Forgive the Label, But Don’t Miss the Truth
Jan 1, 1995If you abandon the pursuit of your joy, you cannot love man or please God.
The Family: Together in God’s Presence
Jan 1, 1995God-centered worship is supremely important in the life of our church. We approach the Sunday morning worship hour with great seriousness and earnestness and expectancy. We try to banish all that is flippant or trivial or chatty. Not all services…
Did Christ Die for Us or for God?
Jan 1, 1995The root reason for why the cross is folly to the world is that it means the end of human self-exaltation.
Bible Story Audio: Recommendations?
Jan 1, 1995Dear Noël, In Treasuring God in Our Traditions, you write that your children listened to stories on tape while they were too young to read. Could you recommend some good, sound children’s Bible story recordings? Thank you. Dear friend, …
Brothers, Let Us Query the Text
Jan 1, 1995If the Bible is coherent, then understanding the Bible means grasping how things fit together. Becoming a Biblical theologian means seeing more and more pieces fit together into a glorious mosaic of the divine will. And doing exegesis means querying…
One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society
Jan 1, 1995If you refuse to vote for a pro-choice candidate, how will you answer the charge of being a one-issue voter?
How Shall We Fight for Joy?
Jan 1, 19951. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift. 2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly. 3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life. 4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt - how to fight…
Guidelines for Writing a Research Paper in New Testament Exegesis
Jan 1, 1995What's the point in research papers and how can you write one well?
Brothers, Pray for the Seminary!
Jan 1, 1995We cannot overemphasize the importance of our seminaries in shaping the theology and spirit of the churches and denominations and missionary enterprise. The tone of the classrooms and teachers exerts profound effect on the tone of our pulpits. What the…
How Not to Commit Idolatry in Giving Thanks
Jonathan Edwards on True Thanksgiving
Jan 1, 1995God is not glorified if the foundation of our gratitude is the worth of the gift and not the excellency of the Giver.
The Unparalleled Passion of Jesus Christ
Jan 1, 1995If Christians were not so familiar with these things because of 2000 years of tradition and liturgy, they might feel how utterly unlikely it was that this death would be the basis of a world-transforming faith. How could it be…
How Dead People Do Battle with Sin
Jan 1, 1995Carved in the bark of every tree in the garden of God are the words, "If it dies it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). Three words are branded into the flesh of every Christian: "YOU ... HAVE DIED" (Colossians…
Quest for Joy
Six Biblical Truths
Jan 1, 1995What verses do you use to share the gospel with others?
What Should We Pray For?
Jan 1, 1995One way to answer this question is to look at what the early church prayed for. Here is a list gathered from the New Testament. It can guide you in how you pray. I suggest that periodically you pray through…
What the New Testament Church Prayed For
Jan 1, 1995They called on God to vindicate his people in their cause. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night Will he delay long over them? (Luke 18:7). They called on God to save unbelievers.…
Brothers, Magnify the Meaning of Baptism
Jan 1, 1995I recall a beautiful day in 1973. Prof. Leonhard Goppelt had invited his university seminar on baptism to a retreat south of Munich in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. He was Lutheran and I was the lone American -…
The Marks of a Spiritual Leader
Jan 1, 1995What kind of spiritual leadership actually helps people change?
Brothers, Beware of Sacred Substitutes
Jan 1, 1995Without extended and consecrated prayer, the ministry of the Word withers up and bears no fruit.
Brothers, Consider Christian Hedonism
Jan 1, 1995When Jesus warned His disciples that they might get their heads chopped off (Luke 21:16), He comforted them with the promise that nevertheless, not a hair on their heads would perish (v. 18). When He warned them that discipleship means…
Brothers, Our Affliction Is for Their Comfort
Jan 1, 1995Pastors and their people must suffer. "Through may tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). "You yourselves know that this is to be our lot" (1 Thess. 3:3). "The Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises…
Brothers, Tell Them Not to Serve God!
Jan 1, 1995We have all told our people to serve God. Scripture says to "serve the Lord with gladness." But now it may be time to tell them not to serve God. For Scripture also says: "The Son of Man…
Letter About How to Relate to a Relative Who Is Homosexual
Jan 1, 1995John Piper offers help in seeking the mind of the Lord in an agonizingly difficult and painful situation.
Brothers, Save the Saints
Jan 1, 1995I used to say my goal as a pastor-teacher was the salvation of sinners and the upbuilding of the body of Christ - winning the lost and edifying the saints. But there was an erroneous assumption behind this goal. The…
Loving God for Who He Is: A Pastor’s Perspective
Jan 1, 1995One of the most important discoveries I have ever made is this truth: God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him. This is the motor that drives my ministry as a pastor. It affects everything…
Brothers, Read Christian Biography
Jan 1, 1995Hebrews 11 is a divine mandate to read Christian biography. The unmistakable implication of the chapter is that, if we hear about the faith of our forefathers (and mothers), we will "lay aside every weight and sin" and "run with…
A Challenge to Women
Jan 1, 1995Fifteen exhortations encouraging women to be strong, God-centered, Bible-saturated and happy in Christ.
Topics for Conversation When a Man and a Woman Are Considering Marriage
Jan 1, 1995There are at least ten categories concerning life together that potential partners would do well to consider.
