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Piper, J. (2013). Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition [Kindle Android version].

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1). But our first business is to pant after God in prayer.

This week I finished reading through the revised and updated version of John Piper’s book Brothers, We are Not Professionals. Overall it was a good worthwhile read. While I don’t necessarily agree with all points Piper makes theologically this book has a lot of practical application and takeaways. Therefore, the purpose of this post is not to provide a review or complete summary of the book but more so to record some key takeaways from my perspective. This post will be a longer than my typical “book review” as a result of this purpose.

Of the 36 Chapters I have reduced this to key takeaways from 11 of these chapters some shorter than others.

Chapter 7- Beware the Debtor’s Ethic
For me, this chapter reinforces why we serve God. It is not to “pay back” a debt we owe God since we can never seek to do so. Good deeds does not pay back grace but borrows more.
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The Christian life is pictured as an effort to pay back the debt we owe to God. The admission is made that we will never fully pay it off, but the debtor’s ethic demands that we work at it. Good deeds and religious acts are the installment payments we make on the unending debt we owe God.
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In fact the astonishing thing is that every good deed we do in dependence on Him to “pay Him back” does just the opposite; it puts us ever deeper in debt to His grace
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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.
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The aim of that act was to unleash a power of forgiveness and renewal that would transform people into reflectors of God’s glory.
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This immediately excludes the debtor’s ethic. Any attempt to express a gratitude by paying God back would contradict the nature of His gift as free and gracious.
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Good deeds do not pay back grace; they borrow more grace.
Chapter 8- Tell Them Not To Serve God
Again this chapter helps refine motives for why we serve God and encourage others to do so as well. It is not about us but about God. Not for our glory but to glorify God.
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Religious “flesh” always wants to work for God . But “if you live according to the flesh you will die” (Rom. 8: 13). That is why our very lives hang on not working for God, both in justification and sanctification. 
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But it is not entirely passive. Matthew 6: 24 gives another clue to good service. Compare serving money and serving God. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” How does a person serve money? He does not assist money. He is not the benefactor of money. How then do we serve money? Money exerts a certain control over us because it seems to hold out so much promise of happiness. 
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The only right way to serve God is in a way that reserves for Him all the glory.
Chapter 10- Brothers, Let Us Pray
This chapter reinforces the prayer life of a follower of Jesus, a leader and especially those called to ministry. Prayer aligns us with God and recognizes our dependency in Him as opposed to the other areas of ministry we can come to rely upon.
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Both our flesh and our culture scream against spending an hour on our knees beside a desk piled with papers. It is un-American to be so impractical as to devote oneself to prayer and meditation two hours a day. And sometimes I fear that our seminaries conform to this deadly pragmatism that stresses management and maneuvering as ways to get things done with a token mention of prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit.
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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.
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I know that the reason so few conversions are happening through my church is not because we lack a program or staff. It is because we do not love the lost and yearn for their salvation the way we should.
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our lives and in our churches, there will be agonizing prayer: “God, break my heart !” I choose the word agonize carefully. Paul used in Romans 15: 30, “Now I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit , to strive together [sunagōnizasthai] with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” With such “agonizing together” God may grant tears. And without those tears we may shuffle members from church to church, but few people will pass from darkness to light.
Chapter 11- Brothers Beware of Sacred Substitutes
This chapter builds upon the previous chapter by reinforcing our spiritual lives and the constant development of it. For many in ministry separating these functions of being with God vs our doing in ministry can cross over and become intermixed in an unhealthy way that leads little for the time with God. In ministry busyness comes in many forms and the pursuit of many good things but yet things that don’t allow us to be with God, just busy.
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Ministry is its own worst enemy. It is not destroyed by the big, bad wolf of the world. It destroys itself. One survey of pastors asked, “What are the most common obstacles to spiritual growth?” The top three were busyness (83 percent), lack of discipline (73 percent), and interruptions (47 percent). Most of these interruptions and most of our busyness are ministry related, not “worldly.”
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Without extended, concentrated prayer, the ministry of the Word withers. And when the ministry of the Word declines, faith (Rom. 10: 17; Gal. 3: 2, 5) and holiness (John 17: 17) decline. Activity may continue, but life and power and fruitfulness fade away. Therefore, whatever opposes prayer opposes the whole work of ministry.
