Tag Archives: John Piper

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper

Seeing and Savoring Jesus ChristPiper, John. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001. 142 pp. $9.99. Purchase at Westminster for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

Note: I read and am reviewing the 2001 edition. What is pictured and linked to is the 2004 revised edition which is a paperback.

John Piper needs no introduction. For those that have never heard of please check out his ministry’s website, Desiring God. You can get most every book they have free in PDF as well as all of his sermons and podcasts.

Summary

Divided into thirteen chapters, Piper takes the reader on a journey from understanding the ultimate aim of Jesus to nuggets of truth as to what what Jesus came to do. Along the way, you will learn the deity and excellence of Christ while also considering His power and wisdom.

As Piper brings the reader to the apex of the joy of Christ, he also shows us the glory of Christ as he helps you to consider the anguish and saving sacrifice of Jesus. He concludes with meditation on Christ’s resurrection and His promised Second Coming.

Review

I read this book because in a recent podcast, John Piper stated that if he were to recommend any one book of his to read first it would Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. That caught me by surprise a bit. I had read this years ago when I first came to Christ but had it sitting on my shelf collecting dust. I decided to reread it and now understand why Piper says he himself rereads this book often.

Each chapter is short and can be read devotionally or, quite honestly in one night. I chose to read the book in the morning after my daily Scripture reading. My discovery was that it quickened my heart to the things of God in such a concerted effort that I could not help but meditate on Christ throughout the day.

Each chapter was saturated with Scripture and every chapter ended with a concerted prayer in to help one converse with God. I usually do not read these prayers as I find it often difficult to pray someone else’s prayer, but these were different. I found the prayers to be a spring board to deeper communion with God.

Recommendation

It would be easy to say that if Piper recommends this book, I recommend this book. Too be honest, it was because he stated that he rereads this book often to be reminded of Christ’s glories. If John Piper needs a reminder, then so do I, and I think I can safely assume, so do you. Please get yourself a copy and read and reread this quality devotional that will draw you to Christ.

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper

Indestructible JoyPiper, John. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014. 98 pp. $7.99. Purchase the print copy at Westminster Books for less or on Amazon Kindle for $3.99.

Introduction

John Piper needs no introduction though to my surprise I have not reviewed a book by John Piper since 2011. I have, however, read many in that time.

Summary/Review

This is a twenty-five day devotional meant to stir your heart to a greater and deeper joy in God. Each devotional is maybe 4 pages long at most. Though in those few pages, your mind will be set squarely on the riches of the grace and mercy of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Unlike many devotionals meant to help you feel good about yourself, Piper writes so that we might begin to understand that it is not about us but instead all about God. Every devotional is a meditation kick-starter that will leave you pondering the glorious truths of God all day long.

Recommendation

I personally have always enjoyed Piper’s works. They are challenging and wonderfully written in such a way that you are driven to your knees in worship of an awesome, holy, and loving God. I highly recommend The Dawning of Indestructible Joy to all. This is the perfect antidote to being weighed down by the cares of the world.

 

The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach edited by Bryan Chapell

The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach: Help from Trusted Preachers for Tragic Times.  Edited by Bryan Chapell.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.  304 pp.  $19.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for $12.99.

Introduction

While the names of the contributors are familiar, the subject matter, as is most often the case, is not.  Bryan Chapell has edited a wonderful preaching resource for pastors with contributions from seasoned and trusted pastors for preaching sermons during life’s tragedies.  Contributors include John Piper, Tim Keller, Michael Horton as well as some lesser known men of the cloth like Mike Khandjian and Wilson Benton.

Summary

Divided into five parts with an appendix, this resource offers theological and practical considerations for preparing a sermon in the midst of a tragedy.  Part one is  a general four chapter section on responding to tragedies.  They include abortion, child abuse, community tragedy, and national tragedy.

Part two focuses in on the tragedy of losing a child – perhaps the most difficult tragedy to have to preach (at least that has been my experience).  These seven chapters include the preaching of the death of a special needs child, a miscarriage, and the death of an infant.

Parts three and four look at various funerals.  Part three offers consolation for funerals with difficult circumstances like drunk driving, cancer, and murder.  Chapter four aids in the preparation for a funeral sermon of a public figure.  The fifth part takes a look at preaching after a suicide.

The appendix is extremely helpful in that it will guide you in the choice of scripture passages as well as what you as the pastor should do in times of tragedy.  The second appendix gives explicit and general instruction on the pastor’s role in times of tragedy.

