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  • Title: Desiring God Blog : Posts from 2009 - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: /.. 2009.. Desiring God Blog.. : Posts from 2009.. Subscribe to.. All Blog Posts.. This Year.. The Making of a Homemaker.. December 30, 2009.. Carolyn Mahaney wrote “.. Homemaking Internship.. ” especially for moms with daughters.. It’s about how to pass on to the next generation of young women some of the most important things in life.. She says,.. But the truth is that homemaking involves so much more than just cleaning a house.. The commands in Scripture to love, follow, and help a husband; to raise children for the glory of God; and to manage a home encompass a vast responsibility.. Homemaking requires an extremely diverse array of skills—everything from management abilities, to knowledge of health and nutrition, to interior decorating capabilities, to childhood development expertise.. If you are to become an effective homem….. Thanking God for Bethlehem Seminary.. December 29, 2009.. In September, 2009, we admitted the first class in the four-year program of.. Bethlehem Seminary.. Here at the end of the year I want to give public thanks to God and take some of you with me into this vision.. Not everybody.. But some of you carry a special, God-given burden for the preparation of future generations of God-centered leaders.. Bethlehem has been training future pastors, teachers and missionaries through The Bethlehem Institute for over ten years.. That two year program has now become the four-year Bethlehem Seminary.. We plan to admit 15 men every year to the seminary.. The number will be kept small so that the vision for mentored ministry and church involvement can be sustained.. ….. One Advantage of Reading Slowly.. December 28, 2009.. The fact that hundreds of the pages of God’s inspired word are devoted to poetry moves me.. One of the effects is to make me aware that God thinks the.. sound.. of language matters.. God has blessed and humbled me with the inability to speed read.. I read about the same speed that I talk.. I.. hear.. what I read as I read it.. For years I tried not to.. Speed reading consultants (I took their courses—in vain.. ) say that pronouncing the words, even in your head, turns a rabbit reader into a turtle.. No use.. I’m a turtle.. So I take heart that so much of the Bible is poetry.. It is self-evident to me that poetry is not meant to be speed-read, but ordinarily read aloud.. So I would encourage you to su….. Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy.. December 25, 2009.. Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy.. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone.. And we’re left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.. But it’s possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season.. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for.. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.. So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few t….. A Christmas Greeting and Poem.. Noël and Talitha and I recorded a Christmas greeting for you and a “glimpse” into our home and traditions.. And since I didn’t write the advent poems this year, I wrote this Christmas poem to read at our Christmas Eve services last night, in the hopes of sharing my love for Jesus and my joy in him.. In this smelly place  ...   not born; but given, begotten of his Father from before all worlds, begotten—not made, being of the same substance with the Father.. The doctrine of the eternal affiliation of Christ is to be re….. God in a Manger, Part 2: Jesus Is Savior.. December 23, 2009.. Yesterday.. we summed up Jesus’ full divinity under the heading “Jesus Is Lord.. ” We said that the doctrine of the incarnation could be remembered with John 1:14, “The Word became flesh.. ” That “Word” is the divine second person of the Trinity, the eternal Word, who we know as Jesus.. Today we shift focus to Jesus’ full humanity.. Not only did he remain fully divine when he took humanity to himself, but the humanity that he took was full humanity.. And so Jesus has a fully human body, emotions, mind, and will—and this in no way compromises his deity.. Jesus’ Human Body.. It is clear enough from the New Testament that Jesus had (and still has) a fully human body.. Jesus was born (Luke 2:7).. ….. Sonnet Written on Our 41st Wedding Anniversary.. December 22, 2009.. December 21, 2009.. In echoes of Capernaum the Lord.. Inquired of me, his happy friend, and said,.. “Will you, like these five thousand, take my bread.. And leave?” But I replied, “Who can afford.. To lift his little hand and wield the sword.. Of pride, and sever now the hand that fed.. Us with his love? No.. No.. I would be dead.. If I should leave, and you be unadored.. I may as well in this exquisite night.. Of pleasures—night to mark our wedding day—.. Set out to find a harlot before light.. To supplement my ecstasies for pay!.. You only have the words of life.. Nor will I dream of any other wife.. ”.. God in a Manger, Part 1: Jesus Is Lord.. December 21, 2009.. Advent is my yearly reminder to brush up on Christology, the doctrine of the person of Christ.. I’ve found it helpful to approach the subject under three headings:.. Jesus as Lord (fully divine).. Jesus as Savior (fully human).. Jesus as Treasure (one person).. So here’s part one, with parts.. two.. and.. three.. on the way in the next couple days.. In this Christological triad (Lord-Savior-Treasure), Jesus’ Lordship is tied to his divinity and to him rightly being called.. Yahweh.. , the name surpassingly more excellent than angels (Heb.. 1:4), the name above every name (Phil.. 2:9).. Here’s the connection between Lordship and the divine name.. , the Lord.. God’s personal name.. , f….. 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. Older.. Oldest.. Best of the Blog.. Questions to Ask When Preparing for Marriage.. 10 Resolutions for Mental Health.. Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank).. John Piper Interviews Rick Warren on Doctrine.. Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager.. How to Glorify God at Work.. Beware: The Bible Is About to Threaten Your Smartphone Focus.. What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile.. Sexual Sin in the Ministry.. The Mega Millions Lottery Is a Suicidal Craze.. Don’t Give Up.. The Story of Ian & Larissa.. We Know They Are Killing Children—All of Us Know.. Ten Big, Daily Reminders.. Single, Satisfied, and Sent: Mission for the Not-Yet Married.. Seven Things to Pray for Your Children.. From Radical Lesbian to Redeemed Christian.. The Truth (About Abortion) Will Set You Free.. When the Not-Yet Married Meet: Dating to Display Jesus.. 14 Free eBooks for You.. A Song for the Suffering (with John Piper).. Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL.. Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children.. Browse by Year.. 2013.. 2012.. 2011.. 2010.. 2008.. 2007.. 2006..

