Blog Posts by Tony Reinke
When the Bombs Exploded in Boston
Word of the Boston bombings hit Twitter before they hit CNN or any other news network. And as the video clips of the bombings began to emerge, my heart responded in shock and horror. Our hearts are wired to respond to atrocities like this, whether we’re near or far from the scene. Humans are complex creatures with a remarkable range of emotions, even at the same time. The Bible helps us understand the right way to react, and in the…Continue Reading
“Give Us More” (Recap of the Piper Recommissioning at Bethlehem)
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN—There are a few rare cases where the legacy of a faithful preacher is marked by his books. Think of the shelf-filling works of a Martyn Lloyd-Jones or a Charles Spurgeon. Maybe the same will be true of John Piper.
But on Sunday night all three campuses of Bethlehem Baptist Church gathered in one auditorium to witness to the impact of John Piper’s 33-year preaching legacy in the Twin Cities. The evening included testimonials, congregational worship, an orchestra…Continue Reading
Wimpy Theology Makes Wimpy Women
It was another full week of Ask Pastor John podcasts, covering a range of topics: biblical womanhood, hip hop, how to parent gender development, and advice for unemployed college grads. Here are excerpts from the five new episodes. Click on the hyperlinked titles to listen or download.
A lot of hip hop lyrics are stories. They move with a narrative which gives it an advantage of telling…
On Grudges and Generosity
God has given us a mouth to speak, a heart to feel, and gospel joy to share. He has taken away every excuse for not spreading gospel grace in our words every day to those around us (Ephesians 4:29).
So what corks the flow of grace speech to others?
One answer is grudges. Not always big grudges, like the ones we hold towards those who have wronged us personally. The kinds of grudges that hinder our generosity are typically subtle…Continue Reading
Lust Battles, Facebook Fasts, Twitter Goals, and “Humble Brags”
Over the last two weeks on the Ask Pastor John podcast we talked a lot about social media, about goals for Twitter and fasting from Facebook. Pastor John also addressed creativity in communication, and the meaning and importance of Easter. We talked about the value of Bible commentaries written by women, a practical suggestion for battling lust, and how our works exceed the works of Jesus.
What follows is a list of episodes, along with quotes pulled from each recording.…Continue Reading
You Killed the Author of Life (Preparing for Good Friday)
Sin in Eden knocked all creation into chaos. Sin at Babel marked the collective pride of mankind. And while every sin is an act of God-rejection, humanity’s wickedness reaches new heights in the horrifying events of Good Friday.
Holy Week makes us uncomfortable. There is glorious life and victory to come on Easter Sunday, but to get there we must pass directly through the darkness of Good Friday. We must remember the day when human malice broke barriers and reached…Continue Reading
The Creator on His Knees (Preparing for Maundy Thursday)
In the UK a few years back a group of church leaders used a Maundy Thursday church service to do something extraordinary. As people entered the church for the Thursday gathering of Holy Week, elders greeted them on their knees in the entryway. Every attendee was invited to sit, and there, in the entrance of the church, the elders removed shoes and socks and washed the reluctant feet of every stunned attendee.
Maundy Thursday is like that — it shocks.… Continue Reading
The Role of the Psalms in the Life of the Church
The Book of Psalms is an amazing gift to the church. Says John Piper, “The Psalms, more intentionally than any other book of the Bible, is designed to carry, express, and shape our emotions, to give vent to them — all of them, and shape them, to reign them in, and to free them up, to explode them, and to kill them when they should be killed.”
The Psalms are useful for shaping our emotions, and rich devotional fuel for…Continue Reading
John Piper’s Gestures
John Piper’s preaching gestures are quickly becoming legendary. There’s now a whole website dedicated to animated clips of his best preaching gestures. So this week we asked Pastor John two gesture questions.
In episode 49, we asked him about when he started using them in the pulpit.
It is possible to leap and wave and holler and entertain and say nothing and be useless. And I don’t want to do that. Therefore gestures in my mind are not of…
A Theater Called Holy Week
How did C. S. Lewis bungle The Chronicles of Narnia?
For some critics, a major flaw is the way he interrupts the flow of the story by butting into the story as the narrator. You may remember it is Lewis who tells us (twice!) that no sensible person ever shut oneself up in a wardrobe. It’s a simple line, but Lewis breaks into the story to speak a direct lesson for young readers.
Or you may remember the dizzying scene…Continue Reading
Young, Restless, and Reformed — Five Years Later
Five years ago this month journalist Collin Hansen published his first book: Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists (Crossway, 2008). True to its title, the book is a travelogue of Collin’s journey across the country documenting a surging movement called New Calvinism by some, and Young, Restless and Reformed (YRR) by others, a title he coined himself. Collin’s hunches about the new movement were confirmed in 2009 when Time Magazine named “New Calvinism” as one of…Continue Reading
The Day God Disciplined John Piper with a Kiss
I know God disciplines me, because the Bible tells me so, but how do I know when I am personally experiencing God’s discipline for my sin?
This question surfaced this week on the Ask Pastor John podcast. In part of his answer, Pastor John said this:
Here is one of the most remarkable things about God’s ordaining hard things in our lives in a disciplinary way. Jesus was disciplined and he never sinned. Hebrews 5:8 says Jesus “learned…
Love to the Uttermost (Free eBook for Holy Week)
Today we launch a new devotional eBook, Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week. Beginning Palm Sunday (March 24) through Easter Sunday (March 31), we invite you to join us in focusing on the self-giving love of our Savior.
