Are you a Christian Hedonist?

Desiring God

I am a big John Piper fan but have only recently gotten around to reading his book Desiring God – Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. In this book Pastor Piper delivers a compelling argument that our lives as Christians are to be lived chasing satisfaction, joy with reckless abandonment so long as the pursuit of those things find their purpose in God and ultimately glorify Him.

The theme throughout this book that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” God gets the glory and we get the joy. Such a powerful thought. That thought alone is worth the price of the book. This truth is so fundamental. As a pastor I see so much dysfunction in people trying to be happy rather than finding their joy in God. I find myself so often allowing my service to Christ and others to be what it was never intended to be. I am created to glorify God not through depriving myself of happiness but in finding my happiness in Christ.

CS Lewis explains this concept so beautifully “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Every chapter had a few points that really rang true. The chapters that challenged me most personally were Money, Missions and Suffering. I plan on adding this book to a short list of books I reread.

Desiring God should be read by every christian at least once in their lives because of the truth Piper pulls from scripture are so precisely accurate and so horribly convicting.

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.

In the New Testament, God is clearly active, creating a people for Himself by calling them out of darkness and enabling them to believe the gospel and walk in the light. John teaches most clearly that regeneration precedes and enables faith.

The pursuit of joy in God is not optional

Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable but also that He is desirable.

True worship must include inward feelings that reflect the worth of God’s glory. If this were not so, the word hypocrite would have no meaning.

The great hindrance to worship is not that we are a pleasure-seeking people, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures.

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.

Faith is born and sustained by the Word of God, and out of faith grows the flower of joy.

A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.

Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence.

The great danger of riches is that our affections will be carried away from God to His gifts.

Generosity confirms that our hope is in God, not in ourselves or our money.

My assumption is that people without the gospel are without hope, because only the gospel can free them from their sin.

Suffering of sickness and suffering of persecution have this in common: They are both intended by Satan for the destruction of our faith and governed by God for the purifying of our faith.

How many Christians do you know who could say, “The lifestyle I have chosen as a Christian would be utterly foolish and pitiable if there is no resurrection”?

God’s universal purpose for all Christian Suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.

Paul’s suffering complex Christ’s afflictions not by adding anything to their worth, but by extending them to the people they were meant to save.

In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy. God Himself shines as the brightness at the end of our tunnel of pain. If we do not communicate that He is the goal and the ground of our joy in suffering, then the very meaning of our suffering will be lost. The meaning is this: God is gain. God is gain. God is gain.

*I was provided a free copy of Desiring God by Multnomah press in exchange for my willingness to write an honest and personal review of the book.

J. I. Packer’s Advice to young authors – From Desiring God.

Came across this on the Desiring God blog thought it was helpful:

J. I. Packer will turn 86 on Sunday. He is a skillful writer, a fruitful author, and many of his works have become classics, none more than Knowing God. Recently in our interviews with him in Vancouver we asked him for writing advice, or more specifically, what he would say to a budding writer of Christian nonfiction.

He offered three pieces of advice:

  1. Go deep in personal worship.
  2. Write to hit hearts.
  3. Write from a sense of calling.

To watch the video of J.I. Packer talking about these three points and to read the rest on the blog click on the picture below. J. I. Packer

John Piper: Educating for Hope

Kids-Desiring-God-Full-Page-Image

 

I came across this link from fellow blogger David Wakerley. He was referring to John Piper’s body of work. I have read a few of his books and never realized his passion for reaching the next generation. He has some powerful points that convicted me to the core. What am I doing with the time and talent God has loaned to me? Am I doing things that are eternal?   These apply to children’s pastors and youth pastors alike, I would urge you to substitute youth when John says children, if you are a youth pastor. They are principles that apply to both.We have an amazing responsibility to live and preach in such a way that young people will set their hope in God. Life change nothing less. I pulled out 3 points I thought were fantastic; please click on the following link because the article is well worth the read. Educating for Hope by John Piper. 

 

1. That They Might Have the
Knowledge of God
 

First, that they should have knowledge of
God. Verse 6: “That the next generation might know.” I think it is
right to prize love for God above knowledge of God. The devils have knowledge
of God, and tremble! But what a tragedy when we see the demonic pride that
knowledge can bring, and then draw the wrong conclusion that the best way to
inspire love to God is to somehow take a detour around knowledge.

It can’t be done. We love God because of
what we KNOW of him, or our love is artificial emotionalism. The first task in
the education of our children is to impart genuine knowledge of the testimony
and law of God. It need not lead to pride, especially if we do it the way Asaph
did it. So the first aim of education is knowledge.

 

2. That They Might Put Their Hope in
God
 

Second, the aim of education should be that
children come to put their hope in God. Verse 6 goes on to say, “that the
next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell
them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.”

Knowledge should lead to hope. What goes
into the head should make a new heart. If one person errs in education by
saying knowledge is not the main thing, but the heart is the main thing,
another person errs on the other side by saying that imparting knowledge is our
only goal, not the changing of the heart.

The Word of God is very clear on this:
the aim of education is to teach the truth in such a way that young people will
come to love it and put their hope in God. Changed hearts are the goal of
education, not just more knowledge.
The aim is that they might set their hope in God.

 

3. That They Might Obey 

Third, the aim of education is obedience.
Verse 7 goes on: “so that they should set their hope in God, and not
forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Education has to do
with how our young people act as well as what they know and what they feel. We
have not succeeded in our God-given responsibility if our children’s heads are
full of true thoughts, but their behavior is contrary to the law of God. That’s
why hope is essential, because you always bring your life into sync with
whatever you hope in. “Everyone who thus hopes in Christ purifies himself
even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).

So the motto of our children’s ministries at
Bethlehem goes right to the heart of the educational task—”that the next generation might hope in God.”