Tag Archives: John Piper

Biblical Famine | Starving for the Word

25 Oct

Woman Reading the Bible.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11″

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3″

Christians used to be known as “people of one book.” Sure, they read, studied and shared other books. But the book they cared about more than all others combined was the Bible. They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense we’re starving ourselves to death.” — Kenneth Berding, Professor of New Testament, Biola University, The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy & What We Can Do About It

We are “starving ourselves to death” via an elected famine in which scripture and Bible consumption are largely ignored; replaced with insubstantial vacant distractions that provide an illusion of fullness. Unlike the people who sought the Word of God and were denied Amos 8:11-12 we have free unfettered access to hearing the One True Living God speak and yet our Bibles often sit unopened. We have chosen Biblical malnutrition over spiritual sustenance…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Biblical Famine | Starving for the Word.

Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular

19 Jul

potter 2_opt

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” Isaiah 64:8

Created as image bearers –reflections of The Lord, our God. When we first become believers we are transformed into new creations 2 Corinthians 5:17 –vessels capable of shining Christ to those around us. He lovingly molds, forms, and fashions us into His likeness, chiseling and polishing, as we die to self, replacing the idols and masters that hold us captive, pursuing holiness, and mirroring the character of our great God…

Please view the remainder of the article here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular.

God’s Word Our Story | Final Thoughts From Nehemiah

5 Jul

gospel group_optThe Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

From Saturday June 28

Highlights from John Piper “Responding to God According to His Word” Nehemiah 9-10“God does not exist so that we would enjoy Bible stories. Bible stories exist so that we would enjoy God. Bible stories are no more ends in themselves than the universe is an end in itself; or history is an end in itself. There is a point to the universe, to history. The heavens declare the glory of God. That’s what the universe is about. History is what it is in order to show that God is Who He is. God writes his story; acts His story; in order to make known Who he is.”Throughout scripture God’s character is revealed to us. Every page speaks His name. God made Himself known thousands of years ago so we could…

Please continue reading at:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > God’s Word Our Story | Final Thoughts From Nehemiah.

The Preciousness of Jesus | Fixing Our Eyes on the Cross

26 Apr


clay jar

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Matthew 6:20-21

In the days leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday it seems simpler somehow to focus on Jesus and the willing sacrifice He made as he took upon His perfect self our sin bearing our punishment; imputing to us His righteousness. The cross and all of its implications stands in stark relief across the worldly backdrop of cloying chocolate, spring flowers, bunnies, and decorated eggs. The glory and significance of the resurrection shines so brightly the pastel canvas is all but obliterated and our eyes and hearts are drawn to Jesus, the treasure that will never be destroyed or stolen, and the joy that can only be found in Him.

“Jesus spoke of this joy as he faced the torture of Good Friday. He faced denial, faced betrayal, faced beatings, faced splinters and nails and spears — he could not stop talking about joy! Only joy would keep him going. Joy was on his mind, joy was on his tongue, and joy was drawing him, not away from suffering, but into it (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus went to the cross for joy: to buy joy, create joy, and offer joy.” –Troy Reinke, Have You Found What You’re Looking For?

What happens on the Monday following when the candy and discarded broken and bent baskets are heaped into the clearance bin and the backdrop shifts? Our excitement and joy may wane and the treasure become less distinct. The mundane trials of everyday life may obscure the “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Our weariness and hurts more easily dismissed in the light of anticipation may now win our undivided attention. John Piper believes this is the time we should draw upon the strength of our brothers and sisters sharing ours in return as “…our worst spiritual and emotional collapses often follow in the wake of our happiest, most victorious experiences.” 

Draw in close to your Church family. Draw near to His heart and keep your eyes and heart focused on the finished work of the cross. Drink in the Word and spend time with the Lord in prayer, He desires to spend time with us, is jealous for it. Empty yourself of brokeness and ashes, pour it out at His feet enabling the light of the power of God to shine (2 Corinthians4:7).

The Preciousness of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson

What is the one thing you cannot live without?

I think there are two stark realities shown in the passage of the woman who anointed Jesus’ head — a deadly devaluing and a saving adoration. See if you don’t agree:
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” –Mark 14:3-9

The logic of those scolding is understandable, clear. What the woman has done is wasteful.

And what Jesus says in reply is provocative. He is not denying the importance of caring for the poor. Indeed, how could he, since he has taught so much on caring for the poor and needy already! But he is suggesting that there is something more important.

There is something more important than helping the poor. What could that be?
It is Jesus himself.

To devalue Jesus as the indignant have done is eternally deadly. To devalue the nard as the woman has done is eternally saving.

Gospel notes on the text and the remainder of the article can be viewed here: The Preciousness of Jesus | The Gospel Coalition

Death: Shall We Weep or Rejoice? | Yes!

