Blog Posts by David Mathis
Ten Gospel Verses to Keep Warm
Bible memorization is always time well spent. Whether you’re tackling extended sections, or “fighter verses” for specific sins, or passages particularly helpful in pastoral ministry, surely all Scripture memory is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
And especially useful are one-verse statements of the gospel.
When you memorize a “gospel verse,” and keep it warm, you have hidden in your heart a divinely inspired and inerrant expression, in…Continue Reading
Keller and Piper Talk C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis claimed he was no theologian. At least that wasn’t his day job. But it didn’t stop him from seriously shaping some of today’s most influential theologians.
Lewis was a world-class scholar of English literature, and a Christian layman and apologist, and one of the main formative heroes for both Tim Keller and John Piper.
In this new 10-minute video, Piper interviews Keller about Lewis’s ongoing impact on him and Lewis’s model of cultural engagement which has marked Keller…Continue Reading
Capturing the Heart of a Child
What was so wonderful about C.S. Lewis, says Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, is that such an incredible mind wrote children’s stories. She continues,
He didn’t think children’s stories were beneath him. In fact, a mind like that is what it took to write those children’s stories. And of course, as Lewis said, a children’s story that’s only good for children isn’t a good children’s story in the least. He dignified children, and he knew…
C.S. Lewis: Christian, Writer, Scholar, Prophet
It’s hard to be a casual fan of C.S. Lewis. Many despise him for his Christianity and convictions. Many love him dearly for his brilliant mind and writing and prophetic insight.
If you’ve read enough Lewis to track with his vision and life’s project, you’ll either love him or hate him. Let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about being only a casual fan. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
With the …Continue Reading
Ten Passages for Pastors to Memorize Cold
Here’s one way to cool down during a sizzling hot July: ice-cold memorization.
Grab an iced tea, find some air-conditioned space, and put these ten passages to memory. You’ll never regret any extended time given to memorizing God’s word — especially when it’s the passages that come up again and again as particularly useful in the Christian life and in ministering to others.
These are ten that will prove especially useful for pastors and Christian leaders, but we think this…Continue Reading
Simple Church Planting
It’s low-bar. It’s no frills. It’s a very simple model of planting, and challenges many of the prevailing notions about starting a new church.
You’d never have guessed that an academic dean and professor of Hebrew from a major seminary was behind it.
Miles Van Pelt has been in Jackson, Mississippi, for a decade. He teaches full-time at Reformed Theological Seminary. Over time, he and his family saw a need around them — people they knew who seemed interested in…Continue Reading
Born Again on the Fourth of July
For those of us in the States, the time is here again for our midsummer’s patriotic respite.
For many, the Fourth of July means parades and picnics, hot dogs and Coca-Cola, ice cream and apple pie, baseball and bombs bursting in air. In God’s good providence, the adoption of Jefferson’s Declaration in 1776 happened during one of the best weather weeks of the year in this hemisphere. And so for 237 years now, the significance and seasonal timing of the…Continue Reading
Not by Sight: Marking 20 Years of Happy Service
Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
It was these words from Jesus in Luke 13 that the 42-year-old preacher took as his sermon title on June 5, 1988.
Little did he know, a 22-year-old newly-wed was in attendance at the church for the first time that Sunday morning, and before long would be putting a megaphone to the preacher’s mouth so that people far beyond the humble downtown congregation could understand and embrace the truth that God…Continue Reading
A Christian Guide to the Zoo
Summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you haven’t yet made a family visit to the zoo, perhaps it’s just around the corner.
The zoo is a wonderful opportunity for the Christian — both for personal worship and worldview formation. Here’s an effort to help Christians, who should be the best of all zoo-goers, make the most of their experiences this summer.
1) Prepare ahead of time.
The day before, or morning of, you may want…Continue Reading
A Voyage into Narnia
It’s often very handy to have a professor as a friend.
“The Professor,” Digory Kirke, proved to be a well-travelled and advantageous ally for the children in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and our own professor-friend Joe Rigney is a well-travelled guide to show us (and our children) through the wardrobe and into Lewis’s fantasy world.
Joe teaches Christian worldview at Bethlehem College & Seminary. We both have a pair of young sons we’re eager to soon introduce to Narnia.…Continue Reading
In and Out, In a Blaise of Glory
Few have written with such passion and economy of expression. Rarely does one turn such manifest angst to articulation and channel such blood-earnestness into precise words.
Blaise Pascal burned with the kind of intensity and aggression uncharacteristic of those who have long, peaceful lives. He was a fierce flame with a short wick.
It was June 19, 1623 — 390 years ago now — that Pascal was born in Clermont, France, to a mother who would die when he was…Continue Reading
What Makes Dad Special
All around the world, dads are special today. Father’s Day is the third Sunday of June in the United States and more than 80 nations. It is fitting that we not only annually honor moms on Mother’s Day, but our fathers as well.
God’s good design is for both moms and dads, and for their appreciation and honor, whether old covenant (Exodus 20:12) or new (Ephesians 6:2). It takes man and woman, father and mother, to image God to a…Continue Reading
New Piper eBook for Father’s Day
Father’s Day is this weekend, and John Piper and the team at Desiring God would like to help you get ready and make the most of it.