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  • Title: Desiring God Blog : Posts from 2008 - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: : Posts from 2008.. A Year-End Letter to the DG Staff.. December 31, 2008.. Dear Desiring God Staff,.. As 2008 fades into history, I want to tell you again what a precious, undeserved privilege it has been to serve with you in the mission of Desiring God.. God granted 44 of you to serve at some time during 2008, 35 of whom remain while the rest have followed the Lord’s call into other fields.. Most of the work—and the most important work—of Desiring God was accomplished this year through you.. 1 Peter 2:17 says “Honor everyone.. ” And so I want to briefly honor each one of you:.. Larry Agnew.. , your godly, pastoral leadership of our remarkable volunteer corps is priceless.. When you are here, a sage walks among us.. Scott Anderson.. , your humble and highly skilled le….. I Love Jesus Christ.. One of the most memorable moments of my seminary days was during the school year 1968-69 at Fuller Seminary on the third level of the classroom building just after a class on systematic theology.. A group of us were huddled around James Morgan, the young theology teacher who was saying something about the engagement of Christians in social justice.. I don’t remember what I said, but he looked me right in the eye and said, “John, I love Jesus Christ.. It was like a thunderclap in my heart.. A strong, intelligent, mature, socially engaged man had just said out loud in front of a half dozen men, “I love Jesus Christ.. ” He was not preaching.. He was not pronouncing on any issue.. He was not singi….. A List of Everything they Prayed for in the New Testament.. December 30, 2008.. How do you keep your prayers from sinking into mindless ruts of repetition?.. One way is to make.. a list of what they prayed for in the New Testament.. , and pray that.. That’s what I did for myself.. I keep the list at my prayer bench and review it periodically and sometimes pray right through it.. You might want to print it out and do the same.. 10 Reasons to Pray the Scriptures.. December 29, 2008.. Here are some of the reasons you should pray and meditate over biblical truth.. 1.. Biblical truth saves.. Take heed to yourself and to your doctrine; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.. (1 Timothy 4:16).. Biblical truth frees from Satan.. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.. (John 8:32).. Biblical truth imparts grace and peace.. May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.. (2 Peter 1:2)..  ...   have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.. 13 You will seek me and find me.. When you seek me with all your heart, ….. What Joseph Did Christmas Morning.. December 25, 2008.. My grandson Morrow and I imitate Joseph and Jesus on Christmas morning:.. Merry Christmas to you all!.. Dreaming of a White Christmas.. Noel Piper.. December 24, 2008.. There are good reasons to dream of a white Christmas.. For one, God created crystal, blinding-white new snow to help us understand the contrast between our sinful old selves and the new persons he has made us into: “though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).. For another, the first Christmas was one of the times that angels spoke to humans on God’s behalf.. And one kind of snow fun reminds us of those Christmas angels.. May your CHRISTmas celebration be blessed.. Have fun and give thanks for the birth of our Savior, whether or not you have snow!.. One of My Heroes.. …is my big brother, Jim.. He has been since I was young.. Being five years older than me, he was always the epitome of what it meant to be big.. But when he was in college (and I in Jr.. High) he was dramatically converted.. And he became the most significant model for me in my teens and 20’s of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus.. He really lived what he believed.. He still does.. He and his amazing wife, Raquel, have been church planters among the urban poor of Minneapolis for the past 15 years.. I know the work they do.. It is hard.. It doesn’t garner much attention.. A call to preach to and live out the gospel with those struggling with generational poverty, life-controlling addictions, a….. Jesus' Humanity Now.. December 23, 2008.. The Permanence of Christmas.. ,.. Part 3: Contemporary Articulations.. From the New Testament to the present, Christian theology has celebrated that Jesus is forever the God-man.. In this series, we saw first what the apostles had to say in the.. New Testament.. Then we picked up the theme of Jesus’ continuing humanity in.. church history.. Today we'll conclude with four present-day articulations of this doctrine.. Jesus’ Body: Not Just a Memory.. Donald Macleod’s.. The Person of Christ.. is a wonderful book.. If you’ve found this series on Christology interesting, Macleod’s book would be a great place to go next.. There Macleod writes on Jesus’ continuing incarnation:.. The body is not just a memory f…..

