Friday, May 31, 2019

Tonight - How I Respond to Same-Sex Marriage

Tonight - Friday, May 31, 2019

7:30 PM

Hope Center

154-02 41st Avenue
Flushing, NY

(718) 886-9911

Thursday, May 30, 2019

New Book - Encounters with the Holy Spirit

Chapters on the Holy Spirit from Annie Dieselberg, Clay Ford, Ross Lieuallan, Norelle Lutke, John Grove, Teri Nyberg, Ed Owens, Lee Spitzer, Pam Wantz, plus an Introduction by me. Coming soon!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My Standards for Worship Musicians

Image result for john piippo city
(Little Italy, New York City)
Linda and I are in New York City teaching Presence-Driven Leadership with our beautiful friends of Faith Bible Church. What a great time we had last night with Greg and Linda Woo and their daughter Audrey!

This is from my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church. And, BTW, Linda and I are both musicians.

And, if you are interested, I'll be speaking at FBC Friday night on "How I Respond to Same-Sex Marriage."


How important is musical skill in worship leading, or playing on a worship team? My answer is: not much. My standards for our worship musicians are these: 

1) You must be yourself a worshiper who seeks and loves God’s presence. [What sense does it make to guide people into spiritual terrain you are unfamiliar with?]

2) You must be able to play well enough so as not to distract people from worshiping. 

If your instrument playing is hideous, people will be drawn to the discordant carnage more than to God. On your instrument, be adequate. Take that part seriously. Get lessons and grow. 

As important as musicianship is, living a life of consistent, passionate, Christ-abiding is more important. Instrumental ability without a Christ-formed heart creates “performance,” without God-presence. This is important, because worship is all about God’s presence. 

Real worship is corporate God-directedness. Worship is movement within the temple of God. If the God-movement is not in the hearts of the worship leaders, great instrumental ability shuts the door to true adoration of God by sending the wrong message (“How Great Are Our Musicians").

Monday, May 27, 2019

My New York City Itinerary - Request for Prayers

Image result for john piippo new york city
(I took this picture in Times Square years ago.)

Here is our New York City itinerary, for our church family and any who pray for us (thank you so much!).

Tues., May 28 - We fly to New York City. We will be hosted by Dr John and Rosie Hao, pastors of Faith Bible Church and Faith Bible Seminary. The website is HERE. This is a large, Chinese church, with multiple services and campuses. Most of my talks will be translated into Mandarin. Dr. Hao was one of my students when I taught in the doctoral program at Palmer Theological Seminary. The Hao's and their church family are precious friends!

We'll spend Wed. and Thurs. exploring the city. Esp. Soho and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Friday, May 31, 7:30-9:30. I'll speak on "How to Respond to Same-Sex Marriage." The timing of this is interesting, since the largest Gay Pride event the world has seen will be in NYC in the month of June.

Sat., June 1, 11 AM. I will be the commencement speaker at Faith Bible Seminary's graduation. I'll speak on the most important thing a Christian leader is to do; Abide in Christ.

Sunday, June 2. I will preach at two services, on "The Presence-Driven Church." One message will be translated into Mandarin, the other is all English. Many who have come from China and speak no English will be at the first service.

Monday, June 3, through Thursday, June 6. 10 AM - 4 PM. I will teach Leading the Presence-Driven Church to students of Faith Bible Seminary. Twenty-one have enrolled so far. My talks will be translated into Mandarin. And, I will send the students out to pray during the class times.

Tuesday, June 4. Seminary class again. And, from 7:30-9 PM, Linda and I will lead a seminar on Relationships. (We will co-write a book on this, the Lord willing.)

Wednesday, June 5. Seminary class. Then, from 7:30-9 PM, I will teach a seminar on "The Authority of the Bible."

Thursday, June 6. Last day of seminary teaching. Then, from 7:30 - 9 PM, I will teach a seminar "Technology and Spiritual Formation."

Friday, June 6. Linda and I go to Manhattan in search of the perfect bagel, and the greatest Chocolate soda.

Sat., June 7 - back to Monroe!

Sunday morning, June 9 - at Redeemer. I will preach on "Revival and the Father's Love." I am reading this book as part of my prep for this message.

Thank you for praying for us - love,

John and Linda

Saturday, May 25, 2019

You Are a Reconciler and a Peacemaker

Munson Park, Monroe

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a reconciler and a peacemaker. You bring people together. You are not satisfied with division. You refuse to be part of division.