Review

This a difficult book to review in that it is a resource book and one that is meant to be a guide for pastoral care.  Each “chapter” is introduced by a paragraph or two detailing the situation, the concerns, and the approach.  Each chapter in and of itself is the actual sermon preached.

Given the evangelical approach to this resource, the one component that shines through every sermon is the offering of hope in Christ Jesus.  While you will not be able to take these sermons and re-preach them, you will definitely have a guide in which you can craft your own.

The examples given to the reader in these sermons are real-life messages that were preached.  In other words, they were not crafted in an ivory tower by a guy who has never had to get dirty in the ministry.

Honestly, while the sermons and introductions are the main thrust of this particular book, I found the appendices to be worth the price of the book.  To have a trusted guide by an experienced pastor during a tragic time is an unbelievable comfort.

Recommendation

If you are a pastor, I highly recommend you get this resource for your ministry.  Let’s face it, we live our lives knowing, but not really believing, that tragedy can and will strike us at any time.  Preaching a funeral is difficult by itself–especially if it is a funeral for an infant or one that shocked the congregation.  Having this resource at the ready will ultimately be invaluable to the young pastor who has never had to preach a funeral of various tragedies.

Special Free Audiobook from christianaudio!

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Hello Terry!

The last several weeks have generated significant amounts of discussion and debate regarding the release of Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell.

While there are many great resources available on christianaudio that discuss this topic, none is more timely or informative than Jesus: The Only Way to God by John Piper. This powerful & short audiobook illustrates clear biblical doctrines of salvation, the gospel, faith, and hell, and is imperative for thinking rightly about the eternal purposes of God.

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Book Cover Jesus: The Only Way to God
by John Piper
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If the evangelical church at large was ever too confrontational in its evangelism, those days are gone. In our shrinking, pluralistic world, the belief that Jesus is the only way of salvation is increasingly called arrogant and even hateful. In the face of this criticism, many shrink back from affirming the global necessity of knowing and believing in Jesus.

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Think by John Piper

Piper, John.  Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010.  224 pp.  $19.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for $10.39.

Introduction

John Piper needs no introduction.  I have reviewed many of his works which you can check out here.  The idea of being a thinking Christian, however, may need an introduction.  There has been a renaissance of sorts with the intellectual Christian as opposed to the anti-intellectualism over the past few decades.  You can find some resources here to help guide you. In Think, John Piper seeks to show that we can glorify God with both our minds and our hearts.

Summary

Piper has divided the book into eight small sections with each building on the previous.  He lays the foundation by clarifying what his intentions are with the publication of this book and then explains the meaning of thinking.  As he navigates through the necessity of being a thoughtful Christian, he explains what it means to come to faith through thinking while maintaining a heart for God.

I especially appreciated his chapters on dealing with the challenge many face, especially in academia, with relativism.  One of the final sections deals directly with the challenge of anti-intellectualism.  The book concludes with a plea both to thinkers and non-thinkers.

Review

What I appreciated most about Think is that it is not for the thinker.  What I mean is that many books that deal with the intellectual Christian are for the intellectual Christian.  For some of those books, you need an M.Div to be able to even discern what is being written.  Not so with Piper’s book.  As a matter of fact, he expressly states this in the introduction of this book.  He says, “I am a preacher–a Bible expositor.  Most of my time is spent trying to figure out what the Bible means and how it applies to life.  That’s what this book will taste like.”

Piper nailed it.  Think is more a devotional book dealing with the verses in the Bible that deal with the thought life and how to apply those verses to our lives today.

Recommendation

If you struggle with the balance between thought and emotion in your Christian walk, reading Piper’s Think will go a long way to help you understand the need for both–especially the thinking.  So many congregation members today do not think hard about their faith or their actions while many leaders in those congregations do not challenge their hearers.  John Piper will exhort all Christians, regardless of the call on your life, to become a more thoughtful Christian.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

Piper, John. Don’t Waste Your Life. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2003. 192 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for $11.38.

audiobook

Narrated by Lloyd James. Esconido: christianaudio Hovel, 2007. 6.25 Hrs. CD–$23.98 MP3 CD–$19.98 Download—$14.98

Introduction

If you have not heard of John Piper, then you must either not be a regular reader of Christian Book Notes or you are new believer in Jesus Christ. John Piper has made popular what he calls Christian Hedonism—being so passionate about the One, Jesus Christ, who is worthy of our praise. Don’t Waste Your Life is another work of Piper’s toward that one goal.