Jesus' Finest Hour—His Last
Jan 1, 1995There was a kind of God-forsakenness on the cross, but the abandonment was not final.
God's Glory and the Deepest Joy of Human Souls Are One Thing
Jan 1, 1995How is my desire to be happy not opposed to God's command to give him glory?
Are There Two Wills in God?
Divine Election and God's Desire for All to Be Saved
Jan 1, 1995If God wants everyone to be saved, why does he choose that some won't be?
O Lord, Give Us Children of Promise, Not Children of the Flesh!
Jan 11, 1995The story of Ishmael is a warning not to build your ministry according to the flesh.
Would You Pray for the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors?
Jan 18, 1995From Monday night, January 30, to noon February 1, between two and three hundred pastors will be worshipping, praying, listening, thinking and discussing here at Bethlehem. The theme this year is The Primacy of Expository Preaching: Priorities and Pitfalls. The…
Why the Fasting Forty?
Jan 24, 1995What is the Fasting Forty? The Fasting Forty is a group of forty people who fast for one day a week in a given month of 1995. It may be different from month to month. Or some people may want…
Another Open Letter to the Lady of My Life
Feb 14, 1995I am writing this on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. Mine is not here. She is at Shalom House at a pastors’ wives retreat. She left yesterday while I was in Philips, Wisconsin at a missions conference. In a few hours we…
"The Greatest of These Is Love"
Thoughts on the New Sermon Series
Mar 7, 1995Something tremendous is at stake in the practical unity of love in the body of Christ.
A Simple, Practical Act of Love
No Perfume, No Cologne First Service
Mar 14, 1995Let’s put our messages on love into practice with an experiment in April I know three people whose allergic reaction to perfume and cologne have kept them away from Bethlehem recently. Others find it difficult, but not impossible, to attend…
Dreaming About Disappearing Mortgages
Apr 11, 1995If you did not receive in the mail a copy of the new mortgage brochure, “Our Giving Account: God is Good!” please call the church or get one from the Information Table in the Commons Our new sanctuary was completed…
Two Mother’s Day Poems from Pastor John
May 2, 1995Picking Up Where Mother Left Off My mother was a workin’ Frau: Teutonic blood flowed in her veins. The German sweat stood on her brow, And, like the flawless German trains, She kept appointments to the dot; And taught her…
Note On Assurance That God Loves Us
May 5, 1995The fact that we love God is evidence that he loves us.
Summer is for Seeing and Showing God
All-Church Schedule June 11–September 3
May 9, 1995Here are the what and why of some summer schedule changes. Not all of them. The children’s and youth ministries are producing separate detailed schedules for their summer events and ministries. This article only relates to Sundays and Weekday Prayer.…
Meditations on Bethlehem and the Marriage of My Son
May 16, 1995I think more tears were shed at the Pastors’ Prayer Summit over children than anything else. Few things are more painful for a pastor than the waywardness of his children. One pastor I prayed with grieved over the alienation of…
The Limits of Love
More Thoughts on Sunday’s Text
May 23, 1995One of my seminary professors, Lewis Smedes, wrote a book entitled Love Within Limits. The point was that real life puts real limits on the good you can do for people—and the good that you should do for people…
Be Inspired By Aristeides
To See and Show Christ this Summer
Jun 6, 1995About 133 AD Aristeides, a teacher of philosophy, presented a defense of Christianity to Emperor Hadrian. From it we get a glimpse of what the early Christians were like and why the church grew the way it did, like wildfire…
"It Doesn’t Matter What Happens to Me"
Jun 13, 1995Those are the words that keep coming back to me as I try to express what Jesus meant when he said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if…
Men and Women in the Deaconate and in the Service of Communion
Jun 20, 1995When the church enacted our “new” constitution in 1990, one aim was to clarify the role of men and women in relationship to the eldership and the deaconate. There are two offices in the New Testament: elders and deacons. Our…
Satan Shows His Best and Hides His Worst; Christ Shows His Worst and His Best
Aug 15, 1995Matthew Henry was a British pastor who wrote a devotional commentary on the whole Bible between the years of 1704 and 1714. It is so spiritually insightful that the great evangelist, George Whitefield, read all six volumes four times, the…
The Providence of God
Seeing to the Universe
Sep 5, 1995God is not a passive participant in a world that exists without his sustaining it. Wherever he is looking, he is acting.
Major Master Planning Vision Statement to Be Unveiled
Sep 12, 1995For over eight months the Master Planning Team has prayed and surveyed and studied and thought and discussed the future of Bethlehem. The result of that effort is a major document which has now been approved by the Council of…
William Wilberforce and the Launchers of Love
Nov 7, 1995If we love people, we will be like William Wilberforce and spend time thinking about how to point them to Jesus.
Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?
Nov 21, 1995Question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) Answer: “Ah Lord God… nothing is too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17). Evidence: He created the universe out of nothing (John 1:1). He turned Lot’s wife into…
A Letter to Noël Saying Yes to Adoption
Dec 12, 1995Monday, November 6, 1995, 11:12 PM Dear Noël, With confidence in the all-sufficient future grace of God, I am ready and eager to move ahead with the adoption of Talitha Ruth. I want to thank you that during these years…