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  • Title: Desiring God Blog : Posts from 2007 - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: : Posts from 2007.. December 31, 2007.. On October 22, 1976, Clyde Kilby, who is now with Christ in Heaven, gave an unforgettable lecture.. I went to hear him that night because I loved him.. He had been one of my professors in English Literature at Wheaton College.. He opened my eyes to more of life than I knew could be seen.. O, what eyes he had! He was like his hero, C.. S.. Lewis, in this regard.. When he spoke of the tree he saw on the way to class this morning, you wondered why you had been so blind all your life.. Since those days in classes with Clyde Kilby, Psalm 19:1 has been central to my life: “The sky is telling the glory of God.. ”.. That night Dr.. Kilby had a pastoral heart and a poet’s eye.. He pled with us to stop seeking me….. Pastors, Bring Your Fathers and Sons.. December 30, 2007.. Listen.. It seemed to us that if the focus of the.. pastors conference.. is going to be on the pastor as father—both of a church and a family—then having the sons along could enable them to catch a vision of what it is that their fathers are called to and what the challenges are that their fathers face.. Asking the fathers to come is, in part, a means of showing respect.. And wouldn't it be awesome to see a few hundred three-generation teams at the conference, all hearing messages about God as our father, pastors as fathers, and missions as fathering? Asking fathers and sons to come is a way of building into the manhood of sons, fathers, and grandfathers a sense of what a great calling it is….. Go to God in Weariness.. December 28, 2007.. If you enjoyed Jon Bloom’s.. post-Christmas wisdom.. , you might like a 400-year-old version of the same point in verse by George Herbert.. This is one of my all-time favorite poems:.. The Pulley.. When God at first made man,.. Having a glasse of blessings standing by;.. Let us (said he) poure on him all we can:.. Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie,.. Contract into a span.. So strength first made a way;.. Then beautie flow’d, then wisdome, honour, pleasure:.. When almost all was out, God made a stay,.. Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,.. Rest in the bottome lay.. For if I should (said he).. Bestow this je….. For Noël at 60.. December 27, 2007.. I love my wife.. Today is her 60th birthday.. I got her permission to say that.. We have had significant talks in recent months about aging.. Not all the accompaniments are visible, and not all are expected.. But some things are firm—forever.. That’s because of Christ.. I wanted Noël to feel that.. Hence the poem.. Losses.. On Turning Sixty..  ...   occured to me that I could do it on my dad.. I thought that I would tell the story of my father, and his ministry as an evangelist, and my relationship with him.. And it hit me that maybe the whole conference should be built around fatherhood.. Then I remembered that Don Carson, a professor at Trinity, also lost his father recently.. And I heard through the grapevine that he is writing a book about him (which should be ready for the conference) and I thought that he might come and be the keynote….. The Virgin Birth.. December 24, 2007.. This is part 4 of 4 on the Incarnation.. Advent and the Incarnation.. Jesus Is Fully Human.. What Is the Hypostatic Union?.. Jesus was born of a virgin.. This is a unique glory.. Of the billions of humans who have lived throughout history, only one person entered the world in this way.. There is only one mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and there is only one human who was virgin born.. Jesus’ distinctive birth isn’t a myth nor merely a random fact from the Gospels.. It is a special honor conferred only on the Son of God.. And it is full of significance for knowing the person of Jesus and the God who has revealed himself in him.. Supernatural, Not Mythical.. Matthew and L….. A Kind of Christmas Tale.. December 23, 2007.. I wrote this story about four years ago to tell the children at Bethlehem's Christmas Eve service.. The Poor Man and His Cow.. And the Rich Man and His Wall.. Based (very loosely) on a story in T.. H.. White’s.. The Once and Future King.. Once upon a time there was a very wise old man named Job.. In his old age God gave to him a daughter whom he named Jemima, which means little dove.. He loved his little girl and she loved her daddy.. One day Job decided to go on journey and asked Jemima if she would like to go along.. “Oh, yes,” Jemima said.. “I would love to go along.. But Job said, “It will be a journey that takes us several days.. So we will be staying each night wherever people wil….. For Noël on Our 39th Anniversary.. December 21, 2007.. Noël and I mark our 39th wedding anniversary today.. As you can see from the pictures, some things change.. As you can see from the poem, some things don’t.. None But You.. For Noël on our 39th Wedding Anniversary.. Whose lips have mine with kisses met?.. None but yours, no, none but yours.. Whose kisses can I not forget?.. Whose arms have wound me to her soul?.. Whose wings enfold, caress, console?.. Whose hands have touched my aching heart?.. Whose touch is healing, counsel, art?.. Whose feet have found the…..

