Dear Friends of Desiring God,
I am writing this after returning recently from Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates. What an education! I feel like I just took an immersion course in Middle East studies, Islam, and missions. There is nothing like being there to learn what it means to be there!
I won’t rehearse the three blog posts I did from Addis Ababa, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. But I will add this: Speaking to the most diverse audiences I’ve ever seen (for instance, about 70 nations in one service) put me directly in touch with dozens of people from all over the world who love Desiring God.
It was a moving, sobering, encouraging thing to have people line up after services from Nigeria, India, Palestine, Turkey, Philippines, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and more, to tell me, sometimes with tears, that desiringGod.org is a place of regular teaching and guidance and hope and joy. I came away feeling the wonder of Desiring God’s personal, global impact. Our labor is not in vain.
Over and over they said, “Thank you that it is all free.” As you probably know, this way of doing Web ministry — making thousands of sermons, blogs, audios, and videos available at no cost, with no registration — is very intentional. We aim to remove every possible obstacle to spreading biblical truth to as many as we can.
Free of Charge
Years ago we took our cue from the apostle Paul who had the right to be paid by his listeners, but said, “What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18).
How could he do that? His ministry cost money. Part of the answer is that he made tents in the evening. “We worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). (Hence, for 15 years, I took my salary from my church and nothing from Desiring God.)
The other part of the answer is that he took contributions from established Christians so that he could offer his teaching free to all. “I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge. I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you” (2 Corinthians 11:7–8).
And of course, they were happy to be “robbed.” “Their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2).
Pressing into New Pockets
Many of you who frequent the site have been joyfully generous in the past to let us “rob” you for the sake of preaching the gospel without charge to the world. Thank you for your support of Desiring God.
Our traffic in the last 12 months is more than twice what it was just three years ago. These are real people from all over the world. Many of them spreaders of truth. We think God wants us to press into millions more lives with old and new efforts.
For example, we have been preparing for months to release in the new year a brand new platform for teaching the Bible and how to read it. I hope to devote a substantial amount of my time in the coming years to this vision of online Bible teaching. As far as we know, no one is doing what we are planning to do.
We have been amazed at the response to Ask Pastor John. This has become my new post-pastoral counseling venue. It is not easy. The questions are hard and take time to think through. But oh how good it is for me to face with people the tough issues of being a Christian in this world.
Would You Partner with Us?
There is so much suffering. And perhaps more than anything else, people write and tell us that the pervasive, God-exalting message of Desiring God is a balm for devastated souls. Few things give me more joy than to know we have helped someone survive a tragedy with their faith and joy undaunted.
Would you consider helping us as the year closes — “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)? Don’t neglect your church in any way. But if there is excess for this work, thank you for pondering this possibility.
Please pray for us — that we would not grow weary in well-doing, that we would be radically faithful to the infallible word of God, that we would be creative and visionary and farseeing in our dreaming and planning, that Christ would be exalted among the nations as the one and only Savior and as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Gifts can be made here.