2 Mar

hope_opt“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” –Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, March 1, 2014

“Trent Koontz passed away this morning at 5:17am. He is still a shining light in our lives. Have fun in heaven! Give Jesus a big hug from all of us!” –Jerry Koontz via Trent Koontz’s Blog

As we absorb those words, joy and sorrow tangle together within grieving hearts. Such is the paradox of living a life in Christ. Simultaneously we rejoice and mourn; are crushed and unburdened and through it all the confident expectation of hope endures; singing a wordless song of unceasing faith. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
 –Emily Dickenson

It is hope rooted in the Gospel that creates equilibrium between the bone deep sorrow of loss and joyful trust in the sovereignty of God who works for our good. It is in this stability that we come to understand God’s infinite wisdom is inscrutable and his providence mysterious and that opposing emotions can coexist harmoniously. 

The Koontz family continues to be a powerful witness for Christ. In weakness their continued love for the Lord glorifies Him; highlighting the strength through grace His love poured out on that tree provided. 

It is here in the strange mix of contrary feelings (ache and brokenness, relief and joy) that our church body is also strengthened; growing in spiritual maturity as through shared suffering we stand in Christ with Jerry, Kristie, and Grant sadly rejoicing now that Trent is freed from the pain of illness and is with Jesus in Heaven.

Death: Shall We Weep or Rejoice? (excerpt) by John Piper

When a Christian dies, shall those of us who remain weep or rejoice? The biblical answer is both, even simultaneously.

An Invitation to Rejoice

He [Paul] already told them why he rejoices at the prospect of his death: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Presumably, that is why he thinks they should rejoice also. They love Paul. So when Paul is “with Christ” that will be “far better.”

Experiencing Intense Sorrow

But that is not the whole story. Ten verses later in Philippians 2 Paul praises Epaphroditus because “he nearly died for the work of Christ.” But then he did not die. God had mercy on Paul, lest he should have sorrow upon sorrow [or]…grief on top of all his other burdens.

The Complex Harmony

We should conclude that our sorrows at the death of a believer are joyful sorrows, and our rejoicing at the death of a believer is a sorrowful rejoicing. There is nothing hopeless about the sorrow. And there is nothing flippant about the joy. The joy hurts. And the sorrow is softened with invincible hope. (emphasis mine)

This is why one of the most common watchwords of the Christian life is “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Sorrow and joy are not merely sequential. They are simultaneous. This is not emotional schizophrenia. This is the complex harmony of the Christian soul.

Therefore, when a Christian dies, don’t begrudge the tears. And don’t belittle the joy…

Read this article in its entirety here: Death: Shall We Weep or Rejoice? | Desiring God.

The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood| Do Not Shy Away from Theology

17 Sep

dusty-bible-600x345“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” –Matthew 7: 24-27

“Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them” –Psalm 111:2

Immerse yourself in His Word that you may know Him and build not upon the shifting unpredictable sand but on the rock solid granite foundation of truth. The more you learn about Him the more you will love Him and know why you believe what you believe. The more you learn the more solid your theology becomes and standing unshakably in His truth takes on a new meaning. The more you discover about His character the more you understand why He allows trials, suffering, discouragement, and temptation. The more you read the more you grasp His sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The more you grasp the better you understand how to glorify God. Sit at the feet of your redeemer Jesus Christ; dive into the meat of the Bible and glean sustenance, joy, meaning, understanding, gratitude, and a love so deep it is immeasurable. 

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.

I don’t like wimpy women. I didn’t marry one. With Noel, I’m trying to raise Talitha, who turns 13 on Saturday, not to be one. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, controlling, sassy, uppity, arrogant Amazon.

Marie Durant

The opposite of a wimpy woman is 14-year-old Marie Durant when in the 17th century in France was arrested for being a Protestant, put in prison, and told, “You may get out for one phrase: I abjure.” She wrote on the wall of her cell, “I resist,” and stayed there 38 years until she was dead doing just that (Karl Olsson, Passion, [New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963], 116-117). That’s the opposite of a wimpy woman.

Gladys and Esther Staines

Another opposite of a wimpy woman is Gladys Staines. In 1999, remember the story? After serving for three decades with her husband Graham in India, to the lepers, heard one day that her husband Graham and little Phillip (10) and Timothy (6) had been set on fire, burned alive in the back of their car. She said to the newspapers, “I have only one message for the people of India. I am not bitter, neither am I angry. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

The opposite of a wimpy woman is her daughter, well named, Esther. When asked by the reporters, “How do you feel about your father’s murder?” She said (she was 13), “I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.”

