Blog Posts by David Mathis

What’s the Big Deal with the Puritans?

David Mathis

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…

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Meet the New John Piper

David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell

“I feel like I’m 22 again,” says the newly transitioned John Piper.

Now that his pastorate at Bethlehem Baptist Church has officially ended, Piper says he feels like a recent college grad who is free to do anything God lays on his heart. “When you have that much freedom, you’re really faced with significant ‘don’t waste your life’ choices.” He plans to seek God in a focused way in the…

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Jackie Robinson and the Pattern of Jesus

David Mathis

It was 1948, during Jackie Robinson’s second season in Major League Baseball, when some bigots in Cincinnati were really giving him the business.

Just the previous year, Robinson had been the one with the monumental courage to break the color barrier as the first African American of the modern era to play in baseball’s highest league. He had endured unthinkable cruelty and injustice for de-segregating the game, and he was…

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How to Engage in Spiritual Warfare

David Mathis

If you think spiritual warfare is irrelevant to you, you may already be losing the battle. At least you’re ripe for Satan’s picking.

Demons have a notorious way of acclimatizing to where they are, warns Tope Koleoso, pastor of Jubilee Church in London. And in secular Western society, this means playing right into our neglect and diminishing of the supernatural.

But Ephesians 6, and the rest of the Scriptures,…

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Shattering Major-League Idols

David Mathis

It’s every pitcher’s worst nightmare. For the Detroit Tigers’ Darin Downs, the nightmare became a reality, and almost meant the end of his life.

On August 17, 2009, he took a 103-mile-per-hour line drive off the left side of his head. In an instant, his skull was fractured, blood began pooling, his head was swelling, and he couldn’t speak. Soon he lay terrified in an ambulance en route to the…

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This Week’s Sermon: “God Raised Your Great Shepherd from the Dead”

David Mathis

Good pastors come and go, but the Great Pastor will never leave, forsake, or transition.

Pastors of all stripes, at their worst and best, are but under-shepherds of “the chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). Jesus is “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), “the great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20).

In his final sermon as a…

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Pity the Fool

David Mathis

It’s April Fools’ Day, and whatever its origins, the Scriptures have something to say about playing the fool.

There is uncertainty about how and when people began mocking the fool on the first day of April. Many think it goes back to sixteenth-century France when the nation changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian. April 1 had been the end of a weeklong festival celebrating the coming of Spring…

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Piper’s Final Weekend as Pastor

David Mathis

This Easter marks the end of an era at Bethlehem Baptist.

John Piper served as the church’s primary preacher from July 13, 1980, until December 31, 2012. Since January 1 this year, he has been associate pastor, and his final task on staff is preaching this weekend’s Easter message — once Saturday night, three times Sunday morning, and then the last hurrah on Sunday night.

It’s the end of an…

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The Old Man and His Big Book

David Mathis

It felt as though we were traveling back in time.

Snow was falling, the roads were icy, and civilization was in the rearview. Tony Reinke and I had landed an interview with a 96-year-old theologian tucked away in rural Minnesota, and now we meant to make good on it, despite the distance and wintry weather.

We knew we were in for a memorable day. Robert Duncan Culver is the only…

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Grateful for His Greatest Gift (Interview with Ann Voskamp)

David Mathis

Gratitude is a virtue most worthy of our cultivation. Indeed, in all the Christian life, gratitude is to be planted, watered, dressed, and harvested. Gratitude gets at the very essence of what it means to be created, finite, fallen, redeemed, and sustained by the God of all grace.

Ingratitude was at the heart of the fall, and at the heart of what’s fallen about us to this day. “Although they…

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Every Calvary Step Was Love

David Mathis

Today is Palm Sunday, and so begins our journey with Jesus from Jerusalem’s gate to Golgotha’s cross to Easter’s triumph.

In this Holy Week, we begin with “Hosanna,” walk solemnly toward “Crucify him,” and finish elatedly with, “He is risen!”

Here we see Jesus’s love for us in every intentional step. In one sense, every step he ever took was for us. He was born to die. He came to…

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The Mission of Saint Patrick

David Mathis

Don’t forget to wear your green today. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day.

Before thumbing your nose at all the carousing and empty revelry that much of the day has become, it’s worth taking at least a brief glance at the inspiring Christian origin of, and missional impulse behind, what we now mark as Saint Patty’s.

While the day has become a celebration of all things Irish, the original feast was about…

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One Thing You Lack

David Mathis

Hey you, rich young ruler…

Maybe you’re old for pro football, but you’re young to the rest of the world. And rich. You’ve negotiated salary-cap-friendly deals with your team, but that still has you at a guaranteed $33 million over the next five seasons.

