In a recent BLOG post, John Piper tells why he is about to begin a lengthy exposition of John’s gospel. I thought reading it would be a good reminder of some benefits of studying John as we begin our last 9 month stretch in this amazing gospel account (Lord willing). Given the time period, it may feel like a pregnancy from this time on, but I look forward to what the Word of God will birth in us as a result of our time looking at the person of Christ through this God-breathed record.
On a somewhat humorous related note, in a previous ministry I was once accused of preaching one of John Piper’s sermons. I had quoted him in a message and received an anonymous note (gotta love those) after the service saying, “It’s one thing to quote Piper and another to preach one of his sermons!” The combination of its anonymity and accusation did not leave me with a very warm feeling.
I immediately went home, got on the internet, and frantically searched the online library of DesiringGod.org and thankfully found not one message on my text from that morning. Jan said I should feel complimented that one of my sermons sounded Piper-esque. Any of you who knows me, knows that Jan’s point was far too encouraging for me to accept. So, I ate it (figuratively speaking), prayed and moved on.
The truth is, there may not be a stronger contemporary influence on my pastoral theology than John Piper. His writings came to me at a pivotal time in my life and his perspective of the pleasures of God residing in a restful, peaceful sovereign grace through Christ was nothing less than pivotal for my ministry and personal life. So, I do not aspire to preach like Piper. I DO aspire to preach the Christ that Piper knows, and the one that I am striving to know.
One dear friend suggested that I tell “Johnny” (Piper) to “get off my coat-tails.” While he meant it funny, he could not have imagined the extent of laughter his email produced in my wife and me when I read it out loud last night. I love that God has drawn me to a body of believers who want to take theology seriously and deeply, all the while remembering to laugh a bit along the way! Blessings to you all!