Comprised of eight excerpts (plus one prologue reading) selected from John Piper’s extensive writing and preaching ministry, this new devotional was compiled and shaped for use in personal devotions or family and group settings.
As Pastor John explains,…Continue Reading
How Do I Help My Friends Stay Satisfied in God?
Pastor John recently tweeted, “Christian relationships have this as their goal: to help each other stay satisfied in God.” To learn more about how this gets worked out in practice, we asked him. In part, he said this:
It comes down to whether we taste and see that the Lord is good. I have said this to the church and I have said to pastors, and I have said to my wife. What I want from you, Noël, what I…
The Infallible Pilot
In the fall of 1782, a 57-year-old man walked the docks of Deptford, a South London port on the Thames river. Thirty miles inland from the sea, the port was the home of the Royal Navy Dockyards, and the man looked out over the war ships and merchant vessels as he reflected on his own seafaring past. It’s not possible to know all the memories passing through his mind, but he was likely reminded of his time spent aboard a…Continue Reading
Do My Prayers Make a Difference?
Of the five Ask Pastor John podcasts released this week, none was more played than episode 37 — “A Theology of Prayer in 3 Minutes.” Pastor John set personal prayer into the context of God’s unfolding redemptive plan and the final victory of God.
He was responding to one man who had lost confidence in the power of prayer and was asking, Do my personal prayers make any difference?
Pastor John responded to the question with a short…Continue Reading
Getting Real with Personal Sin (Interview with Matt Chandler)
Why is our first inclination to run our sins into the dark shadows and hide like Adam tucked up against a tree trunk?
We find it natural to hide our sins, even as Christians, but such an act contradicts our Savior’s death. “The gospel frees us to be authentic, to admit that our struggles and strengths have not been fully sanctified, and to allow others to apply the grace of God to areas of our lives that desperately need it"…Continue Reading
Ask Pastor John (Weekly Digest)
This week we released episodes 29–33 in the Ask Pastor John podcast. We began the week with an artist's question about the value of art. In episode 29 Pastor John offered a theology of art in five minutes. In part he said,
Art is basically a craft or a skill that aims at more than just keeping food on the table. What makes it Christian, I think, is that God is an artist. He made the heavens that are telling…
Hospitality on Mission
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield shared her unlikely conversion story with us on the previous Authors on the Line podcast. We might have expected a Pauline conversion experience — perhaps a flash of light or an audible voice from heaven — but nothing of the sort happened. Rather, her conversion came through a series of ordinary means: a caring pastor in the area, a Bible, a copy of Calvin’s Institutes, and simple hospitality.
In this episode, we explore the role hospitality…Continue Reading
From Radical Lesbian to Redeemed Christian
In 1999, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, a skeptic of all things Christian, and in a committed lesbian relationship. Her academic specialty was Queer Theory, a postmodern form of gay and lesbian studies.
Today Butterfield is a mother of four, a homemaker, and wife of a Presbyterian pastor named Kent. They live in Durham, North Carolina.
She is an unlikely convert. And in this episode of the Authors on the Line podcast, Butterfield shares…Continue Reading
Encountering the Living Christ in Personal Devotions
This week we released episodes 24–28 in the Ask Pastor John podcast. In one of those new episodes we asked John Piper a question about personal Bible reading: must we come away from our Bible reading with a life application principle every time?
His answer was a resolute no.
Here’s part of what he said to explain why:
A godly life is lived out of a heart astonished at grace. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a…
Christian Hedonism and the Challenge of Depression
It was another full week in the Ask Pastor John podcast series, and we covered a few of the more difficult questions of Christian Hedonism.
First, we asked Pastor John whether there are times in the Christian life when — for whatever reason — God chooses to withhold his presence from us, thus nullifying our hope of experiencing Godward affections. The Puritans seemed to operate from this assumption (“God desertions,” they called it). And if this is the case —…Continue Reading
Safety Is a Myth
Recently Pastor John released his short book Risk Is Right, a significantly expanded version of a chapter originally published in Don't Waste Your Life. In Risk Is Right, Pastor John claims the so-called safety we seek to preserve in our lives is really a myth.
We asked him to explain “safety is a myth” in a recent Ask Pastor John podcast (episode 10). In part he explained it this way:
You can’t put enough padlocks…
Enjoying God’s Beatific Beauty
“How good is God,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “that he has created man for this very end, to make him happy in the enjoyment of himself, the Almighty, who was happy from the days of eternity in himself … that he might make them blessed in the beholding of his excellency, and might this way glorify himself.”
A more profound sentence can hardly be found outside of the Bible. We were created to enjoy God now and for all eternity.…Continue Reading
Ask Pastor John Podcast Update
We released eight new episodes of the newly relaunched Ask Pastor John (APJ) podcast this week. And in episode 13 — “The Essential Warfare for Holiness” — we talked with Pastor John about the connection between happiness and holiness.
There Pastor John said this:
When we say God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him, we are saying the essential warfare of holiness, or sanctification, is the warfare to be satisfied in God.…