John Piper does even more good work...

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(Tim) Speaking of the weaknesses of godly church officers, Jake Mentzel just passed this on:

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You may have already seen this, but yesterday on his blog, John Piper announced an extended leave of absence (May 1-December 31) from...

all forms of public ministry:

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. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody?...

Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments....

In 30 years, I have never let go of the passion for public productivity. 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.

Piper goes on to note an exception for the Desiring God National Conference and 3 overseas commitments that he and Noel are basically planning to use as vacations: "Our reasoning is that if she could go along, and if we plan it right, these could be very special times of refreshment together."

In his announcement to his congregation, he adds this:

"You could view this as a kind of fasting from public ministry... One of the goals of fasting is to determine levels of addiction. Or as Paul Tripp or Tim Keller would say, levels of idolatry. The reality check is: 'What will happen to John Piper's soul—and to my marriage, and to my family, and to my future—what will happen to me... when there will be no prideful sipping from the poisonous cup of international fame and notoriety?' I need to find that out. And I don't know any other way to do it."

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Note from Tim: We had several premarital counseling sessions, yesterday, during which I explained to the couples that I'd grown up in a home where my father was away from home on speaking engagements all the time. And I mean, ALL the time.

Dad regularly felt remorse over his absence and would tell us he'd decided to stay home more, but many was the slip 'twixt the cup and the lip: he never seemed able to follow through on these commitments. (And don't worry, we all loved him anyway, although we know it was extremely difficult on Mud who had to cope with the absence of her husband and the father of her children.)

When Dad gave my ordination charge twenty-seven years ago, he commanded me:

Model love and care for

your wife and children. Don’t sacrifice them and your responsibility for them

on the altar of your work and leadership in the church. Determine not to preach

to others and see your own children castaways.

We're all thankful for John's leadership in this matter, aren't we? Let's remember to pray for him and his family, that God will make this time very fruitful, both for the Piper family, and also for the watching church.