"One of the goals of fasting," he noted, "is to determine levels of addiction or, as Paul Tripp of Tim Keller would say, levels of idolatry." "The reality check is what will happen to John Piper's soul ... "I need to find that out and I don't know any other way to do it." "I just want to preach so bad I can hardly stand it," he admitted.

"I love what I do." The break from ministry will also serve as a period for him to work on his marriage to his wife of 41 years.

“The pursuit of marriage” was a warm and justifying pullover to wear over my conscience when things started to go too far physically and emotionally. That simple equation would have saved me and the girls I dated all kinds of grief, heartache, and regret. Think about your last first kiss in a relationship (if you’ve already kissed someone). You knew you were risking something, that this wasn’t the safest way to give yourself to someone.

We want to share life with someone of the opposite sex who will be involved and invested in what we’re doing and what we care about.

Nevertheless, while I don't think they do, I grieve over them." Piper, who is considered one of the most influential preachers among Protestant pastors, made the announcement after preaching about Jesus Christ and the cross he beared.

It was the first of four final sermons before his eight-month leave from the church and ministry.

In the 30 years he has been preaching, Piper said he has never let go of his passion for public productivity – ever. "In this moment (the leave of absence), I'm letting go of all of it," he said.

That means no preaching, no book writing, no blogging, no tweeting, no articles, no papers and no speaking engagements – with a few exceptions that his wife, Noel, agreed to. when there will be no prideful sipping from the poisonous cup of international fame and notoriety," the 64-year-old preacher said.

Well-known evangelical preacher John Piper announced Sunday that he will be taking his first-ever break from ministry to reexamine his soul.

The long-time preacher apologized to his congregation for not a specific deed but for the "sins of my own soul," "ongoing character flaws" and stresses that they have caused to others.

That's not as true today in America as it once was," Piper said.