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What Are Your Thoughts on Halloween? (John Piper)

What Are Your Thoughts on Halloween? (John Piper)


What are your thoughts on Halloween?

It’s kind of one of those questions of, “Do you see Christ against culture, Christ in culture, or Christ over culture?”

I would guess that at our church there would be people from one end of perspective to the other.

That is, some who say, “We don’t want anything to do with that demonic holiday! Why would you even be involved with that at all?” And others who would have their children dress up as a butterfly and go knocking on doors and say, “Trick or treat!” And then in the middle would be people who do counter events, like a thing at the church where you dress up like biblical characters and have a great time.

I’m totally OK with the middle one and the first one. And sort of OK with the second one. I grew up trick-or-treating. We were pretty serious trick-or-treaters, right into teenage years.

There isn’t much in my neighborhood. We’re kind of an inner-city neighborhood, and it’s not the most lucrative place to go knocking on doors. You’re not going to fill your bag up with the best. You better go to the suburbs if you want to get a good pile.

So I would hope that all Christians would think biblically and carefully about any holiday, any event, and how they might be salt and light in it. And if they feel like this can be of value to the kids in some way, to teach them—if it can be an innocent way of enjoying God’s grace and teaching lessons—so be it.

I’m willing to run the risk of attachment to worldliness in order to be biblically faithful in witness. The same thing with Christmas and birthdays and Easter and worshipping on Sunday. All of these things have pagan connections.

I want to be loose and broad and give freedom to believers to find their way to be most effective. So I respect those who are renouncing it as too connected with evil, and I respect those who say, “No, let’s redeem it and penetrate it and use it.”

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2019 in Halloween

 

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Still Another Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: A Definition of SIN!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in sin

 

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Another Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: My Feelings!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2019 in feelings

 

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A Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: The Purposes of God

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in sovereignty

 

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Habits of Holiness: #2- Stop Playing with Praying!

A man went to see his doctor. The doctor said to the man, “I have some very bad news for you. I am so sorry.” The man said “What?!” The doctor said, “You’re going to die!” The man said, “How much time do I have, Doc?’ The doctor said ’10’.” “Ten?” The man said. “Ten what? Ten years? Ten months? WHAT?!” The doctor said, “9. 8. 7.”

Now, I’ve not been told that I only have six months to live, but what if that were true? What would I do for the next six months? How would my life change? What priorities would take center stage in my life? How would such news impact my relationship with others — my unsaved friends, my fellow Christians, my wife, my children and grandchildren?

The spiritual discipline that I probably struggle the most with is . . . PRAYER! I think of prayer as a kind of last-resort-passive-practice when I can’t solve my own problems. It seems I have God on speed dial and His only number is 911.

Pastor John Piper puts it this way: “One of the Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 8.14.02 PMgreat uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

Mind if I give you an assignment? Study one of the great prayers of the Bible (the Apostle Paul has some fantastic ones in his epistles). Make a note below in the Comments’ section which prayer you studied. How would your prayer life change if you prayed like that? [I’ve studied Paul’s prayer in Colossians and you can access that prayer here.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in prayer

 

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How Should I Pray for . . . Others? (A Study of Colossians 1:9-14) Part 9

When I think of endurance, I immediately think of the word IdidarodThis annual long-distance dog race is run in early March entirely in the state of Alaska.  Mushers and a team of 16 dogs cover the distance in 8-15 days or more through blizzards in sometimes whiteout conditions.  One thousand and forty-nine miles!

Talk about endurance!  And for the musher too!  We’ve been thinking about Paul’s prayer for the Colossian believers in Colossians 1. We’ve seen his strategic commitment to pray for them in 1:9 and then began noticing the specific content of his prayer in verses 9-12. His first request for them was that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will (v. 9). His second request was that they would live a life worthy of the Lord (v. 10). His third request was that they would bear fruit in every good work (v. 10). He brings a fourth request before the Lord and it is that they would grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10).  His fifth request is that they would get strong in living out the Christian life (v. 11). 

This morning let’s notice that he prays that they would —

F. Endure When Life Gets Rough (v. 11)

Paul’s specific request is that “you may have great endurance and patience.”  Great endurance.  Would anyone say that about my Christian life?  Maybe a measure of endurance, but great endurance?

If I am going to pray for other believers like the Apostle Paul did, I need to ask God to give them great endurance.  What would that look like?  Several circumstances come to my mind:

1. This believer is consistent in spending significant time in God’s Word.
2. This brother or sister is seeking to use their spiritual gifts to serve the Body of Christ.
3. This Christian is not crushed when life doesn’t go his or her way.
4. This saint longs to know the Lord better and shows it in their priorities and daily choices.
5. This follower of Jesus isn’t afraid to take some RISKS for the kingdom of God.

I’ve found John Piper’s little book helpful in this area of endurance and risk.  Piper writes:

For whom are you praying that they would have “great endurance” as they take risks for the Lord?  [I just prayed that prayer for someone specific.  Your turn] (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2018 in praying for others

 

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What’s So Amazing about Grace? — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 1)

I’m a big believer in preaching.  We need the Word of God expounded, explained to us systematically and enthusiastically!  Regularly.  And carefully.  That’s part of the reason why I wrote the little booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!  I promise you that the mistakes I have made and learned from you can learn from to!

But I want to give away some of my favorite sermon outlines — with just a dose of explanation along the way.  So, here goes a sermon I wrote on God’s amazing grace.

What’s So Amazing about Grace?
(a study of Titus 2:11-15).

I.  God’s Grace Is a Salvation-Bringing Grace (v. 11)

This grace has “appeared . . . to all people.”  In what sense?  Has the gospel gotten to everyone in the world?  No!  And that’s why God calls missionaries to share the Good News about the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, then, what does Paul mean by this grace “has appeared”?  He may be referring to the coming of the Lord Jesus to die for our sins.  HE is the grace of God come down to give His life a ransom for sinners (Mk. 10:45).

John Piper’s book God Is the Gospel makes this point quite effectively.  Listen to a few quotes from that powerful little book:

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there? ”

“Long looking with admiration produces change. From your heroes you pick up mannerisms and phrases and tones of voice and facial expressions and habits and demeanors and convictions and beliefs. The more admirable the hero is and the more intense your admiration is, the more profound will be your transformation. In the case of Jesus, he is infinitely admirable, and our admiration rises to the most absolute worship. Therefore, when we behold him as we should, the change is profound.”

Piper says many other things in that little book, but essentially his point is:  When you believed the gospel, YOU GOT GOD!  God’s salvation-bringing grace redeemed you.  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Titus 2

 

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