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  • Title: Desiring God Blog : Posts from 2006 - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: : Posts from 2006.. Giglio Interviews Piper.. Desiring God Staff.. November 21, 2006.. More highlights from Louie Giglio's phone interview with John Piper in the latest.. Passion07 podcast.. :.. 3-minute refresher on Christian Hedonism.. The importance of Christ's supremacy.. How to fight sin.. Looking back on the Passion movement.. John Piper Is Bad.. John Piper responds.. to "John Piper Is Bad" in the Passion07 podcast..

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  • Title: 20 Verses for God-Centered Administrators - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Here’s a short biblical framework through which I’m able to answer, and keep myself functioning day in and day out, not just as an executive, but as a distinctly.. Christian.. executive.. It’s twenty biblical texts, arranged in sixteen principles.. God is the chief worker.. He is decisively the main worker at your church and in your life.. And the one who does the work should get the glory.. God ordains.. He executes what he ordains.. He is supreme in administration.. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.. (Isaiah 64:4).. When I am working, God is working.. When I am working, it is.. because.. God is working.. My work is owing to God’s work.. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.. (Philippians 2:12–13).. By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.. (1 Corinthians 15:10).. When I am.. not.. working, God is still at work.. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.. (Psalm 3:5).. If God doesn’t work, I labor in vain.. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.. (Psalm 127:1).. If I do the work of the Lord, I never labor in vain.. My beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.. (1 Corinthians 15:58).. 6.. God-centered work is not work with God as an appendage or afterthought.. He is the core, the root, the source, the origin, the power, the point of it all.. From him and through him and to him are all things.. To him be glory forever.. Amen.. (Romans 11:36).. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth,  ...   trustworthy people who fear God and are not driven by greed.. Look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.. (Exodus 18:21).. 11.. God-centered administrators affirm God-given gifts and character wherever they spot them.. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to.. praise those who do good.. (1 Peter 2:13–14).. 12.. God-centered administrators remember the Golden Rule.. Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.. (Matthew 7:12).. 13.. God-centered administrators pursue true greatness.. The greatest among you shall be your servant.. (Matthew 23:11).. 14.. God-centered administrators are resourced continually in the Scriptures.. Where do God-centered administrators get their best ideas? God-centered administrators are tethered to the Bible, and they unleash it, because it’s true and powerful.. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.. (Psalm 119:98–100).. 15.. God-centered administration is not a technique, but a life.. Abide in me, and I in you.. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.. (John 15:4).. 16.. God-centered administrators express gratitude, in particular to Jesus.. The ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.. (2 Corinthians 9:12).. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.. (Colossians 3:17).. More from Sam Crabtree:.. Brothers, Praise Somebody Other Than God.. Praising Others Is Not Optional.. The Joy of Praising Others.. (podcast episode).. Topic:.. Spiritual Leadership.. Sam Crabtree is executive pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church and the author of.. Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God.. (Crossway, 2011).. Edit..

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  • Title: Brothers, Praise Somebody Other Than God - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: November 29, 2012.. Brothers, praise somebody other than God.. I can hear blasphemy sirens going off in readers minds.. If praise somebody other than God means praise somebody.. instead.. of God, or.. more.. than God, the concern is warranted indeed.. But if praise somebody other than God means do it because God is honored by it, that s another thing entirely.. Commending Whom God Commends.. Is it possible that God actually receives.. honor from us when we praise somebody other than God? The answer can be yes.. In the same way that the heavens are declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), God s common kindness in everyone around us (both saint and sinner) is declaring his glory as well.. But just as God does not receive as much glory when we fail to pause, observe the heavens, and verbalize our praise, so he does not receive as much glory when we fail to pause, observe his goodness in others lives around us, and verbalize our praise.. So, we could say, Brothers, praise somebody other than God,.. for God s sake.. Or even, Brothers, agree with God, and commend somebody he commends.. Merely praising somebody other than God isn t enough.. God isn t necessarily honored by that.. The question is, How can we praise somebody other than God.. for God s glory.. ?.. God-Centered Praise for Those Who Are Not God.. We do it by praising persons who are not God in a God-centered way, by praising them for being godly, for being Christlike, by commending them for God s glory, applauding them for doing something good in the strength God supplies (1 Peter 4:11).. This is how we complete the loop when Jesus teaches us that people should let their lights so shine that others see their good works.. and what? Glorify their Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).. If we don t glorify God for people s good works, we miss the point of Jesus s teaching and the point of their good works, which are works that are.. what? Good! We must recognize them as such, and say so.. And they did those good works, because God was at work in them.. So he gets the final, ultimate credit.. For many of us, our churches and homes and offices and marketplaces are full of people doing good works in the strength God supplies.. Our job is to get for God the glory he deserves by calling out the goodness he s worked through others and commending it openly.. God Praises Others.. God himself — to whom all praise is finally due — praises others.. Is he violating his own most basic revelation? As a jealous God, he permits no competition.. You shall have no other gods before  ...   