Peacemaking is not the same as peace-loving. Many people love it when there is peace. Peacemaking, however, is hard work, requiring depth and discernment. That is what you are called to be and do - to make peace. God works through you to heal and restore relationships.

Why does God want to work through me to bring peace? Because:
1) This is what God has done for us, in Christ.
2) We are God's children.
3) We are to do the things Jesus does.

Romans 5:11 tells us to boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Because of Christ's atoning sacrifice, the breach between you and God has been bridged. You have been reconciled to God; thus, you have peace with God. The cross is about many things, not the least of which is reconciliation to God and peace with God.

This is what God does. God brings puzzle pieces together. God makes ways where there seem to be no ways. God unites the unlikely. As one of God's children, you are to do the same. Is this easy?

It's not about "easy" or "hard." The road to Golgotha was not easy for Christ, right? It is about obedience.    2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

You have a ministry and message of reconciliation. God makes his appeal through you. So, how is this going for you?

You are a peacemaker. As a result, you are blessed. Few things in life give me greater joy than being part of bringing people into relationship with God, and bringing people into loving relationship with one another. As Jesus predicted,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.(Matthew 5:9)

Is there a need for peacemakers today? You're kidding, right? 

Are you looking like one of God's children? You are, if you are a peacemaker. And if you are a peacemaker, you are blessed.

The best book I have read on peacemaking and reconciliation in the church is Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict, by James van Yperen.

For dealing with interpersonal conflict see David Augsburger, Caring Enough to Confront.

Eight, or Twenty-Four, Reasons to Believe God Exists

Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yesterday I took a look at this book - Two Dozen (Or So) Arguments for the Existence of God, by philosophers Jerry Walls and Trent Dougherty. It's $31 for Kindle, so I decided not to get it...  yet.

For those of you who study philosophy of religion this is a must-read. 

The Introduction is excellent in giving background information about Alvin Plantinga, properly basic beliefs, and the value Plantinga gives to arguments for God's existence. 

On Amazon you can read chapter 1 - "The Argument from Intentionality (or Aboutness)." Very interesting. It made me want to buy the book, but not yet.

This argument is:

  1. There are propositions: non-linguistic entities that are fundamentally true or false in virtue of their representational properties. [Premise]
  2. Only thoughts are fundamentally true or false due to their representational properties. [Premise - I taught this premise in my logic classes.]
  3. So, propositions are thoughts, they are either human or divine. [Follows from 1, 2.]
  4. If propositions are thoughts, they are either human or divine thoughts. [Premise]
  5. But there are not enough human thoughts to play the role of propositions. [Premise]
  6. So, propositions are not human thoughts. [Follows from 5]
  7. Propositions are divine thoughts. [Follows from 3, 4, 6.]
  8. If there are divine thoughts, then there is a unique divine thinker. [Premise]
  9. Therefore, there is a unique divine thinker (God).
The essay then explains and defends each step of the argument. 

Bill Craig has an argument in the book, too. A long, long time ago Bill (aka William Lane Craig) was one of my campus pastors at Northern Illinois University, where I did my undergraduate degree in philosophy. I was honored to sing in Bill and Jan's wedding. 

We were always talking about our faith, the existence of God, apologetics, metaethics, philosophical anthropology, and much more. It all got inside me, and has never left, but has been tended and watered and nurtured over the decades.

Here, e.g., is Bill's essay in Philosophy Today where he gives eight reasons to believe God exists ("Does God Exist?"). Read the essay for the reasoning. 

They are:

  1. God is the best explanation why anything at all exists.
  2. God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
  3. God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.
  4. God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
  5. God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.
  6. God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.
  7. The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists.
  8. God can be personally known and experienced.

(If #7 confuses you, it's the modal version of the Ontological Argument for God's Existence.)

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

I am currently writing...

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation

Then, Linda and I will co-write our book on Relationships.

The book I am co-editing with Janice Trigg, Encounters with the Holy Spirit, is in the final production stages.

Friday, May 24, 2019

You Won't Stay the Same When You Abide in God's Presence

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Ann Arbor

A few years ago some University of Michigan film students were making a movie about our Monroe community. I was one of their interviews. One of them, Jordan, was a U-M student who had been part of Redeemer in the past. That's how we reconnected.

Jordan asked me, "What is the main thing you see about Monroe that needs to be changed?" 

My answer was, "Me." (This is true, but not original. See G.K. Chesterton.)

I was serious about this. My ongoing transformation will set some dominoes falling. 

