end to all suffering and to save us from eternal suffering. The cross is the supreme sign of God’s care for us.
Pastor Jason Meyer, The Lowest Place and the Greatest Gift, December 14, 2013.
New Hope Church put together a great video, less than 3 minutes, that includes an exhortation from Pastor John with pictures of New Hope Church’s members with disabilities.
The entire sermon can be heard or watched here: Why Was This Child Born Blind, preached by Pastor John on May 21, 2011.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Pastor John recently spoke at the 2013 Legacy Conference from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. I found this excerpt from his manuscript particularly helpful:
Notice the contrast in verse 17 between momentary and eternal, and between light affliction and weight of glory. “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal (contrasting with momentary) weight (contrasting with light) of glory.”
So the truth Paul wants us to put in our heads day by day so that we will be renewed and not lose heart is this: Compared to endless ages of ages, these seventy or eighty years are as nothing. Compared to the weight and greatness and wonder of the glory we will see and we will be, this inglorious, shameful, painful affliction is light. His yoke is easy and his burden — even a lifetime of affliction — is light. And remember this is Paul talking, not John Piper. He had really suffered.
And then comes what is perhaps the most amazing “because” of all. We do not lose heart because every single moment of our affliction in the path of obedience — whether from sickness or slander — fallen nature or fallen people — all of it is meaningful. That is, all of it — unseen to our eyes —is producing something, preparing something, for us in eternity. Verse 17: “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
This glory, that God will show us and give us, is beyond imagination. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). And more than that. There are special glories in the age to come brought about by your particular afflictions. That’s what verse 17 says: Your affliction is preparing [producing] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
That is what I mean by saying every moment of your affliction is meaningful. It has meaning. It is doing something. Causing something. Bringing about something glorious. You can’t see this. The world can’t see this. They think, and you are tempted to think, this suffering is meaningless. It’s not doing anything good. I can’t see any good coming out of this. That’s what you feel if you focus on the seen.
To which Paul responds, look to the things that are unseen. The promise of God. Nothing in your pain is meaningless. It is all preparing. Working something. Producing something — a weight of glory, a special glory for you. Just for you because of that pain.
John Piper at the 2013 Legacy Conference, Do Not Lose Heart, July 26, 2013
The same power that made you alive in Christ will provide what you need to do this life of disability!
A five minute excerpt from Pastor Kempton Turner’s most recent sermon at Bethlehem.
You can watch the entire sermon here (and you should!).
And if you were curious about the song he referenced, here it is:
Henryk Thiel had a short life – only five months. He died in January.
Henryk’s dad has a good friend who loves him and who loves God. That friend, David Mathis, preached at Henryk’s funeral.
And God gave David a message you want to hear or read:
Henryk was weak, but we won’t mainly think of him as weak. He was small, but we won’t mainly think of him as small. Henryk was disabled, but we won’t mainly think about him as disabled. For those who have eyes to see, the main thing we’ll remember is the unexpected and surprising way the greatness of God was so clearly on display in Henryk’s life, and through his parents. It was not the greatness for which the world typically looks. It was a gospel greatness. It was the greatness of another world, one that’s not here yet, but is coming so quickly. It was the greatness of power in weakness (like 2 Corinthians 12:9). It was the greatness we sense when we catch a glimpse of divine strength in the very midst of human frailty.
So let me give you just a five reasons—one for each month of his life—for why I will remember Henryk Otto Thiel as “Henryk the Great.”
You can listen to the entire 19 minutes here: Funeral Service of Henryk Otto Thiel
Please, give yourself the gift of knowing God better through this God-centered honoring of Henryk’s extraordinary life and impact.
Sometimes God takes a season when many things happen in a short period of time and lets me see something glorious.
He did that for me this past week where so many things just seemed to be so right and enjoyable. But until he used Pastor John to tie it all together for me, I was missing the point:
For example, I know from words, cards, letters, emails, looks that I am loved by hundreds of you whom I barely know. What is that? It’s the knitting together of souls with deep, solid affection because week after week and month after month and year after year we have shared precious truth. If you love Christ with all your heart, and you love his word with your very soul, and if I preach Christ and his word with heartfelt faithfulness over years with you, what else can happen but love? And so it will be with all those around you who love the truth. Christian love is not mushy, it is solid affection for those who love and share the truth of Christ.
John Piper, Life Together at the End of the Age
As he said those words, God let me see more of him in all that he had been happy to do for me in the past few days.
Here’s what I had experienced:
And then I got it – I had been surrounded by people who love the truth and who are quick to love people who also love the truth. What a gift!
Thank you, Lord, for this lavish gift of more of you through being with people who love you and love the truth of your word. Please, Lord, more!
In the same way, you might go through crosses and losses and cancer and sickness and family trouble and you might be treated unfairly and you might have your name smeared, but the good news is that you are going to go through all of that, get to Heaven and say, “It was WORTH IT!” No one will ever say, “I went through that for THIS? The message of the Christian life is not you become a believer and then it’s champagne and roses after that. The message is, you become a believer, and you will have to swim upstream against the current of the world. It will be hard, it will be painful, but it is worth it!
Pastor Jason Meyer, He Will Be a Risen King! Victorious Over the Last Enemy, delivered December 15, 2012.
His entire sermon was very helpful. But if you only have ten minutes, go to 36:36 on this sermon, and let his closing remarks on interpreting pain make your heart soar at the incredible goodness and mercy – and future hope we have – in Jesus Christ, including these final words:
If you are justified, you are as good as glorified because there is no fall out in this “golden chain” of God’s grace. No one can snatch you out of your Father’s hand. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how strong your grip is on your father’s hand. It matters how strong your Father’s grip is on your hand. We rest in the glorious knowledge of his resurrection.
I call you to remember the Resurrection. Look at the pain, the shame, and the injustice in the face and say, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death. Come awake, come awake, come and rise up from the grave. O death where is your sting. O grave where is your victory. O church, come stand in the light the glory of God has defeated the night! The cross gives you a place to take the pain—the Resurrection points to a time when God will take all the pain and injustice and make it stop because he will make it right.
Because in the story God is telling, evil does not have the last word. Good Friday is not the end (which is why it’s so good). He burst from the spiced tomb on Resurrection Sunday, commissioned his disciples, and ascended to his throne, where now he sits until all of his enemies are subdued under his feet, including and especially Evil.
This then is the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Christian answer to the problem(s) of evil. It is the confession of Jesus Christ, the Divine Author who never himself does evil, but instead conquers all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and thereby delivers all those enslaved and oppressed by evil who put their hope in him.
O Come, O Come Immanuel.
Joe Rigney, Confronting the Problem(s) of Evil
Joe also gave one of the most helpful sermons on prayer and God’s sovereignty I have ever heard: If God Knows Everything and Planned Everything, Why Pray?