Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell

Behind the Blog: Recent Catch-Ups

Jonathan Parnell

[Subscribe to Behind the Blog on iTunes.]

There’s lots of activity this week at the desiringGod.org offices, even with the single-digit temperatures in Minneapolis. With a team of web designers here to work on a site redesign, the content team sat down to talk about recent articles on the blog, the latest podcast episodes, and a new app under construction, among other things.

Listen to this 20-minute podcast.

Mentioned in this episode:

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The Day Luther Died

Jonathan Parnell

In Germany 467 years ago, in a small, backwater town called Eisleben, the shaking hand of a dying man scribbled this simple line: We are beggars. This is true.

Martin Luther died on February 18, 1546. These last words of weakness echoed the life-changing truth he’d unearthed in the Scriptures: we don’t bring anything to the table of our justification. Jesus truly died for the ungodly.

Luther came to understand that if we are to be accepted by God, we…

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What We Need More Than Anything

Jonathan Parnell

Our fundamental problem is that we’re sinners. But our fundamental problem doesn’t mean it is our most severe.

In John 4, Jesus and his disciples traveled through Samaria. They came to a town called Sychar and decided to stop for a break. It was around noon. The disciples went into the market to buy food, leaving Jesus sitting beside the well of a nearby field. Soon after a Samaritan woman arrived there to draw water.

She is a person like…

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The End of Theology

Jonathan Parnell

The Bible is amazing. God has spoken to us in a book — a glorious story about his glory and grace centered on the God-man, Jesus Christ. But the life he saves us to — our life in Christ — plays out in this world beyond the pages of his word. What we learn about him is meant to serve how we live for him.

And Paul Tripp says this is dangerous for pastors and Christian leaders.

The temptation is,…

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When the Light Comes On

Jonathan Parnell

My oldest daughter isn’t sleeping well. It’s the dark. From fear of what might be under her bed, to who might be looking through her window, she has her reasons for preferring the lights on.

In fact, she has started a new nightly routine. After the house is settled and her parents are quiet, presumably asleep, she secretly slips out of her room to flip on the nearby hallway light and then returns to bed. Somehow she finds a measure…

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Audio and Video from the 2013 Conference for Pastors

Jonathan Parnell

Minnesota is not the first place most people would choose to visit in February. But you wouldn’t have guessed it this past Monday to Wednesday in the warm confines of the Minneapolis Convention Center. Gathering for the 26th time, the Desiring God Conference for Pastors took up the theme of the supernatural in pastoral ministry.

We’d like to thank those who joined us onsite and helped make this such a memorable event — especially our eight plenary and seminar speakers.…

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Watch Out or the Devil’s Gonna Get You

Jonathan Parnell

In rural America, off a country road, on the soft soil of a weathered field, stands a sobering message for every passer-by: Go to church or the devil will get you!

The words are neatly strewn across a homemade billboard adorned with flood lights and a painted silhouette of a red figure, apparently Satan, holding a sling-blade. Go to church, the warning hisses, or be his victim.

As hokey as it sounds, the warning is right, you know, at…

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Knowledge Doesn’t Mean Maturity

Jonathan Parnell

Our heads learn faster than our hearts, and that means danger.

Just because you can communicate an idea does not mean you have submitted yourself to it. And if we are not careful, we will mistake the communication part as the barometer of our maturity.

Paul Tripp calls it “academizing” the faith — when we define our spiritual growth by our biblical literacy. But as he warns, “You can be theologically astute and be dramatically spiritually immature.”


Get Paul’s book, …

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Brothers, We Are Not Witchdoctors

Jonathan Parnell

We are not, in ourselves, the vehicle of God’s grace and kingdom-building. Making this mistake will eventually lead us to fatigue, even despair, says Russell Moore.

Commemorating the release of John Piper’s revised edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, we recently asked Dr. Moore for an exhortation to pastors and church leaders under the “Brothers” theme. In short, witchdoctors can’t do Christian ministry, so stop acting like one. He explains:

Get John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals:

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Where Is Your Identity?

Jonathan Parnell

Stop looking at yourself in carnival mirrors. This is one plea from Paul Tripp’s new book, Dangerous Calling. Carnival mirrors give us a distortion of who we really are, and they’re everywhere we look.

This is especially true of the pastor or ministry leader who is tempted to stay locked in on the horizontal level. The danger is to mistake our work to be what defines us — to be so fixed on the “carnival mirror of ministry” that…

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Thanking God for a Courageous Missionary

Jonathan Parnell

John G. Paton believed in doing missions when dying is gain. The 19th century Scottish missionary to the New Hebrides, a chain of islands in the South Pacific, was no stranger to suffering. Soon after he arrived to the islands in 1858, he buried both his wife and newborn child. He had left the ease of Europe for the hardships of the Hebrides, and he would become well acquainted with pain.

