Free online books from John Piper: A great resource from Desiring God

I’ve been meaning to share this for some time because it’s been a great help to me. Did you know that you can go online and find several of John Piper’s books for free to read online (or download and read later)? It’s true. Desiring God, which is a great ministry seeking to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ,” offers the books. You can find them here. New books are being added all the time, and often there are books in languages other than English if you want to use them to minister in that way. One of the ways I use them is I read them online and then bookmark that link so I can go back to them in a web browser without having to go to the home page first.

Thank you, John Piper, for the many inspiring, encouraging, challenging, informative books you have written. And thank you, too, Desiring God for making them available.

Don’t be cowards: Christ rose so we could get on mission

Matt Chandler, who pastors at The Village Church in Texas, gave this admonition to his congregation on Easter Sunday as part of his message entitled “The Call to Mission.” He wanted them to think about what the resurrection of Jesus means in how they live their lives. In other words, since Jesus didn’t just die for our sins but rose, what does it mean? It is a sharp but helpful point he drives home:

Ladies, how many Bible studies are we going to do, I am just saying, can we maybe run some of the plays instead of just studying them? Men, how many Bible studies we gonna do, how much you going to study before you start to play? I mean that’s what makes the thing so stupid down here. Everybody can talk it, nobody wants to engage anybody with it. Or at least very few of us do. 

Why? ‘Well, cause I have a lust issue.’ Well OK, submit to Christ, get in recovery, and live on mission, it will reveal all that stuff, it will be horrible, God will just rip it out of you and replace it with His grace and mercy, it will be awesome in the end. I mean if you’re waiting till you’re perfect to live life on mission you’re going to die without much mission. 

It’s coming! Do you get this? Do you get that 2000 years ago, in fact farther back than than He told Abram, “This is how it’s going down.” and it has stayed true to the line right up till now where a massive portion of Africa has become believers, a massive portion of China has become believers, South America blowing up with the gospel. 

The gospel is penetrating the world, do you know how this ends? With you and me in front of Him with the Kingdom of God, new heaven, new earth coming down, no more injustice, no more pain, no more sorrow, God’s redeemed, God’s elect, God’s Kingdom, Kingdom of God, established! Now do you think anybody is going to give a trash how much money you have right now? How much comfort you have right now? Who’s cool and who’s not? Who drove what and who didn’t? Who was well liked in the neighborhood and who wasn’t? You think ANY of that is going to matter? No one will care! But a lot of people will be embarrassed.

Chandler points to the book “Total Church”  where Steve Timmis and Tim Chester encourage people to imagine that they are a part of a church planting team in a cross-cultural situation in some other part of the world and answer the following questions:

  • What criteria would you use to decide where to live?
  • How would you approach secular employment?
  • What standard of living would you expect as a pioneer missionary?
  • What would you spend your time doing?
  • What opportunities to share the gospel would you be looking for?
  • What would your prayers be like?
  • What would you be trying to do with your new friends?
  • What kind of team would you want around you?
  • How would you conduct your meetings together?

Chandler says their point is that we tend to think of missional living as something that just missionaries in foreign countries do instead of what we should all be doing. That is the challenge for all of us.

Thinking about India and religious violence

The Dalits make up 25 percent of India's population and are the poorest caste in Hinduism. They face severe discrimination and oppression.
The Dalits make up 25 percent of India's population and are the poorest caste group in Hinduism. They are severely discriminated against and oppressed.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I’m not always thinking about elections and hurricanes. In fact, this is something I’ve been watching and praying about lately. This was from a report in The Guardian from Aug. 31:

Thousands of terrified Indian Christians are hiding in the forests of the volatile Indian state of Orissa after a wave of religious ‘cleansing’ forced them from their burnt-out homes with no immediate prospect of return.

A mob of Hindu fundamentalists rampaged through villages last week, killing those too slow to get out of their way, burning churches and an orphanage, and targeting the homes of Christians. Up to 20 people were reported dead, with at least two deliberately set alight, after the murder of a Hindu leader last Saturday provoked the violence.

In some districts, entire villages lay deserted, abandoned by Christian populations who would rather shelter in the forests than return to face the risk of death. Some villagers attempted to return to their homes yesterday despite threats of further violence.

But Christian leaders who had spoken to those who have fled said that even among the trees they were not safe. Some of their tormenters have pursued them, trying to finish the job.

While the portion of the story above indicates the killings are in response to the killing of a Hindu leader the week before, the story goes on to say that Maoist guerrillas have in fact claimed responsibility for the killing. Still, there is tension between the groups:

Underlying the violence is a long-simmering dispute between Hindus and Christians in the state over the conversion of low-caste Hindus to Catholicism. The success of the Christian churches has fuelled resentment among hardline Hindus. The Vatican has condemned the violence. Most of India’s billion-plus citizens are Hindu, while just 2.5 per cent of them are Christians.

With that in mind, I would like to point out a resource that I use called Global Prayer Digest. From its site, the Global Prayer Digest:

(I)s a unique devotional booklet. Each day it gives a glimpse of what God is doing around the world, and what still remains to be done. Daily prayer for that still-unfinished task is at the heart of the Adopt-A-People movement. Condensed missionary stories, biblical challenges, urgent reports, and exciting descriptions of unreached peoples provide a digest of rich fuel for your own times of prayer for the world.

The Global Prayer Digest is a key tool in a movement to help fulfill Christ’s commission to make disciples of all the peoples of the earth. This movement involves a daily discipline of learning, praying, and giving to help reach the world’s nearly 9,000 ureached people groups. Unreached peoples are those groups which do not yet have a strong church in their own cultural and social setting.

This month’s guide is on the Dalits of India. They are the poorest caste group in India and face severe discrimination. In the story above, many of those are from this group. Each day GPD has a prayer topic related to that month’s guide. It is a valuable resource and one that I would encourage anyone who calls himself a Christian to explore. As it says on the site, “when man works, man works, but when man prays, God works.”