Summary

Don’t Waste Your Life is divided into ten chapters that takes the reader on a theological journey through John Piper’s mind that led him to really what is the main thrust of his ministry. He shares his search for “a single passion” during his college years leading to his ‘discovery’ that Christ truly is our all in all.

As he shares his testimony of finding the beauty of Christ in everything, he accelerates toward the telos (the end) of how to live a life saturated in Christ. Along the way, Piper shows how to make much of Christ in the workplace as well as in the church. In essence, no matter where you are in your walk with Christ, no matter what your age or IQ, the reader is challenged to begin living for Christ in such a radical way so that at the end, you will not say “I’ve wasted my life.”

Review

It is refreshing to read from the heart of arguably one of the most prolific writers and preachers in America today. What is more, I am convinced we are seeing the fruit of his passion for Christ in the writings and ministries of men like David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, and Mark Dever.

Having been written in 2003, coupled with my just now reading/listening to this book, I have the ability to see how this book in particular has helped to change a Christian sub-culture (poor choice of words?) and has led them to seek to serve Christ with their lives. Piper does not write Don’t Waste Your Life to the pastor, the missionary, or the believer in the pew. Rather, he writes to everyone who calls on the name of Christ as Lord and Savior. Much like David Platt’s Radical, Piper challenges all to be so enraptured with the glories of Christ, that your every waking (and possibly sleeping?) moment is captivated by Christ so that you cannot help but seek to worship and serve Him.

Recommendation

I recommend to anyone looking at what it means to be “sold out for Jesus” to read Don’t Waste Your Life. Even better, you can download the audiobook and listen to it in your car and listen to it on your drive. Who knows, this might be the perfect catalyst to get you to redeem even the time in your car. His chapter on making much of Christ from 8-5 is much needed for the Christian who is in the work place daily. The grind at the office can sap you of energy and drag your spiritual mindedness down to the pits of Sheol. Allow John Piper to show you how to not waste your life.

Winsday: John Piper books

I have four John Piper books to give away this week to one winner.

To be entered to win, simply fill out the contact form below. Please spread the word as free advertising always helps to get more great giveaways like this one from the publishers!

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The Power of Words and the Wonder of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor

John Piper and Justin Taylor, general editors.  Purchase at Westminster for $10.55The Power of Words and the Wonder of God.  Wheaton:  Crossway Books, 2009.  176 pp.  $15.99.  Purchase at Westminster books for $10.71.

Introduction

John Piper and Justin Taylor are back as general editors of yet another wonderful treatise that the church needs to hear.  This particular edition deals with the words we use each and every day.  More importantly, this volume deals with the Word of God and how the power of salvation and creation comes from God’s words.

Contributors include Mark Driscoll, Sinclair Ferguson, Bob Kauflin, Piper, Taylor, Daniel Taylor and Paul David Tripp.

Summary

These papers were presented at the 2008 Desiring God National Conference.  Paul Tripp introduces the mere fact that everything we do involves speech.  We need to be seeking to season our speech with the love of the gospel so that when we do speak, it will be effective for God’s glory.  Next, Sinclair Ferguson exposits James 3:1-12 which is truly worth the price of the book.

Piper offers a stirring look at how our speech should be eloquent so that God’s glory may be magnified all the more.  This is a chapter that needs to be read by all pastors and Christian speakers.  Often times, we are unable to move beyond superficial words except to sprinkle “smart sounding” words in so that we sound intelligent.  Thus the saying remains true: “a mile wide and an inch deep” when applied to our vocabulary.

Interestingly enough, Driscoll speaks on Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words.  I say interestingly enough because it is Driscoll who has come under fire for having used profanity from the pulpit (he has since repented).  Daniel Taylor, a professor of literature and writing at Bethel University, writes regarding how our faith is writing a story and how we should express it as such.

Finally, Bob Kauflin concludes the essays with his take on how our singing brings much glory and honor to God.  The book ultimately concludes with two panel discussions regarding the power of words.

Review/Recommendation

These messages are not for the faint of heart.  There is no letting up in this book.  From the beginning to the end, the reader is challenged to watch what he says.  The theme verse while reading this book is Matthew 12:36.  Amazingly enough, I can never recall a sermon being preached on this text in any church I have ever attended.

