A Legacy of Sovereign Joy

This summer, Sweet Mercies completed several book clubs. Charlotte has agreed to share a little about her experience reading through, A Legacy of Sovereign Joy, by John Piper.

My name is Charlotte Parker and I wanted to take a moment to share how the Summer Book Club was such a blessing to me. I attended the book club hosted by Sarah Hennessey to study The Legacy of Sovereign Joy by John Piper. It was a wonderful time of sweet fellowship with the other ladies as we jumped into the deep end of the pool to learn about the lives of three influential men in church history: Aurelius Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. John Piper wrote this book to help us see that God in His sovereign design used 'flawed men' to not only change church doctrine in their generation but for generations to come.

Let me start by telling you that joy has been a fruit of the Holy Spirit that's been a struggle for me - one that I have had to fight for. All too often I have allowed circumstances and even people to dictate my level of joy. As I meditated on Augustine's life and his revelation of sovereign grace which led to sovereign joy, I came away with a deeper desire to hunger and thirst for God which would enable my life to be joyful in spite of circumstances. Not a life without trials and sorrow but with a joyful assurance that God's sovereignty is for always for my good. Augustine wrote that no other subject but grace gave him greater pleasure. John Piper summarized by saying, “Grace governs life by giving a supreme joy in the supremacy of God.” I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit has reawakened this truth in my heart. I realize with more clarity that as I embrace the supremacy of God over all creation - supreme joy will follow.

There is one more defining moment that I experienced during this study in regards to Martin Luther and his uncompromising view and commitment to the study of the Word of God. Piper writes the following: “One of the great rediscoveries of the Reformation – especially of Martin Luther – was that the Word of God comes to us in the form of a book. In other words, Luther grasped this powerful fact: God preserves the experience of salvation and holiness from generation to generation by means of a book of revelation...” Luther held the supremacy of the Word of God as sacred and should be studied with diligence. Piper presents his readers with a profound question. He asks: “Do we work at our studies with rigor and diligence or are we slothful and casual about it, as if nothing really great is at stake?” That question drove me to my knees asking the Lord to forgive me for my casual attitude to the study of his glorious Word. Luther's life and example has renewed my love to cherish the Word of God and to study it with diligence. Let me close with Psalm 119:18 & 27:

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. Make me understand the way of Your precepts.”

A little about Charlotte:

I have been married to my best friend, Chip Parker, for the last 40 years come this September. We have two wonderful children who live out West. My husband and I had the privilege 27 years ago to be part of the original church-planting team from northern Ohio. It has been (and will continue to be) an exciting journey experiencing the Lord's amazing grace and faithfulness as He uses Redeemer Church for His glory. I love our church!

I also love to get together for coffee-chats with the dear ladies of the church - ones I've know for a long time as well as those who are new to the church. It's a time of sweet fellowship that blesses my heart. Coffee + sweet fellowship.....what's not to like!

My favorite seasons are autumn and winter. I like to take longs walks when the cool breezes of autumn arrive which offers the pleasure of marveling at God's glorious kaleidoscope of colors. After autumn departs, I eagerly anticipate the hope of winter snow. Anyone who knows me well knows that I really love SNOW! Strolling along freshly fallen snow is invigorating and certainly brings out the kid in me! Enjoying the snow also brings a Scripture passage to mind in Isaiah 1:8 which says: "...though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow..." What a glorious truth to make you want to do the "happy dance."

Finally, I enjoy cooking & baking, trying new recipes, gentle rainy days, and watching movies from Jane Austen's classics.