Over the next several years his life was characterized…

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13 Reasons Christians Don’t Have to Be Afraid

Jonathan Parnell

Fear is like the monster under my kids’ beds — its power is fueled not by what’s really there, but by what might be, what we imagine could be. Fear is a hollow darkness in the future that reaches back through time to rob our joy now by belittling the sovereign goodness of God.

But if we are in Christ, if we cling to him by faith, we don’t have to fear. Really, we don’t.

John Piper explains…

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It Is Time for a Personal Revolution

Jonathan Parnell

Bible prophecy is the key, John Piper explains in the 1980 sermon, “All the Prophets Proclaimed These Days.” The text is Acts 3:17–26. Peter is preaching his first sermon since Pentecost to a crowd of his Jewish brothers. His charge to them is straightforward: Repent therefore, and turn again, so that your sins may be blotted out, and so that times of refreshing may come.

The timing of Peter’s words are especially important. In fact, as he goes…

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Raise Your Hand If You Agree

Jonathan Parnell

I have no good memories of third-grade math.

To be honest, I don’t remember most of my elementary school days, but math in Mrs. Smith’s classroom is strangely familiar. Maybe it is because that’s where a school subject first became hard for me, or because the homework was such a drag. Or, actually, it may be because third-grade math was the first time I realized I was a crock.

It happened like this. Soon I noticed my friends were picking…

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Behind the Blog: Sorting Things Out

Jonathan Parnell

[Subscribe to Behind the Blog on iTunes]

Kicking off the first episode this year, we talk Passion, podcasts, and prayer.

Earlier this month John Piper spoke to over 60,000 college students in Atlanta. He recently talked with Tony about what the experience was like on the newly revitalized podcast, Ask Pastor John (forthcoming on iTunes).

Other podcasts to probe include John Piper Sermons, Theology Refresh, Authors on the Line, and Behind the Blog, all…

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Piper on Healing and Exorcism

Jonathan Parnell

What is the gift of healing? And are there “healers” today?

The apostle Paul lists healing among the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, but has anything significant changed between then and now?

What about exorcism?

John Piper answers in the following videos, and recounts the chilling story of an exorcism he participated in early in his pastorate.

What Is the Gift of Healing? (7 minutes)

Have You Exorcized a Demon? (7.5 minutes)


For more on the supernatural, see “…

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When Delight Means Doxology

Jonathan Parnell

But may all who seek you
     rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!"

David's prayer in Psalm 40:16 can absolutely change your life. At first glance it may not stand out. Perhaps, like me, when you've read it before you glossed over the parallelism that makes this verse so special.

Now parallelism is a pretty simple rhetorical device. It is used in poetry of all kinds to…

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Am I Scared of God’s Goodness?

Jonathan Parnell

It’s kind of a hard question to ask. We know from the Bible that suffering plays an important role in the life of believers. We have even walked close with friends who have experienced intense pain. But we ourselves, well, we’ve not been face to face with affliction yet. We’ve not suffered severe loss. And this starts to make us suspicious, as if we have received too many gifts and before long something terrible is going to happen.

So what

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Who Is Louie Giglio?

Jonathan Parnell

Leading the charge against human slavery (enditmovement.com), Louie Giglio is the founder of the Passion Movement and serves as pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. But what's his story?

A couple years ago, leading us to our National Conference on missions, John Piper sat down with Louie Giglio to talk about the history of the Passion Movement and its global cause. Part 1 of the interview details the background of Passion and its influence on college students…

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John Piper Interviews Jerry Bridges

Jonathan Parnell

Few people work faithfully for the same organization for almost 60 years. Yet it was 1955 when Jerry Bridges, a Korean War veteran, joined the team at The Navigators where he continues to this day. An author of several books, Mr. Bridges is a leading voice in explaining the significance of the gospel in everyday life, including The Discipline of Grace, The Gospel for Real Life, and The Pursuit of Holiness, to name a few.

John Piper…

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Men, Know Your Family

Jonathan Parnell

Men should know their families. Who would disagree with that statement? It seems so obvious that husbands and dads should know what's going on in the lives of their wife and children. But Tim Witmer, author of The Shepherd Leader at Home, explains that this is too easily overlooked.

In this video, Tim talks with Jon Bloom more about how men should know and pray for their families on the deepest levels:

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10 Things to Pray for Your Wife

Jonathan Parnell

[Download a new print-version (PDF) of "10 Things to Pray for Your Wife." You can also get lock-screen versions for your iPhone4 or iPhone5.]

Our hunger for God will not be confined to our closets. As we know him and delight in all that he is for us in Jesus, our joy in him reaches beyond personal experience on a quest to be reproduced in others. One of the simplest ways we realize this is by taking serious…

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From Closet to Coastlands: Bible Reading and Prayer in 2013

Jonathan Parnell

'Tis now the season to get strategic. With the New Year on the horizon, many of us are beginning to consider the logistics of our devotional lives for 2013. Bible-reading plans, book lists, prayer guides — these are tactical means of grace that we strive to set in order. It is like we look across the foggy battlefield of the coming year and pencil down our plan, our steps. Remember faith is a fight. And reading and praying are essentials,…

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