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Desiring God Study Guide: Finding Complete Satisfaction and Joy in God Paperback – January 18, 2011
"Moving Mountains" by John Eldredge
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About the Author
JOHN PIPER is pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. He is the author of more than forty books, including Future Grace, A Godward Life, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, Don’t Waste Your Life, and The Pleasures of God. John and his wife, Noel, have five children and an increasing number of grandchildren.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Living a life of hedonism, in most people’s minds, is the furthest thing from Christian obedience. The idea of seeking maximum pleasure in everything you do sounds like the epitome of selfishness and the absence of all self-control. For many, to live like a hedonist means to become an enemy of love and to set yourself in outright opposition to God.
But could this aversion to hedonism be an overreaction? In other words, could it be that we have allowed the concept of pursuing pleasure to be commandeered by the world and thereby lose any healthy sense of the idea for ourselves? After all, was not pleasure God’s intention for man from the very beginning, when he filled Eden with “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9) and gave Adam and Eve sexuality without shame (see Genesis 2:25)?
It is true. God did make us to enjoy pleasure, and not only in the garden. Throughout the Bible, God is calling his people to pursue pleasure and to pursue it in him. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1). “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
The tragedy of sin is that it sidetracks and shortchanges us of the real joy of knowing God. Satan offers stolen goods, which are indeed sweet, but the span is short, and the cost far outweighs the benefits. God, on the other hand, extends far sweeter and infinitely longer-lasting pleasures: “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). True hedonism, Christian hedonism, sees God as the source of the best delights and is unashamed to forsake sin and follow hard after him.
The aim of this study guide and its accompanying DVD is to help you see that God-hungry hedonism is biblically acceptable. On top of that, it argues that such hedonism is not merely one more option for how to follow God but must instead be the fuel and fervor that motivates and empowers all of your obedience. Finally, this study seeks to highlight several of the ways laid out in Scripture for cultivating and increasing such desire and delight in God.
This study guide is designed to be used in a twelve-session* guided group study that focuses on the Desiring God DVD set. After an introductory lesson, each subsequent lesson examines one thirty-minute session from the Desiring God DVD set. You the learner are encouraged to prepare for the viewing of each session by reading and reflecting upon Scripture, by considering key quotations, and by asking yourself penetrating questions. Your preparatory work for Lessons 2–11 is marked with the heading “Before You Watch the DVD, Study and Prepare.”
The workload is conveniently divided into five daily, manageable assignments. There is also a section suggesting further study. This work is to be completed individually before the group convenes to view the DVD and discuss the material.
Throughout this study guide, paragraphs printed in a shaded box (like this one) are excerpts from a book written by John Piper or excerpts taken from the Desiring God Web site (www.desiringgod.org). They are included to supplement the study questions and to summarize key or provocative points.
The second section in Lessons 2–11, entitled “Further Up and Further In,” is designed for the learner who wants to explore in greater detail the concepts and ideas introduced in the lesson. This section is not required, but it will deepen your understanding of the material. This section requires that you read online sermons or articles from the Desiring God Web site (www.desiringgod.org) and answer relevant questions. These sermons can be found by performing a title search at the Desiring God Web site.
The third section in Lessons 2–11, entitled “While You Watch the DVD, Take Notes,” is to be completed as the DVD is playing. This section includes fill-in-the-blanks and leaves space for note taking. You are encouraged to engage with the DVD by filling in the appropriate blanks and writing down other notes that will aid you during the group discussion.
The fourth section in each normal lesson is “After You Watch the DVD, Discuss What You’ve Learned.” Three discussion questions are provided to guide and focus the conversation. You may record, in the spaces provided, notes that will help you contribute to the conversation. Or you may use this space to record things from the discussion that you want to remember.
The fifth and final section is an application section: “After You Discuss, Make Application.” You will be challenged to record a takeaway point and to engage in a certain activity that is a fitting response to the content presented in the lesson.
Group leaders will want to peruse the Leader’s Guide, which is included at the conclusion of the study guide.
Life transformation will only occur by the grace of God. Therefore, we highly encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer throughout the learning process. Pray that God would open your eyes to see wonderful things in his Word. Pray that he would grant you the insight and concentration you need in order to get the most from this resource. Pray that God would cause you to not merely understand the truth, but also to rejoice in it. And pray that the discussion in your group would be mutually encouraging and edifying. We’ve included objectives at the beginning of each lesson. These objectives won’t be realized without the gracious work of God through prayer.
