"Jesus & the Journey to Joy" by John Piper

I want to share this series with you because I remember when I didn't get it, and I can't forget the moment when I finally did. More to the point, I sincerely hope the Lord helps you understand this too.

I shared some of the details of when this all clicked for me in a post several years back. I experienced a lengthy bout of depression which developed as many of my closest companions moved away and I felt deeply alone. It was a series of events that set even a normally steady extrovert like myself into a tailspin.

After months of this, while barely going through the motions spiritually, my church featured a series by John Piper called "The Blazing Center." I remember thinking, "Piper's alright. I guess I'll go," and dragged myself in on Sunday morning. I dutifully sat through the first session and thought, "Well, I guess I'll come back next week." Thankfully, my a-ha moment began that next week when Piper lets us ponder, and then answers, a question just after 15:10 of session two.

The question: "What will satisfy your soul most deeply? If God refuses to give you that, he doesn't love you..." I was really listening, thinking hard through all I perceived was or could be taken from me. But it wasn't rhetorical. After a few seconds, Piper states, "Answer: Himself."

Suddenly I realized why I, and several of my friends, were so down. We were all looking in the wrong place, looking to the wrong things for satisfaction and security and identity and, ultimately, joy. And as Piper continued to paint this picture of how the greatest thing in the universe is God Himself, and the best thing God can give us is Himself through Jesus, everything Piper ever wrote finally made sense. Lewis and Edwards and Augustine and others made sense. Jesus is the place to find all those things. And from there, from Him, all the rest of life flows.

I still take people through "The Blazing Center," which was actually filmed at a youth retreat, and you should certainly take the extra time to watch if you wish. It takes a few different turns than the series below. Yet I appreciate that this more recent series highlights some of those main points (as do all of Piper's works) yet can be viewed in about an hour. 

I hope you'll spend time with these, perhaps watch with friends, and I pray you'll understand the true root of eternal joy found only in Jesus which will last as He carries us even through any suffering or sorrow we experience now. 

"Jesus & the Journey to Joy" - A Six-Part Study With John Piper

How Do You Define Joy?

What Is Christian Hedonism?   

What Is the Secret of Joy in Suffering?  

Do We Have to Enjoy God to Believe?  

How Does Joy Overflow in Love?  

Does Joy Die in Sorrow?

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