This new ebook from John Piper, A Tribute to My Father, brings together in one place his most significant writings that honor the indelible influence of his father, Bill Piper (1919–2007). Included here are the eleven “precious truths” John shared for Father’s Day 2005, as well as his journal entry from the…Continue Reading
Loving Muslims, While Rejecting Islam
Only one major world religion has a built-in apologetic against Christianity: Islam.
“While I profoundly disagree with Islam,” says Zane Pratt, dean of missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “I love Muslims.”
For 20 years, Pratt lived and ministered the Christian gospel among Muslims in Central Asia. He knows the religion well and is one of the foremost evangelical teachers on Islam. And perhaps the first thing he’d say to Christians about Muslims is, “Don’t be afraid.”
“We Fundamentally Disagree… Continue Reading
Entertaining Pulpits and the Legacy of “Tethered Preaching”
Initially, it may be tough to tell the difference. A gifted Bible-expositor and an entertainment-oriented preacher, with a penchant for garnishing his ideas with some Bible, may not demonstrate much disparity at first.
But give it some time. And check the congregation over the long haul. It will make a world of difference.
Tethered to the Bible
John Piper coins a term in his short article “In Honor of Tethered Preaching: John Calvin and the Entertaining Pastor.” “Tethered…Continue Reading
If You Don’t Know Jack
Perhaps you’re a verifiable lover of C.S. Lewis and his mere Christianity, his Narnia chronicles, his brilliant and diabolical missives from hell itself, and his unmatched blend of uncompromised heart and head.
Or maybe you’d consider him a casual acquaintance — you’ve read a few things here and there and often sensed his presence through his influence on others.
Or perhaps you’d admit you don’t know Jack at all.
Whatever your orientation on Lewis heretofore, we invite you to join…Continue Reading
The Unmarked Tomb of a Well-Known Soldier
Today many of us in the United States will visit cemeteries and find other ways to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the Armed Forces.
Memorial Day, observed annually on the last Monday of May, began in the nineteenth century as Decoration Day in memory of those who died in the American Civil War. It soon included all who died in military service — especially following World War II — and the name was officially changed…Continue Reading
We Are Far Too Easily Pleased
It’s a beautiful thing when a single sentence reorients a soul for good. When one proposition proves potent enough to be life-changing for the better. Especially when it’s a short one.
For me, it was the spring of 2000 — perhaps you have your own story about being rocked by this shorty from Lewis. An older student, who was leading a Bible study on my freshman hall, picked Desiring God as our semester focus. I emphatically did not enjoy reading…Continue Reading
Grace Forfeited: A New Start for an Old Tradition
It’s a new start for an old tradition in American Journalism, says Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World Magazine. The news poem. Says Olasky,
Hardly a vile murder or a military victory went by without colonial poets bemoaning or celebrating the occasion in verse, with the work then published on a single page “broadside” and sold for a penny. Happily, my favorite pastor/theologian, John Piper, is also a poet, and below are his thoughts on justice in regard to Connecticut’s school…
National Conference 2013: Celebrating the Work of C.S. Lewis
Fifty years ago this fall, C.S. Lewis quietly crossed from this life into the next.
While the assassination of John F. Kennedy captured the world’s attention on November 22, 1963, one Clive Staples Lewis — his friends called him Jack — breathed his last and took one big step toward becoming the kind of glorious creature in the coming new creation he speaks about in his famous sermon “The Weight of Glory.”
It is a serious thing to live in…
Tullian Talks Regeneration
Do you know the exact moment you were saved? Saul of Tarsus did. As did the great Augustine. Many in church history have testified to dramatic, unmistakable experiences of the new birth, when God touched their dead hearts and gave them new spiritual life by his Holy Spirit.
But this is not the experience of most. Count Tullian Tchividjian among us.
Tullian is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He grew up in a Christian…Continue Reading
Her Children Arise and Call Her Blessed
Mother’s Day is a sweet opportunity for Christians to celebrate one of God’s most significant means of his common and redeeming grace.
For most, there’s some bitter flavor somewhere. We live in a fallen world. All mothers are sinful — even Jesus’s own mother knew well her need for a Savior (Luke 1:47) and for God’s mercy (Luke 1:50). Whether your own mother monumentally failed you, or you’re a mother who’s all too aware of how you’ve failed your children,…Continue Reading
The Outrageous Claim of the Ascension
Today is Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter Sunday. For centuries the Christian church has marked this day (also called Ascension Thursday) in remembrance of Jesus’s bodily ascent to heaven.
The number forty is based on Acts 1:3: “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Ten days later we celebrate Pentecost (Acts 2:1), fifty days (seven full weeks) after Easter, when…Continue Reading
Destroying the Sacred-Secular Divide
Dancing. Sports. Caffeine. Rock and roll. Food and drink. The college campus is a kind of microcosm of the flashpoints we face “in the real world,” just with the volume turned way up. And lots of video games.
For over a decade, this has been the everyday life and ministry context for Matt Reagan, Campus Outreach director at the University of Minnesota and elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Into such potentially contrasting environments, he has sought to bring an…Continue Reading
What’s the Big Deal with the Puritans?
He was the kind of adolescent who would keep secret reading material stashed under his mattress. Long after he was supposed to be fast asleep, the teenage Joel Beeke would lay in bed with the light still on, pouring over the pages. He had stumbled across his father’s forbidden collection, and long before most youths are exposed to the adult world, Beeke was getting acclimated.
By Beeke’s own admission, he was raised in a hyper-Calvinist home, and his wandering heart…Continue Reading