Herding the Elephants

“This isn’t on the scale of Piper inviting Warren. This is more akin to Augustine inviting Muhammad.” -Thabiti Anyabwile

“Thanks for the herding. Now lets hope there’s no more breeding and that the issue becomes extinct.” -Clint Archer, response to Riccardi’s synopsis

For a great synopsis of the Elephant Room debacle, check out Mike Riccardi’s post at the Cripplegate.

http://thecripplegate.com/herding-the-elephants/

A Blockbuster Deal

With all the drama surrounding NBA trades, I thought I’d bring back a post by Challies which he wrote in response to the 2006 Trade Deadline day for Major League Baseball.

“I began to wonder what the church would look like if it ran on a market similar to major league sports. I wonder if it would go a little something like this:

Sun Valley, CA

Hot off the wires, the Associated Press reports a blockbuster trade. With the annual ecclesiastical trade deadline only hours away, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Grace Community Church have agreed to a four pastor deal. While early rumors indicated this might be a three-church trade involving Capitol Hill Baptist Church, the final deal is as follows:

Grace will send Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur, Minister of Music Clayton Erb and Associate Pastor, High School Ministry Eric Bancroft to Bethlehem in return for Pastor for Preaching and Vision John Piper, Lead Pastor for Operations Jon Grano and future considerations. MacArthur, widely regarded as the nation’s leading expositor, agreed to waive his no-trade clause in return for an expanded book allowance. Piper, world-class author and highly-regarded preacher, will assume MacArthur’s pulpit and radio duties. We are unable to confirm whether Piper will be expected to transition from the ESV translation of the Bible to the NASB.

While Piper was unavailable for comment, his agent read the following prepared statement: “While he was initially disappointed to hear of this trade, Pastor Piper is looking forward to serving the men and women of Sun Valley, California.” Author of more than 20 books, Piper has been serving Bethlehem since 1980. He is expected to join the staff of Grace Community Church this week. It is believed that Piper’s new contract stipulates that he will not be allowed to raise his hands in worship and will be limited to eight hyphenated words per sermon.

This trade, which had been the subject of rumors for several weeks, addresses pressing concerns in both churches. Sources who wished to remain anonymous indicated earlier this week that, while a deal was close, Bethlehem was unwilling to complete a trade without involving Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace To You. It appears now that Johnson, who has edited most of MacArthur’s major books, will remain with Grace To You and will edit forthcoming books by John Piper. “I am excited about supporting the God-exulting, Christ-centered ministry of John Piper,” said Johnson. Dr. Piper’s next book is expected to hit bookstore shelves later this year.

Grace spokesman Dan Dumas said, “While we are sorry to have to say goodbye to Dr. MacArthur, we know that he will be warmly received by his new church family. We look forward to many years of fruitful ministry with John Piper.” MacArthur has authored over 70 books and has been serving at Grace Church since 1969. Grano is expected to fill a newly-created position in Grace Church.

Meanwhile, in receiving Clayton Erb, Bethlehem addresses their pressing and much-publicized need for a minister of music. “We have three Associate Pastors and a Ministry Assistant, but no Minister of Music,” said spokesman Sam Crabtree. “Clayton will solidify and organize this talented staff.” The addition of a Minster of Music prepares Bethlehem for a busy Autumn and the always difficult Christmas season.

Shortly after the deal was announced, MacArthur was seen smiling as he said farewell to his former staff. He and Erb are expected to be available for duty in Bethlehem as soon as this Sunday. Bancroft, a talented and highly-rated rookie who ranks 11th in the Rookie Report’s 2006 rankings, will be groomed as a possible long-term successor to MacArthur.

Asked what would become of Piper’s decade-long series on Romans, Dumas said, “It is over. We expect Pastor Piper to begin a three-year series on Philemon beginning later this Fall.”

While this trade puts Grace near the salary cap, Bethlehem has apparently agreed to cover a portion of Piper’s salary through the 2006 season.”

-Tim Challies, complements of: http://www.challies.com/articles/a-blockbuster-deal

Boredom in Heaven

“If heaven were heaven because of streets of gold and gates of pearl, if that were all, you would attempt suicide within 10,000 years from boredom” -Paul Washer

“Everyone wants to go to heaven, they just don’t want God to be there too.” -Paul Washer

“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 pleasure you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied in heaven if Jesus wasn’t there? -John Piper

The Folly of Self-Esteem

A lack of self-esteem is often blamed for man’s troubles. John Piper asserts that self-esteem is the gospel of the modern age. However, such ought not be the case for the slave of God.

“There is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self.” “The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting pace at the center.” “Sometimes people stumble over [the] vastness [of the universe] in relation to the apparent insignificance of man. It does seem to make us infinitesimally small. But the meaning of this magnitude is not mainly about us. It’s about God. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God,’ says the Scripture. The reason for ‘wasting’ so much space on a universe to house a speck of humanity is to make a point about our Maker, not us. ‘Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these [stars]? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing’ (Isaiah 40:26).” Man can only find true healing for his soul through recognizing the greatness of God and giving Him the worship He is due.

(quotes taken from John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, 13-15)

Longings for Christ

“Eternal Father, you never had a beginning. You will never have an ending. You are the Alpha and the Omega. This we believe, because you have revealed it to us. Our hearts leap up with gratitude that you have opened our eyes to see and know that Jesus Christ is your eternal, divine Son, begotten, not made, and that you, O Father, and he, your Son, are one God.

We tremble even to take such glorious truths on our lips for fear of dishonoring you with withering and inadequate words. But we must speak, because we must praise you. Silence would shame us, and the rocks themselves would cry out. You must be praised for who you are in the world you have made. And we must thank you because you have made us taste and see the glory of Jesus Christ, your Son. Oh, to know him! Father, we long to know him.

Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world.”

-John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, 25-26