Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Between Bethlehem Baptist Church Council of Elders
and John Piper
August 2014 – July 2015
[Note: Pastor Sam is serving in Germany, so his assistant, Bryan DeWire, will be writing for this blog.]
There is plenty that I would love to say about Dr. John Piper and how God has used him in my own life—shaped my life, rescued me from what I’ll simply call the kiddy pool of understanding who God is and how God works. But alas, that is not the task I have been given. Rather, I’m to challenge Bethlehem Baptist Church. This task is honestly an unenviable one—how do you challenge people who have sat under such solid, biblical teaching for 33 years?
John, as you know, we first met 29 years ago, appropriately, at Wheaton College. It was a conference devoted, again appropriately, to the theology of Jonathan Edwards. I want to begin tonight by thanking you for nearly three decades of friendship, support, and partnership in the gospel.
On Sunday, April 14, about 3,500 people from Bethlehem's three campuses and elsewhere came together to give thanks to God for Pastor John's 33-year ministry among us. See Legacy Video. See also the Desiring God report on the event.
G.K. Chesterton wrote in his autobiography, “The only way to enjoy even a weed is to feel unworthy even of a weed.”
How much more, then, does the enjoyment of a church—not a weed but the bride of Christ—depend on a sense of unworthiness in her service.
Before the Psalmist could exult in his dominion over the earth he had to feel these words: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4).
In 1980, Bethlehem’s Sunday congregation fit well in the old Sanctuary, with elbow room to spare. In the summer, we Pipers arrived as a family of five—two parents and three sons.
You who were part of Bethlehem then, I thank you for making this an easy place to become a pastor’s wife. I don’t recall any times when someone expected me to be or do some certain thing "because that’s what a pastor’s wife does."
This Legacy Video played on Sunday, April 14, at the Celebration of Thanksgiving for Pastor John Piper and his 33 years of ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church. In recognition of both his past, and current & ongoing ministry, Bethlehem partnered with both Bethlehem College and Seminary and Desiring God to produce the video.
That Tom Lehn chaired the committee that put together the Celebration of Thanksgiving for Pastor John Piper held for thousands of people at the facilities of Grace Church in Eden Prairie Sunday night.