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“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.”

~Andrew Murray

Prayer is where the action is.

~John Wesley

“May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, ‘God is great!’”
(Psalm 70:4)

 

 

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Bethlehem Baptist is one step closer to commissioning John Piper from the local church pastorate to greater involvement with Bethlehem College and Seminary and to a wider ministry nationally and internationally through Desiring God.

The Bethlehem elders are announcing to the congregation their candidate for Associate Pastor for Preaching and Vision and, God willing, John Piper’s eventual successor as the church’s senior pastor.

Jason Meyer, 36-year-old Assistant Professor of New Testament for Bethlehem College and Seminary, is the elders’ recommendation for congregational consideration and vote at a special May 20 all-church meeting. Meyer is scheduled to preach three consecutive weekends — April 29, May 6, and May 13 — and answer questions in several venues before the May 20 decision. With approval and confirmation, he would begin the position August 1 and overlap with Piper at Bethlehem for about a year. In 2013, there will be a “second vote” to affirm Meyer’s transition to the role of senior pastor and commission Piper to the wider ministry.

This new development is one of the ongoing effects of Bethlehem’s “Antioch Moment,” announced by Piper less than a year ago. On April 9, 2011, Piper called the church to six weeks of focused prayer regarding his succession and the church’s structure and long-term funding. Meyer’s candidacy is a major piece in addressing these difficult questions posed during this important season in the life of the church.

“Setting Apart” Piper for Wider Ministry

One effect of such a transition is that the church is “setting apart” Piper (to use the language of Acts 13:2 and the “Antioch Moment”) from the heavy demands of pastoring a large and complicated multi-site church for more engagement in wider ministry through writing and speaking. Piper is anticipating that his involvement with Bethlehem College and Seminary and his broader ministry nationally and internationally will not decrease after the transition, but increase, perhaps considerably. Piper writes to the congregation,

There is an ever-increasing pull on my life to be involved in ministry outside Bethlehem. Much of this feels strategic to me for the cause of Christ. While I felt competent and energized to formulate plans for the structures of Bethlehem, this outside pull was secondary. But I sense that this is changing. It seems to me that the Lord is saying: “You have led Bethlehem to this point; it is time to hand off the internal leadership labors to another; I have a few other things yet for you to do.”

Writing has always been a calling. But it has been secondary to preaching at Bethlehem and to internal leadership at this church. . . . As my years go by I realize that there are writing projects that I think God wants me to finish. This adds to the pull I feel away from the demands of internal leadership at Bethlehem.

At this time, Piper is unsure precisely how his post-pastorate life will be proportioned. Once the transition is complete at Bethlehem, he and his wife Noël plan to spend some extended time away to consider the most strategic use of their next ten years, God willing, and for Piper to make headway on a few writing projects.

In general I can say that, if God gives me life and health, these years will involve my role as Chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, and my role as founder and teacher for Desiring God. I love to teach seminary students, and I love to encourage and strengthen the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated vision of pastors. And I love to write. So some configuration of those loves is what I expect to see.

My life’s calling remains the same: I exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. Pray that I will spend and be spent for this till I can speak and write no more.

(For Piper’s full explanation, see his letter to the congregation of questions and answers surrounding the transition.)

Introducing Jason Meyer

Meyer joined the faculty of Bethlehem College and Seminary in the Fall of 2010, bringing a wide range of teaching, writing, preaching, missions, and pastoral experience. He authored a book on the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant in the apostle Paul’s letters, titled The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology (B&H Academic, 2009) and is presently writing Preaching: A Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2013).

Prior to coming to Bethlehem, Meyer was the Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, from 2006–2009. He taught New Testament for the Spring 2010 semester in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the Evangelical Theological College. Previously, he served as the pastor of Orville Baptist Church while completing a doctorate in New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Originally from South Dakota, Meyer studied at Bethlehem from 1999–2001 with The Bethlehem Institute (TBI), now Bethlehem College and Seminary (BCS). At BCS, Meyer has provided oversight in the area of New Testament and taught for the seminary in his areas of specialization: Paul’s epistles and theology, the Law and the New Testament, preaching, biblical theology, and Greek language.

Jason and his wife, Cara, have two daughters (Gracie and Allie), and two sons adopted from Ethiopia (David and Jonathan).

