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The Rocky Road to Bethlehem

Jason Meyer's calling to succeed John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church was clear but not easy.

Jason Meyer never aspired to fill the pulpit previously occupied by John Piper.

In fact, Meyer had many reasons it was a bad idea for him to succeed Piper, one of America's most famous pastors, in the pulpit of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. Meyer made sure that God knew a few of those reasons: I'm scared. I don't want this. I don't want the pressure. I don't want the comparison.

Yet, here was Piper in Meyer's office, where Meyer was perfectly content serving as a New Testament professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary, posing the question Meyer had dreaded, but sensed was coming:

"Your name has come up as a candidate, a strong candidate, to succeed me," Piper said. "We just want to know before we go any further, are you interested?"

"Nothing scares me more than that," Meyer said.

"Well, that's not a no," Piper replied.

Meyer, then 36, had struggled with a gnawing sense that God was calling him ...

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