Sunday, January 27, 2019

Healing Service @ Redeemer with Craig Miller - TONIGHT! (1/27)

Image may contain: Craig Miller, smiling, closeup

Breaking Emotional Barriers to Receive
What God Has for YOU!
With Craig Miller
Sunday, Jan. 27th  5:30-7:30pm
At Redeemer Fellowship Church
5305 Evergreen Drive,
Monroe Charter Township, MI 48161
For more info about Craig go to:

For over thirty-eight years Craig has been ministering and counseling in church, medical, and mental health settings. He is a licensed Christian therapist and currently the co-founder of Masterpeace Counseling in Tecumseh, MI.  Craig’s experience with his own miraculous physical healing deepened his passion to help people receive their own emotional or physical healing and relationship restoration through teaching, imparting, and ministering about the love and healing power of faith.   He has also served as the director of Social Work At Herrick Memorial Hospital In Tecumseh, Michigan for twelve years.

Over the years Craig has learned the unique ability to successfully combine his skills as a christian and mental health practitioner to bring healing and restoration to the spirit, mind, and body.  Craig desires to work with each person, couple, and/or family to receive emotional and physical healing to bring restoration of your heart and relationship, renewal of your heart and revitalization of your faith.  

Craig has a Masters degree in Social Work from Michigan State University (1980), specializing in children, family, and couples.  Masters degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Detroit (1985).  He has been honored with multiple listings in Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals, Who’s Who Among Human Services Professionals, and International Who’s Who of Professionals.  

Craig continues his passion for helping people as a former syndicated radio talk show host, TV appearances , speaking in the USA and Canada, and his books, DVD, CD, numerous articles, and copyrighted material.  
Go to, for more information. or opportunities  for  purchasing resources and speaking engagements

He has extensive experience with the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic disorders, difficulty expressing feelings, stress disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, addictions, sexual issues, marital issues, parent/child/teen issues, eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma from the past, loss issues, abuse issues, church/religious conflict and abuse and many more areas too many to mention.  You are recommended to call the office at 517-423-6889 if you have specific questions.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


(Double rainbow appeared over Redeemer a few weeks ago. Photo by Tim Curry.)


Here are some things I want to share with you.

SUNDAY MORNING, JAN. 27 - We continue preaching on Revival - The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.

SUNDAY EVENING, JAN. 27 - Healing service with Craig Miller - 5:30-7:30. Worship first, then Craig. Craig has written several books - here's one of them.

THURSDAY EVENING, Feb. 7, 6:30 - Tim Curry leads us in discussion of: Are We on Christ’s Mission, Or are We Spiritual Tourists? The Songs of Ascent: Psalm 120-134. Holly Collins leads Ministry for Kids. 

WOMEN'S CONFERENCE - ARISE AND THRIVE: CALLED BY HIS SPIRIT!  March 14-16. Please register for this event. Registration fee covers meals, speaker costs, and incidentals. You can register HERE. This is going to be a great weekend for our women, adding to revival!

LARRY SPARKS PREACHES @ REDEEMER - Sunday morning, March 17. Larry is the editor of Destiny Image books, and co-author (with Patricia King) of the recent book Arise! A Prophetic Call for women to receive Swords, Mantles, and Kingdom Assignments

OUR ANNUAL GREEN LAKE CONFERENCE - June 23-27. Details are HERE. God has used this conference over the years to greatly impact Redeemer!


CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE - Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (Just checking to see if you have read this far!)



Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Day Your Reputation Died

Bolles Harbor, Lake Erie, Monroe

One of my struggles has been about what other people think of me. I have gone up and down, at times, with the evaluations of others, whether good or bad.

I believe I have a modicum of victory over this disease, but am not all the way home yet. I still have my moments of false security and insecurity.

I know where I need to land. It's on the foundation of my true identity, in Christ. When this is rock solid in my spirit, and I stand on the truth that I am fully loved no matter what, I can listen to the praise and blame of others without taking them on myself. In those times I am free, and love others more perfectly.

Scot McKnight writes:

"Sometimes the implication of listening to the voice of God is that we ruin our reputation in the public square. Loving God involves surrendering ourselves to God in heart, soul, mind, strength - and reputation. The minute we turn exclusively to the Lord to find our true identity is the day our reputation dies. We learn, as Thomas à Kempis puts it. that when you surrender your reputation, "you won't care a fig for the waggles of ten thousand tongues."" (McKnight, in Rediscovering Advent, 25)


My two books are: Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Lady Gaga Claims to Speak for Christianity

Image result for hoisted by your own petard comic
Wile E. Coyote, hoisted by his own petard
(blown up by his own bomb)

OK. I can't just stand by and let Lady Gaga function as my go-to scholar on Christianity.

