GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY // DAILY READINGS FOR ADVENT WITH @JOHNPIPER #ADVENTPIPER

It’s a little crazy in the lead up to Christmas. We spend lots of time preparing physically for this season. Whether it’s the purchasing of gifts, the tidying of homes, the completion of renovations, the cooking of food or trying to compete with the Griswolds for number of lights on your house!

Yet we don’t prepare spiritually for the season ahead. I think that’s what Advent is seeking to do. What is Advent? It’s a season of preparation that some Christians observe to prepare their hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’.

Desiring God Ministries and John Piper have just released a free set of daily readings for Advent. I’ve had a read of the first couple and they look fantastic!

Download ‘Good News of Great Joy’ by John Piper here.

I’m planning on reading through Bible verse and the short reflection each day in the lead up to Christmas. I won’t read the reflection with my kids, but I’m hoping to read the Bible verses and spend time preparing as a family for the coming of Jesus.

Are you interested in joining in? Go on. It’ll be good for you.

Here’s the idea…

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John Piper on The Lottery + Gambling

There was some massive lottery draw that happened this week in the USA. John Piper has written 7 reasons that Christians shouldn’t gamble their money in this way. I think his reasons are applicable more generally for any gambling. Read the article.

Here are the 7 reasons:

1. It is spiritually suicidal.
2. It is a kind of embezzlement.
3. It’s a fool’s errand.
4. The system is built on the necessity of most people losing.
5. It preys on the poor.
6. There is a better alternative.
7. For the sake of quick money, government is undermining the virtue without which it cannot survive.

Read it in more detail here.

There is no wrong twin

Many Australian readers would be familiar with the tragic news of two twin babies being killed recently in a Melbourne hospital mix-up. Devastating. Below is an extract from an article that John Piper linked to in this tweet.

It’s from the volunteer disability ministry blog for Bethlehem Baptist Church.

It has also happened in Italy and the United States.  Here are the headlines for each:

Australia: Hospital kills wrong baby, aborts twin.

Italy: Italian police to investigate abortion of wrong twin

United States: Doctor loses license after aborting wrong twin

Every headline is mistaken.  There is no ‘wrong’ twin in any of these circumstances.  Only helpless unborn babies, every one of them.

The only reason any of these babies was chosen to be aborted was because of potential disabling conditions.

The answer isn’t better medical tests or more specific hospital guidelines, but changed hearts that rush to help mothers and babies rather than destroy them.

Read the full article here.

See more of my posts on ‘abortion’

Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

Bloodlines is “An exclusive video documentary featuring Pastor John Piper as he walks through his personal story of growing up in the segregated South. His personal story boldly champions the transforming power of the gospel and the beauty of racial diversity and harmony in Christ.” Watch the full vid here:

Find out more about the Bloodlines book from Crossway.

John Piper Interviews Rick Warren on Doctrine

I’m about half way through watching this fascinating interview that John Piper recently did with Rick Warren. Warren is the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Piper and Warren have very different methodological approaches to their ministry. I’ve read some fairly harsh criticism of the author of the massively best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life. Some of those haters might want to repent of their critique that Warren lacks any doctrinal depth. Piper has a thorough break-down and overview of the interview here.

(Click here if you can’t see the video)

Let me know what you think.

Warren is one of my favourite Tweeters. Earlier today he began an encouraging trend on twitter: #GospelHaiku. Go have a read. Here’s mine.

Top 10 Books to Read in Your First Year out of School

In Vanuatu I gave a list of my top 10 books for a Christian to read in their first year out of school. The list actually had 11. And then it kinda grew to almost 20. Here is the final list. Shout out to Dan Godden, bro-in-law and co-host extraordinaire, who helped me to decide what made the cut. Have you just finished school? I believe that if you read each of these books it will give you a good foundation for the rest of your life. 10 books works out to be a book per month with 2 months off throughout the year. As you work out your reading plan, make sure your first priority is to have programmed into your daily schedule time with God to hide his word in your heart.

most of these covers have since been updated...

