Blog Posts by David Mathis

Our Most Practical Conference Yet

David Mathis

We're getting down and dirty this fall. And we want you to join us.

Get off your theological high horse, get level with the gravel, and let's talk how sanctification really happens in the trenches of everyday life.

Don't get the wrong impression about the Desiring God 2012 National Conference (September 28-30, Minneapolis)—this will be a profoundly theological conference. But theological in all the right ways, as we delve into…

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More on the Masculine Feel of Christianity

David Mathis

In his 2012 biographical address on "The Frank and Manly Mr. Ryle," John Piper highlighted the value of a masculine ministry — and with it, the importance of Christianity having a masculine feel. It's a provocative thing to say when, not only in our day, but throughout history, true masculinity has seemed too often like an endangered species, under assault from both the left and the right.

Such…

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Jesus: Lord of Feast and Famine, Homeruns and Strikeouts

David Mathis

. . . I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11–13)

Smash a homer. Climb a mountain. Blast through the pile for a…

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Josh Hamilton, Relapse, and the Means of Grace

David Mathis

In case you missed it, Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game last week.

In case you don't know baseball, that's a big deal. Only 15 other players in Major League history have accomplished the feat.

But what's impressive about Hamilton is that it's not just one good game. It's now several outstanding seasons, and an unusual career. An unashamed evangelical, Hamilton is one of the…

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When Grace Goes Violent

David Mathis

Matt Chandler:

Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it. Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his…

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Soaked with the Blood of Jesus, Singed with the Fire of Hell

David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell

Gospel preaching is a serious endeavor. And the mantle of preaching isn't to be worn flippantly.

Because God is God, and the Bible is his word, the heralding and exposition of that word is central to the corporate life of his redeemed people. In his message at the inaugural Together for the Gospel Conference, John Piper explains why.

God did not ordain the cross of Christ or create the lake…

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The Lineup Card for T4G

David Mathis

With this week’s Together for the Gospel conference (T4G) gathering at the basketball arena in Louisville, it seemed like hoops was the right direction to take the promo.

But, come on, it’s Opening Week in Major League Baseball, and there are nine speakers giving nine plenary addresses. Nine. Nine innings. Nine men on the field. The list of nine speakers is almost a lineup card, is it not?

Which…

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Barabbas and Me

David Mathis

Year after year, as Christians walk through the Passion week with Jesus, our hearts are knit to him. He is our greatest hero, at the climax of his greatest feat. As we relive the story with him, we pull for him, and against his enemies.

We feel varying levels of disdain for Judas who betrays him, Peter who denies him, the chief priests who despise him, Herod who mocks him,…

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Update on John Piper’s Transition

David Mathis

Update 4/24: My Future at Desiring God.

Bethlehem Baptist is one step closer to commissioning John Piper from the local church pastorate to greater involvement with Bethlehem College and Seminary and to a wider ministry nationally and internationally through Desiring God.

The Bethlehem elders are announcing to the congregation their candidate for Associate Pastor for Preaching and Vision and, God willing, John Piper's eventual successor as the church's senior…

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Keep Both Eyes Peeled for Jesus

David Mathis

An essential mark of a solid seminary experience is continually being stunned by how everything relates to Jesus. When we look long enough, press hard enough, and feel deeply enough, we discover again and again that it all comes back around to him.

The whole universe is about Jesus. The whole Bible is about Jesus. Our whole lives are designed to be about Jesus. And, for the love of God,…

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Piper's Green Preaching at Fuller (1971)

David Mathis

"Today is one of the best days of my seminary life." So wrote John Piper in his journal on Wednesday, March 24, 1971, during his final semester at Fuller Seminary.

On that Monday, March 22, "Dr. Schaper called me and asked me to speak in chapel today," he explained. "I agreed to and went straight to God, and all I did from that phone call until chapel this morning (except go…

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Psalm 40: Obedience Better Than David’s

David Mathis

Psalm 40:6–8,

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
  Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
  I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

For many of us, Psalm 40:6–8 is a…

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All Spheres of Life — Even Pro Basketball

David Mathis and Tony Reinke

They're calling it "LinSanity" in New York, and it hit fever pitch tonight after Lin's game winning 3-pointer with less than a second to play in the Knicks win. He finished with 27 points and a career-high 11 assists.

But despite the "LinSanity" he seems to have his head on straight.

The Knicks overnight phenom Jeremy Lin quotes from a section of John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life in…

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Study the Word for More Than Words

David Mathis

Learn a lesson from Jerry Seinfeld. Daily Bible intake is about soul survival.

