Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hope for the Hurting This Christmas - John Piper

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what became of the innkeeper in Bethlehem who let Mary and Joseph have their baby in his barn?

Did he have little children? When the soldiers came from Herod, did they hunt for the birth place of the dangerous baby and start the slaughter there? What did it cost the innkeeper to house the Messiah in his first hours?

In the poem called The Innkeeper, I tried to imagine what might have happened when the soldiers came. And what Jesus might have said if he showed up 30 years later to talk to the innkeeper about it. It's fiction. But its aim is truth and hope and joy.

Desiring God and Crossway Books have teamed up to make a new video recording of my reading of this poem. We hope it will touch some deep place in your heart, perhaps through a wound. Maybe it will find its way into your Christmas family celebrations, or your small group, or even the gathered church.

If you've ever lost a child, or ever faced a tragedy, just when you thought you were doing good, we hope The Innkeeper will bring you comfort and strength. In my experience poetry has a way of touching us sometimes when simple sentences don't. In one sense, I hope you enjoy it. But there may be deeper emotions too. May the risen Lord Jesus turn your Advent and your Christmas into something really extraordinary this year.

John Piper

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Theology of Christmas (Philippians 2:5-11) John MacArthur

To put it mildly, Christmas is a little bit confusing to the watching world, I'm pretty sure. I never really get over that. Year after year I'm struck by the paradoxes of Christmas, the strange juxtaposition of Christianity and a kind of carnival mentality, the humility and poverty of the stable confused with the wealth and indulgence of selfishness and gift giving, the quietness of Bethlehem with the din of the shopping mall, the seriousness of the incarnation with the silliness of the party spirit and party attitude, the blinking colored lights juxtaposed with the star of heaven. Just a confusion designed certainly by the enemy of men's souls, cheap plastic toys mixed with the true gift of the wise men, angels confused with flying reindeer, an ox and an ass in a stable confused with a red nosed reindeer, of all things, the filth of the stable confused with the whiteness of fresh snow. And so it goes and you're familiar with all of that. Mary and Joseph and North Pole elves...kind of hard to look through this and see the reality.

But it reached epic proportions for me, this confusion, when I read an article written by a leader in the Episcopalian diocese of Los Angeles, a diocese, by the way, led by a lesbian woman who was recently appointed. And this representative of Episcopalianism wrote this. "There are few causes to which I am more passionately committed than that of Santa Claus. Santa Claus deserves not just any place in the church but the highest place of honor where he should be enthroned as the long bearded ancient of days, the divine and holy one whom we call God."

He's not done. "Santa Claus is God the Son...'You better watch out, you better not pout, Santa Claus is coming to town, he knows whether you've been bad or good, he slips into the secrets of the heart as easily as he slips down the chimney.' Santa Claus is God the Father, the creator of heaven and earth in whose hand is a pack bursting at its seams with the gifts of His creation. Santa Claus is God the Holy Spirit who comes with the sound of gentle laughter, with the shape like a bowl full of jelly. And he comes in the night to sow the seeds of good humor. Santa Claus indeed deserves the exalted and enthroned place in the church for he is God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. I've seen him in the toy store, I even saw him in his car on the freeway the other day. And when I saw him with his crazy beard and his baggy suit, I saw more than the seasonal merchant of cheap plastic toys, I saw no less than the triune God. I hope you can see him too."

Huh? I mean, have you ever heard anything more convoluted than that? Incredible. What chaos and what confusion, after all, what is Christmas about, what is the celebration of the birth of Christ really about? We could approach it from the standpoint of the Old Testament prophets, we could approach it from the standpoint of Mary or Joseph. We could approach it from the standpoint of the angels or the shepherds or even the wise men who came later. We could approach it from the standpoint of the inn keeper. We could approach it from the standpoint of Herod who had a lot at stake in his own mind. But I want you to look at it from the view past the event that is given to us by the beloved Apostle Paul. So open your Bible to Philippians chapter 2...Philippians chapter 2. Here is the theology of Christmas, okay? The Theology of Christmas....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Declaring and Defending the Deity of Christ (Selected Scripture)

We come now to the gospel of John. Tonight we're going to look at James, the brother of our Lord, and have a wonderful time looking at that unlikely hero. But for this morning, we're going to begin the gospel of John, and we're going to do that for a while to come. And just to kind of get a running start and sort of set-up the importance of this study that we're about to embark upon, I remind you of something that you well know, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the theme of all Scripture, not just the New Testament, but the Old Testament as well. We all understand that the New Testament is about Him, the four gospels that give us the focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. The first three gospels tell the narrative of His life and death and resurrection. Then the book of Acts tells us about His ascension into glory, and His sending the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church. Then the epistles are written to explain the meaning of His death and resurrection. And then the culminating book, the book of Revelation, about His Second Coming, return in glory. So that the New Testament focuses on Jesus Christ widely and deeply....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What is your legacy? — Pastor Mark Driscoll

Watch the full sermon:
Find out more about our Malachi sermon series:

All of us will leave some sort of legacy. The question is, what kind of legacy are you going to leave?

This clip is excerpted from the sermon "How Have You Loved Us?" the first part of our sermon series, Malachi: Living for a Legacy, preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Malachi 1:1--5 at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue and released on November 24, 2013.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Raising godly offspring -- Pastor Mark Driscoll

Watch the full sermon:
Find out more about our Malachi sermon series:

It's not about what you want from your marriage. God is seeking godly offspring. You can make a child in a night, but it takes a lifetime to raise that child to be godly. It's a lot of work.

This clip is excerpted from the sermon "How Have We Wearied Him?" the fourth part of our sermon series, Malachi: Living for a Legacy, preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Malachi 2:10-17 at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue and released on December 15, 2013.