I admire her vocal abilities. She is a great musical talent. But that doesn't qualify her to speak on Christian theology ex cathedra

Which she did, in her hate-language about Vice President Pence and his wife Karen.

Karen plans to teach art part-time at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia. The school's employment contract includes the provision: “I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture.”

OK. I believe that, too. I've said this extensively on this blog.

Lady Gaga, however, is outraged, and pronounces the Pences "unChristian." She said:

"To Mike Pence, who thinks that it’s acceptable that his wife works at a school that bans LGBTQ, you’re wrong. You’re the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian."

"I am a Christian woman, and what I do know about Christianity is that we bear no prejudice, and everybody is welcome. So you can take all that disgrace, Mr. Pence, and look yourself in the mirror and you’ll find it right there."
She's right, and she's wrong.

She's right - everybody is welcome. Everyone is invited to the Jesus banquet.

She's wrong - everything is not affirmed. (See my "Welcoming and Sometimes Disaffirming." To welcome is not to affirm. If it was, we would welcome no one, and Jesus would have issued zero invitations to the banquet.)

In an act of double hypocrisy Lady Gaga convicts herself, by her own reasoning, as a non-Christian, since she: a) is not welcoming the Pences to the party; and b) is not affirming of their behavior (which means she does not welcome it). Not very Christlike, by her own standards (in the cited article she also f-bombs President Trump, thus failing to represent the Jesus I encounter in the Gospels, and perhaps qualifying her to compete in the "worst representation of a Christian" contest).

(Note: I'm not judging her Christianity. I'm pointing out that, by her own description of what a real Christian is [which I do not accept, or at least, find inadequate and misleading], she hoists herself by her own petard.)

See the Wall Street Journal's "The Shaming of Karen Pence" for a different viewpoint. 

And yes, for the past forty years, I have read every significant book on all sides of the Christian view of human sexuality issue, and feel confident in arguing that the view of the ancient Hebrews and Jesus and the early Church was that "marriage" is the union of a man and a woman. 

See my posts:

The Supreme Court Is Not My Shepherd (the Same-Sex Marriage Decision)

Speaking on Relationships at Reach Church, Ypsilanti, Feb. 9

Linda and I will be speaking on Biblical and Practical Goals for Relationships/Marriages, at Reach Church in Ypsilanti.

Sat., Feb. 9. 6 PM.

John and Linda Piippo have been pastoring at Redeemer Church in Monroe for twenty-six years. Linda has a B.S. in Special Education (Northern Illinois University), and John has a PhD in Philosophical Theology (Northwestern University). Linda has been teaching piano and voice for thirty years. John has taught philosophy at Monroe County Community College for seventeen years, and has been an Adjunct Professor at Payne Theological Seminary (A.M.E.) for eight years. John and Linda have traveled around the world teaching on spiritual formation and relationships. John is the author of two books: Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God, and Leading the Presence-Driven Church. John and Linda have three children - Daniel, Joshua, and David (deceased). John's blog is

Me and Linda 2.jpg

Arise & Thrive Women's Conference @ Redeemer - March 14-15-16

ARISE & THRIVE! A Women's Conference
March 14-16, 2019  Thurs. 6 pm, Fri. 8:45-12, 1:30-4:30, 7-9, Sat. 8:45-12, 1:30-4
Redeemer Fellowship in Monroe, Michigan
Featuring: Larry Sparks, publisher, speaker author of the book ARISE
Aurora Newton, minister, CEO & Founder of Assert Now, Inc.
Lynn Coleman, minister & teacher, Worship and the Brain seminar
Women of Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries (HSRM)
Arise & Thrive: Called by His Spirit Women's Conference. Mark you calendars and register now! You don't want to miss this amazing time of revival and experiencing God. Expect a transformative shift in your heart and mind as the truth of God's purposes and plans for you, His daughter, frees and changes you. We will gather to worship, pray, learn, and most importantly, and to encounter God together!   