  1. Don’t Waste Your Life – John PiperPiper has a stack of books worth reading. This is a good place to start. You get some of the thesis that runs across all of his books, that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. The book is cross-centred in the way it calls you to live with urgency as you invest in eternity. You can also download it for free (along with a billion other Piper books).
  2. Guidance & The Voice Of God – Phillip Jensen & Tony Payneas an 18 y/o this radically changed my thinking about how to make decisions. In speaking to teens and twenties, I regularly have the framework from this book in the back of my mind.
  3. Knowing God – JI Packergold, pure gold. This really is a beautiful book. It’s all about knowing God and being known by God. I often go back and re-read the section on ‘Sons of God’.
  4. How Long O Lord, Reflections on Evil & Suffering – DA Carsonthe way of the cross is suffering, it’s normal for Christians to suffer. This book will equip you to know how to suffer. Deals with key Bible texts. You won’t find a better book on this subject.
  5. The Cross Of Christ – John Stottmy aim is to read a book on the cross every year. There is no better place to start than this one! It’s thick, but readable.
  6. Sex Isn’t The Problem, Lust Is – Josh Harris - one of the great things about this book is that it is PG. It’s suitable for guys and girls, young and old. Josh Harris takes holy living and fleeing from sexual immorality seriously. You’ll be armed to live God’s way in a fallen sex-crazed world.
  7. Know & Tell The Gospel – John Chapmancrystal clear on what the gospel is. Very practical on how to share the gospel. Highly recommended!
  8. A Book By A Dead Guy – there are 2000 years of Christian church history. Some pretty sweet gear has been penned by some dead heroes of the Christian faith. Find one. Read it. Meditate upon it. Here’s a few suggestions: Holiness by JC Ryle; Mere Christianity by CS Lewis; A Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan; Morning & Evening by CH Spurgeon; Classics of the Reformation by Luther, Calvin & Cranmer.
  9. A Book About A Dead Guy - some of those dead heroes also had books written about them. Biographies will help you to learn from the successes and failures of those who have gone before us. John Piper’s brief biographies are a really good starting point: Athanasius, Owen & Machen; Tyndale, Judson & Paton; Bunyan, Cowper & Brainerd; Augustine, Luther & Calvin; Newton, Simeon & Wilberforce. (All free to download).
  10. A Piece of Classic Fiction – reading fiction helps you to read more betterer. Do it. Here’s some suggestions: Moby Dick by Melville; Robinson Crusoe by Defoe; Gulliver’s Travels by Swift; Pride & Prejudice by Austen; The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.

Each of the authors in books 1 through 7 are great. If you like the book I’ve suggested, read anything else by the same author you can get your hands on.

Most of the links above are to the publisher’s website. In some cases you might want to buy them direct from the publisher. Looking for a bargain? Check out booko.com.au – they find the best online prices for purchasing from Australia.

If you’re having a crack – let me know how you go!!

Don’t Waste Your Life Watching Television and Surfing The Internet

I’ve just got back from a Schoolies trip to Vanuatu with Scripture Union. It was an incredible time. Stay tuned for a bunch of blog posts with some reflections. The topic was “Don’t Waste Your Life”, I spoke from Ephesians about God’s purposes for his people. While reading Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper (available for free), I was challenged to think about the time I waste on the Internet. We don’t have a television, but it’s very easy to waste precious hours on the internet that then nullifies the decision to not have a TV. It was liberating to not go online while in Vanuatu!

vila vanuatu mural t-shirt

Here’s a snippet from Piper (p. 120-121 DWYL):

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you’re watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. Neil Postman shows why.

What is happening in America is that television is transforming all serious public business into junk. . . . Television disdains exposition, which is serious, sequential, rational, and complex. It offers instead a mode of discourse in which everything is accessible, simplistic, concrete, and above all, entertaining. As a result, America is the world’s first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death.

Postman’s cultural critique, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, is brilliant. Go here to download Piper’s book.

Stay tuned for more Vanuatu posts!!

Piper on Cultural Relevance

John Piper doesn’t have a TV and doesn’t go to the movies very often. I’m all for godly engagement with culture in preaching Jesus, but this article from Piper is helpful in keeping the main thing the main thing. Here’s a snippet:

wave @ terrigal

“If you want to be relevant, say, for prostitutes, don’t watch a movie with a lot of tumbles in a brothel. Immerse yourself in the gospel, which is tailor-made for prostitutes; then watch Jesus deal with them in the Bible; then go find a prostitute and talk to her. Listen to her, not the movie. Being entertained by sin does not increase compassion for sinners.”

Go read the whole article.

Passion World Tour Sydney

The 268 Generation crew are doing a world tour this year with their Passion Conferences. Sydney date: Tuesday October 21 @ the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Regular speakers include Louie Giglio and John Piper. Regular musicians includes: David Crowder Band, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin and Charlie Hall. I’m not sure who will be coming on tour – but should be a great night!

Passion Sydney

It’s a movement aimed at university speakers. It will be interesting to see how Sydney Anglicans and Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students respond to the event. If John Piper were to speak – they probably wouldn’t have a problem supporting the event, but the last time that Giglio and Tomlin were in the country was for Hillsong Conference 07.

Bring it.

Text + Context

The Resurgence hosted the Text + Context conference last month. Below are all the talks from the conference. RSS + iTunes link.

text + context

dontwasteyourlife.com

Check out www.dontwasteyourlife.com. They have a podcast (downloadable in iTunes too) and a blog that are updated at least once a week. The videos are short and super-challenging.

John Piper talks about how in the bible Jesus talks more about money than he does heaven and hell. It IS difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! But what is impossible with man is possible with God.

From age 15/16 to 19/20ish I was quite frivolous with the way that I spent money. CDs. Clothes. Junk food. Praise God that he has changed me – but I pray that he would keep changing me. To my ccecyouth readers: don’t be frivolous with your money!!! Older readers who have greater access to $$$ need to hear this just as much: don’t be frivolous with your money!!!

Invest in that which will last forever. 2 Cor 4:16-18

How are you tempted to waste your life? How are you frivolous with money, time & your life? What steps are you taking to invest in eternity?