1.) hope for your dark night of the soul - being a melancholy, i am all too familiar with dark nights. but i dont want it to be this way. i was affected by bob kauflin's story of a 3 year long struggle with deep hopelessness:
About a year into the process I talked to a good friend, Gary Ricucci... I said, “Gary, I feel hopeless all the time.”
He said, “You know, Bob? I think your problem is that you don’t feel hopeless enough.”
I don’t know what I looked like on the outside, but on the inside I was saying, “You are crazy. You are crazy. I feel hopeless.”
He said, “No, if you were hopeless, you would stop trusting in yourself and rely completely on what Jesus Christ accomplished for you.”
That was the beginning of the way out. And I remember saying to myself literally hundreds of times—every time these feelings of hopelessness and panic and a desire to ball up in a fetal position would come on me—“I feel completely hopeless because I am hopeless, but Jesus Christ died for hopeless people, and I’m one of them.”
Over time I began to believe that. And today when I tell people that Jesus is a great Savior, I believe it, because I know that he saved me. That’s where my joy comes from. My joy comes from knowing that at the very bottom, at the very pit of who I am, it is blackness and sin, but the love and grace of Jesus goes deeper.
2.) Romans 8:1 sermon by my favorite man in the world - our church has studied romans 7 for the past few weeks, and debated over whether the "i" who anguishes over sin and slavery to the law in v. 13-25 refers to paul or is a literary device for non-believers. alex and i lean towards the later (much less popular) belief.
one of the reasons alex believes this, as he pointed out in his sermon, is that there is no other precedent in the NT where someone so heavily focus on their sin with so little hope. his exhortation to us was to passionately pursue christ and look to Him and not at our sin, and the sin will just seem to fall off.
you can listen to it here
3.) Francis Chan's Desiring God Pastors conference talk - wow this man is intimate with God. and it doesn't come from thinking about himself. it come from a passionate prayer for ONE THING: "to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and inquire in his temple" (ps. 27:4)
Lord, let this be the one thing that i seek.