ARISE & THRIVE: Called by His Spirit

G.A.S.H. - The Great American Search for Happiness Leads to Unhappiness

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(Lake Erie sunrise, Monroe)

The Great American Search for Happiness (G.A.S.H.) leads to unhappiness. That's what philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote years ago. Hoffer said: “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.” 
This is akin to Sherry Turkle's observation that social media increases loneliness (sociality decreases) and creates loss of empathy. (See Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation.)
Ruth Whippman writes:
"This obsessive, driven, relentless pursuit is a characteristically American struggle — the exhausting daily application of the Declaration of Independence. But at the same time this elusive MacGuffin is creating a nation of nervous wrecks. Despite being the richest nation on earth, the United States is, according to the World Health Organization, by a wide margin, also the most anxious, with nearly a third of Americans likely to suffer from an anxiety problem in their lifetime. America’s precocious levels of anxiety are not just happening in spite of the great national happiness rat race, but also perhaps, because of it."
- Ruth Whippman, "America the Anxious" (nytimes, September 22, 2012)
Whippman continues:
"The American approach to happiness can spur a debilitating anxiety. The initial sense of promise and hope is seductive, but it soon gives way to a nagging slow-burn feeling of inadequacy. Am I happy? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could I be doing more about it? Even basic contentment feels like failure when pitched against capital-H Happiness. The goal is so elusive and hard to define, it’s impossible to pinpoint when it’s even been achieved — a recipe for neurosis."
This makes sense to me. Our age, writes Elaine Showalter in the Chronicle of Higher Education, is an age of anxiety
In the book How Everyone Became Depressed: The Rise and Fall of the Nervous Breakdown, medical historian Edward Shorter says that "It has not escaped many observers that today we are drenched in anxiety." Psychiatrist Jeffrey Kahn states that "commonplace anxiety and depressive disorders" affect at least 20% of Americans. That's 60 million people. In our pursuit of happiness we have become depressingly unhappy. (See Kahn, Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression) Woo-hoo, right?
Academics are particularly unhappy and depressed, argues University of Texas professor Ann Cvetkovich, in Depression: A Public Feeling. She writes: Academe "breeds particular forms of panic and anxiety leading to what gets called depression—the fear that you have nothing to say, or that you can't say what you want to say, or that you have something to say but it's not important enough or smart enough."
The Jesus-idea of happiness is the promise of "blessedness." Blessedness is independent of material or social conditions. Blessedness is not to be pursued for its own sake, since to do so would cause it to suffer the same infelicitous fate as meets all whose life goal is "happiness."
Blessedness is an indirect byproduct of the pursuit of God and the love of others, for their own sake and not for what you can get. One gives one's life away for God and others and thereby gains life. This is, precisely, anti-American in its non-consumerism. The result is a blessed life.


My two books are:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Let the 'No' of Christ Be Formed In You

Snowy pine bough in my back yard

“The making of a man is making your body do 

what it doesn't want to do.” 

The mature person flourishes in life as they are able to wield the powerful word "No." The Jesus-idea is that, as we connect to him as a branch connects to a vine, we bear "fruit," part of which is awe-inspiring "self control." (Galatians 5:23) People drop their jaws and stare in wonder as people say "No" to mere self-gratification.

A Spirit-led, self-controlled person is a free person. They have grown in their humanity to say "No" to eating the wrong things, to spending money they don't have to buy things they don't need, and to engaging in sexual behavior as the objectification of other persons.

"No" is the ultimate boundary word. The capacity to wield this word will not come from hearing slogans like "Just say 'No'." The authentic, boundary-setting 'No" must become one's heart, one's inner being. This happens as Christ is formed in us.

Think of Jesus after he fed the 5,000. The people rushed after him to make him an earthly king. To this flattery and opportunity for power Jesus exercised his innate self control and refused. His "No" was not only for him, but for the sake of others, indeed, for the sake of the whole world.

M. Scott Peck described The Road Less Traveled as "gratification delay." "No" is, perhaps, the ultimate other-centered word.This is a narrow road, said Jesus, and few take it. But it is the road to freedom.

Let the "No" of Christ be formed in you, and go free.


My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Source of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Social Activism

Image result for lewis baldwin king

In George Orwell's book 1984 the main character, Winston Smith, has the job of eliminating politically unwanted ideas, documents, and words, by throwing them down a "memory hole." To rewrite history is to forget history. To do this is "Orwellian."

An example of current Orwellian activity comes from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (Stephen Pinker, Richard Dawkins, et. al.). On their website they write:

The history of Western civilization shows us that 
most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.

Unbelievable. The social activism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is but but one powerful counterexample to this unsupportable claim.

Sadly, we will see Orwellian unthinking in today's celebration of Dr. King's  birthday. Which means we will not see the true sources of his social activism.

