Blog Posts by David Mathis

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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MLK’s Dream and the Nightmare of Black Genocide

David Mathis

Black genocide.

That’s Clenard Childress’s term for abortion in America and its pervasive effects in the last generation, especially in the Black community. The statistics are outrageous. One in four African Americans conceived in the last forty years have been cut down by the “black genocide” of legal abortion.

A decade ago Childress founded a website by and for African Americans (blackgenocide.org) “to expose the disproportionate amount of Black…

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Piper on Prophecy and Tongues

David Mathis

The Christian ministry is irreducibly supernatural. Even centrally supernatural.

Desiring God’s 2013 Pastors Conference is fast approaching. On February 4–6, we’ll gather in downtown Minneapolis under the banner “Brothers, We Are Still Not Professionals.” Subtitle: “Reclaiming the Centrality of the Supernatural in Ministry.”

So with the supernatural in mind, we sat down with John Piper to ask the hot-button questions. We started with speaking in tongues and with new-covenant prophecy,…

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Glory in the Mundane

David Mathis

God is big enough to make our most menial of tasks into something meaningful. He’s transcendent enough — and draws near enough to us — to make the mundane in our lives significant for his glory.

As a worship-leader for the Passion conferences, Christy Nockels knows what it’s like to enjoy God in the midst of a massive assembly for Jesus, and as a mother of three, she’s learning what…

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The Compelling and Costly Grace of God

David Mathis

For all eternity, God’s people will marvel at the splendor of his grace. Ephesians 1 tells us three times, in one long sentence, that God does all he does “to the praise of his glory” (verses 6, 12, and 14) — and that this glory is “the glory of his grace” (verse 6).

Bob Glenn, pastor of Redeemer Bible Church here in the Twin Cities, loves to celebrate God’s compelling…

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The Irony of the Epiphany

David Mathis

January 6 has long been the date the Western church has observed the Feast of the Epiphany. From the Greek for “appearance” or “manifestation” (epiphaneia), Epiphany celebrates the appearance of the Son of God among us as one of us — both fully divine and fully human — and marks the end of “the twelve days of Christmas” that begin December 25.

In particular, Epiphany has become identified…

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Jesus, You’re the Greatest Joy

David Mathis

What the world needs from the church is indomitable joy in Jesus in the very midst of suffering and sorrow.

This was not only the theme of John Piper’s last sermon as senior pastor (“Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing”), but also has been the profound life-experience of Passion worship-leader Christy Nockels.

Christy and her husband Nathan walked through the pain of back-to-back miscarriages. It was in this suffering…

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Jerry Bridges on the Spiritual Disciplines

David Mathis

Here at the outset of 2013, in the midst of so many vain resolutions, perhaps God would be pleased to do a fresh work of grace in your life. Maybe he would give you some “resolve for good” (2 Thessalonians 1:11) that he would be pleased to empower and sustain and use as a means for continued flourishing, or some new spiritual thriving, in your life.

To that end, we…

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Pray for Passion 2013

David Mathis

The Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta was rocking for last night’s major college bowl game that came down to the last snap, but anticipations are that it will be even louder the next three nights — with praise for Jesus.

Well over 50,000 college students ascend on the Dome today as Passion 2013 begins this evening and goes through Friday morning. While Clemson’s game-winning field goal, with no time left…

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This Week’s Sermon: “Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing”

David Mathis

Indomitable joy in Jesus in the very midst of suffering and sorrow — this is what the world needs from the church.

As tempting as it may be to figure things differently, what the world does not need from the services of the gathered church is chipper, frisky, high-spirited chatter designed to make people feel lighthearted and playful and bouncy. And the world does not need believers who are morose, gloomy, sullen, and…

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The Year in Sports at Desiring God

David Mathis

Let the record show that we did not set out in 2012 to write more often about sports at Desiring God than previous years.

But as we’ve looked back on the last year, we noticed an uptick in our engagement with “the world of sports.” This trend doesn’t represent any new commitment on our part for the years ahead. It does, however, represent our great goal to see Jesus honored…

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Still Not Professionals (Free eBook)

David Mathis

On February 4–6, 2013, we will gather, God willing, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the annual Desiring God Conference for Pastors. This time the theme is “Brothers, We Are Still Not Professionals: Reclaiming the Centrality of the Supernatural in Ministry.” Just days prior to the conference is the scheduled release of John Piper’s revised and expanded Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry.

This…

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Learning from the Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History

David Mathis

It was the day after Christmas, 1862, in the town square of Mankato, Minnesota, that 38 Dakota warriors were hanged at the order of president Abraham Lincoln. After 150 years, it is still the largest mass execution in American history.

