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THE JOY PROJECT: An Introduction to Calvinism (with Study Guide)

$5.49$9.50

by Tony Reinke  |  168 pages
True happiness is not found. It finds you.

(This updated edition includes a study guide for each chapter.)

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A book from Desiring God

THE JOY PROJECT: An Introduction to Calvinism (with Study Guide), by Tony Reinke

Endorsed by J. I. Packer, Rosaria Butterfield, Randy Alcorn, David Murray, Gloria Furman, Sam Storms, Michael Reeves, Benjamin Vrbicek.

True happiness is not found. It finds you.

We think of our chase for joy as a fundamental right—and it’s no surprise. By nature we are pleasure-seekers, though chronically unsuccessful at finding the type of joy that will endure for more than a passing moment.

But what if long-lasting joy isn’t found at all? What if the deepest and most durable happiness breaks into our lives, overcomes our boredom, and ultimately finds us? What if true joy is out of our reach, but reaches for us?

Endorsements

“Biblically, colorfully, and with realistic precision, Tony Reinke presents God’s work of saving grace as a jamboree of overwhelming sovereign joy. This is a book of deep truth that does good to the heart as well as the head.”
–J. I. Packer

Click to read all endorsements

“Our eyes of flesh seek joy in the wrong places, define it with a bankrupt vocabulary, and settle for it using mistaken formulas. Because we don’t know what to do but try harder and hide our shame, we get stuck and sick, depressed and despondent. This dehumanizes us, discourages us, and defeats us. But there is hope! The Joy Project is applied reformed theology at its best.”
–Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

“Biblically, colorfully, and with realistic precision, Tony Reinke presents God’s work of saving grace as a jamboree of overwhelming sovereign joy. This is a book of deep truth that does good to the heart as well as the head.”
–J. I. Packer

The Joy Project is a celebration of Reformed theology, and in this way it’s more in keeping with the Bible’s treatment of the subject—behold the beauty before bemoaning the controversies. We cover this topic briefly in our church membership class, and for those who want to pursue it further, this book, for its accessibility and warmth, is the one I’ll recommend first.”
–Benjamin Vrbicek, Pastor, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

“What do you get when you combine Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project with the Five Points of Calvinism and Tony Reinke’s compelling writing? You’re looking at it. It sounds like a weird and unworkable combination, but it works well and results in an outstandingly beautiful presentation of the doctrines of grace. This is the most beautiful presentation of Calvinism I’ve ever read.”
–David Murray, Professor, Puritan Reformed Seminary

“Tony Reinke’s The Joy Project is a unique and delightful summary of the unfolding drama of God’s sovereign grace. Tony, as usual, is biblical, Christ-honoring, gospel-centric, imaginative, and articulate. Who could ask for more? You will enjoy this book!”
–Randy Alcorn, Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries

“At the end of a restless day we look to the self-help gurus, but they can only give us magnifying glasses to gaze more deeply into our own navels. Lift your sights through The Joy Project and rejoice to read that joy is actually coming for you.”
–Gloria Furman

“‘Joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory’ (1 Pet. 1:8). But what does that mean? Is it for me? How do I get it? What does it feel like? Is it okay for me to want it? How will it change my life? Is this ‘joy’ the same as being ‘happy’? If not, what’s the difference? And what does joy have to do with God’s sovereign, saving grace for sinners in Jesus Christ? Yes, there are answers to these questions. And Tony Reinke does a masterful job in providing them. Read on, then, and rejoice with joy everlasting!”
–Sam Storms

“We all want joy and happiness — but they seem such elusive things. We reach for them and fall, we aim and miss. For me that’s because I make them dependent on me: how I’m doing, how I’m feeling. Tony Reinke shows a far sweeter way, a way to solid joy.”
–Michael Reeves

Excerpts

Click to read the Foreword from John Piper

Could it be that Christianity is very different than the impressions you have from your experience?

I recall how thunderstruck I was, in my early twenties, even as a Christian, to hear my teacher say, “the problem with the world is not that people are seeking their own happiness, but that they are far too easily pleased.”

I had the confused notion that I needed to get rid of my desire to be happy so that I could do the will of God. Now here was someone saying: that’s not your problem. Your problem is that you are not passionately committed to the pursuit of joy.

This was mind-boggling. And true. Biblically true. I have spent the last fifty years looking at things through this lens—trying to see reality the way it really is.

  • What if the essence of my sin were the incapacity for supreme joy?
  • What if sin were the loss of taste for what is supremely delicious?
  • What if sin were the craving for the taste of poison?
  • What if God, from all eternity, has been planning a kind of pleasure so great that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into any human imagination?
  • What if God sent his Son into the world with the mandate to remove every obstacle to perfect happiness, and to create a people willing and able to be that happy in his presence?
  • What if his Son bought this all-satisfying destiny for his people at the cost of his own life?
  • What if God sent his Spirit into the world to be the down-payment of this ecstasy, and to use all his omnipotence to make sure we arrive in his presence where there are pleasures forevermore?

Those questions lead to a view of reality that can turn your world upside down. Discovering in the bible the roots of this way of looking at the world is utterly liberating.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that there are few people alive today who have gone down deeper into those roots than Tony Reinke. His book The Joy Project tells the story of the world—a God-saturated world that is on its way to becoming radiant with joy. It is the story of Christianity.

The supremacy of God and the satisfaction of the human soul are the two great realities we cannot escape. I used to think that God was in pursuit of the first, and I was in pursuit of the second. And that was the greatest problem to be overcome. I don’t see it that way anymore.

No. God is in pursuit of both. He knows that the human soul will never be satisfied until it treasures the supremacy of God above all things. And he knows that his own supremacy shines most brightly in the soul of those who are satisfied in him. That’s the way he made the world.

My problem (is it yours too?) was not that I wanted a satisfied soul. My problem was that I couldn’t taste and see the all-satisfying God. And to my amazement I discovered that the story of Christianity is the story of God’s pursuit of my joy—his quest, at the cost of his Son’s life, to replace my blindness with a sight of beauty, and to replace my craving for poison with a taste for his all-satisfying perfections. This is Christianity—The Joy Project.

My prayer is that you, and thousands more, will take up and read, and waken to the wonder that you are being pursued—through the brightest blessings and the darkest sorrows—with Joy.

John Piper
February 2018

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Author, etc.

AUTHOR

Tony Reinke is a staff writer for desiringGod.org and host of the popular Ask Pastor John podcast. He's the author of 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (2017). Tony lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their three children.

Description

True happiness is not found. It finds you.

We think of our chase for joy as a fundamental right—and it’s no surprise. By nature we are pleasure-seekers, though chronically unsuccessful at finding the type of joy that will endure for more than a passing moment.

But what if long-lasting joy isn’t found at all? What if the deepest and most durable happiness breaks into our lives, overcomes our boredom, and ultimately finds us? What if true joy is out of our reach, but reaches for us?

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