Blog Posts by David Mathis

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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Improving Our Baptism

David Mathis

Ever consider how you might improve your baptism?

Baptism is not something we typically think about as “improvable.” It’s a one-time, means-of-grace event, administered to a new professing believer entering into the visible covenant community of the local church. The waters don’t create a new spiritual life, but signify the regenerating and renewing work Jesus has already done in the baptized.

No, we can’t go back and improve the quality…

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Bigger Fish to Fry: Politics and the Priority of Disciplemaking

David Mathis

Jesus’s mission is bigger than next Tuesday’s election. Way bigger.

The Great Commission summons to make disciples — both reaching out for more quantity and going deep for more quality — should relativize the stock Jesus’s followers put in any political endeavor. Christians shouldn’t be dead-set on winning elections, but on making disciples. We put our best eggs in the disciplemaking basket, not the ballot box. We expect defeat in…

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Ordinary Life for an Extraordinary Athlete

David Mathis

We can be so quick to put them on a pedestal. So quick to assume professional athletes live a fantasy-camp life, away from the everyday pressures and pains facing the rest of us.

We subtly treat them as almost a different order of being, somehow immune not only to our daily grind, but our need for a Savior.

Unashamed for Jesus

Enter Twins slugger Josh Willingham — by all accounts…

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Jesus Makes Up for Every Sacrifice

David Mathis
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with
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A Big-Leaguer Who Learned to Lean on God

David Mathis

While it was a bleak 96-loss season for the Minnesota Twins, one bright spot was left-fielder Josh Willingham — who recently joined us for an interview at the Desiring God offices.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Harmon Killebrew.

It was 42 years ago, in 1970, that the Hall-of-Fame slugger — who played 22 years in the major leagues, from 1954 to 1975, and died in 2011 —…

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Sports in the Age to Come

David Mathis

Will there be touchdowns in the new creation? Grand-slam homeruns? Three-pointers at the buzzer? When heaven comes down to earth (Revelation 21:1–2), we shouldn’t expect anything less.

Or, to really bring it down out of the clouds, here’s one way a pastor might go about recruiting for the church’s men’s retreat: Make a brief but winsome case for sports and recreation in the age to come.

In October of 1991,…

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Don’t Hide God’s Word from the Little Ones

David Mathis
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. –Luke 17:2

It may long be remembered as the night Sinclair Ferguson went rogue.

The date was June 28, 2009. During the congregational singing, he felt an unusually strong impression to preach something altogether different — both…

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Still Not Professionals: 2013 Conference for Pastors

David Mathis

Brothers, we are not professionals.

That was John Piper’s plea to pastors for radical ministry a decade ago in the publication of the 2002 book of the same title. Since then, it’s become one of our most often quoted lines, along with “don’t waste your life,” “missions exists because worship doesn’t,” and “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

But as central as Brothers,

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The New City Catechism: A Remarkable Coming Together

David Mathis

Today is the official launch of the New City Catechism, which is marked by an extraordinary combination of fortes.

Produced by The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York, this new catechism has a lot to be excited about in the various strengths coming together in this project. The New City Catechism

  • both draws from the riches of history (being adapted from three outstanding Reformation-era catechisms — …
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What Happened at Vatican II (And How to Pray 50 Years Later)

David Mathis

It was fifty years ago today that Roman Catholicism launched what many consider to be the most ambitious of its 21 ecumenical councils. Called the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, the three-plus-year series of gatherings began under Pope John XXIII on October 11, 1962, and concluded under Pope Paul VI on December 8, 1965. Half a century later, Vatican II remains the most recent of Catholicism’s official worldwide councils.

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Jesus Says to Rome

David Mathis

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “Pray to Mary, and petition the Saints.” But I say to you that there is only one mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5). You need no other go-between than me. Do you not know that you already have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1)? Do you not know that I am the way, and the…

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The Saddest and Happiest Reality in the Universe

David Mathis

It is the paradox of paradoxes. The cross of Christ is both the most horrific happening in the history of the world, and the most beautiful. The universe's saddest moment and happiest turn came together one afternoon at Golgotha on a single tree.

