Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell
From Closet to Coastlands: Bible Reading and Prayer in 2013
'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…Continue Reading
When You're More Blessed Than Mary
Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 19:29).
What he means is that those who have never seen him in person and still believe in him are blessed.
But that's not easy. We're certainly not prone to think this way. I mean, can you imagine what it would have been like to see Jesus? To see God in the flesh, lying in a…Continue Reading
John Newton Understood Winter
It doesn't get above freezing, it's dark by 5PM, and snow is everywhere. Hello, Winter in Upper Midwest America. You are cold and long.
But however cold and long, the best way to bear Winter is to shovel up every bit of metaphor possible. God does give us four seasons for a reason. And life is not always Spring.
In the flavor of Christian Hedonism, and aware of what seasons…Continue Reading
Leadership Is About Responsibility and Sacrifice
"Jesus was not on a power trip when he came into the world," John Piper reminds us. "His aim was to die for his bride."
Expounding Ephesians 5:25, Piper shows that if men are to be leaders like Jesus, we will sacrifice, too.
This is excerpt is from the most recent sermon, "God Created Man Male and Female: What Does It Mean to Be Complementarian?"Continue Reading
Joy Comes to the Rescue
Your heart matters. It really, really matters.
The heart, after all, is the "noble faculty of the soul," as John Flavel explains in his 1668 publication now titled, Keeping the Heart. Most generally, the heart refers to the inner man, and most importantly, a person's everlasting state depends upon its condition.
Writing in a style more practical than sliced bread, Flavel exhorts Christians to give their hearts upmost attention.…Continue Reading
Jesus Understands Our Deepest Sorrow
The Lord Jesus Christ — the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, the one through whom all things were made — became human like us.
I recently talked with Nancy Guthrie, author of Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, to ask her about what the humanity of Jesus means for us. “He is a safe person to draw close to when life is hard,” she said,…Continue Reading
The Glory of Being Human
Have you ever stopped to ponder how amazing it is to be alive? To be not generic or arbitrary, but a human being, a man or a woman created in the image of God?
It is no trifle, John Piper explains in this three-minute video:Continue Reading
Jesus Can Be Troubling
Jesus troubles those who don't worship him. That's the situation of Matthew 2, as John Piper explains in today's Advent reading:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and…
When We Don't Want to Wait
Where in the world is it? I couldn't find my electric beard trimmer. I opened the sink cabinets and moved around a few bath towels. Still nothing. Inanimate objects don't grow legs and walk away (my mother used to say), but this was gone. I decided to forget it and move on after searching around ten seconds.
But then it dawned on me...
I have mistaken accessibility as actuality. What…Continue Reading
Because God Leads: The Story of Jason Meyer
"There's something I want you to pray about, Jason," his grandfather said. Now this at least got his attention. Jason's grandfather was a successful farmer in rural South Dakota, and not to mention, a trusted elder in the local Reformed church. When he spoke, people listened — especially Jason standing beside him under a cold, overcast sky. "I've been noticing your life," his grandfather continued, "and I believe God is…Continue Reading
Don’t Undersell Your Commute
Packer had me at “horseback.”
In his new introduction to John Flavel's Keeping the Heart, J. I. Packer tells a story from Flavel’s devotional life. Now I remembered hearing of a spiritual experience Edwards had on horseback, and of another from Moody. Then there it was again in Flavel:
It is recorded of him that he spent much time in meditation, self-examination, and prayer, and on one occasion at…
Behind the Blog: Move over Movember
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…Continue Reading
Avoiding Two Lamentable Errors on Human Sexuality
This Week's Sermon: "God Created Man Male and Female: What Does It Mean to Be Complementarian?"
“When it comes to human sexuality,” John Piper begins, “the greatest display of God’s glory, and the greatest joy of human relationships, and the greatest fruitfulness in ministry come about when the deep differences between men and women are embraced and celebrated as complements to each other.”
This is a way of life shaped by Scripture and thus it rejects two kinds of errors: One side is chauvinistic, harsh, and…Continue Reading
Was Spurgeon Reading Off His Rocker?
