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Brother We Are Not Professionals: Key Thoughts

Key Thoughts: Brothers We Are Not Professionals by John Piper

We are fools for Christ’s sake.  But professionals are wise.  We are weak.  But professionals are strong.  Professionals are held in honor.  We are in disrepute.  We do not try to secure a professional lifestyle, but we are ready to hunger and thirst and be ill-clad and homeless.  When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things.  Or have we? (2)

“Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh God, an din its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion to Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labor to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints, and glorify our sovereign Lord.

“Legalism is a more dangerous disease than alcoholism because it doesn’t look like one. Alcoholism makes men fail; legalism helps them succeed in the world. Alcoholism makes men depend on the bottle; legalism makes them self-sufficient, depending on no one. Alcoholism destroys moral resolve; legalism gives it strength. Alcoholics don’t feel welcome in the church; legalists love to hear their morality extolled in church.”

“When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do. A. C. Dixon”

“Emotions are like a river flowing out of one’s heart. Form is like the riverbanks. Without them the river runs shallow and dissipates on the plain. But banks make the river run deep. Why else have humans for centuries reached for poetry when we have deep affections to express? The creation of a form happens because someone feels a passion. How ironic, then, that we often fault form when the real evil is a dry spring.”

“remember this: there is no standing still in the Christian life. Either we are advancing toward salvation, or we are drifting away to destruction. Drifting is mortal danger.”

“The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God’s Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river.”

“There is an infinite difference between the pastor whose heart is set on being a professional and the pastor whose heart is set on being the aroma of Christ, the fragrance of death to some and eternal life to others (2 Cor. 2:15–16).”

“We may think we are centering our lives on God when we are really making Him a means to self-esteem.”

“So the goal of spiritual leadership is to muster people to join God in living for God’s glory.”

“So I arrive at this definition of gratitude. Gratitude is a species of joy which arises in your heart in response to the goodwill of someone who does or tries to do you a favor.”

“Education is helping people understand something they don’t already understand. Or, more accurately, education is helping people (young or old) learn how to get an understanding that they didn’t already have. Education is cultivating the life of the mind so that it knows how to grow in true understanding. That impulse was unleashed by God’s inspiring a book with complex demanding paragraphs in it.”

“What makes born-again people glad is not at bottom that they have God’s gifts but that they have God.”

“I believe pastors should put their lives and ministries on the line in this issue. The cowardice of some pastors when it comes to preaching against abortion appalls me. Many treat the dismemberment of unborn humans as an untouchable issue on the par with partisan politics. Some have bought into the incredible notion that they can be personally pro-life but publicly pro-choice or noncommittal. In response to this attitude our church sponsored an ad in the Minneapolis StarTribune with these simple words: “I am personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice”—Pontius Pilate.”

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem.

John is the author of more than 50 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.