the woman of great faith, and more.. God the Father describes Noah as righteous in his generation, Jabez as more honorable than his brothers, and Solomon as very great and even majestic.. And what does the Bible say we are to do with the noble woman of Proverbs 31? Answer: she is to be praised! (verse 30).. Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.. There is something defective about a person who does not want to be praised by God.. Every person in existence should want to hear God say at the end of his life, Well done, good and faithful servant.. Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:10).. And when we are so praised, we will immediately deflect the praise to God saying, It was God s grace at work in me.. We get the praise — and the joy of deflecting it back to him.. We should desire to be like Paul when he says, Our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God (2 Corinthians 1:12).. Paul is boasting about his own behavior — but only by the grace of God.. So affirmation travels horizontally toward people and passes vertically through them to God where it lands.. For God s Good and Ours.. If anything is commendable, we should take delight in commending it.. We are commanded to esteem our leaders very highly because of their work in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13).. When we become fountains of affirmation, God gets the honor he deserves, others are refreshed, we gain a hearing (people tend to be influenced by those who commend them), general morale is lifted, our mouths are filled with praise instead of complaint and grumbling, and good things are increasingly valued and are more likely to be repeated.. So, brothers, for God s sake, praise somebody other than God.. ".. Brothers, We Are Still Not Professionals: Reclaiming the Centrality of the Supernatural in Ministry.. " is the theme of the Desiring God 2013 Conference for Pastors (February 4–6 in Minneapolis).. The forthcoming revised and expanded edition of John Piper's book.. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.. is now available for.. pre-order.. Other posts in this series:.. Brothers, Live a Visible, Exemplary, Everyday Life.. , Jeff Vanderstelt.. Brothers, Supernatural Does Not Mean Stupid.. , John Piper.. Brothers, the Ministry Is Supernatural.. Brothers, We Are Not Sisters.. , Doug Wilson.. Brothers, Build a Gospel Culture.. , Ray Ortlund.. Brothers, Train Up the Next Generation.. , Mike Bullmore.. Brothers, We Should Stink.. , Thabiti Anyabwile.. Brothers, We Are Not Superstars.. , Danny Akin.. Brothers, We Are Not Professors.. , R.. C.. Sproul, Jr.. Pastoral Ministry..

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  • Title: Praising Others is Not Optional - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Praising Others is Not Optional.. March 15, 2012.. God-centered praise of those who are not God is not optional.. A fire not stoked goes out.. A refrigerator unplugged rots the eggs.. A garden not tended erupts with weeds.. Affirmation is the fire-stoking, refrigerator-electrifying, garden-tending side of relationships.. Relationships in which commendable things are not commended, but overlooked, take on a flavor.. The relationship is marked, and we take on a reputation to those around us.. Barnabas is called the “son of encouragement.. ” What’s.. my.. reputation? Mr.. Crabby Pants? Old Lady Battle-Axe? Miss Nit-Pick? We bring refreshment to relationships when we unleash so many affirmations that those around us lose track.. I am not suggesting a checklist approach to life.. Healthy affirming is more organic, a way of living.. It’s more like romance than rocket science.. It’s less like knitting (with its knit one, pearl two) and more like the weather – how much rain is enough? Well, that depends on how dry it’s been.. And what are you trying to grow – a watermelon or a tumbleweed?.. Jesus said, “As you did.. do it to one of the least of these, you did.. do it to me.. ” (Matthew 25:41) If you didn’t affirm.. them.. , you didn’t affirm.. him.. The thing that compounds a deficiency in affirmation is a surplus of  ...   leave a scar.. Affirmations are like ointment that can assist the healing.. When we don’t affirm those around us enough, they stop hearing our corrections, eventually stop listening to us altogether, and perhaps become oppositional toward us.. Conversely, affirmations gain a hearing for us.. The principle is this: people tend to be influenced by those who praise them.. It’s true in marriages, families, classrooms, churches, and even true in our relationship with God, for what does he inhabit? Answer: the praises of his people.. Puritan Richard Baxter said, “They love those who best esteem them highest.. The fault of these admirers can be extenuated and easily forgiven.. If you would have his favor, let him hear that you have magnified him behind his back and that you honor him…”.. John Calvin says, “We readily believe those whom we know to be desirous of our welfare, connecting the hearing of those around us with our manifest goodwill toward them, which is made manifest by commending them when they reflect Christ.. Affirmation is the purpose of the universe – specifically affirmation of God.. Lord, help me honor you and refresh others by commending the work you are doing in them.. ____________.. This was the third and final installment of Sam’s blog series, “Practicing Affirmation: The Art of Praising Others” (part.. one.. , part.. ).. Encouragement..