*While this study guide is ideally suited for a twelve-session study, it is possible to complete it in six sessions. For instructions on how to use this study guide for a six-session group study, turn to Appendix A: “Six-Session Intensive Option.”
Lesson 1: Introduction to Desiring God
It is our prayer that after you have finished this lesson…
• You will have a better sense of how you and others in your group approach the Christian life.
• Your thoughts on the subject will be stirred, and questions will come to mind.
• You will grow more eager to hear what the Bible says about the essence of following Christ.
1. What is your name?
2. Tell the group something about yourself that they probably don’t already know.
3. What are you hoping to learn from this study?
A Preview of Desiring God
1. In one sentence write your personal mission statement that answers the question, “What is my overarching purpose in life?” Share your statement with the group and explain how you arrived at it.
2. List what you think are the top five virtues in the Christian life and rate them from one to five, with one being the most important. Share your list and ratings with the group and explain your reasoning.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The terminology Piper uses, takes a session or two to fully grasp, but once you are in the study - the teaching is made clear and backed by scripture! Dr. Piper does a wonderful job in both explaining the context with purpose and also passion! The series is a great balance of theology and application. I would recommend this book (or DVD series) as a great tool for discipleship classes, personal learning or even a outline for a sermon series for the church of today!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This did not affect in any way my review of this book.
First I want to cover some logistics of the DVD and study guide. As expected this high quality content worthy of any church or person to invest in to help lay a foundation in their believer's hearts regarding Desiring God above all other things. The DVD series is broken into 10 manageable segments that cover the scope of what I assume was a workshop offered by Piper and Desiring God. The study book is laid out well with high level overview and questions that guide the user through the series and provoke reflection and point to God with amazement and gratitude.
The overarching benefit of this media format is simply the fact that Piper has taken a hugely popular book and ministry to the masses with guidance through the study guide and personal engagement by way of leading each discussion and lecture himself, adding emphasis and clarity where needed as He intends it to be interpreted as the author.
The main topic throughout the series which is implicit by its title is "DESIRING GOD" what does that mean, what does that look like, and why does that matter? Piper coined the term Christian Hedonism which is the opposite of the hedonism we see in the world. It simply means the source of utmost satisfaction and enjoyment.Read more ›
The DVD's companion study guide is unbelievably thorough. Each chapter is equipped with 5 days of preparation "homework" that is meant to focus your mind and prepare you for the message that Piper brings by video. The homework is short, yet thought-provoking, and includes numerous references to Scripture. The questions are far from shallow. There is also a section in each chapter titled "Further Up and Further In" in which the student is challenged to dig deeper by viewing a sermon or reading an article (usually found on the Desiring God website).
Each video session is approximately 20-30 minutes in length, and the study guide provides questions and blanks to fill in throughout the video. The chapter closes with questions designed to be discussed in a group setting.
Note: I received this product for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for this honest review.
John Piper has done a wonderful job of challenging and encouraging the reader at the same time. He shows that we are to seek our joy and take pleasure in God in all things and in all circumstances. Through his definition of "Christian Hedonism" he makes the case that it is not wrong for us to want joy and to seek it out as we "glorify and enjoy him forever" because "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him".
"Desiring God" really shows what the life of a Christian is and should be. It was a great reminder that in all circumstances we should find our joy in the Lord. One particular chapter that really encouraged me was entitled "Suffering", while one that challenged me was entitled "Missions". At the back of the book is a study guide as well that you can use for small groups or even yourself. This book is a healthy addition to my library and I recommend that you at it to yours as well.
Note: Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing this book to me in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't know I needed a DVD. This is more of a book club study guide than for personal use. A little disappointed.Published 23 months ago by ZK
My son asked me to order this to use with others in a study group. He likes it very much.Published on August 26, 2013 by Indy DJ
Desiring God by John Piper is an excellent book. The ideas presented within it about Christian Hedonism and glorifying God in our joyfulness in Him, are impressive in their... Read morePublished on August 15, 2011 by Amazon Customer
What a powerful series by John Piper. I am fairly new to him, so I didn't know what to expect. Maybe it's better to start fresh. Read morePublished on August 10, 2011 by thebauerfamily