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Stand [Paperback]

John Piper and Justin Taylor

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging Believers to Stand Firm 26 Nov 2008
By Rebecca Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As I read this book, I remembered listening to the lectures (messages?) from which the essays came, lectures given at the 2007 Desiring God conference by the same name. The purpose of this collection of essays is, like the conference that went before it, to encourage by example and exhortation the kind of faith that perseveres through the difficulties of life.

The first chapter is a piece by Jerry Bridges which lays out four things that will enable the Christian to finish well. These four essentials are

* a daily time of focused communion with God,
* a daily appropriation of the gospel,
* a daily presenting yourself as a living sacrifice, and
* a continual firm belief in the sovereignty and the goodness of
God.

Bridges discusses each action, giving us the scriptural basis for it and explaining how practicing it has been helpful in his own Christian walk. He reminds the reader that it is by God's grace that we are faithful in these things, for "standing over all of them is the grace of God. The same apostle who said, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith' also said in another context, 'But by the grace of God I am what I am' (1 Cor. 15:10). Paul attributed all of his endurance, all of his faithfulness, to the grace of God. And so as we look at our responsibility, keep in mind that we are enabled to fulfill that responsibility only by the grace of God."

This was, I think, the chapter in this book that was most valuable to me. I've been working to be more disciplined in these things now that I have the house to myself and time to think, and I found this discussion very convicting and useful.

The second chapter is John Piper's essay "Getting Old to the Glory of God." This means, says he, "getting old in a way that makes God look glorious. It means living and dying in a way that shows God to be the all-satisfying Treasure that he is."

I've reached the age where I think more and more about getting old, and I'll let you in on a secret if you promise not to tell: I'd like to spend the rest of my life in a way that is comfortably pleasant. Deep down, I think I've gone through enough of the difficult stuff already and I'd like just coast agreeably to the end. This is not the the kind of life-finish Piper is speaking about:

"Getting old to the glory of God means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement. It means being so satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ that we are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement. Instead, knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying and everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts."

Okay. And yes, I do know this. I just need to be reminded of it and spurred on once in a while. If you're baby-boomerish, like I am, this chapter is especially for you, encouraging you to spend all of your years persevering in the "joyful sorrows of magnifying Christ in the sacrifices of love."

In the next chapter John MacArthur uses principles gleaned from Paul in 2 Corinthians to teach about maintaining a ministry that endures through various difficulties. This chapter is geared toward pastors, drawing from MacArthur's nearly forty years of experience at Grace Community Church.

The last two chapters from Randy Alcorn and Helen Roseveare on persevering through trials and tribulations suffer just a little, I think, from the kind of organization that works well enough for speaking but not as well for writing. These essays are more anecdotal and less formally structured than the first three, something I didn't notice at all when listening to them as lectures, but that made them less enjoyable when I was reading. I'm guessing that this wouldn't bother most readers, but I prefer things more tightly organized than these two chapters were.

At the end of Stand are two transcripts of interviews of the contributors conducted by Justin Taylor during the Stand conference. These won't be the parts of the book of most enduring quality, but they were very fun to read. I like knowing bits of people's stories and there are quite a few of them here. Did you know, for instance, that Randy Alcorn gives his books to people he meets as he travels? He tells some of the stories of his travel encounters in the first interview.

The purpose of this book is to encourage believers to stand firm in their life-long commitment to Christ and I'd say it fulfills that purpose quite well and I recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! 30 July 2010
By Jonathan P. Bradshaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book should be read by every Christian. It will serve you and encourage personal growth!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its Not A Sprint! 5 Oct 2009
By A. Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some stories stick like mud. Whether it's because it is shocking, sad, funny or surprising, you can hear a story just once and then recall it easily for months and years ahead. For me, one such story was told by the preacher of when he was a young seminarian who began to date a daughter of a prominent pastor. Having had dinner at the family home one evening, the father called the young seminarian out onto the porch and said to him "Make a list of you class mates. In 30 years time, out of your class of 20, only 5 will still be Christians and in the ministry - the rest will have fallen away." The preacher did make that list and 30 years later he tracked down his former class. His late father in law was right - 6 remained believers and in ministry. This story, or illustration (or maybe warning) has remained with me. It reminds me, that as one wise person said, ministry is not a sprint, but a marathon, and the key is, how will we finish!