Krista and Vicki

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Krista and Vicki who together, in my church, have had 65 surgeries for so-called birth defects from Apert Syndrome and Hypertelorism. They write, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know them right well (Psalm 139:14).” Krista says, “Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and trust Him more than anything.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Joni Eareckson Tada, who would give her right arm to be with you. After forty-one years in the wheelchair she prays, “Oh thank You, thank You for this wheelchair. By tasting Hell in this life, I have been driven to think seriously about what faces me in the next. This paralysis is my greatest mercy.” (Christianity Today, January, 2004, 50)..

Suzie

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Suzie. Four years ago her husband (59) was taken, then a month later she found she had breast cancer, and then her mom died, and then a miracle happened. She wrote to me, “Now I see that I have been crying for the wrong kind of help. I now see that my worse suffering is my sin-my sin of self-centeredness and self-pity. I know that with His grace, His lovingkindness, and His merciful help, my thoughts can be reformed and my life conformed to be more like His Son.”

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. That’s my assumption as I begin this message.

Wimpy theology does not give a woman a god big enough, strong enough, wise enough, good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that enables her to magnify Him and His Son all the time. He’s not big enough.

Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness, or as we usually call it, man-centeredness.

Wimpy theology doesn’t have a granite foundation of God’s sovereignty underneath. It doesn’t have the steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all of human existence, including the worst of it.

Excerpted from: True Woman | Pastor John Piper.

Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning?

3 Sep

Perseverance“in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” –Proverbs 3:6

 “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” –Jude 1:20-21

 Endure in faith–wholly dependent on God, trusting in Him, standing in His power and grace, walking with Him, immersed in His word, sustained by Christ.

“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen” –Oswald Chambers

by John Piper | August 20, 2013

Christian, how do you know you will still be a believer when you wake up in the morning? And every morning till you meet Jesus?

The biblical answer is: God will see to it.

Are you okay with that? Does this make you uneasy, admitting it depends decisively on God? I hope it is your joy and song. It really does have huge implications to believe this. Let God’s word shape your mind on it.

For the remainder of this article: Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning? – Desiring God.

Don’t Drink the Dirty Water|Drink in the Word of God

20 Aug

bible2

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols” 

–1 John 5:21

“Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind””

–Matthew 22:37

“F. W.Boreham spoke of Christ’s cross as “the climax of immensities, the center of infinities, and the conflux of eternities.”

“The infinite God of the universe –the King, has communicated to us His insurpassable love, sent an inexorable Savior, with unfathomable salvation. Does He really need to do anything else?”

–Pastor Burris Passion 2013: For Our Families 

The scope  and magnitude of God’s love for us is most spectacularly displayed upon the cross. How can we stand lukewarm –leaning on our own self sufficiency and self satisfaction –too comfortable, complacent, and apathetic, in the shadow of such enormity? 

“The essence of lukewarmness is the statement, “I need nothing.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied. To find out whether you are among that number, don’t look into your head to see if you think that you are needy; rather, look at your prayer life. It doesn’t matter what we think in our head, the test of whether we are in bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how earnest and frequent and extended our prayers for change are.

Do you seek the Lord earnestly and often in secret for deeper knowledge of Christ, for greater earnestness in prayer, for more boldness in witness, for sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit, for deeper sorrow for sin, for warmer compassion for the lost, for more divine power to love? Or is the coolness and perfunctoriness of your prayer life Exhibit A that you are spiritually self-satisfied and lukewarm?”

–John Piper adapted from: How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke

Don’t Drink the Dirty Water

LORE FERGUSON

We both drank from the same glass, our mouths leaving marks on opposite sides, a tall drink of water for the parched soul. This is what it is to come to the only Water that will quench our thirst: a shared glass, shared germs, shared experience, but only one Way, one Truth, one Life. Drinking from the same glass.

I tell a friend this morning that I feel straddled between two camps, and I don’t know how long I can sustain this position. I fear being viewed as tepid water. John writes of lukewarm water being spewed from the mouth of God (Rev. 3:16).

We’re drinking from a stagnant pond if we keep returning to the same story over and over and over again hoping to find resolution (Prov. 26:11). We’re drinking from a rusty tap if we don’t purify our words with fire (James 4:8), season them with salt (Col. 4:6), and sweeten them with honey (Ps. 119:103). We’re drinking from contaminated water if we believe that we’re the water others long for.

We’re drinking from water that will never satisfy if we’re not drinking from the Living Water (John 4:7-30).

Some of us come to the well at high noon, fearful to gather our drink where others in our camp might see us. Some of us come in the morning, with the masses, because to stand apart, to stand alone is too much for our approval starved hearts.

But Jesus? Jesus takes our chin in his hand, lifts up our eyes to where our help can only come, and shows us a better way, a more beautiful way. He calls our sin what it is so there is no opportunity to remain lukewarm or ignorant, but he also says the watering hole in which we find ourselves is no thirst-quencher at all.

He is Water and we drink from his glass alone.

Excerpted from: Don’t Drink the Dirty Water – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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