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  • Title: The Joy of Praising Others - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: September 7, 2013.. The key to commending others is knowing Jesus.. Not only is he the source of all that is right and good and beautiful, but as the God-man, he is the perfect human embodiment of our standard for praise.. When we spot in others some commendable attitude or action — something that even faintly echoes one of Jesus’s many excellencies — the Christian thing to do is point it out and praise it.. Essential Ingredient in Healthy Relationships.. When it comes to affirming others, Sam Crabtree literally wrote the book on it.. He is author of.. , and those who know him can testify to how refreshingly he lives out the message in everyday life.. Affirming one another is no small thing.. Far too many relationships are deeply damaged by lack of affirmation.. Sam says that in over 30 years of pastoral ministry, he has never seen a marriage end in divorce when a husband and wife kept up the practice of regularly affirming one other.. Much is at stake in noticing the good and naming it.. Affirmation is no mere icing on the cake.. It’s an essential ingredient in the very  ...   a hearing for correction in the future.. Pointing out the positives can demonstrate that we’re on someone’s side, and incline them to take our counsel to heart when we have some constructive criticism to offer down the road.. Practicing affirmation is part of the warp and woof of life-giving relationships in the home, the church, and the workplace.. To access this 13-minute episode,.. subscribe to Theology Refresh in iTunes.. , listen.. at the resource page.. , or.. download.. the audio.. Recent episodes of Theology Refresh:.. Giving the Gospel Graciously.. Church Planting and Missional Communities.. Simple Church Planting.. A Voyage into Narnia.. Loving Muslims, While Rejecting Islam.. How to Engage in Spiritual Warfare.. To subscribe or see the full list of over 30 episodes,.. visit Theology Refresh in the iTunes store.. Loving Others.. David Mathis (.. @davidcmathis.. ) is executive editor for Desiring God and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Twin Cities.. He and his wife, Megan, have twin sons and live in Minneapolis.. David has edited several books, including.. Thinking.. Loving.. Doing.. Finish the Mission.. , and most recently.. Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification..

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  • Title: Why We Click Stupid Links - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Deer pierced in the face by arrow.. Guess who’s back in skinny jeans?.. Do astronauts clean their undies?.. The magnetic pull we sometimes feel to headlines like these predates the Internet and the evening news.. It was a concern taken up by church father Augustine, born on November 13, 354 A.. D.. (more than 1,650 years ago).. Augustine and Idle Curiosities.. Augustine reflected on the temptations clouding and distracting his own heart in his classic of church history,.. The Confessions.. There he builds off the biblical precedent in 1 John 2:16: “All that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and.. the desires of the eyes.. and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.. This phrase, “the desires of the eyes,” Augustine interprets as.. idle curiosities.. Such idle curiosities are not limited to the visual but encompass impulses of all five senses.. Vanity in Many Forms.. The allure of the world’s idle curiosities is rooted deep in our ancestry, traced back to the rebellious curiosity of Adam and Eve over one tree in the garden.. As their fallen children, we’re all hardwired with the same “frivolous, avid curiosity” which often “masquerades as a zeal for knowledge and learning” and “a thirst for firsthand information about everything.. In Augustine’s day (like ours), such idle curiosity took many forms.. It included gossip (1 Timothy 5:13).. It included all forms of magic, astrology, and witchcraft.. It was behind the vain fascination with signs and wonders (Luke 23:8).. It was behind the lewd dancing in the theater.. It was behind the cultural fixation with death, blood, and mangled corpses.. And it was behind the bloodbath spectacles of animal killings and gladiator combat in the amphitheater.. The ancient Coliseum was a buffet of vain curiosities, all by design.. The public loved to be entertained by the massacres, which the emperors happily funded to boost approval ratings, all heightening into a popular showcase of  ...   writes Augustine, reflects “the impulses of a soul that is dead, though not dead in such a way as to be motionless.. It dies by forsaking the fountain of life (Jeremiah 2:13).. The Takeaway.. Nothing trivial escapes God’s attention (Matthew 12:36).. But is it a sin to enjoy three minutes of YouTube humor or new music videos or the feats of daredevils you clicked on through Twitter? Maybe.. Maybe not.. It depends where those videos lead your thoughts, and what thoughts led you there in the first place.. There’s a.. vain curiosity.. attracted to vanity and emptiness, and there’s a.. sanctified curiosity.. drawn in all things toward God’s beauty.. This possibility is presented to us in every hyperlink.. And so Augustine emerges from history to ask us three reflective questions about our browsing history:.. Am I seeking out hyperlinks that offer me a promising pathway to see more of God’s beauty?.. Or, are my hyperlink habits unregulated, prompted by some inner whim, and terminating on nothing more than my vain curiosity?.. Or, most tragic of all, are the hyperlinks I click on really just a series of pint-size pothole cisterns out of which I hope to slurp up a little gratification for my empty soul?.. Much is at stake with mouse or mobile device in hand.. On this day — Augustine’s birthday — may God give us his spiritual wherewithal to not brush aside such important questions in the seemingly mundane of our daily lives.. Recent posts from Tony Reinke —.. You Were Created to Sing.. God’s Pleasure in You.. What Your Passions Say About You.. Sanctification Growth.. Tony Reinke (.. @tonyreinke.. ) is a content strategist at Desiring God, blogger, the author of.. Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books.. (2011) and.. John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ.. (2015), and hosts the.. Ask Pastor John.. Authors on the Line.. podcasts.. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Karalee, and their three children..