If I can change for the better, and by "better" meaning into greater Christlikeness, our community will be better off.

If can change and be a better husband to Linda, Linda will be better off. 

If God changes me into a greater Jesus-like compassionate servant, then people in my church family will be better off. Others will benefit from what God is doing in me. 

There's an old gospel song that goes, "It's me, it's me, it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer" (not "It's them, it's them, it's them..."  Another worship song pleads, "change my heart O God" (not "change their hearts O God").

I can't change other people. 

With God's help I can change.

To be transformed, don't focus on change, focus on God. Abide in Jesus. You cannot consistently dwell in the presence of God and remain the same. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The "Handmaid's Tale" Argument for Abortion

I read the book The Handmaid's Tale. I have not watched the TV series. 

The book is a story about a totalitarian dystopia premised on the theocratic oppression of women. The Christian God has declared that women are nothing but ovens of flesh within which babies are cooked and born. Women are "incubators," and nothing more.

This quote from the book explains this dystopian view of women. The woman who tells her story is the reproductive surrogate Offred, who says:

"We are for breeding purposes: we aren’t concubines, geisha girls, courtesans. On the contrary: everything possible has been done to remove us from that category. There is supposed to be nothing entertaining about us, no room is to be permitted for the flowering of secret lusts; no special favors are to be wheedled, by them or us, there are to be no toeholds for love. We are two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices." (P. 136)

Women make babies. That's all. 

Women have no choices.

I have seen, more than once, Handmaid's Tale used against anti-abortionist pro-lifers. Especially in political cartoons, and women dressed in red "handmaid" outfits at protests. The presence of women dressed in these outfits supposedly adds weight to the abortionist reasoning. It's done to make some point, which is what?

It goes like this.

1. Those opposed to allowing women to kill their babies are totalitarian, oppressive theocrats, just like the dystopia depicted in The Handmaid's Tale.
2. Therefore, women should resist the evil theocrats and abort their babies, if they so desire.

But surely we do not live in a dystopian, theocratic culture like that depicted in Handmaid's Tale. The idea that those of us who oppose killing defenseless, vulnerable, innocent inborn persons view women as nothing more than incubators is absurd. Which shows how far from rationality and reality this abortionist position has gone.

Related image

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Image result for cartoon handmaids tale abortion

Image result for cartoon handmaids tale abortion

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

SUMMER SEMINARY - Study Spirit Hermeneutics With Me

Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost by [Keener, Craig S.]

An invitation to Study Biblical Interpretation 
with me this summer.

WHEN: June-July- August 2019

CLASS: Spirit Hermeneutics

A discussion of New Testament scholar Craig Keener's Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost.


June - purchase and read the book.

July/August - meet with me 5-6 times to discuss. Dates and location TBA.

Long-Distance - for any interested pastors: If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to study with me this summer, please contact me. We can schedule some conference calls in July and August to discuss.


John Piippo, PhD, Northwestern University
Visiting Professor, Faith Bible Seminary, New York City
Adjunct Professor, Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio

Former professor at...
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min. programs)
Palmer Theological Seminary (D. Min. program)
Asia Theological College (Singapore)
Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit)
Monroe County Community College (Adjunct Professor of Philosophy)
Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship Church, Monroe, MI


Monday, May 20, 2019

Our Thought-Life Determines Our Emotional Well-Being

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Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
(South Haven, Michigan)
What we ruminate on colors how we feel, how we see, how we experience. Our thought-life affects our emotional well-being.

This is a biblical idea, seen in verses like the following.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. 
Proverbs 23:7

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Romans 12:2 

 We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8 

 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

We can turn these verses into declarations, carry them with us, repeat them often.

What I think about myself is important.

I am not conforming to this world's values.

My mind is being renewed and transformed. 

I capture my thoughts and screen them 
before they capture me.

I think about myself as Christ thinks about me.

I meditate on true things.

I meditate on noble things.

I think about morally right things.

I ponder purity.

I am captivated by what is lovely.

I focus on admirable actions.

I desire excellence.

I praise God for what he is doing in me and others.

I set my mind on the things of God that 
transcend mere earthly existence.

J. P. Moreland writes:

"Without question, these and many other texts establish the importance to our overall well-being of how we train our minds and of what our minds habitually dwell on. As psychologists Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano remind us: “The truth is that it’s what we say to ourselves [the self-talk of our thought life] in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings.”" 
Moreland, Finding Quiet, pp. 68-69

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

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

I'm now working on...

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (I am co-editing this with Janice Trigg.)

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.