Blog Posts by David Mathis

Go Deep in the Grace of God

David Mathis

Christians, of all people, cannot be content with small visions of grace.

The message that made us is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32), “the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6). And the life we’re called to live happens in “this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2), as we’re “strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus”…

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Church, Make Room for Young Leaders

David Mathis

What some aging Christians need from the younger generation is an invitation to lean into the local church, and not retreat or retire.

But others from the older generation need a different challenge — a summons to lay aside suspicion of everyone young enough to be your child, a charge to dispose of a derogatory view of the real-live specimen of the next generation. And, in particular, some older…

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A Better Country for Old Men

David Mathis

This is a plea from the younger generation to the older. We desperately need you.

Please don’t phone it in just when the King’s about to call. Don’t retire on the world’s terms and abandon your long-time local church.

As the tsunami of the Baby Boom begins to flood the shores of retirement, please don’t leave us Millennials to fend for ourselves and make the same mistakes all over again.…

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The Reformation: Trick or Treat?

David Mathis

It’s no accident that October 31 is both Halloween and the day remembered for the start of the Reformation. Both key off November 1, All Saints’ Day — or All Hallows’ Day (Hallows from the Latin for saints or holy ones).

On All Hallows’ Eve, October 31, 1517, the Roman Church received the world’s most memorable trick-or-treater at its door — though barely noticed at the time — when a…

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When Jesus Haunts Your Halloween

David Mathis

Unclean spirits stir. Demonic thrones and dominions gather. Cosmic powers over this present darkness come to attention. And the devil himself, ready to devour and destroy, ignites his fiery darts and stretches his legs for the lion’s prowl.

As All Hallows’ Eve draws nigh, the spiritual forces of evil align, and Satan prepares his hordes for the party of the year — the grand harvest festival, celebration of darkness and…

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Preachers, Find Your Voice

David Mathis

Christian preaching is not parroting.

As desirable as it is to copy a skilled communicator, and as unavoidable as it is to imitate those who have shaped us most, there is good reason for a preacher to find his own voice. Not vanity, but being true to what Christian preaching is.

Before it is heralding a message, preaching means first and foremost stewarding a message. Before we “preach the word”…

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What the Church Can Learn from Chick-fil-A

David Mathis

The cows started writing on billboards in the Twin Cities metro earlier this year. End of Burgerz — Koming Soon.

These bovines can’t spell, but we got the message — especially those of us Minnesotans who are transplants from the South. Here comes Chick-fil-A, at long last. Time to Eat Mor Chikin.

Christian Roots and Controversy

It’s no secret the chain was founded by an unapologetic Christian from the Atlanta-area.…

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The Remarkable Reality of Union with Christ

David Mathis

It may be the most important doctrine you’ve never heard of.

So says Kevin DeYoung about the reality of “union with Christ” — and sadly it seems he’s right.

But hopefully you aren’t among that number — and have not just heard about the doctrine, but begun to taste the practical fruit of this wide and wonderful reality. As Sinclair Ferguson says about union with Christ, “Of all the doctrines…

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A Reason to Be Really Offended

David Mathis

Our message is not you can do it.

It’s not you’re good enough, smart enough, and people like you.

What we preach is that you are a glorious creature gone tragically bad, that you have rebelled against the God who made you, but that he did the most difficult thing imaginable to win you back and lavish you with his eternal goodness.

It is wondrously good news. But…

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It’s Just Complicated — And Very Simple

David Mathis

The Christian life can be so complex — and oh so very simple.

That we would use such a fancy word as sanctification betrays the complexity. But that defining such a big word could be so easy hints at the simplicity.

Big Word, Modest Meaning

The word sanctification is built on the Latin sanctus, meaning “holy.” Sanctification is the theological term we Christians often use for the process of…

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Smiting the Green-Eyed Monster

David Mathis

It’s everywhere you turn, yet so easily keeps itself hidden.

It’s pervasive in advertising and steers the course of political debates. It lives in all our hearts, but seems so petty that we’re unwilling to admit its presence.

But in God’s economy, envy is sinful and dangerous. It makes frequent cameos in the New Testament lists of nastiness (Mark 7:22; Romans 1:29; 1 Timothy 6:4; Titus 3:3). We hear that…

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Dieting, Botox, and Honoring Jesus with Your Body

David Mathis

Undistracting attractiveness is John Piper’s term for it.

It’s a vision for the Christian to steer a middle course between idolizing our bodies and neglecting them. It includes giving our bodies enough attention — with sleep, diet, exercise, and upkeep — to avoid being distractingly unattractive, and reining in our impulses to pursue a self-focused attractiveness that distracts.

Deeper Than Dieting, Botox, and Plastic Surgery

Your body is a precious…

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Fed Up with Life and Ready to Write

David Mathis

Ink is the great cure for all human ills.