Mankato is about 80 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. In 1862, it was a frontier town in the thick of growing tensions between the quickly multiplying white settlers and…

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The Day Heaven Kissed Earth

David Mathis

Christmas is the day heaven kissed earth.

The Eternal Word, the golden son of heaven, humbly and willingly took up our comparatively lowly humanity, without ceasing to be God, and entered into the created realm, coming to earth as one of us.

And it wasn’t some kind of circus stunt, for mere show, but for our sake. The Great Move was all of grace and for our rescue. It…

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The Glory of His Virgin Birth

David Mathis

Jesus was born of a virgin. This is a glory unique to the one God-man.

Of the billions of humans who have lived throughout history, only one person entered the world in this way. There is only one mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and there is only one human who was virgin born.

Jesus’s distinctive birth is no myth or mere random fact from the Gospels. It…

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A Festivus for the Rest of Us

David Mathis

By now, most of us in the West are up to our necks in holiday commercialization. Far too many of us feel like we’re once again stumbling toward Christmas, exhausted and depleted by the most consumeristic season in history’s most consumeristic civilization.

When inundated with the pressures and relentless commercializing of the Christmas season, one memorable personality on the sitcom Seinfeld abandoned Christmas altogether and up and created his own…

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Don Carson on the Incarnation

David Mathis

We dare you to find a better, and shorter, summary for the doctrine of the incarnation than John 1:14: “The Word became flesh.”

We asked Don Carson about this important doctrine at the very heart of Christmas. At the first Advent, the eternal Son of God took to himself full humanity. Without ceasing to be God, he became man. He is one uniquely spectacular person with two full and complete…

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Wild, Free, and Wonderful: The Call of Christ in the Life of Mack Stiles

David Mathis

Most of us would have been scared away from the Middle East by the events of September 11, 2001. But not Mack Stiles.

Not that he didn’t waver just a bit. Here’s the story.

Loosening the Roots

For years Mack had labored stateside with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in an administrative job that, you might say, didn’t fit him like a glove. If you’ve met Mack, you likely noticed right from…

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How to Watch ‘The Hobbit’

David Mathis

At long last, Bilbo Baggins is back. Whether you’re fanatic enough to dress up for the midnight showing, or patiently awaiting a weekend outing, or even content to meander into a theater after the crowds die down, here’s some advice for how to make the most of your experience of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Don’t worry, there’s no spoiler below. My hope in seeing an early screening of…

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Erik Thoennes on the Christian and Sport

David Mathis

Playfulness is vital to healthy Christianity, says pastor and professor Erik Thoennes. “To be a Christian means to take God very seriously, but not ourselves.”

The great source of Christian playfulness is God himself, and the lavishness of his creation kindness and redeeming grace. Toss in some good healthy competition — and yes, competition can be good and healthy — and you have a recipe for sport and athletics.

For…

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Advent Begins Today

David Mathis

Advent is for adoring Jesus.

It’s an annual season of patient waiting, hopeful expectation, soul-searching, and calendar-watching marked by many churches, Christian families, and individual followers of Jesus. There’s no biblical mandate to observe Advent. It’s an optional thing — a tradition that developed over the course of the church’s history as a time of preparation for Christmas Day. Many of us find observing Advent to be personally enjoyable and…

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Behind the Blog: Move over Movember

David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell

Here on the last day of November — endearingly known as Movember by many working a fresh mustache for men’s health awareness — we went behind the blog for some backstories on the full face of content we grew in the last month.

Some posts are pretty straightforward in their conception, production, and presentation. But others have more disputed histories, with uncertainties about their precise genesis or even a touch…

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Enjoying the Trophies of God's Mighty Grace

David Mathis

This Advent is the 33rd John Piper has spent among the people of Bethlehem Baptist Church. And it is his last Advent as senior pastor.

God willing, Pastor John will serve as an associate in the first quarter of 2013 and officially finish his course as a local-church pastor on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013.

Here’s an except from his final Advent letter to the church. We thought this section…

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The True Story of Thanksgiving

David Mathis

Come Thanksgiving Day each year, many of us give the nod to Pilgrims and Indians and talk of making ready for a harsh first Winter in the New World.

But for the Christian, the deepest roots of our thanksgiving go back to the Old World, way back before the Pilgrims, to a story as old as creation, with a two-millennia-old climax. It’s a story that keeps going right on into…

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Gregg Allison on the Doctrine of the Church

David Mathis

The Church is Jesus's bride — a fascinating subject of study, and angle from which to learn more about our glorious Groom. She is also "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession" (1 Peter 2:9), "the household of God," and "a pillar and buttress" of his gospel (1 Timothy 3:15).

In this new episode of Theology Refresh (recorded at the Evangelical Theological…

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