John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is simultaneously a challenging and encouraging read. Pastoral ministry is serious work. It is not to be taken casually or viewed as a less strenuous alternative to a other professions. It is a glorious, demanding, painful, thrilling, satisfying endeavor with eternal ramifications. Pastors are charged with the accurate handling of God’s Word and responsible for the souls of men. It is no wonder why Paul cried out, “Who is sufficient for these things” (2 Cor. 2:16)? Continue reading “Two Lessons Learned from John Piper's 'Brothers, We are Not Professionals'”
A quote has been firmly wedged in my mind since I finished John Piper’s Brothers we are not Professionals that I thought I would share with you. It has been tremendously helpful to me as I have let it simmer in my heart over the past few days.
In the chapter, Brothers, Read Christian Biography, Piper reflects on the lives of some of the most fruitful and, in terms of sheer output, most productive men in church history. One man in particular was Karl Barth. Although Barth was massively productive during much of his life, when he retired from his professorship in 1962, T.H.L Parker tells us he “lost the stimulus provided by the need to give lectures.” Exactly what this means in regards to Barth’s actual output after he retired I am not sure, but Piper seems to interpret it negatively: on the flap of the book, Piper wrote in response,”Has greatness emerged from anything but pressure? If greatness is to be servant of all, must we not be under authority, under demand, pushed, pressed?” In other words, when the pressure stops, so does the productivity.
I’m a high school pastor. During the course of any given week, I usually teach/preach, on average, 2-3 times, one time being during our Sunday morning fellowship group. But this week I get the special opportunity to address the whole church body. I will continue in our Summer’s series on the Psalms with a message from Psalm 63 entitled, Satisfied by Faith: A Psalmists Cure for Spiritual Drought.
As I have been preparing for this Sunday’s message, however, my mind has been drawn to a book I read a few years ago: John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching. The book is actually a ‘biography’ of Jonathan Edwards that focuses on Edwards’ insights into the ministry of preaching the Word of God. I thought it would be appropriate to peruse and meditate on a specific portion of the book in order to prepare my heart for this Sunday. I also thought it would be helpful to provide Piper’s exhortations for those of you who are preparing to preach this Sunday as well. Continue reading “Preparing for the Pulpit: Piper and Edwards on the Ministry of Preaching”
I love biographies. I love John Piper. So I really love biographies written by John Piper. The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon and William Wilberforce is the third book (of four) in the Swans are not Silent biography series. Piper, each year, hosts a pastor’s conference at his church. One of the favorite portions of this conference is Piper’s own contribution. Each year he gives an one hour lecture on the life of a great saint of the past. Over the past 20 years, Piper has mined wealth from the lives of men like Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan and William Cowper, just to name a few. These excellent lectures eventually make their way into book form. Each book contains short, 30-40 page biographies of three saints; each section focusing on particular distinctives of that specific saint. Continue reading “‘The Roots of Endurance’ by John Piper”