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The Joy Project is a church-wide initiative we started as blueprint showing how to fight for true happiness and joy that comes from being in awe of God and all that He has done for us, through a handful of resources and challenges:
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As we strive to learn how to fight for joy, we want to challenge each other to commit to reading at least two books that are focused on the joy of the Lord in the Christian life.
Happiness, Randy Alcorn
This is an incredible book on God’s design and desire for our ultimate happiness. A long book, but an easy read. It serves well as a reference book, with the chapters being broken down into roughly just 8 or 9 or so pages on various topics concerning happiness (45 chapters total). A primary source for our JoyFULL Sermon Series.
Desiring God, John Piper
This is a “bucket list” book for every Christian. There are not many books that will be read for hundreds of years, but this is one that can be banked on. An eye-opening and liberating book to help you see the bigness of God’s beauty and glory and subsequently bring you great joy and happiness. The premise of the book is that God’s glory and your joy are not at odds, but that God’s greatest desire for you is that you would enjoy Him forever. A longer book, but well worth the time and effort.
Awe, Paul Tripp
Our hearts are always captured by something—that’s how God made us. But sin threatens to distract us from the glory of our Creator. All too often, we stand in awe of everything but God. Uncovering the lies we believe about all the earthly things that promise us peace, life, and contentment, Paul Tripp redirects our gaze to God’s awe-inducing glory—showing how such a vision has the potential to impact our every thought, word, and deed.
Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges
This is a book that personally changed me (Pastor Jobey) a few years ago. It radically changed my view of grace and the Gospel and set me on a course for the kind of discipleship that is fueled by delight, rather than duty. A study guide is also available and very useful for Fight Clubs or small group studies.
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, John Piper
There are many times in life when we find ourselves not desiring God. So what do we do? How do we fight out of that? This book tells us how.
When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God-and Joy, John Piper
Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes. In When the Darkness Will Not Lift, John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness. Readers will gain insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual darkness, what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness, how unconfessed sin can clog our joy, and how to minister to others who are living without light. Piper uses real-life examples and sensitive narrative to show readers abundant reason to hope that God will pull them out of the pit of despair and into the light once again.
Surprised by Joy, CS Lewis
A classic book on the beauty of the joy of God’s salvation written by one of the most gifted modern era authors.
Rejoicing in Christ, Michael Reeves
Rejoicing in Christ opens to readers the glory and wonder of Christ, offering a bigger and more exciting picture than many have imagined. Jesus didn't just bring us the good news. He is the good news. Reeves helps us celebrate who Christ is, his work on earth, his death and resurrection, his anticipated return and how we share in his life. This book, then, aims for something deeper than a new technique or a call to action. In an age that virtually compels us to look at ourselves, Michael Reeves calls us to look at Christ. As we focus our hearts on him, we see how he is our life, our righteousness, our holiness and our hope.
Joy in Christ's Presence, Spurgeon
One of the greatest preachers and theologians of all time, as well as a man who battled depression throughout his ministry career.
Idols of the Heart, Elyse Fitzpatrick
A fabulous book to help you expose the inner idols of your heart, identify the lies you believe, and replace them with Gospel truth. All of this leads to our deeper joy and enjoyment of Jesus.
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy, Tim Keller
A very short book to help the reader forget their old self and the lies they continue to live in, and remember and call to mind the truth of their salvation.
The Joy of Fearing God, Jerry Bridges
God promises that He delights Himself in those who fear Him. This seems so paradoxical, but how does a deepened awe and wonder of God actually lead to a life of overflowing joy?
The Joy Project: A True Story of Inescapable Happiness, Tony Reinke
The amazing story of the Gospel and how God’s plan was set in place in order to bring about definite and ultimate joy for the people that He had graciously saved. Free digital versions are available at www.desiringgod.org
Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent
A short and wonderful devotional style book that will help you press the Gospel into your mind and heart each and every day.
Is Happiness Different from Joy?
An interview with Andy Alcorn
Happiness or Joy… or Both?
Short video from Randy Alcorn
We hope you join us in the Joy Project, and we hope that you find these resources and challenges to be tools that can help you find the joy and happiness that you are looking for as they lead you to the One who is Himself the epitome and source of all joy and happiness.