Monday, November 4, 2013


I’m excited as we approach the end of our series on relationships. Over the last five weeks we have unpacked:

Relationship with God (Sin: Broken relationship with God leads to broken relationship with people)

Relationship with People

The Problem of Evil/Suffering from a Philosophical/Biblical perspective.

Broken Relationships: Homosexuality

Broken Relationships: Pornography

This weekend the series continues as Glenn Brown discusses Jesus perfect relationship with God the Father over three sessions this Saturday and Sunday at our High School Fall Retreat at Maple Grove. If you’re in HS you still have 4 days to signup!


Recap and more with Darren Sweeney November 17th.

Closing the series November 24th- Relationship Restored: Jesus

Links to some Resources I showed in class:


Parents: do you realize that 90% of our boys between 8-18 have seen hardcore internet pornography? Have you talked with your children about this? Statistically, if you’re not- your home computer already has. Parents, never before in the history of the world ,  has relationship destroying porn been so available. Never. No sin is new, but never before has this type of sin been so accessible. Please get educated and please talk to your boys. 

Ladies: Don’t date boys- date men. If a guy wants to pursue you, ask him about the last time he viewed porn. An awkward conversation now might save you an awkward conversation once you’re married to him. If he is serious about you and his relationship with God he will ‘man up’ and submit this sin to Christ.


Homosexuality is the sin of the 10%. We in the 90% (heterosexuals) like to make a big fuss about this when we struggle with lust, pride, gluttony, and withholding justice from the poor etc.- which when you look at the thousands of verses in scripture, deeply offends God and is the major reason why kingdoms/cities get destroyed. All sin is sin and should be named as such (Romans 1:18-32). God meets us wherever we are at, but all sin is second best. God doesn’t desire second best for any of his children.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pastor's Pen: October

The Trinity and Human Relationships

We will never turn our back on you; breath life into our lungs so we can shout your name! Psalm 80:18 MSG

The last three months have been an absolutely beautiful time for me as I have returned to my home church and begun ministering here once more. Three months?! It feels like I just got here- time flies when you’re doing youth ministry eh?

Since I’ve arrived, it’s been on my heart to teach through God’s story, the story that we all live in and under as those made in His image. The story that begins with creation (Gen 1) and ultimately ‘ends’ with renewed creation (Rev 21)- my heart beats to proclaim this to the next generation. On Tuesday and Wednesday night youth group we have been walking through the narrative of scripture in a twelve part series; we are currently four weeks into it. I believe if we don’t understand where we came from, we will have no idea where we are going- and even much less what we are suppose to be doing today.

The universe and everything in it was created through God, by God and for God. He beckons us into a life giving relationship with Him, but ultimately doesn’t need us. That might sound a little cold, but it’s ultimately a very freeing truth. Life isn’t about me, it’s all about Christ. In trying to help students grasp this foundational concept, I believe God shared this with me in my 1989 Honda Accord in the DCC parking lot about the power of relationships.  Let’s switch gears now and let me paint you a picture of days past…

The year is 19xx and your parents were thoroughly enjoying life with each other. They had hair, good looks, excellent style and were anything but boring. You (and your siblings?) hadn’t been born yet. They dreamed big dreams and were excited for the future as they navigated life together. As a product of their (hopefully) loving union, life flowed from their relationship and now you enter the scene. Out of their relationship you came into existence. Their relationship didn’t depend on you for its existence but you were now participating in the relationship that your parents shared between themselves. Outside of your parents, you wouldn’t have had life. As a young child, if you had chosen to reject this relationship, it would have tragically ended in your demise.

In a similar vein, before the Triune God went about creating everything we see around us today, God was fully complete and satisfied within the intimate relationship He had with himself.  It wasn’t like He woke up one particular Monday morning feeling lonely and decided to create the universe with people to worship Him, complete Him and make Him feel better about being God. The Triune God, consisting in Father, Son and Holy Spirit was lacking nothing in an unending bond of perichoretical (Google that) love. It was out of this life giving relationship that the universe was birthed. Genesis tells us that God spoke creation out of his mouth. Let that sink in for a second. God spoke the entire universe out of his mouth. A God that was full of love and free of need, made you, me, and everything that is seen and unseen.

It’s for our joy and the Triune God’s glory that we recognize these foundations.

