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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Amazing, Just Amazing

Because I normally do not check the mail, I seldomly look forward to reading anything on the stack of the usual bills and coupons on our kitchen table. However, I occasionally get stuff from ministries I support and booksellers who send me their catalogs. As I walked in this morning from work, I noticed the monthly newsletter from Desiring God. If any of you have been frequenting the Desiring God website, you are aware that they are undergoing some major changes. The first goal has been to redesign the Desiring God website. The second goal was to make available all of John Piper's sermons available in print, audio, and video (if available). To accomplish these two goals, it was necessary to raise $150,000 to facilitate the changes and meet those two goals. Less than a month ago, that goal was reached, and in the August newsletter, Jon Bloom, executive director of Desiring God, shares that website and sermon archives will be available by the end of this month! Here is a snippit from the newsletter:

"One of the really exciting new things is that all 25+ years of John Piper's sermons--in print, audio, and video (if available) formats--will be accessible to you and others around the world at no cost. These will be in the 'Online Library.' The audio versions you will be able to stream, download, copy, and give to others--for free. We don't just permit you to do it. We ENCOURAGE you to do it!" (emphasis original)
This is simply an amazing thing, of which I do not think the likes of it has been done in Christian media. Over the past six years, I have invested in purchasing numerous CD sets and individual sermons, and just this morning I was scrounging around, trying to find "Doing Missions When Dying Is Gain" somewhere in my car door. Now, all those lost CD's and sermons I wanted to purchase but couldn't is now available to not only have for myself, but to pass on to others as an extension of this great ministry. So why is DG doing this? They give us three main reasons: 1. So that more people will become passionately in love with Christ. 2. To serve the saints in a way that they can benefit from these sermons, especially for missionaries and Christians in other countries around the world who could not afford them. 3. To remove obstacles to the gospel by offering it free of charge (using Paul's example). A couple of weeks ago, UPS gave a big push about donating to the United Way. I assume that if you are anything like me, there are countless fundraisers, ministries, telethons, and other giving opportunities outside your tithe that request your financial help. Realizing this several years ago, I sat down and prayed about what ministries I would give to so that I would not only be a good steward of God's resources, but that my decision would be based on an informed, reasoned, and prayerful understanding that would be free from the emotional appeals which I am so vulnerable to. It was then that I decided that Desiring God was one a small number of ministries I felt called to support. There are several reasons why I chose this, not the least of which is how greatly I have benefited from their ministry to me personally. Furthermore, one needs to look no farther to see their sacrificial heart and generosity with the "whatever you can afford" policy and huge discounts on their books (two years ago I bought 300 copies of The Passion of Jesus to give away which only cost me something like $1.50 a copy!). Such a philosophy of ministry truly reveals that they consider themselves a relief agency and not a grocery store. When you see a ministry like Desiring God who has the opportunity to rake in thousands of dollars from book sales, sermons on audio, and conferences but freely chooses to do just the opposite by giving away a huge potential profit, does this not make you want to give all the more?! It certainly does for me, by God's provisional grace, I hope to do so in the future. So you might be asking, "How will Desiring God make up for the cost?" Well, Desiring God is simply trusting God that he will send partners to help underwrite the costs. There are no pulling arms, special gifts for giving x amount of dollars, or plaques with your name engraved at Desiring God headquarters. But what there is before you is a tremendous opportunity to partner with a ministry who is putting it all on the line for the supremacy of Christ in all things so that millions of others can find unending joy in God. One specific way to support Desiring God is to join the Philippian Fellowship. To find more about this opportunity, go here. For those of you who, like me have reaped such a harvest of transforming truth and bountiful joy, would it not be appropriate to add some more fuel to such a blazing fire?

4 Comments:

Blogger Rev. Scott Welch said...

My wife and I were talking the other day about this. No preacher of today is doing or has done anything like this. It reminds me of Keith Green giving away his stuff back in the late 70's and early 80's. What a joy it is to see someone who actually get what ministry is! This reminds me also of something Keith Green said during his life, "If you charge people for it, it's not ministy." Man, that is something for all of us to chew on.

8/16/2006 07:13:00 AM

 
Blogger Chris D. said...

Desiring God is different than any other ministry I've ever encountered. Months ago my husband and I decided to join the Philippine Fellowship. Even being a regular giver requires a multi-step process that requires thought and prayer, since you fax or mail in a form and not just "click". DG is looking for more than money - they are looking for prayer and show total dependence of God's grace and direction.
Since they've gone to podcasting - I almost never miss a day without listening to DG. This is free as well. We are so blessed to live in a day and age where John Piper's ministry is so accessible. We need to pray daily for Piper and DG. Satan is certainly poised to attack.

8/16/2006 10:17:00 AM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

I agree brothers. They are different, and they are doing it biblically. It is one thing to say that you are trusting God financially, and it is another thing to structure a ministry and develop a philosophy conforming to that trust where God is all you need and all you have.

Concerning charges and contractual agreements, this is a big reason why there are man-made obstacles and hindrances to the gospel. For instance, when you go about doing a servant-evangelism project and say, "We'll give you this as a gift so long as you let us share the gospel with you, or so long as you commit to coming to church," what are we telling people? By all means invite people to church, present the gospel, and love them, but don't treat them as a simply someone "to win" or add to our church rolls. Behind that thinking is the self-centered idea of "What's in it for us?" which is antithetical to the God-centered focus of helping them find joy in God. For me, what DG is doing is not only counter-cultural in regards to their philosophy of ministry, but it is also counter-pragmatic and counter-church growth movement which is immensely refreshing.

8/16/2006 09:01:00 PM

 
Blogger blake white said...

Praise God for Piper and the DG folks and their generosity!

8/19/2006 11:05:00 PM

 

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