Very Much into Just Surviving

When his wildly successful sitcom ended, Seinfeld went on a nationwide stand-up comedy tour called “I’m Telling You for the Last Time.” The routine was recorded for compact disc (remember those?) at New York’s Broadhurst Theater in August of 1998. At the end is a question-and-answer segment, where a zealous fan shouts,…

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Parents, Beware: Proverbs Are Not Promises

David Mathis

Far too many of us who (rightly) renounce the so-called "prosperity gospel" (wrongly) coddle our own little version of it as we focus on our families.

Richard Pratt:

In recent decades, Christian television has spread what many call the “prosperity gospel” — the misguided belief that if we have enough faith, God will heal our diseases and provide us with great financial blessings. Of course, most people reading this article…

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Be Fascinated with Grace

David Mathis

We’re all too prone to take God’s grace for granted. Perhaps especially as we perceive ourselves to be climbing the ladder of formal theological training.

At the heart of the danger of seminary is coming to treat lightly the grace of God. But a healthy experience of seminary will do precisely the opposite.

The Centrality of Grace

Grace is no peripheral thing in Christianity. God’s astoundingly lavish favor toward us…

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Seminary: Life or Death?

David Mathis

Seminary is dangerous. Yes, the fragrance is to life for many. But for others — far too many others — the aroma is to death.

Names changed to protect the guilty, Don Carson tells the story of an “Ernest Christian” in the introduction to his infamous Exegetical Fallacies. Ernest was converted as a senior in high school, grew in leaps and bounds through a campus ministry while in college,…

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That Crazy Star of Bethlehem

David Mathis

Behold, the star that they had seen when it rose
went before them until it came to rest
over the place where the child was. (Matthew 2:9)

The star moved. Really?

This is already the second time in this short section that Matthew’s making sure he has our attention. “Behold” is his effort to make sure we’re tracking with him.

First it was verse 1: “Behold, magi from…

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We Three Kings of Orient Aren’t

David Mathis

Behold, magi from the east came to Jerusalem . . . (Matthew 2:1)

Matthew says "behold" to make sure he has our attention. He knows how prone we are to fall asleep while we're reading.

"Wake up. Make sure you're listening. This is huge. Don't miss it. It's not what you'd expect..."

But what's so shocking about magi coming to Jesus? We might be so used to this annual Christmas…

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Sent into the World: Jesus’ Mission and Ours

David Mathis

A danger lurks in our endeavors to live incarnationally. Danger, yes, but not deterrent. It is a risk worth taking, though not treating lightly.

The danger is that we can subtly begin to key on ourselves, rather than Jesus, when we think of what Christian mission is and what incarnation means. Over time we start to function as if Christian mission begins with, and centers on, our intentionality and relationality.…

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Happy Birthday, Clive

David Mathis

Born this day in 1898 was one Clive Staples Lewis. His friends called him Jack. We know him as C. S. Lewis. He died just shy of 65 years old on November 22, 1963, the same day as John F. Kennedy's assassination.

And what treasures did Jack pen in his lifetime, among them the Narnia series and many even more significant.

John Piper paid tribute to Lewis in his biographical…

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Thanksgiving: Echoing the Grace of God

David Mathis

Giving thanks is no small thing for the Christian.

But far too many of us have the wrong impression. Deep down we may see the summons to thanksgiving as pretty peripheral. Giving thanks — whoop dee doo — What really excites me is fill-in-the-blank.

It is tragic when gratitude seems obscure to the very people who have the most to be thankful for. To sinners forever saved by grace, thanksgiving…

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Making the Most of Turkey Time: Thanksgiving on Mission

David Mathis

What if God had more for our kin this Thanksgiving than the Macy’s parade, tryptophan-induced naps, and NFL football? What if we saw our gatherings with extended family not as a chance to check out, but as an opportunity for Christian mission?

It should be good news to us that we don’t have to be Jedi-master evangelists to be agents of gospel advance among those whom we know best. In…

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Gospel-Saturated Dish-Washing and Diaper-Changing

David Mathis

In his new book,Gospel Wakefulness, Jared Wilson talks about how all of life is relevant for mission. From drinking coffee to changing diapers, from cutting the grass to washing dishes — all of life can be lived to the glory of God by those who have been awakened to the gospel of our exhaustively sovereign Savior.

He writes,

One of the attendant aims of missional evangelicalism is to…

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