“Ok Piper, I’m a pragmatic person, so what does this all mean?” Great question. As I survey scripture, I believe the Bible points to a relational, life giving God who desires fullness of life for all His creatures. As the source of life, only in relationship with Him is it to be truly found. We as the disobedient creatures we are, at one point defiantly shook our fists at the heavens with delusions of entitled grandeur. But really, it’s not about us. It’s about the God that brought us from the dirt with his breath of life. When his first disobedient children walked away from him, He didn’t leave them to their own devices. He very well could have, but out of his deep love He relentlessly pursued his wayward children. In Genesis 12, God selects a man named Abraham to be the medium of his blessing to the entire world. We stand in continuity with this promise as the adopted children of God, compelled by the knowledge of our Great Father to bless others. We have found life in this relationship that we have been invited into.

Relationships are powerful. The first three of the Ten Commandments are about our relationship with God and the next seven are about our relationship with others. Broken relationship with God leads to broken relationship with people. For us to live out of the commission of Genesis 12:3, how are we as the community of faith inviting others into this life giving relationship with our Father through his Son? It plays out in a variety of ways, but I believe it starts with us surrendering our hearts to his good news (Gospel) that He is Lord, and us inviting those around who don’t know our Father into this family. God truly didn’t need us but out of his complete relationship with Himself, He allowed us to partake in His mission.  Ultimately, it’s not about me as I exist only by His will and it is for my joy to be about my Father’s business. All of our relationships are about building for God’s Kingdom. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s life should flow through us and be visible to those around us.  

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pastors Pen: August

Kia Ora church,

What a whirlwind of a journey my life has been to this point. In recent weeks I’ve: graduated from Bible college, shifted countries, continents, time zones, houses, become a youth pastor and had to forget a few Kiwi colloquialisms that just don’t translate well into American English. Prior to that, I traveled the world trying to figure out how and where I fit in. I didn’t have an active faith in Christ until he met me for what seemed like the first time in a dingy Guatemalan apartment cell in January of 2007. The moment was decisive and radical; much of the old David Piper died that day. New Zealand was incredible to me. I’m forever grateful to my Avondale Baptist Church/Laidlaw family that adopted me into theirs very early on in my arrival to the country in 2010; how good it is to be offered rest as a displaced traveler.

In this new season of life, I’m excited to bring vision and passion to this community of faith, especially its young people. Life has taught me that I’m more than inadequate on my own without Christ and a quick survey of history reveals that in a hundred years, no one will remember my name. I don’t mean this in a negative or morbid sense, but a freeing one. Everything is about Jesus. Everything. From start to finish. All creation was created through him, by him and for his glory. Only in relationship with Jesus is life found. To deny Christ is to deny ultimate reality and the source of all life itself. I firmly believe in life before death for those that chose to repent and participate in building for God’s Kingdom today. One of our prayers needs to be, “God what are you already doing in Sequim (plus the wider world) and how can we participate in that?” It’s about God’s Kingdom, not ours. How freeing is this?

I bring with me my extensive twenty-seven years of life (just joking) and a highly relational style of ministry that has been shaped by my interactions with believers from around the world, which include weaknesses and strengths. I don’t come as a shining ‘superstar pastor’ (whatever that means?) from a land far, far away- but from Sequim where the majority of you have watched me grow up. I can take very little credit for where I’m at today as my life and faith has been shaped by older women and men who were loved and shaped by men and women older still… it ultimately goes back to Jesus. From the Holy Scriptures, we see that the Bible begins with creation (Gen 1) and ends with renewed creation (Rev 21). We live in between these times. So what does it look like to live an authentically Christian lifestyle in light of the Resurrection in the 21st century? How do we faithfully participate in the triune God’s commission to us in Sequim, Washington? These are the questions that we must ask and pursue in community with one another.

Hebrews 13:2 exhorts the persecuted community of faith to never stop showing hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some had entertained angels. Before Bible College, I was convinced hospitality was a huge medium to share the gospel of Jesus Christ; after, I’m even more convinced. Starting in September I will be hosting mid-week pancake breakfasts at my Sunnyside Flat (1/10th of a mile from the High School praise God!) that will be inclusive of all High School students regardless of their church attendance. God has also placed a fire in my heart to develop disciple (mentorship) type relationships between a vast range of ages at DCC. For lack of better terms, I believe those from the Wisdom Years (adults) need to be in conversation with those who make up the Wonder Years (youth); for the benefit and health of the entire Church. I heard a preacher once say, “like the Dead Sea, if water is flowing in but not flowing out… everything dies.” I understood this as meaning that if we’re not teaching what we are learning or have learned, it’s not just us who are losing out. If you feel like anything that has been said is tugging at your heart, consider that your invitation! I trust we will be in contact shortly J

As for now, I will enjoy the honeymoon period and pray that God uses DCC to mediate his love to the wider world. Genesis 12:3 states that Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to the world; as his children by faith, we stand in continuity with this promise. We aren’t blessed to simply be blessed, but blessed to bless others. Our joy is fully rooted in how much we are willing to mirror Jesus to the world in humble obedience to His singular mission and the plurality of ways it is faithfully enacted every day. The total (C)hurch needs to be involved in total mission, from youngest to oldest.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” -Hebrews 12:1-3

Now it’s our turn.

 I look forward to journeying with you in this season as your youth pastor navigating the joys and pains of life in Christ centered community together.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tick Tock

 As I glance over at the calendar, I can’t believe the days, months and hours have wound there way down to this point in time. I understand this is what time does, it keeps ticking away with or without me noticing. But now I’ve noticed, and I realize that I only have seven more weeks of school and just over eight left in New Zealand. After some 43 months flying by in Auckland, I’m holding on to these final moments. Time just seems to go by much quicker now. I remember waiting as a seven year old boy, for what seemed like eternity, for Christmas to come around. At that point in my life, I had only experienced six Christmas’s, so waiting for the next one to come around was a decent percentage of my life. Now at the ripe old age of 27, I can’t seem to slow things down as I wake up, and it’s the metaphorical next week. Good times.

So far the academic semester has been good to me, consistently pulling in some of the highest marks of my career. I have since moved off the Laidlaw campus to help restore healthy sleeping patterns after being woken up one to many times in the middle of the night by Freshmen. It seemed I would wake up when they would go to bed so it didn’t quite work out J Two weeks ago after pushing through a particularly intense week of study (trying to wrap my head around the atonement+ being woken up at 3am a few nights in a row by kids) I was physically and emotionally exhausted. One of my professors noticed this and invited me out to the Hibiscus Coast to stay at his guest house with his family. The weekend was exactly what I needed. The first night I was there (Friday), we watched a film together that I found completely profound. It spoke to me right where I was at and I knew God was reaching to me through it. The next day I was able to read and pray in peace and quiet which was a nice change. As the day began, I put my shorts on and headed down to the beach; swimming in a deserted cove after hiking around the reef. In this cove I felt a tremendous sense of God’s presence and I might have even sang (loudly) a few songs of praise in my cove. I swam back and dried off then walked around the quaint town of Orewa, taking in an art gallery and even finding new swim trunks at an op shop for $5. In the afternoon, I reflected on the life of anchorite, Julian of Norwich for my class on Historical Spirituality that challenged me to press further into God.  That night I attended a Catholic service where I heard more of the Bible read, sung and prayed aloud than at any Protestant service I've ever been to (yikes!). I left encouraged. Returning to my guest house, I felt as If I needed to write down my thoughts to a friend and seek their forgiveness, but not exactly sure when to bring it up. On Sunday I hitched back into Auckland central where I took in another art gallery with friends after reading one of my favorite theologians, T.F. Torrance, in the public library. That night I was able to apologize to my friend and it was well received. At 5am Monday morning, I woke up out of nowhere and felt the overwhelming love and forgiveness of God, right where I was laying. I sat up, cried and spent time in God’s presence as his child before dozing back to sleep.

Above: From the Auckland Art Gallery.

Fast forward five days (last Friday), my evangelist buddy Aaron and I decided to hit the streets again in a notoriously dark area of the city. This event occurs on a semi-regular basis. What doesn’t normally occur is us teaming up with another group of guys from a cluster group called Activate. Firstly, it was encouraging to see 8-10 other men with a passion for Jesus that I haven’t really seen in my time here. Secondly, two of the guys had studied ministry/evangelism at Bethel Church in Redding, California and God uses them on regular basis to physically heal or speak prophetic words into the lives of strangers. As we met in a group we began to write down names/places/locations/bodily features of potential people we could meet. I felt God had placed Burger Fuel on Queen Street on my heart and was set to get over there and see if the person from my list was on there. After a group prayer on K Road I was organized into a team of three, Brendan  Aaron and myself. We set out towards Queen Street and on the way we ran into multiple people that we talked to and offered to pray for, but alas, no takers. When we arrived to Burger Fuel, the trio stepped inside the building and surveyed the scene. A few young couples, some older women sitting in the back and a table full of middle eastern/ Muslim guys. I smiled internally, “awesome,” I thought to myself. Not one of these folks is on my list at all! Phew. Thanks God. We walked back outside when Aaron and I looked at Brendan with a, what’s next? Brendan asked us if anyone was on our lists of things that had been placed on our hearts. We both said, “not really,” when Brendan came over and looked at my list. “Hmm, Burger Fuel, Queen Street, beard (a physical feature of the potential person I would/could meet)…. “well, what about these guys,” he said to me while pointing at the table of Muslim guys. I instantly said no, as these folks weren’t wearing any of the items of clothes I had listed such as yellow rain jackets or a red scarf etc. Brendon told me, “it doesn’t always work like this, I think this is the group of guys you need encounter, ready?” I exclaimed “no,” and we moved from the inside of the burger joint to the door way leading back onto the safe street.

Just a little background on this moment. I have spent hours and hours on the streets with drunks, prostitutes and homeless folks in three countries and two continents. I’ve shared the good news of Jesus Christ hitch-hiking, in homeless shelters and have seen miraculous things. I’ve been prophecied over (correctly), have been used to heal a person through prayer and firmly believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ with every ounce of my being. None of that meant squat on that busy street this particular Friday evening. I was scared. Real scared. I had never asserted myself into another person (or groups) reality without having first starting a conversation with them. All of that though, the drunks and prostitutes etc., have been within my zone of comfort. My zone of comfort may not look like others, but in a similar vein, my default setting is to operate out of what is comfortable to me.

Backing from the doorway to the street, my breathing became heavy and I felt like a little boy. Brendon asked me if I was ready again, to which I decided to just go for it after saying a quick prayer for courage. 

Picture your first time on a high-dive board or on the side of a cliff with the water looming beneath you… if you over think it, you’re going to psyche yourself out… all you really need to do is take that first step out and gravity does the rest. Gravity took over. I began moving towards this table of guys and shortly had all eyes on me. I introduced myself and asked for a moment of their time as I explained why me and the two guys behind me were out that night. I shared with how I thought God had lead me to these guys, showing them my “treasure list.” I don’t know how to describe the feel at the table. Maybe they were open to it, half smiling as if they were overcome with the awkwardness and novelty of the moment. One of the guys at the back of the table was mocking us (in a good nature) and I was able to affirm his comments that this was a bit awkward and that won the group over some. I showed them my list and asked if anyone had a cough or cold and wanted prayer. At first, all said no, but that quickly changed. A guy whose name I can’t pronounce looked up at me and told me he was sick after observing my list. I asked him if I could pray for him. “Right here?!?, he exclaimed. “Why don’t you pray for me on your way out?” I didn’t really know what to say until Aaron stepped in and said, “bro, it’s nothing weird, we don’t even have to touch you.” The man agreed, and I can’t remember right now if I put my hand on his shoulder (I think I did?) or just held them out in front of me. I prayed with a boldness and I had never seen before in me, after taking this plunge. Praying with your eyes open is somewhat hard, but as I looked into his eyes, I looked into the eyes of a man who was completely awed, holding on to each and every word spoke. I prayed healing over him in the name of Jesus Christ again and again along with a number of other things. When the amen came, he thanked me. The energy of the table was very much changed. Brendan had a few words that had been put on his heart for another guy at the table which really spoke to him. We said our goodbyes and headed out into the night where we would meet three more people in a meaningful way, but I won’t go into that now. We the trio, wrapped up praising God and went to a pub near where we had initially parked. Over a beer, each team shared the amazing way God had met them on the street. Amazing. The joy at the table was full as we praised God.

God is very much alive in Aotearoa.

Thank you all for your prayers and love. My heart has already begun the 8,000 mile journey home to Sequim. My mind and body are still very present as scholastically it all boils down to this. Not an ounce of ‘senioritis’ is to be found in my body and I’m striving to do the best I can with what God has allowed me to have in this season. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Some months ago, I listened to a lecture on doctrine where the preacher said, "your joy is directly connected to how much you're willing to reflect Jesus." Whether this is in everyday life such as humbling yourself to ask someone for forgiveness or in situations where we need to trust God with everything because our strength or personality will only carry us so far... my prayer is that God would sustain our faith, in Christ, making us more and more like the risen saviour who represents all of renewed humanity. Praise the Father, Praise the Son, Praise the Spirit. 

His and yours,