Regardless of the difficulty of reading (you can download the sermons and listen to them), these men need to be heard.  If Matthew 12:36 is true, then there are many of us (myself included!) who are going to be in a lot of trouble though we have been covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ (at least those who have repented of their sins and confessed Christ as Lord and Savior).  As you read this book, you will find yourself realizing just how easily one sins by opening his mouth. Read this book.

Ruth: Under the Wings of God by John Piper

Piper, John.  Ruth: Under the Wings of God.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010.  90 pp.  $21.99.  Purchase at Westminster for $14.51.

Introduction

I have review numerous books by John Piper and therefore do not really need to introduce anything about him.  Regardless, you can find more about John Piper and his ministry at DesiringGod.org.  There are numerous resources available for free.

This particular book of poems comes as a reflection from Piper’s exegetical work on Ruth which was published a few months prior to this one.  That book is entitled A Sweet and Bitter Providence.  I have reviewed it here.

Review

This is not a book of exegetical thoughts though it is based on Piper’s sermon preparation for the book of Ruth.  In this book of poetry, John Piper takes artistic license as Obed, Ruth’s aged son, tells his young grandson about how God cared for his mom during some rough times.  Obed tells how God brought his mom and dad (Boaz) together and how his dad had to redeem his mom in order for them to be married.  That grandson is a little 8 year old inquisitive boy named David.

While I am not one to do well with reading poetry–I always seem to notice the rhythm and rhyme more than the content–I found this one to be a fun and unique way of looking at the book of Ruth.  Personally, I had to read the book twice in order to be familiar enough with it to better see the content.  Aside from that one personal issue, I greatly enjoyed the storyline and the angle in which the story was shared.

Recommendation

If you are not into reading poetry, this will be a tough read (as I shared above).  If you are into poetry, then you will greatly love this book.  I have found that my children loved the reading of this book because of the rhythm and rhyme.  It makes for a memorable story for the children.

A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper

Piper, John.  A Sweet & Bitter Providence:  Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010.  160 pp.  $17.99.  Purchase at Westminster for $11.69.

Audiobook

Narrated by Grover Gardner.  Escondido: christianaudio Hovel.  3.8 hours.  Download–$9.98, CD–$15.98

Introduction

Seriously, John Piper needs no introduction, but perhaps the book of Ruth does. Situated right after the book of Judges and just before the establishment of the monarchy, we read of a widow and her widowed daughter-in-law. Ruth is certainly a love story through and through, but many wonder how it speaks to us today. John Piper has offered his faithful exegesis and application of the book of Ruth in his latest book, A Sweet & Bitter Providence.

Summary

A short book, this one is divided into four chapters. The first chapter discusses God’s providence in allowing life to happen to Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. Chapter two looks at how God guided and directed the paths of Ruth and Naomi to the city of a kinsmen redeemer. And not just any kinsmen redeemer, but one who would be able to provide for Ruth.

The third chapter describes strategic righteousness. Strategic righteousness is not a man or woman manipulating life’s events so that all works out for his or her good. Rather, strategic righteousness is rooted in the hope that God is going to work all things for one’s good. Chapter four concludes with the Christ-exalting application that Piper is known for (and I praise God for that!). Here, Piper shows how we, as the redeemed of Christ, are to make Him renowned in the world just as Ruth did with Boaz.

Audio/Content Review

Grover Gardner, a common voice heard on christianaudio, reads this book extraordinarily well. I have listened to a couple of the books he has read and have found him to sometimes be out of place. I cannot figure out why exactly–other than I “hear” John Piper or Donald S. Whitney whenever I read one of their books–but his voice just does not seem quite right.

That is not to say that he does not do a good job. On the contrary, he does a wonderful job. This is probably why when you check out the list of books he has read for christianaudio, you find authors like J.I. Packer, John Piper, Donald S. Whitney, Eugene Peterson, etc. In the case of A Sweet & Bitter Providence, I could hear John Piper teaching even though it was Grover Gardner reading–if that makes any sense at all.

The content of the book is right on–especially in today’s pluralistic society. Piper takes us straight to the throne room of God to see that sex is indeed a beautiful and glorious gift. We see that while many frown on inter-racial relationships, God, in His providence, ordained it such that Christ would descend from such a relationship.

Recommendation

A Sweet & Bitter Providence offers a glorious look “behind the scenes” as it were of what God was doing in the life of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. There is much to be gleaned from this short book of the Bible. We are indebted to John Piper for offering his thoughts on this book and even more so the application of this book for our lives today.