It was a stretch you might say. A 19th century British preacher apprehended a 3,000-year-old psalm for peace and courage in the midst of dire circumstances. Andree Seu Peterson tells the story in a recent article:
In the middle of a cholera epidemic in 1854, Charles Spurgeon was returning home from yet another funeral when a shard of paper wedged in a shoemaker's window caught his eye. It said,…
Now Available: Disability Conference Audio and Video
The full media from our recent conference on disability is now available!
"The Works of God: God's Good Design in Disability," hosted Novemeber 8, featured four messages, a speaker panel, and a special testimony on God's sovereignty and goodness in disability. The audio and video of each resource can be streamed or downloaded by going to the respective links:
Living with Disability: 13 Reasons for Hope
Disability is real and difficult. This is true. The recent "Works of God" conference featured several voices who met in agreement on this point. But they also agreed that God is sovereign and good.
This truth was seen most vividly in Krista Horning's unforgettable testimony. While each message expounded key biblical texts and their relevance to disability, Krista modeled it as she described what God says to her over…Continue Reading
This Week's Sermon: "Living by Faith in Future Grace"
If you could step back from the noise and busyness — if you could, even for just a moment, get a panoramic snapshot of the Christian life — it would look like 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12.
John Piper explains the picture,
Everything [in the Christian life] flows from the free grace of God in Christ. And everything is moving toward the fullest glory of God in us and through us. And…
Krista Horning's Testimony
One of the high points of the recent "Works of God" conference was Krista Horning's testimony. She began with the question, "How do I live with disability?" Then in eight minutes straight she exults in what God says to her in his word.
Stream or download "Krista Horning's Testimony."
Check out Krista's book, Just the Way I Am. The remaining audio and video from the conference will…Continue Reading
Who Are You Inviting to Thanksgiving?
In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we need to know whom Jesus wants us to invite to our Thanksgiving dinner.
John Piper said these words in 1980 when the fourth Thursday of November was right around the corner. As a new pastor wanting to lead his people to obey all of Jesus's commands, he opened to Luke 14:12–14.
[Jesus] said also to the man who had invited him, "When…
"Never the Same" — The Sawi People Fifty Years Later
In 1962 Don and Carol Richardson came into contact with a remote tribe in West New Guinea known as the Sawi people. They were cannabilistic headhunters without a written language, nor any clue about Jesus.
The Richardsons, along with their three children, preached the gospel to the Sawi people and witnessed a remarkable movement of God. The story is told in the best-selling book Peace Child and has inspired many…Continue Reading
This Week's Sermon: "God in Christ: The Price and the Prize of the Gospel"
A reality we don't deserve (eternally enjoying God) affords a price we're not able to pay (appeasing God's just wrath against our sin). But then there's Jesus.
As John Piper explains, "The gospel is the good news that God in Christ paid the price of suffering, so that we could have the prize of enjoying him forever."
Jesus died for us sinners to remove every barrier between us and the…Continue Reading
This Week's Sermon: "The Sovereignty of God: 'My Counsel Shall Stand, and I Will Accomplish All My Purpose'"
Sermons like these face us with a crucial question: Will we praise God's power and bow in glad submission or will we resist God's power and shake our fists?
God is sovereign over all things. Not a little bit sovereign. Not maybe-sorta-kinda sovereign. But absolutely sovereign. Everything that has happened or will happen is purposed by God to happen.
As a theological trademark of Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper expounds…Continue Reading
R W Glenn on the Fatherhood of God
Do you know what it means that God is your Father?
R W Glenn believes that many Christians miss out on experiencing the wonderful reality that we are truly loved. Because of Jesus, God's wrath toward us is turned away. We wake up each day accepted as his sons and daughters. "God has no reservations about us whatsoever and he marshals all of his omnipotence to do us good."
Be Stressed Out and Do Not Sin
I love the Book of Psalms. They are authoritative models of prayer and worship and therefore we return to them often for help. "When we don't know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit intercedes for us..." — and read some psalms. And in my experience, it's the easiest book to short-circuit meaning for application. Because the theology is so relevant, we can subtly gloss over what the text…Continue Reading