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Brothers, beware of sacred substitutes. Devote yourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.
Chapter 12- Fight For Your Life
For me this chapter reinforced the need to read and learn from others. It also helps put into perspective why, why reading is important. This chapter is helpful also in reminding me the need not just to read new books but classics as well, many of which I have not read yet. I liked his statement about making a rule out of not reading a new book until you have read a classic or to at least balance it with on old book for every three new books. Regardless I can definitely improve in this area.
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The great pressure on us today is to be productive managers. But the need of the church is for prayerful, spiritual poets. 
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There is so much soul-refreshing, heart-deepening, mind-enlarging truth to be had from great books! Your people will know if you are walking with the giants (as Warren Wiersbe says) or watching television.
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It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you , you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
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No, the point is not to read many books . The point is to stay alive in your soul, to keep the juices flowing, to fan the flame again on Monday and have it burning bright on Saturday night.
Chapter 14- Brothers, Query the Text
The takeaway here, the reminder to not just read the Bible in volume but for insight and revelation. This prevents it from becoming a checklist item to something much larger and transforming.
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there is a direct correlation between reading a lot and gaining insight. But, in fact, there is no positive correlation at all between the quantity of pages read and the quality of insight gained.
Chapter 16- Brothers, Read Christian Biography
While there is just one highlight for this chapter that summarizes the point this is important for me to remember. Though I read a lot of non-fiction I do not read enough Christian biography.
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Christian biography is the means by which the body life of the church cuts across the centuries.
Chapter 27- Brothers, Bodily Training Is Of Some Value
Good reminder to take care of our bodies through exercise and rest. When I get busy the easiest thing for me to remove from my routine are these things. I sleep less and exercise less when I am in a busy season. This allows me to devote more time to other priorities like God, family and ministry needs.
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The right use of your body and your mind may enable you to see so much of God that you would sacrifice your life for Christ.
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So now I spend about twenty to thirty minutes three times a week on weights at a local gym. My total weekly investment in physical exercise these days would be about six hours, counting dressing and showering and travel.
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For me , adequate sleep is not just a matter of staying healthy . It’s a matter of staying in the ministry—I’m tempted to say it’s a matter of persevering as a Christian.
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Therefore, we must watch the changes in our bodies. In the fight for joy, we must be wise in the adjustments we make.
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So, brothers, take heed to your eating and exercising and resting. Do this not because the body is so valuable.
Chapter 31- Brothers, Give Them God’s Passion for Missions
This is a passion of mine and one I seek to devote time to pursuing. I like his statement of three possibilities. We can be goers, senders or disobedient. An example he gave is Paul was a goer. Timothy was more so the sender.
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Tell them there are three possibilities. They can be goers, senders, or disobedient.
Chapter 34- Brothers, Focus on the Essence of Worship Not the Form
While this is not something I struggle with it is all too common for us to focus on form as opposed to essence of worshiping God.
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The fundamental reason for this is probably that the Old Testament was mainly a “come see” religion and the New Testament fulfillment is a “go tell” religion . In other words, while the focus was on the people Israel in one place, worship could be structured in fixed and formal ways. But once Jesus said, “Go make disciples of all nations”— all cultures, all languages, all temperaments— the issue of form almost vanished out of the New Testament. The New Testament is a missionary handbook . It is a book for all cultures. This is the fundamental reason for its sparing treatment of form in worship.
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When we say that what we do on Sunday morning is to “go hard after God,” what we mean is that we are going hard after satisfaction in God,
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If the focus shifts onto our giving to God, one result I have seen again and again is that, subtly, it is not God that remains at the center but the quality of our giving.
Chapter 35- Brothers, Love Your Wives
This chapter reinforces marriage and the proper prioritizing of this important relationship.
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No wife should replace the authority of Christ with the authority of her husband.
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Ephesians 5: 25– 30. This text makes clear that the reason there is so much misery in marriages is not that husbands and wives are seeking their own pleasure but that they are not seeking it in the pleasure of their spouses.
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He says, “Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have to become one flesh; therefore, if you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your own highest joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse , you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and his church.”