The Weight of Joy in the Weight of Suffering

So the recording of this message didn't really capture...every word...haha

This post will help to communicate some of the missing pieces as well as remind you of a few things that, I hope, will encourage you and remind you to rejoice.

Text: 1 Peter 1:3-12

Thesis: Joy is a natural response to faith in the person and work of God.

1. Our joy must be rooted in hope built on the character of and work of God. (3-5)

Six reasons to rejoice:

A. Rejoice because of the character of God. (3)
...according to his great mercy...

B. Rejoice because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. (3)
...he has caused us to be born again...

C.Rejoice because of the hope that has come alive in you. (3) a living hope...

Note two things about this hope: it is a confident hope (look at the "inheritance" in verse 4;) it is a living hope.

D. Rejoice because your hope is made sure in the resurrection of Christ. (3)
...through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

If Jesus is still dead, we have NO hope, and our faith, preaching, ministry, LIVES are in vain. But
"Jesus is alive, and that changes everything!"
"Hope is a living hope because Jesus is a living Savior."

E. Rejoice because you have guaranteed for you, and eternal inheritance. (4) an inheritance...

F. Rejoice because God is actively saving you, preserving your hope and strengthening your faith. (5), who by God's power, are being guarded through faith for a salvation...
i. God caused us to be born again. We "were saved." Regeneration. Past.
ii. By God's power we, "are being saved." Sanctification. Present.
iii. We will be saved in our future salvation. Glorification. Future.

2. Joy that is rooted in hope built on the character and work of God will triumph in suffering, making Christ appear sweeter and more glorious when He is revealed.

A few points of clarification:

i. Joy is a pattern/outlook on life that is not based in circumstances.
ii. Happiness is a state of mind, that, at its core, is rooted in circumstances.
iii. Sovereign grace is the sovereign choice and work of God to save who He wishes to save. This is the root of joy.
iv. Common grace is the everyday enjoyment of God's creation and blessing on mankind. This is the root of happiness.
v. Suffering is the retraction of common graces. Thus it is possible to be unhappy, while joyful. And conversely, it is possible to be not joyful, while happy.
vi. If I am truly a joyful person, reveling in the character and work of God in sovereign grace, then I ought to be a happy person as well. All of my "happy" experiences of common grace should turn my gaze to the Giver and gift of sovereign grace, the source of my joy.

Three things about the nature of suffering:

A. Suffering will come. (6)
...though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials...

An elect exile is still an exile!

B. Suffering sharpens and strengthens faith. (7) that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire...

"Suffering is appointed by God for his saints for this purpose: so that as we persever in joy in God through suffering, He is shown to be more valuable than what we are losing as we suffer." John Piper

C. Suffering makes Christ taste sweeter and appear more glorious. (7-9)
...may be found to result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Christ...

Verse 8: You don't see him, but you love him. Affection and faith are equated. If my faith is amplified, naturally, my affections are also amplified, and my joy is inexpressible. Faith is amplified through suffering (7) thus my affection for Christ is also amplified.

Lessons on suffering and joy from the life of David Brainerd:
Oh, That I May Never Loiter On My Heavenly Journey! by John Piper
The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards

3. The root of our joy-the work and character of God in salvation-is so glorious, that the prophets and angels long to have a part (10-12.)

A. The prophets gloried and rejoiced and treasured salvation, though they were spectators.
B. The angels glory and rejoice and treasure salvation, though they are spectators.
C. We must rejoice because we are partakers! We are beneficiaries! We are not spectators.

Elect Exiles and the Pursuit of Joy

Here are some thoughts to prepare you for the Word on Sunday night:

1. We, as elect exiles, have cause for GREAT joy, because of the work of Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
2. Our joy in suffering, sharpens our faith, preparing us for the revelation of Christ, when our faith will be sight. (1 Peter 1:6-9)
3. Our work of Christ in our salvation is so glorious, that the prophets longed and the angels long to take part in it. (1 Peter 1:10-12)

There are a few quotes that have influenced my thinking and understanding of this text:

"Grace came down. Joy came up. That’s Christianity."
John Piper

God is preparing you, through suffering, to enjoy him more in heaven than if you had not suffered: “It will be no damp to the happiness of those who are of lower degrees of happiness in glory that others are more advanced in glory above them for all shall be perfectly happy, everyone shall be perfectly satisfied, every vessel that is cast into the ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others. And there shall be no such thing as envy in heaven, but perfect love shall reign through the whole society.”
Jonathan Edwards (quoted by John Piper.)