It is my privilege to teach spiritual formation in one of the nation's oldest African American theological seminaries, Payne Theological Seminary. In my classes I have taught on the prayer life of Dr. King. 

As our nation pauses to honor Dr. King, we will celebrate his great civil and political influence. But we will hear nothing of his own understanding of the source of that influence. The fire burning deep in King’s soul was his relationship with God, fanned by his constant prayer life. Few scholars have attended to this, says King scholar Lewis Baldwin of Vanderbilt University, in his book Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King. Our secular media has thrown King's spiritual life down the Orwellian memory hole. Baldwin corrects this.

I remember reading, for the first time, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” I knew King was a Christian, but his spiritual life was never talked about in the media. We saw film and photos of King praying in the city streets, but were not told how much this meant to him. His “Letter” greatly moved me. I saw that King was an intellectual, a genius, a brilliant writer, and most importantly,  a fundamentally spiritual being. The social activism of Martin Luther King, Jr., was a function of a life grounded in God and prayer, which he defined as “conversing with God.”

Prayer was more than a theory or some religious thing for King. King had an actual prayer life, contrary to many religious leaders who talk about praying but don’t find time to do it. He saw it as necessary for changing his own life and the prevailing culture. Baldwin, the great King scholar, shows us that King never separated moral responsibility from a deep personal spirituality and piety. Prayer, for King, was conversation with God.

Once King received a phone call at midnight from a racist who called him a “n-------,” threatened to kill him, and “blow up” his home This deeply disturbed him, and he was unable to sleep. He discovered that all the intellectual things he learned in the university and seminary could not help him overcome this. Baldwin writes that King turned to God in prayer, and had a face-to-face encounter with what is, in the tradition of his forebears, called a “Waymaker.” This God-encounter exposed his fears, insecurities, and vulnerablities. He found great comfort as an “inner voice” spoke to him, reminding him that he was not alone, commanding him to stand up for righteousness, justice, and truth, and assuring him that “lo, I will be with you, even to the end of the world.”

It is important to understand King’s position on spiritual things if we want to grasp his societal accomplishments. King, who earned a PhD at Boston University, knew that intellectual accomplishments were not enough to transform self and society. God was needed, and prayer was able to “invoke the supernatural.” Baldwin writes that “King taught the people of Montgomery that the weapon of prayer was ultimately more powerful and effective than any gun or bomb.”

King spent much time alone in prayer. He told students that if you don’t have a deep life of prayer you have no business preaching to others. King saw himself as essentially involved in a “spiritual movement,” not simply a struggle for equal rights, social justice, and peace.

King knew, existentially, that real, true prayer involves “a profound surrender of the self to God, not prayer rooted in self-pride, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness.” That becomes the kind of relationship with God that can transform the fabric of reality.

Leadership is influence. Therefore, King was one of our nation’s greatest leaders. Baldwin brings us to the source of that influence, which was: King’s own soul-receptivity to the powerful, transforming influence of God. “King,” writes Baldwin, “was effective because his praying and preaching were effective. True leadership in his case made prayer and preaching indispensable.”


My first book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Relative Irrelevance of Our Natural Talents

A snowy, cold morning in Monroe

Some people are more naturally talented than others. Some are smarter, more athletic, more dynamic in their personalities, and more beautiful by certain earthbound standards. But when it comes to God and his kingdom, natural talents are not what are needed. Someone with all the above might produce nothing of heavenly value; someone with none of the above might produce goods that last forever.

This is about the purpose of our lives, which is: to bear fruit that will last. Only God can grow this. It is the result of a life spent abiding in Christ. We get no credit when it happens. Our own talent counts for nothing. Talent fades and is forgotten; character influences and endures.

Whatever abilities, circumstances, and capital a person possesses in this life diminishes in comparison to lasting, eternal produce. What is important is the fruit, not our relative amazingness. Any intrinsic awesomeness we might have counts for nothing in the eyes of God. When Jesus says, in John 14, that his disciples will do what he has been doing, it is not because they are so talented. 

Most Christians, I suspect, fail to understand this. We are so caught up in the values of the Entertainment Church that mere, godly fruit-bearers are relegated to the lowest echelons of the honor-shame hierarchy. (Francis Chan is writing about this in his new book Letters to the Church.)

Listen closely to Dallas Willard, who writes:

"Natural gifts, external circumstances, and special opportunities are of little significance. The good tree, Jesus said, “bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:17). If we tend to the tree, the fruit will take care of itself."
(Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship, Kindle Locations 1815-1819)

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Friday, January 18, 2019

Revival, Baptism, and the River of No Return

Image result for john piippo river
The River Raisin, in our back yard. 
My sermon "Revival, Baptism, and the River of No Return" can be heard HERE.

