Update: I am currently interning at Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church in Meadville Pennsylvania under the direction of Jeffrey Stivason. (Graduate of Grove City, RPTS, Pittsburth Theological Seminary and a student at Westminster Theological Seminary.) The church website is curently under construction but the address is Covenantrpc.org.
Here is an article that i wrote for Covenant's monthly newsletter (to be published).
I have lived, worked and served among you for the past 10 weeks. I would like to share with you a portion of my walk with God, something that captures my mind and pushes my knees to the ground to bow before the God on high.
I was raised in a covenant home under two godly parents always being taught to serve Christ’s kingdom. That did not mean that my parents pushed me to be a pastor, actually they discouraged it. But why would someone ever want to devote a life of service to being a pastor, or an elder, a deacon, a missionary? Why?
The answer is what makes every believer love Christ, that is the gospel. Because of Christ’s work, those who call on Christ’s name will see heaven.
We only know of three men from Scripture who had a glimpse of heaven. One was Stephen the deacon. Who when he was stoned looked up and saw "the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." Another was the Apostle John on the Isle of Patomos, where he wrote the book of Revelations.
The other man was Paul whom we will come to in a moment, let me beg you to consider a question posed by pastor John Piper,
The critical question for our generation--and for every generation--is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?
From these two passages of Scripture we are told that what makes heaven a place that we want to be, which is the presence of Christ, the glory of God. Jesus will walk among us. Which is awesome! Paul tells us of his picture of heaven in 1 Corinthians 15, regarding the resurrection. (read that glorious chapter)
Imagine for a moment that you are in heaven and your name is read out of the book of life. And you see your precious savior ahead of you and you run with great ease and quickness to Him. When you are before Him you give Christ a warm embrace…. As your hands are on his back you feel the scars of the whip tearing into his body.. you pause and take a step back to look at His hands… to find the holes of the nails of the cross… and you realize once again what He did for you.
Later that ‘day’ you walk into the city of Zion, striding into the sanctuary of Yahweh. As you enter you see every saint, every believer that has ever lived… John Calvin, Augustine, Athanasius, JM Boice, every believer that has ever lived. And you look and see friends from church and their new bodies given to them without any of their handicaps. And the whole congregation begins to sing praises to God. Then a man walks by you.. you see scars on his back… and they stick out to you because no one else has any scars of their life on this planet.. .but this man has scars from a crown of thorns, nails, a whip and the bare rough cross.
Paul exhorts us to believe in the resurrection, saying that it is essential to our faith. (1 Corinthians 15:12ff) If there was no resurrection of the dead, then Christ was not raised from the dead. If he was not raised, then all we have is the cross, which is a truly horrific picture. For that is where Christ became a curse for His children, in and of itself there is no salvation. The resurrection is what gives men life. What makes the cross pleasant is the fact that God poured out all His wrath upon Himself, and when that was finished the Father raised the Son from the dead… It is where Christ bore the punishment for our sins… and later risen from the dead.
This is the gospel, that God the Son became man, later crucified, buried and then rose from the dead for those that call upon His name.
Why do I want to give my life to Christ? I hope at this time, the answer is obvious. May you see Christ’s blood as precious, that is the reason my life is not my own… To end, a prayer from The Valley of Vision,
"Blessed Lord Jesus,
Before your cross I kneel and see the heinousness of my sin, my iniquity that caused you to be made a curse, the evil that excites the serveity of divine wrath.
Show me the enormity of my guilt by the crown of thorns, the pierced hands and feet, the bruised body, the dying cries. Your blood is the blood of incarnate God, its infinite, its value beyond all thought. Infinite must be the evil and guilt that demands such a price
Sin is my malady, my monster my foe, my viper born in my birth, alive in my life strong in my character, dominating my faculties, following me as a shadow, intermingling with my every thought, my chain that holds me captive in the empire of my soul.
Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light!? The air supply breath? The earth bear my tread? Its fruits nourish me? its creatures subserve my ends?
Yet your compassions yearn over me, your heart hastens to my rescue, your love endured my curse, your mercy bore my deserved stripes.
Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation, bathed in your blood, tender of conscience, triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation."