Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time to Step Upto the Block!

I was interested to read John Piper's latest blog; "John Piper's Upcoming Leave". For those who haven't read it - Piper announces that he is shortly going to go on leave until December 2010. Unlike his previous sabbaticals this will not be a flurry of productivity (usual Piper) with books that we can enjoy and benefit from. He wrote;

"In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation or preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements".

Bad news for Piper fans. Why is Piper doing this?

"I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit ... I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me".

There may be some who wonder why Piper is taking this leave and what's going on - and I confess I'm one of them. But my wondering about Piper the man is overridden by the challenge facing the generation he leaves for a season.

My friend Pete Day and I like to think of these living heroes of the faith as "teachers" in the analogy of a school. Students rely on full-time teachers that come day by day and impart knowledge (local pastor/teachers). But some key teachers only come part-time or sometimes once a term to teach a key lesson (apostles/prophets/national pastor/teachers). John Piper is to many thousands just that - a teacher that we value and love.

But he's going away - and there is nothing we can do about it. For those who over-rely on his teaching, his blogs, his Twitter, and his books - there is a problem! They are going to find a Piper-shaped void. I think that our generation has a challenge and an opportunity to step up and see the amazing productivity that John Piper rolls out month by month. He writes, he prays, he blogs, he tweets, he lives the message that he loves and believes in.

What about us? Do we moan and whinge that we don't have "time" to blog or write or tweet or share what is on our heart? Maybe there is nothing on our hearts! Maybe that is a truth we must honestly confront and go and live in the Word of God and under the hovering Presence of the Holy Spirit. Find the message! Live the message! And then write and share that message. Even if John Piper does return in December to us as he left us - if not better - (and we pray he does) - he will go to glory one day and will not be with us forever.

Where are the John Pipers of our generation? The visionaries who believe in and are prepared to die for the vision they have seen?

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