Seeing Our Shame: The Fuel of True Love for God

Jon Bloom

He had the Holy One of Israel in his house, reclining at his table. The Prophet that Moses had foretold was sharing dinner with him. The Lord of glory, the Resurrection and the Life, was speaking with him face to face. The great climactic moment of history he claimed to be living for had arrived. It should have been a deliriously wonderful, breathtaking honor for Simon to host the Messiah.

But Simon was not amazed. As he looked at Jesus, all he saw was a dusty... Continue Reading

Hell Never Produced a Single Pleasure

John Piper

One of the roots of Christian Hedonism as I have pondered it for the last forty years is C. S. Lewis. Reading Alan Jacobs’ biography, The Narnian has underlined the influence Lewis has had on my thinking.

Here is a striking sentence about Lewis’s lifelong pursuit: “Lewis’s perpetual task both as a defender of Christianity and as an advocate of medieval literature is to call people to delight” (p. 190).

One of his paths to this “perpetual task” was his analysis of the... Continue Reading

The Tragic Path of James Baldwin

John Piper

James Baldwin, novelist, essayist, poet, was born August 2, 1924 anddied November 30, 1987. From child evangelist in a store-front churchin Harlem, to the front of TIME magazine as a dominant prophetic voiceof the sixties, to a disillusioned anti-American living and dying inFrance, Baldwin’s life was another witness to the power of Christianroots and the tragedy that comes when the root is severed.

James Baldwin on the cover of TIMEIn 1963, when I was a junior in high school, Baldwin published his most... Continue Reading

Return to Geneva: Life of Calvin, Part 7

David Mathis

After a golden three-year exile, Calvin returned to the city that expelled him. He didn’t jump at the opportunity but went reluctantly, feeling constrained by God’s will to resume the work.

It was September, 1541 when he stepped back into the pulpit and continued his exposition of the Psalms, picking up at the very place he had left off.

Now that Calvin was back, he would settle in for life in the Geneva he would be famous for.

Severe trials would come the following... Continue Reading

I Wrote a Poem to Put My Heart Right

John Piper

On vacation I was meditating on Luke 10:17-20 where Jesus tells us not to be overly excited about our ability to do feats of triumph in defeating the devil. Rather he says, fix the root of your joy in this: Your names are written in heaven. Amazing.

Most of us are moved more by the fireworks of miracles than by the mere assurance of salvation. Something is amiss. So I lingered long enough here to put my heart right. And in the process wrote a poem.

Rejoice! Your Names... Continue Reading

Resource for Preaching OT Narrative

David Mathis

Ralph Davis’s The Word Became Fresh is an outstanding resource for those eager to preach from the largest chunk of their Bibles—the Old Testament narratives. In a mere 150 pages, Davis walks through all the basics that are so obvious they take brilliance to see. His style is a wonderful blend of humor and seriousness, substance and simplicity (even if a bit too punchy at points).

In this book, Davis discusses everything from getting a macro sense of whole books to how to... Continue Reading

Biopsy Blows and the Helmet of Hope

John Piper

The helmets referred to in the Bible are for protection in mortal battle. A blow to the head with a mace or a bludgeon would crush your skull and kill you.

So when Paul says that we should put on “for a helmet the hope of salvation” he means that there are blows that come to our spiritual life that could destroy us, if we were not protected by the hope of salvation.

The hope of salvation—that we will not perish but obtain eternal life in the presence of Christ—absorbs the... Continue Reading

The Golden Years: Life of Calvin, Part 6

David Mathis

Calvin spent the happiest years of his life outside Geneva. It started in April of 1538 when Calvin and fellow reformer William Farel were expelled from Geneva.

Their eager reforms were moving quicker than the city council was ready for. Tensions escalated. Calvin in his youth and Farel in his zeal wouldn’t back down, and the council eventually expelled them. It wasn’t Calvin’s first or last mistake in ministry, but it likely served more than most in breaking the... Continue Reading

Liberalism 1 and Liberalism 2

John Piper

If you find yourself in a love-hate relationship with the concept of “liberalism,” part of the reason may be the schizophrenic history of the concept. Lights went on for me in reading Dinesh D’Souza’s distinction between two liberalisms.

It's helpful to distinguish between two types of liberalism. One is the classical liberalism of the American founding. Call this Liberalism 1, which is reflected in such principles as the right to vote, to assemble freely, to trade with... Continue Reading

Why There Are No Perfect Pastors

John Piper

On his birthday, let John Newton (author of "Amazing Grace") tell us why there aren't any perfect pastors.

In my imagination, I sometimes fancy I could [create] a perfect minister. I take the eloquence of ______, the knowledge of ______, the zeal of ______, and the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of ______. Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, “This would be a perfect minister.”

Now there is One, who, if he chose to, could actually do... Continue Reading