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  • Title: God’s Pleasure in You - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: November 2, 2013.. Does God find pleasure in you?.. When he looks at you, does he smile?.. In short, if you’re in Christ, the answer is.. yes.. But the answer to.. how.. why.. on what basis.. needs some explaining.. We can break God’s delight for the redeemed into three categories: (1) a delight in election, (2) a delight in redemption, and (3) a delight in holiness.. Delight in Election.. First, God has expressed delight in his children in the election.. Unconditionally and freely, without a hint of injustice or unfairness, God chooses to set his delight on certain human souls, and this delight is an expression of the delight of the triune God (Luke 10:21).. God freely delights in electing children for redemption and for adoption into his family (Romans 9:10–18, Ephesians 1:3–6).. Such a predestined delight over us in election is unconditional to anything in us.. Delight in Redemption.. Second, God delights in the redemption of his elect in Christ (Luke 15:7).. This delight hinges on the perfect work of Christ and the application of his work to the elect, by faith, in space and time.. Even down to the display of our saving faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).. And once his children are set free from the legal demands of righteousness, and stand forever justified by their union to Christ, God sings over them a song of delight (Zephaniah 3:14–17).. Think of the angel’s joy in heaven over the redemption of one sinner.. And think of the father’s overflowing party of delight lavished on his prodigal son.. Similarly, when the elect are redeemed, God’s heart is drawn to eternally delight over you,.. for you.. (Luke 15:11–24).. Delight in Holy Obedience.. Third, God delights in sincere obedience.. In one of the most mysterious and profound realities in the universe, the Father’s delight in Jesus was.. increased.. after the incarnation, as Jesus matured (Luke 2:52).. Think about it.. By his obedience to the will of the Father, the Son abides in the delight of his Father (John 10:18, 12:49; 14:31; 15:10).. It’s a biblical truth that leaves me mystified.. No mystery, however, is the pattern of Jesus we follow in obedience.. And by our obedience we abide in God’s love, and God delights in our holiness (John 14:21–24).. In true obedience we experience the abiding love of Christ and increasing joy of God (John 15:9–11).. For example, humility is beautifully attractive to God.. Humility catches his eye.. The broken, humble heart draws God close and induces his delight (James 4:8–10; Isaiah 57:15, 66:2; Psalm  ...   into radiant creatures properly reflecting God’s glory in the fullness of our being.. This consummation of God’s election and redemption in glorification is found in grand storylines like Ephesians 1:3–10 and Romans 8:29–30.. The delight of God over his children, strong and constant on the basis of election, unshakably secure in the application of redemption, grows in relation to our real holiness and conformity to his will — someday to be perfected to his even greater delight!.. Marvel!.. Anyone in Christ can look at this plan of God and marvel.. In the beginning, God created humans to magnify his glory.. He made me.. I rejected him and chose sin instead, to my ruin and despair.. But unknown to me, in eternity past, he set his special love on me.. By his beautiful obedience, Christ entered the world to live and die and redeem me, by name, to justify me, to give me the Spirit, and to re-create something beautiful out of this mess called.. me.. , something fully obedient, fully radiant in holiness, fully happy in holy communion with God.. All my sins and disobedience right now pain him.. Yet he delights in all my labors against sin, and my labors to obey, and he lovingly disciplines me toward a day when I will reflect my Savior’s glory to the core of my motives, my thoughts, and all my words and actions, to his great delight.. This is what God created me to be!.. We need this today.. As Kevin DeYoung says it, “One of the main motivations for obedience is the pleasure of God.. Or as John Piper says it, “God is delighted with our obedience when it is the fruit of our delight in him.. Our obedience is God’s pleasure when it proves that God is our treasure.. Further reading:.. On God’s delight in holiness see Kevin DeYoung,.. The Hole in Our Holiness.. (Crossway; 2012), chapter five: “The Pleasure of God and the Possibility of Godliness,” and also Wayne Grudem’s contribution in.. For the Fame of God’s Name.. (Crossway; 2010), chapter fourteen: “Pleasing God by Our Obedience: A Neglected New Testament Teaching.. On God’s delights (in general), see John Piper,.. (Multnomah; 2000), and especially chapter nine.. On this threefold delight over his children — election (.. amor benevolentiae.. ), redemption (.. amor beneficentiae.. ), and obedience (.. amor complacentiae vel amicitiae.. ) — see Richard A.. Muller,.. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics.. (Baker Academic; 2003), 3:561–9, and Francis Turretin,.. Institutes of Elenctic Theology.. (P R; 1992), 1:242 (iii.. xx.. v).. Sonship (Adoption by God)..