“This is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.”
Piper, Desiring God, p.222

"Had some sweetness in the thoughts of arriving at the heavenly world. O for the happy day! God gave my special assistance in prayer; I wrestled with much sweetness; intercession was made delightful employment to me..."
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.33

"Was not a little distressed for want of suitable food. Had no bread, nor could I get any. I am forced to go or send ten or fifteen miles for all the bread I eat; and sometimes it is moldy and sour before I eat it; and then again I have none for some days together, for want of an opportunity to send for it, and cannot find my horse in the woods to go myself. And this was my case now, but through divine goodness I had some Indian meal, of which I made little cakes and fried them. Yet felt contented with my circumstances, and sweetly resigned to God. In prayer I enjoyed great freedom, and blessed God as much for my present circumstances as if I had been a king: I found a disposition to be contented in any circumstances. Blessed be God!"
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.61

"My leanness testifies against me! My soul abhors itself for its unlikeness to God and sluggishness. When I have done all, alas, what an unprofitable servant am I! My soul groans because I do not fill the hours in spirituality and heavenly-mindedness. Yet I long they should speed their pace to hasten me to my eternal home, where I may fill up my moments, through eternity, for God and His glory."
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.57

Come Sunday night at 7pm, and bring a friend!

CCC Life Group Bio

The CCC Life Group is made up of students who attend Clackamas Community College. Any college campus is an awesome place to reach people for the sake of the gospel and that is exactly the aim of this group.

I had Ben Drake, one of the leaders of this group write the bio to let you know more about what the CCC Life Group is all about. Here's what he had to say,

"The CCC Life Group focuses on discipleship and outreach to the population at Clackamas Community College. This is accomplished by developing meaningful relationships with the people in our classes and on campus. We also hold one another accountable with our descipleship plans. The CCC Life Group meets on Wednesdays in the cafeteria at noon to discuss the book “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller. These discussions are open to believers and non-believers alike in effort to converse about topics like the issue of God and suffering, Christianity being a “straightjacket”, Christianity and science and ultimately relate these to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, contact Ben Drake at (503) 277-3142 or email him at"

If you are a student at CCC and want to get plugged in it would be well worth your time. If you are not already plugged into a group, now is the time. There are an endless amount of opportunities out there for us to reach people for the sake of Christ.

remembering the remembrance of the resurrection

For those of you that were at re:Generātion Easter Sunday two weeks ago, my prayer is that the message hit you in the face with a sanctifying blow, just as it did me studying and wrapping my mind around the idea that Jesus is truly alive and that that fact changes everything!

By way of reminder, I've included an outline of the message along with a short list of resources to check out for further study on the resurrection.

The Gospel Story/The Resurrection Story

A. The “Jesus is Alive” Part (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
  1. The Gospel is a whole life thing, not just a single, one-time event.
  2. Where God’s wrath and justice meet His grace and love we have Good Friday.
  3. Jesus really died and really rose (most likely on April 3rd-5th, A.D. 33).
  4. The resurrection validates all that the cross accomplished. They are inseparable events.
B. The “Changes Everything” Part (1 Corinthians 15:14-20)

If Jesus didn’t rise then . . .
Faith and preaching are in vain.
We have no hope and no purpose.
Our "core values" are meaningless.
Life itself is a cruel joke.
Sacrifice and persecution would be worthless.
Christians ought to be pitied more than anyone on earth.
But Jesus Did Rise and that Changes Everything . . .
Jesus' resurrection secures our future resurrection.
Hope in Life (Jesus’ Return)
Faith and preaching are not in vain.
There is no "sting" in death.
Our guilt has been taken away.
All effects of the cross are made real.
We have the Holy Spirit and are being transformed.
We have in Jesus a Great High Priest, and Perfect Prophet, and a Coming King!
We have a reason to sing!
For more reading and study check out:
The Bible (haha, but seriously)
Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright
Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breashers.
Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock
-Aeric E.