So wrote a young C.S. Lewis to a childhood friend. Lewis was only seventeen years old when he penned such a claim, but he has proved wise beyond his years. Here’s the full statement from his letter of May 30, 1916:

Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills.

Whether we…

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Lewis Live-Stream Free for All

David Mathis

UPDATE: See available audio and video rebroadcasts.

At long last, we gather this weekend in Minneapolis for the Desiring God 2013 National Conference.

The fullest experience will be on the ground in Minnie, but we’re kicking the doors wide open across the Worldwide Web for all to stream in. Whosoever wills may come with the free-of-cost conference live-stream.

All the action is available — in English, Spanish, and Russian…

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Grace Gone Wild

David Mathis

Grace is on the loose.

Contrary to our expectations, counter to our assumptions, frustrating our judicial sentiments, mocking our craving for control, the grace of God is turning the world upside down. He is shamelessly pouring out his lavish favor on undeserving sinners of all stripes, and thoroughly stripping away our self-sufficiency.

Primeval and Unbridled

Grace has been on the move since before creation, roaming wild and free. Even before…

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The X-Factor in Bible Reading

David Mathis

The Bible is no magic book. But saying it that way might give the wrong impression.

A strange, enigmatic power stirs when we reach for the Scriptures. Something influential, though invisible, is happening as we hear God’s words read or spoken. Something supernatural, but unseen, transpires as we see the text in front of us and take it into our souls. Someone unseen moves.

He is a personal force, fully…

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The Joy of Praising Others

David Mathis

The key to commending others is knowing Jesus.

Not only is he the source of all that is right and good and beautiful, but as the God-man, he is the perfect human embodiment of our standard for praise. When we spot in others some commendable attitude or action — something that even faintly echoes one of Jesus’s many excellencies — the Christian thing to do is point it out and…

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Tapestry: A Vision for Trans-Cultural Church

David Mathis

Leonce Crump describes the vision as “trans-cultural.” Not multi-cultural, but trans-cultural.

Crump pastors Renovation Church in Atlanta and has found the image of a tapestry to be helpful. The individual pieces are essential, but the whole is more beautiful than the parts. Says Crump, more important than being African-American is being a child of God.

In this five-minute video, Crump wonderfully articulates his trans-cultural vision, walking us through the…

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Keeping King’s Dream Alive

David Mathis

It truly was the dream speech.

Fifty years ago today — on August 28, 1963 — Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to a podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered one of the most important addresses in U.S. history.

A quarter of a million civil-rights supporters crowded into Washington D.C. to have their voices heard, and King’s voice was the spark plug. It became a defining moment…

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Fresh Advice for the New Semester

David Mathis

It’s that time of year. School is back in session, new relationships are burgeoning, and fresh patterns of life are forming. Back to school is a major season of transition in Western society and beyond.

To help you navigate these days, and make the most of the new semester, we went behind the blog for a deeper dive on two recent posts:

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Why We Won’t Back Down

David Mathis

What if Tom Petty wrote an anthem for 21st-century evangelicals?

In the increasingly post-Christian worlds of Europe and North America, society relentlessly pressures biblically faithful Christians to back down. Back down on your stance against abortion. Back down on your refusal to condone homosexual practice and so-called “gay marriage.” Back down on claiming your Bible is inerrant. Back down on male leadership in the church and the home. Back down…

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Giving the Gospel Graciously

David Mathis

I’m terribly sorry I just evangelized all over you.

That’s how we can feel after spewing a full stomach of precious information on an unsuspecting stranger or friend. It can seem like sharing our faith requires shoveling coal into the engine, getting the big gears going, and building up a serious head of steam to push us over the hump. No wonder evangelism is a sensitive subject.

Sex and Evangelism

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Twelve Gospel Passages to Soak In

David Mathis

Mere truth won’t do it. Our souls desperately need the gospel.

“The grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6) is the shock that brings a dead soul to life, and the charge that keeps it living. The gospel is the gas that awakens and energizes the human heart, not mere truth — essential as truth is. Two plus two equals four — that’s true. It just doesn’t do much to…

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No Christian Suffering Is Meaningless

David Mathis

Everyone in the world wants this. Every person on the planet aches for real hope — to find the secret of real strength and joy and significance.

Put another way, no one longs to lose heart. No one desires to be discouraged. No one wants the breath knocked out of their hope. And the apostle Paul claims to have found the key.

In this new exposition of 2 Corinthians 4:16–18,…

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Church Planting and Missional Communities

David Mathis

Milk cows and plant a church.

It’s a line ready-made by veteran New England planters to adjust the expectations of new ministry entrepreneurs in the region. Don’t expect a cushion of financial support and a nice cushy study and church building. Come ready to till tough soil and do bi-vocational work.

Many say that God seems to be moving in some fresh and exciting ways in the Northeast. Some…

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