I have previously mentioned the John Piper and his ministry, Desiring God. Desiring God: Finding Complete Satisfaction and Joy in God is the DVD seminar series of John Piper’s previously published book, Desiring God. The DVDs are simply a video recording of Piper’s lectures to a small seminar for the Bethlehem Institute; therefore, it is not a dramatic DVD presentation in any sort. They have broken down the 5 hour lecture series into 10 manageable parts that can be watched by an individual or used for group studies in a Sunday School, small group, or other such settings. While watching it I felt as if I were in college ready to take notes and learn. Honestly, Piper’s teaching style is a bit scattered at times for my type A self but it is not so distracting that I could not focus on the subject at hand. If you are looking to be entertained, look elsewhere. If, however, you are looking to dive into the Word of God and learn more about Him and finding complete joy in Him, this series is fabulous.
Piper begins with the mission/thesis statement of not only the seminar but that of his church: “We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.” He goes on to explain and support biblically how he and the other elders and deacons arrived at this statement. Piper also does an excellent job at describing his own struggle with his motivation for joy and how he ultimately landed at Christian Hedonism. This is a struggle that I have heard in debate with other believers. The question of: do we, or even should we, do something good because we are “obligated” or only when we truly feel a pure heart motivating our actions? Piper so accurately points out that “When you become born again, your quest for happiness does not end. You just have a whole new world of what makes you glad.” He affirms that “longing to be happy is universal human experience and it is good, not sinful.” The key is to have the source of our happiness and satisfaction in God not in ourselves! When we, when I, get this then everything seems to fall in place so simply!
I appreciated that Piper uses the majority of his seminar to explain and support his Christian Hedonism position. During the last two sessions he takes the time to do what I think of as practical application by asking “how then shall we fight for joy?” The one that I resonate and struggle with the most is to “get rest”. Essentially he is reminding us that our bodies are temples and we are to take care of them but he also humbled me by saying “you are not God, you must get rest!” He quotes Ps 127:1, encouraging me to allow the Lord to minister to me in my sleep. Husband often extols this very fact to me as I have “one more thing to do…” but I need to be okay with letting things go till tomorrow so I can rest. I notice it is a lot more difficult to fight sin when I am lacking sleep. Since having children rest is a bit of a constant struggle but I can control my bedtime, most of the time, so I need to make an effort to do so.
Throughout the DVD Piper refers to a study guide and notes. I did have these, however, I could see how this would be helpful especially in a small group study. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon for about $27 and the study guide for $10. Part of Desiring God’s ministry is to make resources available free. They have the seminar series and study guide available here, it is broken up differently but its all there, if you want to watch it on your computer or download it.
I am thankful for this seminar as it has helped me better understand Christian hedonism and challenged me to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples”. If you are looking to be challenged or even reminded of our source of joy, take some time to watch this seminar.
Note: I received this DVD for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.