There is a place for a holy disregard for what unbelievers think. But it is small.
We shouldn’t be caught off guard when they “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18) of God as creator and sustainer, as speaker (in the Scriptures), and as redeemer (in the gospel). We need not be bewildered when the world is the world. It’s to our shame when we forget that “we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). But for the mercy and grace of God (Titus 3:4–7).
So we have good reason not to be shaken by every opinion from outsiders. But we must beware letting one bi…
My understanding of the nature of worship was radically transformed by a fundamental truth I found in C.S. Lewis, who died 50 years ago this month.
What Lewis helped me grasp is best explained by looking briefly at his own struggle with worship as he explained it in the essay titled, “A Word About Praising,” in his short book, Reflections on the Psalms, pages 90–98 in my worn, 1958 edition.
In a word, Lewis enabled me to recognize that not only was it permissible to enjoy God in worship, it was absolutely essential if I was truly to honor him. He said it in this one profound statement: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enj…
One month ago, John MacArthur hosted a conference titled “Strange Fire.” The conference opposed the so-called “prosperity gospel” and with it the excesses of “charismania.” But somewhere along the way all things charismatic and continuationist got swept up into the conference conversation, too, igniting a strange online conflagration of its own.
The conversation prompted a variety of questions from listeners of the Ask Pastor John podcast. Before boarding a flight for the Middle East, John Piper agreed to field a few of the questions, particularly:
- If you’re a continuationist (believing the supernatural gifts of the Spirit continue still today), why doesn’t this show up more often in your …
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:14–15)
I am a grumbler by (fallen) nature.
Just this morning a malfunctioning software program required my attention. Experience told me the likely course: at least two times on the phone with customer support and at least two glitches in the fixing process. Forty-five minutes minimum. Probably more. (All proved true, by the way.) Immediately I resented this time-stealing inconvenience. And when my wife called in the middle of dealing with it, out of my mouth came m…
Sometimes sex should stop in marriage.
The sometimes is really important. Not all the time. It’s not what is normative or typical. It’s sometimes. And, at the same time, be sure that sometimes really means sometimes. Real times. These are actual moments, or seasons, that never present themselves as the anomaly they should prove to be in the long run. We’re talking about a tangible pause from sex, however brief and limited the stopping may be.
The biblical text on this topic is 1 Corinthians 7:1–5, and though the meaning is pretty straightforward, the way this text plays itself out in the life of the church can run askew in two different directions. One error is to use this passage to suppo…
Jesus was, is, and always will be in a league of his own.
Many are happy to honor him as a good teacher and social reformer, and some religions even admit that he was a great prophet of God. But none of them go far enough.
The Greatest Messenger
Jesus was not just another prophet like those who had come before him. Nor was he merely a great moralist and motivator. He was, and is, qualitatively different.
Jesus is, as the Father himself testified at his baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration, God’s beloved Son (Mark 1:11; 9:7). And as God’s Son, “he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). You cannot get any greater than this.
So Jesus …
God doesn’t need us. We need him.
Don’t get the roles reversed. We are not indispensable. He is.
This is an essential reminder for all of us — and especially those of us in heavily administrative and “executive” roles. We executives are supposed to execute, after all.
But as Christians, we know how finite, dependent, contingent we are. And we need to be reminded of it regularly and guard ourselves from subtly beginning to operate as if we really can execute on our tasks all by our lonesome, without the constant help of our God.
Toward a Christian Executive Ethic
I’m often asked how I handle my role as “executive minister” when we have more than 100 staff on three campuses. Here’s a shor…
By “stupid links,” I mean hyperlinks on the Web that do nothing but tap our kneejerk curiosity. They do little for us because they have little to offer. We click, we read, we watch, and often we feel dumber for it.
Such clamorous links litter the Internet, offering up celebrity gossip, bizarre crime stories, violent videos, and sexual images — each link asking for little more than a click (such a petty request).
So just how pervasive are these links? As I write, the CNN home page features these seven hyperlinked titles as “Top Stories”:
- Crack-smoking mayor won’t quit
- Was pushed husband blindfolded?
- Woman killed in cougar attacks
- Misquotes fuel Tom Cruise attacks
- Deer pierced in the face b…
Christians, of all people, cannot be content with small visions of grace.
The message that made us is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32), “the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6). And the life we’re called to live happens in “this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2), as we’re “strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). It’s all undeserved, lavish favor from God.
So grace that is cheap, thin, and shallow will not suffice. What the Christian desperately needs — what the world desperately needs — is the true grace of God, in all its lushness and texture. To drink it in, be fed by it, be changed by it, to swim acro…
I’m writing this on my last night of seven in Addis Ababa, the sprawling, higher-than-Denver, capitol of Ethiopia — which just became the second most populous country of Africa.
The international, inter-agency cooperation of missions today is illustrated by the fact that we are staying in a Mission to the World (PCA) guesthouse and speaking at a college sponsored by SIM, whose international leadership just passed from a Scot to a Nigerian based in America. Jason Meyer and I spoke at five different churches, including International Evangelical, Pentecostal, Anglican, and Reformed charismatic.
Our conclusion: Bible-tethered, expository exultation, Christian Hedonism, and Big-God theology res…