Exiles and Aliens - The Book of 1 Peter

Next Sunday night, re:Generātion will begin a new teaching series focused on the book of 1 Peter entitled, “Exiles and Aliens.” The title for this series is taken from 1 Peter 1:1 and 2:11, where Peter addresses his readers as “the elect exiles of the dispersion . . . aliens and exiles.” Amidst these powerfully descriptive labels, what unfolds is essentially an extended application of Jesus’ words from Mark 8:34-35, words that Peter himself would have heard and witnessed firsthand: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

More profoundly than any other New Testament author, Peter connects the sufferings of Christ’s followers with the sufferings of Christ himself. As Christians, we are, by definition, suffering exiles because we believe in, love and serve the ultimate Suffering Exile, Jesus Christ. Suffering, however, is only half the story, for Peter takes great pains to remind us that not only should we “not be surprised by the fiery trial” but that in the end, when Jesus is revealed and salvation is made whole, we will ourselves be glorified just as Christ himself was glorified.

The pattern Peter establishes for the Christian life is the same pattern the whole of Scripture is itself built upon: suffering is the prerequisite for glory, the cross always precedes the resurrection, death is only the way to life. As Dorothy Sayers wrote reflecting on the inescapable chronology of Good Friday to Easter: “God did not abolish the fact of evil: He transformed it. He did not stop the crucifixion: He rose from the dead.”

As a sampling of this theme, the following are all excerpts from 1 Peter that address the reality and meaning of suffering in the life of Christ himself as well as his people. Take some time to read through them along with the rest of the book as we prepare together.
“elect exiles of the dispersion” (1:1)
“grieved by various trial” (1:6)
“the tested genuineness of your faith” (1:7)
“the sufferings of Christ” (1:11)
“the time of your exile” (1:17)
“a living stone rejected by men” (2:4)
“the stone that the builders rejected” (2:7)
“as sojourners and exiles” (2:11)
“when they speak against you as evildoers” (2:12)
“be subject to your masters . . . to the unjust” (2:18)
“this is a gracious thing, when . . . one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (2:19)
“if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing” (2:20)
“to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example” (2:21)
“he was reviled” (2:23)
“he suffered” (2:23)
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (2:24)
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless” (3:9)
“even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (3:13)
“when you are slandered, those who revile you” (3:16)
“it is better to suffer for doing good” (3:17)
“Christ also suffered” (3:18)
“put to death in the flesh” (3:18)
“Christ suffered in the flesh” (4:1)
“whoever has suffered in the flesh, has ceased from sin” (4:1)
“they malign you” (4:4)
“do not be surprised by the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you” (4:12)
“you share in Christ’s suffering” (4:13)
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed” (4:14)
“let none of you sufferer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler” (4:15)
“if anyone does suffer as a Christian” (4:16)
“those who suffer according to God’s will” (4:19)
“the sufferings of Christ” (5:1)
“the same kinds of suffering” (5:9)
“after you have suffered” (5:10)

Core Value - Leadership

This weekend we'll take a look at our fifth and final core value -- Leadership. What is leadership? Here are two of my favorite definitions:

J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership
Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others. One man can lead others only to the extent that he can influence them to follow his lead.
John Piper
[Spiritual leadership is] knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there in reliance on God’s power.
Sunday night I'll talk about why we want re:Generation to be a "leadership engine" for the church of Jesus Christ. Hope to see you there.

Jesus Is Alive!

This Sunday we will be taking a break from the Core Value talks and focusing on The Resurrection of Jesus. Easter is THE DAY for Christians. It is the most important day and the truth of this day makes all of the difference. This Sunday night we will be talking about the resurrection and its massive significance in our lives. How significant is it to you?

We will be taking a small excursion through 1 Corinthians, hitting a few keys points (It is really long we can’t do all of it.) To begin honing your focus before we meet again think about these quotes.
“If Jesus is Dead than Christianity is Dead. If Jesus is Alive than Christianity is Alive.”
-Mark Driscoll
“True New Testament Christianity is a religion of the resurrection.”
-John MacArthur
“We live and die; Christ died and lived!” -John Stott
"In the bonds of Death He lay
Who for our offence was slain;
But the Lord is risen to-day,
Christ hath brought us life again,
Wherefore let us all rejoice,
Singing loud, with cheerful voice,
- Martin Luther

-Aeric E.