Russell and Duenes

“I Am Sending You To Open Their Eyes”

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That’s the title of the final chapter in John Piper’s excellent little book, Finally Alive. I read the book several months ago with a friend of mine, and found it to be a useful exposition of what it means to be “born again.” Piper makes a winsome case for a closer look at this crucial teaching, one that has often been maligned or caricatured. Thus, by way of commendation, I wanted to remark on Piper’s final chapter, which in my view, is the best chapter in the book. In it he gives “ten encouragements for gospel-telling,” by means of which people may be “born again.

Though all ten encouragements are outstanding, I mention only two, as they seem to be two that could make a huge impact and are not “scary” to apply. Piper encourages his readers to become “lavish givers.” One should seek to “[b]e known as a generous person, not a stingy person.” (p.184). This may mean freely buying books for those who like to read, giving away Bibles or missionary biographies. (Id.). I would add that inviting people over for meals is another huge way to be a lavish giver. Piper says we should develop the habit of thinking: “How can I commend Christ today?” (Id.).

Another encouragement is: “Find People Interesting.” He writes: “Evangelism gets a bad reputation when we are not really interested in people and don’t seem to care about them.” (p.185). It really is a beautiful thing when you see one human being take a genuine interest in another. And as Piper notes, such interest is uncommon today. Yet, “[i]f you really find their story interesting, and care about them, they may open up to you and want to hear your story – Christ’s story.”

I used to live in Berkeley, next door to a gentleman who seemed far away from Christ. He was a kind of religious eclectic, but really took a dim view of Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals. I had asked him if I could do a recorded interview with him, just to get his thoughts on religion and life in general. I asked questions and he shared for about an hour, as I recall. When he was done, he remarked: “I’ve talked this whole time, and haven’t heard your story.” At which point, I got to share God’s good news with him. When I finished, he said, “I couldn’t disagree more with what you’ve said,” but he wasn’t angry or offended. He listened to me. It was great. How God might use it, I don’t know. But it happened because I listened to him. Oh, that I would listen with interest more often by finding people interesting.

Get Piper’s book, and enjoy.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

March 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Duenes, Literature

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