Recently I have been reading John Piper's the Roots of Endurance, and it entails the amazing stories of the perseverant lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce. John Newton is most notably known for writing the popular church hymn, "Amazing Grace." Charles Simeon was the pastor at Trinity Church in Cambridge, and he relentlessly preached there for fifty-four years. William Wilberforce was the evangelical member of Parliament in the British empire who fought a good part of his life to put an end to the African slave trade, in addition to slavery on a much broader scale. All of these men faced extreme oppression and difficult obstacles to overcome, but they all had something in common: "roots of endurance," roots sunken deep into the ground and connected to their Savior, Jesus Christ.

If you are interested in the "art" of perseverance, or simply would like a good biography of three very effective and godly men, I definitely recommend this book.

Here are some of the inspirational quotes I came across as I've gradually continued to read this book:

"He believes and feels his own weakness and unworthiness, and lives upon the grace and pardoning love of his Lord. This gives him an habitual tenderness and gentleness of spirit. Humble under a sense of much forgiveness to himself, he finds it easy to forgive others."
- John Newton

"By faith he triumphs over...smiles and enticements: he sees that all that is in the world, suited to gratify the desires of the flesh or the eye, is not only to be avoided as sinful, but as incompatible with his best pleasures." - John Newton

"There are but two lessons for Christians to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God."- Charles Simeon

"For a nominal Christian is content with proving the way of salvation by a crucified Redeemer. But the true Christian loves it, delights in it, glories in it, and shudders at the very thought of glorifying in anything else. - Charles Simeon

"My rule is-never to hear, or see, or know, what if heard, or seen, or known, would call for animadversion from me." - Charles Simeon

"These were the things that humbled him [Simeon]-not so much his own sinfulness but God's incredible love." - Hugh Evan Hopkins (a biographer of Simeon)

"By this I seek to be, not only humble and thankful but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Savior continually." - Charles Simeon

"If we would...rejoice in [Christ] as triumphantly as the first Christians did; we must learn, like them to repose our entire trust in him and to adopt the language of the apostle, 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ.' 'Who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.' "-William Wilberforce

*All quotes have been taken from The Roots of Endurance by John Piper.

"Everything is Meaningless"-part I

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year full of new memories and successful resolutions...

As I sat on my bed trying to study for a an upcoming test, I felt as if I had never moved, like my life had become stagnant and become complacent with the same everyday-stresses of life. I remembered that fiery feeling after walking out of my first Rebelution Conference, the feeling that I believed would last a lifetime and carry me through these teenage years.

But this is not how I currently perceive myself to be living. It seems life has become more of a chore rather than a massive opportunity to impact others for Jesus' name. School is stressful and I find myself doing the minimum requirement so that I can finish all my other work and still get to bed at a decent time. I see a lonely student sitting at a table by himself at lunch, but make lame excuses not to be a witness. "I'm tired. I'm hungry. Can you please stop bothering me"...Life has become a plain of opportunities to satisfy my every want.

Very recently I have been reading through Ecclesiastes. In it, Solomon states that "everything is meaningless." He continues to say "then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him-for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." [Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, NIV].

THIS is the truth of life. Nothing else in this world matters besides Him. All of our riches, all of our wealth, and all of our schooling degrees mean nothing in the long run. Only Christ and the souls of those around us matter in light of eternity.

Dollar For a Drink

As some of you may already be aware, Josh Guthrie of Dollar For A Drink is attempting to raise enough money to build three fresh-water wells in Sudan, Africa. He has currently raised $16,785, $16,785 that will build two wells for needy people. Seventy percent of DfaD's goal for this year (specifically by Christmas 2009) has been collected, and only $7,215 remains. If you would like to be a part of this awesome non-profit ministry, please consider praying about donating to this special cause.

For more information on Dollar For A Drink, or to donate, please visit their website at Josh Guthrie is 17 years old, 17 years old and fighting bravely for Jesus Christ. He is taking a stand and showing this world that teens can do amazing things, one hard thing at a time.

Thanks for reading!


Follow-up: "Merry Christmas"

As I thought a bit more concerning the recent post, I wanted to add a few personal side notes:

Even though Christmas is most often linked to Christian beliefs, Christmas has always been "Christmas"-regardless of any religious connotations. In fact, I don't think most people would even consider Christmas strictly a religious holiday. True, many more people do attend church on December the 25th, but the overall spirit of Christmas, to a much broader society, seems to be generosity, giving, and cheer. We have always went "Christmas shopping" and many look forward to singing "Christmas carols."

Whether religion plays a role in our Christmas celebrations (however) is, quite frankly, not the issue. The thing that upsets me the most (and maybe it's just one of my own pet-peeves) is the fact that everything has to be politically correct. Every little thing is now required to apply to EVERYONE, in order to appeal to a larger audience. However, no matter what we try to do, there will always be discrepancies; there will always be those people whom will not agree with the rest of the culture.


"Merry Christmas!"

Over the past few years, our local school systems and favorite fast food restaurants have decided for the rest of society that "Christmas" is a dirty word. They have deemed it appropriate, however, to impose a much more generic term to label one of the most-celebrated holidays in America. Those in authority claim that "Christmas" is too specific, that its name directs more focus on the Christian celebration which takes place on December 25th. Apparently, we as a country need to do away with "Christmas" and welcome "the holidays."

There are many, however, that still strive to keep the joys of Christmas alive. The festivities of Christmas day have been long-since celebrated including the following celebrations to bring in the new year, and it is insulting that our culture is trying to change the way many view Christmas. In fact, many workplaces do not even allow their employees to wish their customers "MERRY CHRISTMAS," but rather encourage them to shower customers with "Happy Holiday's."

The problem is obvious, and the solution is simple. Join with us as we hope to remind this world of the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus Christ was born as a baby, lying in a manger. He was born to die and born to save us so that, one day, we could live with Him is His heavenly realm for all of eternity. Let us be like the shepherds whom, after being told by the angels, "spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child" [Luke 2:17]. And let us be like Mary whom "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" [Luke 2:19].


ACTION STEP: Wish your friends, teachers, co-workers, and family members a very "Merry Christmas!" While "Christmas" is simply a name, it represents something very special to us as Christians. As a result it is very frustrating when others try to change it. Take a stand...:)