John Piper on The Bethlehem Institute

Earlier this week John Piper announced the plan to expand TBI (The Bethlehem Institute) into an accredited college and seminary at Hope Commons, the new home of Desiring God.

I am writing this letter to express my amazement and joy over what God appears to be doing with this ministry.

Nothing here has been precipitous. It has been in the making for over ten years. I would say it goes back twenty-five years to Tom Steller’s earliest mentoring of apprentices and teaching hundreds of our people what used to be called LTTTR (Leadership Training through Theological Reflection).

Now a flash point has been reached for moving to new levels of training and a new place of ministry.

The new levels of education include moving toward becoming an accredited college and seminary. That means offering as soon as is feasible an accredited BA in Biblical Studies and an accredited MA and MDiv at the seminary level.

The new place of ministry means moving the classes and library and offices to Hope Commons at 2300 Chicago Avenue South. This former hospital building will house Hope Academy (K-12), Minnesota Teen Challenge, TBI, and Desiring God and Children’s Desiring God. The building is free from a visionary donor. But the ministries must pay to build out the space. That is what we are praying toward now.

The details of the vision and the move can be read in the document “TBI @ Hope Commons: Facility Expansion to Match New Vision” (PDF).

What moves me most deeply about this plan is that it is all built around a solid, biblical, Reformed affirmation of faith—The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith (PDF). The longer I have thought about it, the more it has seemed wise to me that the educational enterprise I would love to give my remaining life to is one that is robustly Reformed with all the vital signs connected with Christian Hedonism

Add to this that the dreamers at this stage in TBI include those who have long experience in higher education. They see the paralyzing effects of massive debt incurred by college students. We believe there is a way to re-conceive higher education to avoid this kind of debt so that students are free for radical mission. We do not aim at just being another school. It will have, we believe, a unique combination of theological, intellectual, affectional, communal, and financial commitments.

I would like to be a part of this vision for the remainder of my life. I believe the church and the world need leaders shaped by this vision of God. I pray that you will find it compelling.

—John Piper
Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bethlehem Baptist Church

Via: Desiring God

God Will Heal My Faithlessness

Despite eight years of new life in Christ, my poor, guilty soul still becomes overwhelmingly anxious at times. A dark cloud comes and just sits over my head, not letting any hope from God’s promises or past faithfulness get through and restore my joy.

And it’s my fault. It’s unbelief and sin.

God never intended for me to find my abiding joy in the circumstances of this life—”in this world you will have trouble”—but to hope in him and his salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-19; 1 Peter 1:13).

Nonetheless, I still let outward things determine my inward state, with the result that I have fickle joy, not Paul-like joy—the kind that would lead me to say,

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:12)

So when this unhappy lack of sturdy joy leads me to pray (which it always does, and I thank God!), I don’t want to pray primarily for my circumstances to change. I want to pray first for my unbelieving heart to change.

And then I take more comfort in the Father than ever before:

Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness. (Jeremiah 3:22)

—Tyler Kenney

Via: Desiring God Blog

What is Your Only Comfort in Life and in Death?

Question: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer: That I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Source: The Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 1 – Question 1

What is Prayer?

Question: What is Prayer?

Answer: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Source: The Westminster Shorter Catechism – Question 98

Make Disciples of all Nations

Jesus’ final demand is that we never lose sight of the global scope of his claim on the human race. He is not a tribal deity. He is the Lord of the universe. Every knee will one day bow, either willingly or unwillingly (Matthew 25:31-32). All judgment is given to him (John 5:22). The demand is that his followers reach the nations with “all that he has commanded.” “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

— John Piper
What Jesus Demands from the World

When a Sticker Matters

The greatest cause in the world is joyfully rescuing people from hell, meeting their earthly needs, making them glad in God, and doing it with a kind, serious pleasure that makes Christ look like the Treasure he is.

—Don’t Waste Your Life Sticker

Via: Desiring God Blog

Make a Difference that Lasts

God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

…whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.

—John Piper

Do People Bore You?

I’m working on a book on the new birth. The final chapter is designed to give encouragements for personal evangelism. I just added a quote by C. S. Lewis that I love. Here’s the whole section to help you move toward people:

Find People Interesting

Be encouraged that simply finding people interesting and caring about them is a beautiful pathway into their heart. Evangelism gets a bad reputation when we are not really interested in people and don’t seem to care about them. People really are interesting. The person you are talking to is an amazing creation of God with a thousand interesting experiences. Remember the words of C. S. Lewis:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. (The Weight of Glory, 14-15)

Yet, most of us don’t think this way. The gods bore us and we return to our video games. Very few people are interested in others. If you really find their story interesting, and care about them, they may open up to you and want to hear your story — Christ’s story.

—John Piper

Via: Desiring God Blog