Please join us at Desiring God and Bethlehem in praying for God’s leading in this process, and for Jason Meyer and John Piper in particular at this crucial juncture in their ministries.

National Geographic Special: Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100
premieres on Monday, March 26, 2012.
Check Local Listings to see when it’s airing on your local PBS station.

Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100 celebrates the centennial of the oldest and most intimate big league ballpark in America. Fenway’s Grand Opening was on April 20, 1912, when the Red Sox played the New York Highlanders, a team that would be renamed the Yankees the next year. The film uses a current Red Sox-Yankees game as a thread to the history of the ballpark and as a way to go inside and get behind the scenes to see what it takes to put on a major league game.

Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1918.

National Baseball Hall of Fame

Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1918.

We’re in the locker room as the Red Sox get ready for the game, in the underground batting cage where ball players can swing bats away from the eyes of the public and the press. What’s it like inside the Green Monster’s famous manual scoreboard? We find out. We follow the superintendent as he takes care of the century-old building; the groundskeepers who prepare the field of play; a vendor who races through the stands selling hot dogs; the bat boy who’s really more of a bat man; and the guy who’s worked at Fenway Park for 32 years and whose job is to rub every one of the 160 or so balls used in the game with mud from a secret location.

Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper safe at third.

Boston Public Library

Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper is safe at third during a 1916 game at Fenway Park.

Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100 hears from players and historians that Fenway Park is not just home to a legendary baseball team, the place where Babe Ruth made his major league debut and Ted Williams set records. It is also a public space that is vital to the city of Boston. From the very beginning, Fenway hosted all sorts of events, including other sports, masses for World.War.I soldiers, a 1919 rally for Irish independence,and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last presidential campaign speech.

We see how, in 2002, Fenway Park narrowly escaped demolition, the fate of most other early baseball palaces. The ownership group that took over in that year was committed to the ballpark’s preservation, turning the run-down stadium into both a fan favorite and the most popular tourist attraction in Boston.

Fenway Park is a memory palace for generations of fans and ballplayers, a place where you can sit in the same seat as your grandfather to watch the stars of the day play America’s pastime. In fast-paced, mobile America, the old building provides a sense of continuity, an anchor to our past.

Praying puts us at risk of getting involved in God’s conditions.  Be slow to pray.  Praying most often doesn’t get us what we want but what God wants, something quite at variance with what we conceive to be in our best interests.

~Eugene Peterson

Dietrich Bonhoeffer described this way…

In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes master over the flesh. All at once a secret, smouldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money . . .  Joy in God is in course of being extinguished in us as we seek all our joy in the creature.
At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real . . . Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God . . . The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: “Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” “Is it really not permitted to me, yes – expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?” . . . It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God. Powers of the body, the mind and the will, which were held in obedience under the discipline of the Word, of which
I believed that I was the master, make it clear to me that I am by no means master of them. . . The adversary deploys my powers against me. 
 

I have studied revival for almost 30 years now. I have lived in Omaha, Nebraska for the last 10 years. It is the city that I grew in. After I graduated from high school in 1977 and went to college in Minnesota, I was convinced that I would never live in this city again.

God had other plans!

I love this city and I pray that God will send revival to the churches here!

Come Lord Jesus Come!

Why would Jonathan Edwards, a key leader in the First Great Awakening and arguably the greatest philosopher-theologian in American history, spend the last ten years of his life advancing the vision for a unified church covering the earth with prayer for revival?

In 1746, Edwards began to sense that the extraordinary power and momentum of the First Great Awakening was beginning to wane. He knew that Christians needed to urgently pray. So he took it on himself to write a call to united prayer, now known as the Humble Attempt.

Edwards’ argument in this treatise was simple: Since “the whole world should finally be given to Christ as one whose right it is to reign,” Christians should never pray for less than this as the ultimate goal of their intercession. As Edwards puts it, “That which God abundantly makes the subject of his promises, God’s people should abundantly make the subject of their prayers.”

Edwards was right. United prayer for revival and the outpouring of the Spirit to glorify Jesus is the highest prayer agenda Christians can adopt. This kind of united, Christ-exalting prayer is God’s primary means to rapidly advance His kingdom throughout the world.

From One Cry

“I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
(Psalm 69:30)
March 2012
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