Large Sails and Little Ballast

John Piper

Large spiritual passion with small doctrinal understanding is large sails and tall masts on a tiny boat in high winds. It will dart wildly over the surface for a hundred yards. Then one wave, or one crosswind, will bring it all crashing into the unforgiving sea.

Give as much attention to enlarging the depth of your ballast as you do to the height of your sails.

Of course, if you…

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Summary of the 2011 Conference for Pastors

Jonathan Parnell

Notes and full audio and video from each session are now available.

Joel Beeke — Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor

Beeke says, "Prayer is often treated as the appendix to our work rather than the foundation. . . . The problem is not that we don't pray, but rather it is that we seldom pray prayerfully." He explains two parts required for prayerful praying: taking hold of yourself…

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Planting Churches That Last (Part 1) - Study the Past

Dave Harvey

The best car I ever owned was a ’72 Chrysler Valiant. My wife, Kimm, called it the “Wonder V,” as in, “I wonder why you think I want to ride in that.” But it was a tank on tires—so solidly built, I used it as a backstop for pitching practice. A baseball into the side of my present car would total it. It was a sad day when the “Wonder…

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Prayer: “Reversed Thunder”

John Piper

We just finished a conference on prayer. To keep fanning the flames of zeal for a life of prayer, here is the most remarkable poem on prayer I know. It was written by George Herbert.

For me, the phrase “reversed thunder,” as a description of prayer, is worth more than a hundred explanations.

Prayer (I)

Prayer the Church’s banquet, Angels’ age,
God’s breath in man returning to his birth,
The…

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One Third of Americans Affiliate with Evangelical Churches

John Piper

Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. In the most recent First Things, he writes The Good News About Evangelicalism, and gives some of the results of The Baylor Religious Survey.

The results contradict recent claims that evangelicalism is shrinking and the younger generation is becoming more secular. I suspect the main value of empirical research like this is to keep other researchers…

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First Published Black Poet in America

John Piper

Phillis Wheatley was the first black person to publish a book of poetry in English. There is a story behind it.

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, had to be published in London because the Boston publishers, where she lived as a slave, did not believe a young black woman could have written them. The British publishers required an official “Attestation” from leaders in Boston that the poems…

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30 Ways to Stay Alive to Missions

Tyler Kenney

In their 2010 year-end report, the Barna Group identified six major patterns emerging among Christians in America:

  1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
  2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
  3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
  4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
  5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over…
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John Piper's Journal Entry On January 27, 1987

Scott Anderson

We are excited to announce that the 25th Anniversary Edition of the book Desiring God is now available.

Who could have known what God's gracious intentions were 25 years ago when this volume first arrived for publication? Looking back, we have only praise and thanksgiving to God for how He has used it to encourage and equip the Church.

And as we look forward, it is our faith-filled prayer that…

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Avoiding Smarty-Pants Theology

David Mathis

Bible teachers have their more sophisticated ways of saying, "Nanny nanny boo boo." 

And perhaps we Calvinists are especially susceptible to this temptation to pump our team more than focusing on biblical truths.

We would do well to track with John Frame's observations and maybe adjust our attitudes accordingly.

Frame writes in Evangelical Reunion:

[I]t is not hard to convince people of Calvinistic teachings when you avoid using Calvinistic…

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Can the Unregenerate Heal the Sick?

John Piper

Have you ever wondered how the unregenerate could say to Jesus on the judgment day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” (Matthew 7:22). Could this power have been real, and from God, and yet not be a sign of new birth? I think so.

Consider the way Jonathan Edwards describes how the…

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