Jesus came to bring joy to the world. What happened?
In a world full of suffering, the declaration that God wants us to be joyful can sound tone-deaf at best or hypocritical at worst. In An Invitation to Joy, Daniel J. Denk invites readers to cast off hopelessness and rediscover joy. Yet, as Denk reminds us, “we don’t find joy by pursuing joy; we find it by pursuing something else,” namely, the kingdom of God. This joy is not naive optimism but a profound sense of purpose and peace.
Throughout his reflections, Denk approaches the topic of Christian joy with sensitivity and nuance, supporting his argument with Scripture and theological scholarship. But An Invitation to Joy is not primarily academic—Denk is just as likely to share his personal experience or his favorite passages from Lord of the Rings, all in an easy manner akin to a friendly conversation over coffee. Life-affirming, empathetic, and, above all, joyful, An Invitation to Joy is a salve for the wounds of the world-weary. If you have lost your joy, this book will help you find it again.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Christopher J. H. Wright
Introduction: Surprised by Joy—Again
1. God Invites Us to Joy
2. What Is This Joy We Seek?
3. Jesus, the Real Joy-Giver
4. Where Is This Joy to Be Found?
5. Rediscovering Childlike Joy
6. Friends of Joy
7. Enemies of Joy
8. Joy and Suffering
9. Joy in Service
10. Joy and Worship
11. Joy to the World
12. Destined for Joy
“Daniel Denk’s winsome and thoughtful reflections on the place of joy in Christian life are illuminating and enriching. It is a book that will be appreciated not only in the reading but also for the lasting reminders to cultivate joy in all that one does.”
—George Marsden, University of Notre Dame
“These reflections on joy are very encouraging. As Daniel Denk makes clear, we live in a world filled with sorrows, disappointments, and dangers, but joy is a gift from God; it is both a feeling and something far deeper that inhabits our very being. Listen to Denk. He knows life in its depths, he knows God, and he knows joy. May his book bring joy to many.”
—Joel Carpenter, Calvin University
“In An Invitation to Joy, Daniel Denk invites us to rediscover and receive a joy once lost, often challenged, even absent from the lived experience at times, but available through divine intervention. This volume offers a much-needed hope for human flourishing, carefully argued but joyful to read with profound insights and practical inquiries.”
—Adriaan C. Neele, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“While there are books we enjoy and books we learn from, Dan Denk’s An Invitation to Joy is both and more. It is a book I needed. And I suspect (and hope) that I won’t be alone in this. A generation surfeited with would-be pleasures and awash in pain-avoiding diversions, we are nonetheless bereft of joy. But Denk shows us that joy is worthy of serious and sustained contemplation—more than that, a gift our rejoicing God wills to give us.”
—Garwood P. Anderson, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
“Daniel Denk’s An Invitation to Joy: The Divine Journey to Human Flourishing is a powerful tool in these times of tremendous sorrow and pain, a book grounded in the word of God and in all we know as the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. I see this book in church libraries everywhere, in Bible study classes across denominations, at theological seminars, in classrooms, and on every family shelf. This is a powerfully urgent and long-awaited book.”
—Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, poet, academic, and author of Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems.