Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell

Epic of the Ordinary: Christian Mission for You and Me

Jonathan Parnell

The Book of Acts is clearly one of the most action-packed segments in the storyline of Scripture. The title, “The Acts of the Apostles,” cues us in on this clue from the start. As many commentators have suggested, a more accurate title would be something to do with the acts of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps “The Action of the Ascended Christ by His Spirit Through His Church.”

The book…

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John Piper and Mark Noll on the Life of the Mind

Jonathan Parnell

Jesus is king. He is the ascended, seated, reigning Lord over everything. Now what does this mean for how we think? How does his preeminence affect our intellectual pursuits?

Last fall Mark Noll and John Piper converged to discuss this topic. In an event hosted by Bethlehem College and Seminary and the MacLaurin Institute, Noll and Piper, authors of Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind and Think: The

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Behind the Blog with Barnabas Piper

Jonathan Parnell

Barnabas Piper has put some thinking into sports. Actually, he has put a lot of Christian thinking into sports. Writing weekly for WorldMag.com, Barnabas has had a steady voice on what we can learn about God in America’s favorite entertainment.

So when Barnabas was recently in Minneapolis, we were eager to pull up a chair and pick his brain a little more. He starts by explaining that if Christians…

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Looking Evil in the Eye

Jonathan Parnell

Joseph’s brothers realized something we should never forget.

It comes at the end of the story in Genesis 50. This is a long time after the brothers conspired together against Joseph. A lot had happened since then — since they hated their brother enough to sell him to Midianite traders for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28). That was the evil that started it all.

They grieved their father, Jacob,…

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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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Doctrine Matters (Free eBook on Ten Theological Trademarks)

Jonathan Parnell

Here is the theological summary of one preacher’s lifetime of investment in a local church: Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching, from John Piper.

Preaching, you could say, is where the rubber begins to meet the road on what a church believes. It is the living statement of faith. And in the case of John Piper, we have this statement captured online in over 1,200…

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Living in the Valley—For Now

Jonathan Parnell

The Gospels tell us what happened to Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. It is the testimony of history’s most important event and we can hold it in our hands. It is the testimony of four God-inspired authors whose words we’ve read and celebrated this spring. And then there’s the Book of Psalms.

Like the Gospels, the Psalms give us a fascinating picture of the Savior. Psalm 22 especially stands out.…

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Behind the Blog: Great Transitions

Jonathan Parnell

From big reminders taped on the wall of a college dorm, to a big book by a 96-year-old theologian, to an interview with two big-league ball players, the latest episode from Behind the Blog pulls back the curtain on the recent happenings at desiringGod.org.

Among other exciting things, we talk about John Piper’s recent transition to the full-time staff and preview the speaker lineup for our conference this fall on…

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The God-Centered Cross of Love Inexhaustible

Jonathan Parnell

The hands-down, most horrific nightmare possible is that of a God who is angry without due cause. Could we imagine anything worse?

It would be the most terrible thing if the only person who has the power to destroy you forever were ferociously angry with you for no reason. That God would hate you just because. That he would throw his fury around on a whim. What if he were…

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Meant to Make All the Difference

Jonathan Parnell

Theology makes all the difference in your life.

In John 10, as John Piper explains, the doctrine of Jesus’s deity is presented in terms of its utmost impact on how we live. In short, because Jesus and the Father are one, our souls are incredibly secure (John 10:28–30).

Biblical doctrine is not for the abstract. It’s for where you are right now.

This excerpt is from the sermon, “I

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Dads, Let’s Learn from the Dying Edwards

Jonathan Parnell

Today in 1758 Jonathan Edwards died. He was 54 years old.

It was a fever he had contracted from a small-pox inoculation just a month before. After weeks of worsening weakness and the recognition of his immanent death, he spoke his last words to his daughter, Lucy, who attended him. Toward the end he said,

As to my children, you are now to be left fatherless, which I hope will

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Behind the Blog: An Interview with Jerry Bridges

Jonathan Parnell

Jerry Bridges’ first book, The Pursuit of Holiness, was published in 1978 and came as the fruit of his own sanctification struggles as a young Christian many years before. It is a fascinating story, which Mr. Bridges recently sat down to tell us in a short interview. We found the interview so rich and helpful that we’ve divided it up into two parts.

In part one, Mr. Bridges tells…

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9 Reasons You Can Face Anything

Jonathan Parnell

God’s sovereignty is a precious reality.

Now chances are this truth didn’t seem too precious when it first confronted you. The natural, fallen response to hearing we aren’t the ones in control is to white-knuckle our will and refuse to bow. Humans tend to like the idea that we are the captains of our own destinies. Motivational glib like that will pack out self-help seminars. But sooner or later, and…

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Dude, Watch Your Jargon

Jonathan Parnell

Here we go again.