Even now, those of us with the ears to hear, and eyes to see from God-given new birth, experience at the cross a kind of sadness that…

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Book Special: Future Grace, Revised Edition ($10)

David Mathis

Future Grace is one of John Piper’s most important books. Here’s how he explains it in the new preface of the revised edition.

In my own effort to live the Christian life in a way that magnifies the worth of Christ, the message of this book is central.

In the battle against my own sin, this book is my war manual.

In the quest to become a more sacrificial, servant-hearted…

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Hospitality and the Great Commission

David Mathis

The twelve of us sat in silence, on the edge of our seats. You could have heard a pin drop.

I had pilgrimaged from Minnesota to muggy Orlando, and her stifling August humidity, for a weeklong intensive course on evangelism with Steve Childers. Fortunately, Reformed Theological Seminary is as air-conditioned as it is Reformed.

With only a dozen students on board for five 9-hour days with one of the country’s…

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Preparing for Marriage (Free eBook)

David Mathis

Preparing well for marriage means asking hard questions.

Getting to know that special someone includes learning about family and friends and schooling and athletics, favorite pastimes, books, movies, life’s best moments and worst, the brightest places in our background and the darkest.

But what about theology? Ever think to ask about that?

We hope our free Preparing for Marriage ebook can be of some assistance.

With Help from Piper

At…

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Getting at God’s Holiness (Conference Live-Stream)

David Mathis

Thanks to all who have been a part of the 2012 National Conference, whether by attendance or the live-stream. The audio and video of each session will be available for streaming and download by Friday, October 5.

Piper's Concluding Message

John Piper concludes the conference with his message, “Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises” (the full manuscript is now…

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Making What God Made Us to Make

David Mathis

Images are designed to image — to reflect, to point.

Created in the image of God, we all are designed, like the God-man, to reflect God. To show God, to point to him, to image God.

One prominent way in which we reflect our Creator is through creating. We point to our Maker when we make. As John Piper says in the introduction to his new poetry book Esther,…

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YRR, Let's Finish the Mission

David Mathis

You can only dive deep in the Scriptures so long until you’re ready to get busy. Unless something’s seriously broken, you can only power up so much on theology — whether straight-up seven-point Calvinism, or something more dilute — until you're itching to pour out.

Sure, there are a few sad exceptions, but this is not where most of us live. We can only sit feasting at the banquet table…

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Jesus: The True Unwasted Life

David Mathis

Don't waste your life. For God's sake, take great care to make this little vapor's breath count for eternity.

And never forget that in the history of the world, there has been only one perfectly unwasted life — that of Jesus of Nazareth. And it is only through being connected to him by faith that we can take baby steps in truly making ours count.

In this 5-minute video, John…

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The Mocking of Muhammad and Condemning of Christ

David Mathis

Jesus’s uniqueness and beauty is on display if his followers respond with grace when he is reviled.

When adherents of Islam counter the mocking of their central figure with outrage and violence, they provide “another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each,” says John Piper.

Piper concedes that not all Muslims approve the violence, but notes that a profound lesson still…

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iPhone 5 and Our Fascination with Newness

David Mathis

Bigger screen. Better camera. Faster processor.

We're fascinated with newness. We love improving our gadgets. There is much common grace in a new iPhone — an image-of-God creativity to appreciate. And a danger to beware.

"Sit loose to this world's joy," calls the voice of Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish pastor from two centuries ago, who died in 1843 at the age of 29. "The time is short."

In his…

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New Devotional App

David Mathis

UPDATE (April 23, 2013): Solid Joys is now a fully functional website, available in English and Korean. A Korean Android app is now available as well.

UPDATE (December 6, 2012): This app is now available for Android, too!


Solid Joys is a free application available from Desiring God (for iPhone and iPad) which provides a short daily devotional excerpt from the ministry of John Piper.

We've identified 365…

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True Holiness Befriends Sinners

David Mathis

The pursuit of holiness may keep you from bad company. But have you ever considered that it might also lead you to keep some pretty bad company?

Jesus is our litmus test of lived-out holiness. He is the Holy One of Israel in human flesh. His life serves as the best answer key for what divine holiness looks like when reflected in humanity. And they rightly called him “a friend…

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