If you are around bookstores or blogging for very long, you are accustomed to the over-the-top, you-must-buy-this-book-it-will-change-your-life endorsements. But as I've mentioned before, the ones that stand out to me are where the endorser is not just saying that you should read it, but explains why it has moved or shaped or convicted him or her.
So, for example, I sit up and notice when someone like Chun Lai (the director of the Westminster Bookstore) writes:
Apart from the Bible, this could be the most important resource we have promoted in my eight years at the bookstore. Rarely have I seen a resource like Episode 2 that so clearly communicates something that our Lord cares so much about. The gospel transforming lives, the Church laying siege to the gates of Hell, and Christians living with a clear view of eternity---it was a profound reminder for me to reclaim my first love.
I am thrilled that WTS Books is now carrying the DVD series Dispatches from the Front. They are running a sale for 72 hours, ending on Friday (June 15) at 4 PM Eastern. The entire 5 DVD set is $30 (60% off), or you can get just episode 2 for $5 (67% off). You can also download a free study guide. The youth at our church are currently watching this series, and I'd recommend the same for other youth groups, small groups, families, etc.
You can watch some previews below, followed by some more encouragements to pick these up:
"Dispatches from the Front is a series of DVDs which show first-hand the work of missionaries and pastors in some of the tougher parts of the world. I have just watched the episode on Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro. The low-key presentation enhances the drama and the beauty of the stories told. But be aware: this is sobering stuff. I came away ashamed of my own lack of zeal for the Lord's work and my ingratitude to him for all of the material comforts I enjoy. This is not a celebration of the pyrotechnic entertainment of the American church; it is an account of genuine works of God. It will convict you of your own sin, drive you to Christ, and encourage you to pray for Christians working on the front lines of the Kingdom and to reassess your own priorities wherever you are. "
---Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History and Paul Woolley Chair of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary
"Beware of watching these Dispatches if you don't like being moved and inspired and shaken out of the ruts of your life. My wife and I were riveted in watching the frontline reports of God's work recorded in the Dispatches from the Front. This is the sort of information that builds faith in the present providence of God over his mission, and stirs up action for the sake of lost and hurting people near and far. I would love to see thousands of people mobilized as senders and goers for the sake of the glory of Christ and the relief of suffering on the frontiers, especially eternal suffering."
---John Piper, author of Desiring God; Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis
"Dispatches from the Front is a thoughtful, moving, understated, and ultimately convicting series of videos depicting the work of the gospel in some of the most challenging corners of the world. Far from glorying in celebrity missions, the stories in these videos depict the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in the teeth of virulent opposition. Here are brothers and sisters in Christ who in God's grace display faithfulness and transcendent joy, unflagging zeal to share the gospel, and an unfettered allegiance to King Jesus. To watch the kingdom advance in the teeth of these challenges is to learn humility and rekindle contrition, faith, and intercessory prayer."
---D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; President and Co-founder, The Gospel Coalition
"I want, and I want my kids to have, a heart for world missions. These videos stir that passion. . . . I would highly recommend this series."
---Joshua Harris, Senior Pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, MD
"Dispatches from the Front is a fascinating look at how the gospel is penetrating some of the world's neediest places. These are regions where all the worst agonies of human life are multiplied and magnified relentlessly by war, extreme poverty, sex trafficking, drug dealing, false religion, and disease. . . . But your spirit will be encouraged by the triumphant power of Christ. "
---Phil Johnson, Executive Director, Grace to You
"Who knows what might happen if churches and small groups and families were to watch these videos together, open to God's leading for going and sending? It is a risk to watch them. But the motivation is Gospel grace, not guilt. I cannot recommend too highly these DVDs. "
---Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds
"Are you afraid to open your eyes and see death and destruction in the world? Dispatches from the Front will open your eyes to the great needs of the lost, enflame your heart to go to the nations, and give you the courage to carry on the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God. This is a bold call to action. "
---Burk Parsons, pastor, author, and editor of Tabletalk magazine
"Dispatches offers a potent reminder that in the darkest places, the gospel shines brightest. It should come with a warning label. Danger: Graphic scenes of mission reality that will disrupt your comfort and ignite your heart for God's work on the frontlines. Pray, watch and act! "
---Dave Harvey, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Church Planting & Missiology
"These videos are unlike any resource I've encountered. Rather than asking for financial contributions or embarking on an international guilt-trip they invite us to see the power of the gospel as it penetrates into even the darkest regions of our world. They invite us to meet and rejoice with our brothers and sisters who are part of the Kingdom's "bold advance." I was moved to tears as I witnessed the faithfulness and goodness of our God to change hearts and transform lives. I wish that individuals, families, and churches would "take up and watch," having their hearts stirred and eyes opened to the glorious riches of grace and the saving power of Jesus Christ. I cannot commend these strongly enough---if you make only one purchase this year, make it these! "
---Benjamin Thocher, Associate Director, Westminster Bookstore, 2012