I cannot describe the personal benefits I have received from the ministry of John Piper. Since becoming a Christian in June of 2004, I have heard numerous sermons, read numerous articles, blog posts, and books by John Piper. He captures and expounds the inexpressible joy that we are promised in Christ, and it is primarily due to God’s work through him that I can believe that God’s goodness is expressed even in hardship and pain—that God glorified Himself in our suffering as much as in our blessing. It is mainly because of his ministry and his passion for the sovereignty of God that I can say, even in the most difficult times, that I have much to rejoice for because Jesus Christ lives.
Reading Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist gave me a passion for God’s glory and showed me that seeing Jesus as the One in whom we can have the most satisfaction is the way we glorify Him most. The famous line, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
It is with a certain simultaneous sadness and excitement that I wanted to copy John’s letters to his congregation before and after the congregational vote to install Jason Meyer as the new Pastor for Preaching & Vision. Of the 792 members in attendance, 784 (99%) voted to confirm the unanimous recommendation by the elder board to install Jason as pastor on Aug. 1, 2012, when John steps down from his current position.
He truly displays the heart of a servant in God’s kingdom who rejoices in the movements of God in the life of the church, even if there is no doubt serious emotions involved in these kinds of decision. As a pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church for 32 years, his love for his congregation has no doubt exponentially grown, and he has shepherded them well.
Please join me in praying for Jason Meyer and John Piper as their ministries will be dramatically changing very soon and as their families transition.
Check out his books on Amazon
Check out the resources at his Desiring God website
The qualifications for elders and deacons are given in 1 Timothy 3. These are needed because Paul said in verse 10: “Let them also be tested first; then let them serve.”
Jason Meyer, has in a sense, been tested by some of us at Bethlehem for the last 12 years. We knew him as a TBI student for two years. We followed him during his Masters and Doctoral studies at Southern Seminary. We watched as he pastored Orville Baptist Church, and Parkway Baptist Church, and as he taught at Louisiana College and ministered in Ethiopia. We watched even more closely as he came to teach at Bethlehem Seminary and became an integral part of ministry at the North Campus.
And for the last seven weeks you have all been part of the testing of Jason Meyer as he has fielded dozens of questions and preached for three successive weekends.
During this last phase of public examination it has seemed wise to me not to be a part of any of those discussions, nor to discuss any matters with Jason. We have not had a conversation about the process in the last seven weeks and I have not attended any of the elder examinations or public discussions with Jason.
My aim in this has been to avoid any impression of coaching or shaping Jason as to how he should answer questions or present himself. It seemed wise to me that you should meet and know the most authentic Jason possible as he is in himself.
In addition it seemed to me that my presence at any of these interactions could limit your freedom to ask questions that might call attention to comparisons or contrasts between Jason and me. That’s why I have avoided those meetings, and why I am not present tonight.
But I write this note to make sure you know that my absence is in no way sign of indifference to, or lack of enthusiasm for, what is happening on this historic evening. I would love to be there and watch how God moves among you in this crucial vote.
It would not be exaggerating to say that this vote is probably one of the top two or three most significant and historic congregational votes this church has taken or will take in the 60 years between 1980 and 2040. Yes, I am hoping and praying that you will give Jason overwhelming affirmation in this vote and that he will stay with us at least that long.
I commend him to you as your Associate Pastor for Preaching & Vision, and I have every hope and desire that, with your affirmation, this title will, some time next year, be changed toPastor for Preaching & Vision.
The reason for my commendation is in essence that I believe God has called Jason Meyer to this ministry. We are all aware that the hand of God in providence is not as easy to read as the word of God in Scripture. That is why we test all things by the written word of God.
But the Scriptures do not tell us who the next Lead Pastor for Preaching & Vision should be. Instead, the Bible gives us guidelines, and it shapes our ways of thinking and feeling. The Holy Spirit uses his inspired word to equip us for “every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). One of those good works is the discernment of God’s call on Jason’s life.
That is what I have been praying during all these months of testing—that God would give to the search team, the elders, the pastoral staff, and finally to you, the Spirit-led, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, church-strengthening discernment needed to see the call of God in the life of Jason Meyer.
My own sense is that from all eternity God planned to love this church by raising up Jason Meyer at this very time in the way he is doing. We the leaders have no sense that we managed to bring Bethlehem to this moment. God did this. And it is marvelous in our eyes. That is what I see and what I believe.
I am overjoyed at the prospect of Jason’s affirmation. Not only do I believe God is loving this church in this very moment, I feel deeply loved myself. I have wondered for years how my successor would arise. And now, as I watch it unfold before my eyes, I am simply amazed at the mighty love of God for his church—and for me.
Deep down I feel a sweet pleasure that the last 32 years could be written down in the history of this church as an acceptable foundation for the glory of what is about to be built in the decades to come.
May God give you discernment by his Spirit and according to his word.
I love you,
Source: Click here
I have no memory of any all-church strategy meeting with 800 people in attendance. Last night (May 20), 792 members gathered at Bethlehem’s Downtown Campus to complete the confirmation of Jason Meyer as the Associate Pastor for Preaching and Vision. Of these, 784 confirmed the unanimous recommendation of the elders that Jason be called, beginning his ministry on or before August 1, 2012.
I did not attend the meeting. During the meeting, Noël and Talitha and I (with two grandchildren on the couch) prayed earnestly for God to show his hand in the unity of the people’s approval of the elder’s motion. However, I did send a letter of joyful support for Jason, which Pastor Sam read to the people.
Pastor Chuck led the full sanctuary in singing praise to the One who is so manifestly at work in these days with “Rejoice the Lord is King,” “Agnus Dei,” and “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord).”
Jason was invited to speak and said: “I hope you feel loved by your leaders. They care for you. And my prayer has been that this process would only happen if it’s clear that God is the One making it happen.”
Pastor Sam opened the meeting for questions directed to Jason. Not surprisingly, after seven weeks of being tested, Jason was asked no questions. The Meyers were dismissed and questions were invited.
1) How will we guard against Jason’s needing an 8-month leave? [as I took in 2010]
2) How will we guard Cara and the children against the pressures of the limelight?
3) Will Jason be in the pulpit as little as Pastor John has been in recent years?
4) How do the elders see Bethlehem growing in the next 10 years under Jason’s leadership?
5) Do you see the campus distribution focusing more North because that’s where he lives?
The ballots were then collected and the congregation spent time in prayer as the votes were counted.
The count: 784 yes, 8 no (99% approval).
The congregation then sang the Doxology and the elders prayed over the Meyers.
Would you rejoice with me over this turn of affairs? In the last five months God has united the search team, the pastoral staff, the elders, and now the people in an unprecedented way—99% of 792 people united in their sense of God’s leading is simply stunning.
On February 13, 1980, Bethlehem voted to call me as her pastor. The vote was 149 yes, 17 no (89.7%). Thirty-two years later the church is more united than ever behind her leaders. For this I am on my face with tears of thankfulness and joy.
Jesus Christ is the head of this church. And he means to have the glory. Let him have it from your heart and lips. Gather your family and friends and give thanks. Tell him how amazing he is. Exult in the cross of Christ. Without it there could be no such blessings on sinners like us.
We will keep you posted with what the overlapping ministry with Jason will look like in the months ahead. Never cease to pray for your leaders.
With overflowing joy in God’s kindness,
Pastor John Piper
with Bryan DeWire
Source: Click here