You can also access my Powerpoint slides. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Presence of God

Bolles Harbor, Monroe

(From my book, Leading the Presence-Driven Church; chapter 3, "The Presence Motif.")

Last summer I experienced a moment of culinary terror. Linda and I went to P.F. Chang’s in Ann Arbor. We like this restaurant. No matter what happened to us that night, we will go again. 

I ordered the entrée I mostly get when I’m at P.F. Chang's. The waiter left, and Linda and I spent time talking as we awaited the coming of the cuisine. It seemed to take longer than usual. Eventually, the waiter returned, to utter words I will never forget: “I am sorry, sir. We are out of rice.” 

And there was silence in the heavens. 

I was stunned. I thought of logical impossibilities, like square circles, married bachelors, and Cartesian mountains without valleys. An Asian restaurant with no rice? Logically impossible! 

I saw the manager walking from table to table, confessing ricelessness to the patrons. When he got to us I had to ask, “How could this be so?” He replied, “They are having trouble in the kitchen.” 

“They?” My thought was, “You had better get in that kitchen and fix this barren situation!”

Our experience at P.F. Chang’s brought back a memory of a similar event. It was a sunny morning in the 1980s. Linda and I lived in East Lansing, Michigan. That day we went to breakfast at International House of Pancakes. I ordered pancakes.

There was no maple syrup on the table. 

When it comes to pancakes, I am a purist. I don’t want the strawberry syrup or the blueberry syrup or the fruity bacon syrup. So, desiring maple syrup, I asked: 

“May I have some maple syrup please?” 

“Sorry,” said the waitress. “We’re out of maple syrup.” 

My response was: nothingness. 

These two experiences were painful, but cannot be compared to The Big Absence two summers ago. 

Linda and I were driving from Monroe to Chicago. We were on the Indiana Tollway, and stopped at a rest area for lunch. Linda went to one of the fast food places and got a salad. I got in line at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I can see the scene, as if it were happening now. Three of us were in line. There was a man in front of me at the counter. I was behind him, with a third man behind me. Three of us, about to be disenchanted. 

Often, in life, we view events through the framework of what we are currently immersed in. At Redeemer, I was in the thick of preaching through the book of Revelation. I was thinking about Revelation all the time! I was reading and re-reading the text, looking at it in the Greek language, and studying the best commentaries on the subject. Revelation was my constant meditation. 

The Greek title is The Apocalypse. Apocalypto means “an uncovering,” an “unveiling.” Like someone who lifts the lid on a simmering pot of stew to see and smell the ingredients, in The Apocalypse God lifts the lid off what is to happen cosmically, and John the Apostle is allowed to look inside. That day, at KFC, the lid was about to be lifted, and I would look inside. 

“I want a three-piece chicken dinner,” said the first man.

“I am sorry, sir,” said the hostess at the KFC on the Indiana Tollway in the summer of 2015, “but we are out of chicken.” 

With those words the lid blew off. A fiery abyss appeared to my right. I heard the hoofbeats of Four Horsemen thundering in the distance. I saw bowls poured out upon the earth. I heard the cries of saints beneath the Great White Throne. The man in front of me said nothing. He just walked away, like a floating, drifting planet that lost its sun, or perhaps its faith. 

I felt a tap on my shoulder, and a voice spoke to me. I did not turn around as the man behind me said, “Did you hear what I heard?” Speechless, I nodded my head up and down. I left the little three-man queue and walked to where Linda was sitting. “No way!” she said, in unbelief. 

My expectation, when going to Kentucky Fried Chicken, is to be served chicken. When I am at a pancake house, I expect maple syrup. When I am at an Asian restaurant, I expect rice. Anything less is unacceptable and irrational.

It is the same with God’s presence. When I am with the Church, I expect to encounter God. Real Church is a Temple. Temples house the presence of God. Anything less than God in the Temple is unacceptable. 

I am like Moses, who despaired at the thought of God withdrawing his presence from the people. Moses pleaded, saying, “God, if your presence does not go with us, we are not going!”

“Do not,” appealed the psalmist, “cast me away from your presence.” The ultimate suffering and punishment is separation from the presence of God. 

I see a world desperate for the presence of God. They long and pant, like thirsty deer in the Judean wilderness, for an experiential encounter with God. Anything less is unsatisfactory.