>Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Posted?

>Many of you may be following the John Piper sabbatical story. If not, you probably should, since the stuff is hitting the fan in many ways (don’t freak, he hasn’t committed gross sin or been exposed). Perhaps some who read this will smile as he is being hammered for inviting Rick Warren to speak. (for more info, CLICK HERE)

 It may well be that some who drop by here also don’t care for Mark Driscoll. Oh well. I trust that if you hammer him (or anyone else) you’ve at least read or listened to him, and, of course, written him a letter to tell him why you think he is off base rather than spread stuff about him?

But he and his wife comment wisely on the entire issue. I don’t only want to be “in ministry,” I want to finish well, and that means, among other things, being a good husband and dad. I urge you to read this with an open heart and mind. The links are worth examining also, to ensure you are getting the facts.(the yellow highlight is what most whacked me in the side of the head)

8 Godly Precedents Set by John Piper Taking a Sabbatical

Mark and Grace Driscoll

Pastor Mark’s Introduction

Dr. John Piper recently announced that he will be taking an eight-month sabbatical from public ministry to invest his full energies in the private ministry of his family. My wife, Grace, and I have spent time reflecting on what we can learn from the Pipers’ example. In particular, we asked ourselves how we can better love and serve one another and our children. My prayer is that other ministry leaders would emulate the Pipers’ honesty by seeking out areas in their own lives and families where God would call them to focus energies and get their priorities in the right order. Many marriages and children will be affected, I believe very positively.

Indeed, this act could be the most important message Dr. Piper has ever proclaimed.

In praying for the Pipers, I felt the Holy Spirit burden me to give some public reflection—but not my own reflection.

Rather, I felt compelled to ask Grace to write a blog from her heart as to what Dr. Piper’s decision feels like from her perspective as both a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife.

The question I asked Grace to answer was this:
“As the wife of a pastor and the daughter of a pastor, what are your thoughts and feelings about the precedent Dr. Piper’s announcement makes for his family and the families of other ministry leaders who look to him for leadership?”

Grace’s Answer

I was brought to tears and was extremely humbled by the courageous letter that Dr. John Piper wrote to explain that he is taking a sabbatical “because of a growing sense that [his] soul, [his] marriage, [his] family, and [his] ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.”

This is a hard thing for any of us to do, let alone someone whom God has raised up with a public ministry, allowing his life to be exposed before the world. I am so grateful for the example he has set by this action.

Growing up as a pastor’s daughter and now as a pastor’s wife, I can honestly say that pastors rarely do this. The pressure to be all things to all people, and the lies by which the Enemy tries to persuade leaders can cause them to believe that church ministry IS their life. The Bible is clear about what God’s priorities are, but sadly, I have seen so many examples of pastors’ wives who are no longer the first love (after Christ) of their husbands.

I am thankful for the precedent and example that Dr. Piper and Noël are setting because:

  1. It frees up wives and children to be priorities (1 Tim. 3:4; Eph. 5:28).
  2. It allows the church and ministry to not be idols (1 Tim. 3:5).
  3. It can give wives a new freedom to have this honest discussion with their husbands (I have seen many wives silenced or unsure of how to have this conversation when they have genuine concern) (Prov. 19:14).
  4. It can give children a new freedom to have this honest discussion with their dads (I have seen so many kids of pastors feeling last on the list with the church at the top) (Prov. 17:6).
  5. It urges us all to examine our priorities and make sure our Jesus, our marriage, and our children are the top three, in that order (1 Tim. 3:1–5).
  6. It challenges the church to give their pastor the freedom to examine his own life and take a break if needed (Mark 2:27–28).
  7. It challenges us to not idolize pastors or think of them as sinless, but rather see them as gifted, called men (under immense pressure) who need to be free to repent and be redeemed like the rest of the church members (Heb. 13:18).
  8. It challenges wives to examine if they have enabled their pastors-husbands to become islands unto themselves (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 31:12).

Thank you, John and Noël Piper, for the courageous and humble example of what it means to BOTH preach the gospel and live it out in your life!

Pastor Mark:

And thank you, sweetheart, for sharing your perspective with others and your life with me.

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>’Tis Mercy All

>

This is my favorite hymn. Written in 1738, it is the gospel. Rich in doctrine, the lyrics should be contemplated deeply, most especially on Good Friday. As an ex-con who was set free by the gospel while in jail enroute to prison, “my chains fell off” is more than symbolic.

I do enjoy contemporary Christian music, but rarely are modern lyrics as rich as these. I urge you to carve out five minutes to carefully and worshipfully listen:

>Why We Named Our First Son "Josiah" – A Good Friday Tribute

>

I still remember July 28, 1982. I was living in Kansas City. It was four months until Jane became my wife. I think it was a Saturday, I was leafing thru the newspaper and in the third section, a few pages in, was the headline, “Christian Singer, 11 Others Killed in Plane Crash.” Keith, two of his children, a missionary family, and the pilot died. It was later determined that the plane, obviously overloaded, was also flown by a pilot with limited experience.

Keith’s ministry was trailblazing, and unique. To the best of my knowledge, he never charged for his concerts, all product/merchandise was “sold” on a donation basis…and he wrote songs that challenged rather than merely entertained.

If you are not familiar with Keith, search youtube and listen to his stuff. It will nail you. To read his life story, consider ordering No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green


His three-year old son died in the crash…his name was Josiah. There were not many Josiah’s floating around back then, but Jane and I determined to name our first son Josiah (born Feb 13, 1984). We still have dear friends who birthed a daughter around that same time and named her Bethany, partially in honor of Keith’s daughter who also died in the crash. (photo, l-r, Josiah, Jacob, Janelle, Joel)

On this Good Friday I recalled, for the first time in a long time, Keith’s work, “A Song For Josiah.” As you commemorate and reflect on Good Friday, let the words of the song help set the stage: