March 30, 2017

January 6, 2010

Matt Chandler’s Brain Tumor and the Purpose of Suffering

Matt Chandler is in his 30’s. He is married and has three young children. He’s the lead pastor of “The Village” church in North Texas, one of the fastest growing churches in the country. He’s Reformed and Baptist and is, in my opinion, one of the best young preachers of the day. Here’s a short sample from a recent Resurgence conference.

On Thanksgiving Day Matt Chandler suffered a seizure and collapsed. He was diagnosed with a malignant, slow growing, brain tumor (Anaplastic oligodendroglioma). His surgeons removed a good deal of it but they could not remove all of it. The prognosis, should God decide not to intervene, is, apparently, not good.  John Piper, Matt Chandler’s mentor and friend, was asked to come speak to Matt’s congregation two Sunday’s ago. The sermon he preached (listen here) is one of the best on the purpose of human suffering I have heard. It is long, 54 minutes, but it is worth it not only to listen but to pull out your bibles and follow him along.

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I’m glad you posted this outstanding sermon.  Believe it or not, I was present about ten days ago when John Piper gave it, because my wife and I were visiting her family in Dallas for Christmas, and some of them attend “the Village Church.”

BTW, for those interested, The Village Church is anything but what the name might conjure up; it’s sure not just a little country church in a New England village.  It’s a thriving megachurch with three campuses, the main site being in the Dallas/Ft. Worth suburb of Flower Mound, just south of Highland Village, where the church started (hence the name).  I attended the first of the two Sunday services at the Flower Mound location, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the place, and the auditorium seats 1,400 people!

My wife and I commented afterward that one of things we appreciated about Piper’s sermon was the remarkable skill with which he kept the whole congregation with him in terms of where he was in his outline of that long 54 minute sermon.  That is, he announced his main points in advance, and then he always let us know just where he was at as he went along and especially he was very clear about when he was making a transition to a new point.  Not many preachers can hold a big audience’s attention for almost an hour, but Piper can and did.

It’s a very propositional style sermon, and not very personal, without gripping personal illustrations from Piper’s own life and ministry, so it wont’ appeal to everyone.  But I can testify that it nonetheless came across as very authentic, realistic, and down to earth.

Since my wife’s mother was in fact in the hospital, in the cardiac ICU, hovering on the brink of death herself, we particularly appreciated Piper’s marvelously pastoral emphasis on the fact that in a big church like that, there were bound to be many, many worshippers who were going through their own personal or family crisis, and that when a church is all wrapped up in concern for their pastor’s precarious heaalth, it’s all too easy for such suffering ones to be neglected.  All the attention naturally tends to center on the pastor and his family, and Piper wisely admonished the congregation not to overlook the other suffering folks in their midst.  We really, really appreciated that.

Bottom line:  As regular SF readers know, I’m not a big John Piper fan.  Certainly not like Matt is.  But I sure came away impressed from this fine sermon.  It was powerfully encouraging, given what my extended family is going through (BTW, my mother-in-law is still precariously hanging on to life).

Thanks again, Matt.  Everyone else, it’s well worth taking the time to listen to this fantastic sermon on Romans 8.

David Handy+

[1] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 1-6-2010 at 03:00 PM · [top]

As on this morning I have listened to 75+ sermons by Matt Chandler given at The Village and all of his semons at Acts 29 and Resurgnece, which have a different emphasis as they are sermons given to other pastors. My wife and I are praying for Matt nightly; his desire for progressive santification, that God be shown in the way you live your life, and that everyone be on Mission have reached us, helped in our tranformation. In Christ

[2] Posted by gary on 1-6-2010 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Many prayers for this pastor, family, and church…

[3] Posted by Anti-Harridan on 1-6-2010 at 05:15 PM · [top]

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