Have you ever thought that at the beginning of a story you’ve heard several times before? Once the person starts talking you know exactly where they’re going. You’ve heard it before. You get it. Here we go again.

It’s interesting how this sort of thing especially happens in marriage. Husbands and wives do a lot of talking and before long they know each other’s best stuff.…

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What Is God’s Will for My Life?

Jonathan Parnell

What is God’s will for my life?

We all want to know the answer to that question, right? I mean, could there be a more pressing subject? We’re talking about the sovereign God of all that is, the one who created us, who sustains us, who gave his Son to save us. What does he want us to do with this vapor of a life he’s given?

In his new…

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Lecrae on Hope When Life Is Hard

Jonathan Parnell

Life isn’t easy, but God gives us truth to stand on.

In this video, Lecrae talks about the biblical promise he turns to the most:

The biblical promise that I turn to most is that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called by him (Romans 8:28). I have to lean on the reality that even if it doesn’t look good to me,…

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What Is Bi-Vocational Ministry?

Jonathan Parnell

Bi-vocational ministry is a strategic and challenging call. Danny Ovalle, a bi-vocational pastor in New England, recently joined us to talk about the rationale and practice of serving as a pastor while supporting his family with an additional job.

The central passage about compensation for ministers, or lack of compensation, is found in 1 Corinthians 9:1–18. This apostolic precedent, along with particular contexts and practical concerns, forms the foundation for…

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New Sermon: “How to Give the Bible Functional Authority in Your Speech and Writing”

Jonathan Parnell

Does your speaking and writing have authority?

It does if you are tapping into the authority of the Bible.

John Piper recently addressed the students and apprentices at Bethlehem College and Seminary with a simple and earnest plea: write and teach as reliable spokesmen. He encourages Christian thinkers to scrutinize their thoughts by apostolic authority and to articulate them with precision.

Stream or download the message, “How to Give

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Love Is Not Irritable

Jonathan Parnell

Irritability isn’t that big a deal, is it?

Although we’re prone to believe it’s a lesser sin, Phil Ryken explains that irritability is actually a way of hating because it is “a way of non-loving.”

In his book, Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Ryken connects Paul’s teaching that “love is not irritable” with a positive example from Jesus’s life. The portrait of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is perfectly…

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How Christians Prepare for Suffering

Jonathan Parnell

The apostle Paul suffered. Did he ever.

He was imprisoned. He was beaten, often near death. He took 195 total lashes from his Jewish kinsmen on five occasions. He took three pummels with rods. He was once stoned — and then also shipwrecked three times. Then there are the endless dangers of travel in the first century, plus countless other experiences mentioned and unmentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians…

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Are You Being Deceived?

Jonathan Parnell

Deception works by making you think that there is more joy apart from gospel-shaped community. It makes sin feel more attractive than a righteous commitment to our brothers and sisters in Christ. And one way we war against this, says John Piper, is by being a truly glad people, like in 2 John 1:4.

He explains, “The devil doesn’t have a hook in happy Christians, just miserable Christians who are…

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Clash of Faiths: Theory Behind Lecrae’s ‘Gravity’

Jonathan Parnell

Lecrae wants you to see reality from a unique perspective. This is his intention in the Grammy Award-winning album, Gravity.

Exhibit A is the song “Mayday,” featuring Big K.R.I.T. and Ashton Jones, which demonstrates the clash of two different worldviews. Initially you hear the general outside world’s perspective on faith followed by Lecrae speaking as a rescued sinner: “when I look at Jesus, he lived the life I couldn’t,…

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More Than Body Parts Indeed

Jonathan Parnell

A kid in Colorado with male genitals is prohibited from using the girls’ bathroom.

That’s the straightforward backstory on a recent piece from Donna Rose, a transsexual journalist writing her opinion for CNN. A Colorado school district has decided that a six-year-old child with male anatomy should use the boys’ bathroom at school, or a private one, Rose reports. Rose decries the school’s decision as discrimination because the child…

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Embracing Weakness Will Change Your Life

Jonathan Parnell

Achilles was a vicious warrior with a complicated history. In Homer’s Iliad we see him rise to the top as the preeminent player at the end of the Trojan War. His full backstory is melodramatic enough to make Downton Abbey blush, but suffice it to say that no one was quite like him. Achilles was simultaneously drunk in rage and meticulous in skill as he led the Greeks in battle.…

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This Week’s Sermon: “Life Together at the End of the Age”

Jonathan Parnell

The antichrist is coming. In fact, many deceivers have already gone out into the world. The moral landscape darkens around us. Christians are increasingly marginalized. How then should we live?

We should love one another.

We should love one another in the face of Satan’s final cataclysmic assault against the church. That’s the call in 2 John, and the main point of John Piper’s most recent message at Bethlehem Baptist.

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