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  • Title: What Your Passions Say About You - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: August 31, 2013.. Actions speak louder than words — but desires speak loudest.. The pursuit of pleasure is what drives all our actions and decisions, driving us into relationships, driving us to watch football, driving us toward excellence at work.. We authentically pursue what we are convinced will bring us pleasure.. John Bunyan was a pastor who spent considerable time thinking about how pleasures operate in our lives.. In one of his sermons Bunyan said: “desires are hunting things.. ” Stalking through cornfields in boots, camo overalls, and a blaze orange hat is a fitting metaphor for the restless heart in search of pleasures.. Our hearts are hungry and our hearts hunt this world for something (or someone) to fill a void.. But of course not all of our desires are good and helpful.. Our desires may be pure or sinfully twisted.. Discerning the Desires.. Sinful desires manifest themselves in sinful actions and words.. A heart bent on sinful, selfish pursuits will trample anyone who gets in the way (James 4:1–4).. Self-centered desires lead into all sorts of problems: the desire to win arguments, to overeat, to indulge in laziness, to pursue sexual sin, or to chase after selfish gain.. The heart chases a million desires.. The gospel of Jesus Christ confronts these sinful desires head-on.. Christ died on a cross not merely to self-improve us but to re-create us, from the inside out, and that includes our unseen desires and motivations.. By God’s regenerating grace, new desires begin to emerge in us.. For the first time, we desire to commune with God, to spend time with him, and to learn about him in the Bible.. We feel a new pull towards God like we’ve never experienced before (Isaiah 26:9).. These new longings and desires and anticipations get expressed to him in our prayers (Romans 8:15).. And we experience new delight in gathering with God’s people in church on Sundays, and new delight to live in obedience to God’s will, all for his honor and his glory.. As Bunyan said, “Love to God is more seen in desires than in any Christian act.. ” This is because outward religion and actions can be faked; but our deepest desires cannot.. Therefore, “There is nothing that God likes of ours better than he likes our true desires.. When God has a priority in our desires, he has our hearts.. And this is a miracle.. What fundamentally changes is that we no longer live for ourselves and for the gratification of our sinful inclinations.. Our hearts are now driven by new desires for  ...   is what it means to live a life of desiring God.. But we haven’t exactly answered the initial question: What do your desires say about you?.. Hunters Follow.. Bunyan’s metaphor of hunting fits our desires.. The promises of pleasure will lead our searching hearts somewhere.. Just as the hunter tracks, so does the heart.. This was Bunyan’s conclusion when he stopped to study Proverbs 10:24:.. What the wicked dreads will come upon him,.. but the desire of the righteous will be granted.. Here in this passage is the answer to our question.. Our passions expose our eternal trajectory.. Apart from Christ, sinful and self-centered pleasures will lead us toward unimaginable pain and eternal judgment away from the presence of God.. But in Christ, no matter how strong those old desires tug at you, your sins have all been paid for, you have been covered with God’s righteousness, and as a result of God’s saving grace you will find in yourself new desires that only God himself can satisfy (Isaiah 61:10; Romans 4:5).. Pleasures Forever.. Because Christ died and was raised from the dead for you, you will find in Christ that every eternal pleasure you can imagine has been pre-paid.. They’re all yours.. Your life in Christ today is to be lived in anticipation of the future eternal joys that will be showered on you, joys beyond your wildest imagination as you live in the presence of God and Christ for all eternity (Hebrews 11:6; 1 Corinthians 2:9).. This is the enduring testimony of.. John Bunyan.. , a man who hunted the world and found only heartache until he found his joy in Jesus Christ.. He was converted and became a pastor, dedicating his life to studying the Bible, preaching Christ, and helping others make sense of their desires.. For preaching Christ he landed himself in prison where he wrote one of the most famous books in Church history (.. Pilgrim’s Progress.. Bunyan entered into unspeakable eternal pleasures on this day, 325 years ago.. For more on the theme of desiring God — or what we call Christian Hedonism — see these resources from John Piper:.. 2-minute interview, “.. What Is Christian Hedonism.. ?”.. 900-word article, “.. We Want You to Be a Christian Hedonist!.. ”.. 52-minute sermon, “.. God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him.. 92-page book,.. The Dangerous Duty of Delight: Daring to Make God Your Greatest Desire.. 372-page book,.. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.. All Bunyan quotes taken from.. The Works of John Bunyan.. (Glasgow, 1854), 1:751, 762.. Christian Hedonism..

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