And as much as anyone in this generation, you have ruled the NFL — three Super Bowl rings, twice Super Bowl MVP, twice league MVP, eight…

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Jerry Bridges Talks Disciplemaking

David Mathis

For 60 years now, he’s been with The Navigators, known for their discipling. So don’t expect Jerry Bridges to be naive about the process of disciplemaking.

Recently, when Bridges joined us at the Desiring God offices, he made some insightful observations about what he calls “two stages of disciplemaking.” He gave us permission to hit record, and we discussed his reflections in the latest episode of Theology Refresh.

An…

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New iPhone App: Ask Pastor John

David Mathis

Update: Ask Pastor John is now available in Google Play and the Amazon Appstore for Android devices (including Kindle Fire).


It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the release of Desiring God’s new iPhone app Ask Pastor John, now available for free in the iTunes store.

Just this January, on John Piper’s 67th birthday, we relaunched the Ask Pastor John (APJ) podcast through Sound Cloud. The…

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The Story of Our Glory

David Mathis

Spectacular glory awaits those who are joined to Jesus.

Not only will we see him in all his glory — which might be thrilling enough — but we will share in his glory as he transforms “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). Rightly did C. S. Lewis observe that “the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature…

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Leadership Together

David Mathis

Healthy churches are no happy place for lone wolves. Especially in leadership. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus’s apostles assume and instruct that his undershepherds do the work of Christian leadership together.

In Acts 20:17, it is the plural elders of the Ephesian church that Paul calls to come to him on the beach at Miletus and whom he calls overseers (plural). It’s the plural overseers whom he addresses, along with…

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The Seamless Garment of Christian Mission

David Mathis

The tension in the air can feel thick enough to cut with a knife. It escalates to all-out war in some churches — the battle between living local and going global.

With limited time and resources and energy in any given context, it can feel like local mission and global missions are constantly vying for attention, competing articles rather than one seamless garment.

On one side, we see the needs around…

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What Happened at Golgotha

David Mathis

Jesus absorbed God’s wrath for us.

Among the many other happenings during the most important hours in the history of the world — as the Son of God was crucified outside Jerusalem at a place called Golgotha (Mark 15:22) — this accomplishment is the center and foundation and heart.

Jesus had no sin of his own. It was not his own penalty that he bore, but he was a substitute…

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A Valentine’s Lesson from a Husband Who Botched It

David Mathis

Alright, husbands, here we go. Today’s the big day. It’s time to muster our level best and not drop the ball on Valentine’s Day.

It’s not too late to make plans, or give them an upgrade — though it might be hard work scrambling at the last minute.

Even so, sometimes our best of Valentine’s intentions go awry. And when we botch it, at least we should try to learn…

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Biblical Counseling: God Changing Lives Through Ordinary People

David Mathis

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “biblical counseling”?

No doubt, many think of a movement that takes sin seriously. A growing number may call to mind a movement that is increasingly taking suffering seriously as well.

But ask the question to one of the movement’s key leaders, Ed Welch. You may be pleasantly surprised how illuminating and practical his simple and straightforward answer is.

Biblical counseling, in…

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Discerning Good and Evil in a Complicated World

David Mathis

The doctrine of the Christian life — also known as ethics — is about Christian wisdom.

It is not about merely having the proper answers to a list of tricky moral questions, but discerning between good and evil in a changing and complicated world. Whether it’s in-vitro fertilization, stem-cell research, or human cloning — just to name a few — today’s challenges simply are not the same issues as yesteryear,…

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Why Expand ‘Brothers, We Are Not Professionals’

David Mathis

The bread and butter of Christian ministry is supernatural.

It’s been a decade since John Piper made his plea to fellow pastors, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. Ten years later, he stands by that message as much as ever, and has updated and expanded the book — which officially becomes available today.

Here’s how Piper puts it in the new preface:

Nothing has happened in the last ten…

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Getting Oriented on the Gifts of the Spirit

David Mathis

As you board the spiritual-gifts roller coaster, you know that some are committed to having their hands in the air, while others very intentionally keep them tucked away under the safety harness. But before this train pulls away from the station, perhaps there’s no better voice to hear over the loudspeaker than that of self-proclaimed “charismatic Calvinist” Sam Storms.

Storms is the lead pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City…

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What Matters Most to God

David Mathis

Infinitely more important than what matters to any earthly king is what matters to God.

For decades, John Piper has traveled the country, and written book after book, saying that what matters most to God is God — and what difference it makes for everything.

Granted, this doesn’t typically land on the first-time hearers as good news. It feels threatening initially — threatening to our inherently man-centered view of the…

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