We can have the passion, call, desire to preach and minister the gospel now, but will we in 25 / 30 years time after times of hardship, persecution, attack and disappointments. Such words (hardship, persecution, attack and disappointments) are not on the vocabulary list of young, new pastors. However in "Stand: A Call For The Endurance of The Saints" edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, John MacArthur writes in his chapter "I've been in one church long enough to see just about every kind of attack on my character, life and ministry." Indeed, MacArthur shares how 5 of his young interns, men whom he had mentored, tried to have him unseated as pastor - or the 250 members of his church, including elders and leaders, who left because they found his preaching too long and irrelevant. Why did he stay? He writes "there wasn't anyone handing me any invitations. That was by the grace of God however."

Other contributors to this small book are John Piper on why retirement is not biblical and that we are not to be a people longing to stop - Jerry Bridges encouragement to keep the four essentials for finishing well (daily time of focused personal communion with God; daily appropriation of the gospel; daily commitment to God as a living sacrifice; firm belief in the sovereignty and love of God), Randy Alcorn who gives the challenge that endurance requires brave courageous decisions on the daily basis on how we live and Helen Roseveares on endurance on the mission field.

This book is only 154 pages - short enough to cover in a devotional time each morning. Yet its contents should be an encouragement to us to think about the future - and this prepare ourselves for the long haul - to prepare ourselves to finish well.

Thoroughly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In for the long run ... 28 Aug 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The general editors did a wonderful service to the Christian community with Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints. Gathering together five modern heroes of the Christian faith and asking them to present from their own personal experience the crucial components of perseverance in Christ is invaluable to the entire community. I found most helpful Jerry Bridges' discussion of the Four Essentials For Finishing Well, Randy Alcorn's testimony of God's faithfulness, and the interviews included at the closing of the book.
I found the steadfast confident purpose of Jerry Bridges' Four Essentials For Finishing Well helpful encouragement against the quick fix mentality of our modern world. Although the chapter heading implies yet another set of steps to follow on your pathway to success that plagues the Christian and secular book industry, what is presented is something very different. His steps are simple to state: daily personal communion with God, daily appropriation of the gospel, daily commitment to God as a living sacrifice, and a firm belief in the sovereignty and love of God. Yet putting them in to practice is anything put simple. It is daily, stretched out over a life time. The effect is compounding. Bridges likens it to the course corrections of a large ship. So often our lives are focused on the big and dramatic, yet it is these little daily exercises (that in reality are anything but little) that keep the ship from wandering off course. Jerry Bridges himself is a living testimony of such a life in action.

Randy Alcorn may be the youngest of the contributors to share, but having never know the portion of his testimony that he shares, I can not help but be blessed by the testimony of God's provision in the perseverance of His saints. I found it most powerful to learn of his and his family's commitment to the life of the unborn to the extent that they were willing to sacrifice their worldly goods and security rather than give in to the injustices of a civil court's poor decision. Yet, as he recounts the fruit of royalties and sales returning to the work he was called to sacrifice for, one is overwhelmed by the Joseph like testimony of what man means for evil, God means for good. God funnels far more resources to the fight against the opposition mounted against the unborn and his family than Randy Alcorn would have imagined at the start. His story is a mighty testimony to not only obedience and the part it plays in our Christian perseverance, but also to God's sustaining hand in the process.

Finally the interviews included in the close of this book again provide testimony to God's work of preservation in the lives of some very different people. The interviews are helpful as they reveal more of the characteristics of personality found among the contributors of this volume. Jon MacArthur displays an unshakable confidence that has been a hallmark of his life in Christ. Whereas John Piper's brokenness and humility in the presence of an amazing God shines through. As well Helen Roseveare's life changing experience with the truth of God scribbled in the cover of her new believer bible is enhanced in the interview. Most helpful is the casual nature of the responses that spill forth from lives sold out to Jesus Christ. Off the pedestal that the time and process of writing affords, each is transparent in their love and commitment to Christ. This is a help and encouragement to the believer.

Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints is an enriching and powerful read of God's work and example in the lives of the five contributors. It has helped encourage me to keep my hand to the plow of daily disciplines, inspired me to make and submit my decisions to Christ, and reminded me to be transparent in God's life-giving work of preservation in me!
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for retirees 15 Jun 2013
By Judith Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book; both challenging and encouraging. A must read for more mature adults and those who are thinking about retirement as well as those who are already retired.
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