Don't Waste Your Life (Group Study Edition)
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225 of 231 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2003
When I first heard the title from this book, I was intrigued. His flier that was sent further intrigued me. On the one side it said something to the effect of "If you could have a good spouse, good kids, nice car, long weekends, a few good friends, a fun retirement, a quick and easy death and no hell, would you be satisfied?" You turn the flier over and it said "This is a tragedy in the making. Don't waste your life". Wow. You can see where he may be going...
What he has put together in this book is truly life changing, and will shatter many of your (and my) preconceived ideas on living a godly life - by using Scripture as his basis in all areas.
The first couple of chapters are more biographical/introductory, and how he came to where he is now. Although interesting, he does seemingly wander a bit in dealing with subjective and objective truth and existintilism in his life (the beginning was not my favorite part of the book). Those are phrases that put the majority of Christians to sleep. Do not let that stop you!! By the end of the 2nd chapter, he is going full force, and the book will seriously begin to challenge your ideas on how we are truly to live.
He has chapters focused on areas such as constantly looking to the Cross of Christ for our joy and our daily living and bearing fruit and being selfless in the manner that we live, as well as a fun expositional on Philippians 1.
However, while all the chapters were very good/excellent, Chapter 7 alone is worth ten times the price of the book. If you don't read anything else in the book, read Chapter 7. This chapter will grab you and radically force you to deal with your life. He quotes 1 Peter 3:15 about "always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you.." and turns around and asks the question (something like) "do people see hope in your life by the way you live - or is your life so much like the world's that there isn't much of a difference". I don't want to ruin the chapter by revealing all of the information, but he deals with money, finances, Christian living, and media - for starters. He gives wartime examples of living and shows from Scripture how we are to live.
For those who may be a bit intimidated by Piper, as a few of his books are more difficult to read for "mainstream" readers, this is also one of his easiest books to read and can be read by virtually anyone. This book is very "practical" and deals with daily issues of life. You will find few better authors today than John Piper, and while this book won't get the reading that a "Prayer of Jabez" or "Purpose Driven Life" will get - which is extremely unfortunate and a shame - those that do read this 190 page book will have transformed lives, and not just a warm fuzzy feeling at the end.
Be warned - you will be challenged, and you may not like what he says. However, what he says in the book is what needs to be taught and read today - and most importantly he is right, because his book is based on Scripture. I read a lot of Christian books, and not all of them are as good as I hoped. Trust me - you will NOT be disappointed in this book.
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246 of 260 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2003
I agree with the gist of the other reviewers.
I would also like to add that this book is probably a bit more hard hitting than his other stuff. He comes right out and calls people to bigger and better things. I can imagine some people actually being offended by some things that he says - that simply going to work and raising your kids aren't all that God has called you to. There's a great calling to consider cross-cultural missions work. :) He says things like:
"Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud - just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuf on the weekend - woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more."
and
"God does not promise enough food for comfort or for life - he promises enough so that you can trust him and do his will."
All in all, it's a great book, and a little more application than Desiring God. A little easier read, in that it's not as theologically heavy, I think. Definitely quality
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148 of 161 people found the following review helpful
It seems that Christian publishers tend to simultaneously release books that deal with similar themes (work of the Holy Spirit, grace, etc.). The latest trend appears to be on rising above the ordinary and living passionately for Christ. "Don't Waste Your Life" is a stand-out book among this crowd. John Piper is one of the giants of modern Christian writing, and this book is another showcase of his gifts.
Movies and TV series like "Office Space" and "The Office" strike a nerve because we identify with their main theme - the futility of the average life. How many of us feel that we've somehow managed to settle for complacency and boredom instead of the risk and passion that we dream about? In the Christian's case, how many are just playing it safe by focusing on the 'thou-shalt-nots' instead of actually stepping out in faith to DO God's will? These are difficult questions to answer honestly, but we must do so for our own eternal good. For as Piper states, "only what's done for Christ will last."
Each chapter of "Don't Waste Your Life" deals with different aspects of magnifying Christ. Risk-taking, suffering, and the workplace are all arenas where we can glorify God and enjoy Him as we lead our daily lives. However, the last chapter reveals Piper's heart: missions. Ultimately, the overarching theme of this book is winning others to Christ by our lives, and if necessary, by our words. To that end, Piper implores the reader "in the name of Jesus to wake up, and enlarge your heart, and stretch your mind, and spread your wings." For when all is said and done, what really matters is that those who are lost are lost no more.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2003
Those familiar with Piper have come to expect Scripture saturated pleadings to readers to find their ultimate fulfillment and joy in "all that God is for us in Christ." For those unfamiliar with Piper, he is a passionate writer and pastor who spurs his readers to greater depths of devotion to God and sacrificial living. He is typically motivating and convicting.
In this book, short by Piper's standards, he drives home the biblical principle that we must give up our lives to find them. Piper applies this passion for Christ in different areas of life: work, relationships, missions, etc. The chapters on risk-taking and work are alone worth the price of the book. I highly reccommend this book as a gift for graduates and college students, but it is worth reading for every believer who doesn't want to waste their life.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 9, 2004
Anytime you need a spark in your passion for Christ, a John Piper book is a dependable igniter. Don't Waste Your Life targets Christians desiring to live a meaningful life that produces lasting fruit.
Piper is a prodigious Christian writer who has authored more than twenty books. He pastors Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. I have read several of his books, and he continually offers solid, refreshing Christian teaching.
In Don't Waste Your Life, Piper tells the reader about his personal discovery of the single passion worth pursuing in life. He writes, "It was not always plain to me that pursuing God's glory would be virtually the same as pursuing my joy. Now I see that millions of people waste their lives because they think these paths are two and not one."
He describes a typical married couple working through life to accumulate wealth so that they can retire and leisurely collect seashells in Florida. He calls this course of life a waste. Any life that treasures anything above Christ is a tragedy, writes Piper.
According to Piper, we were created for more than merely providing for a family and trying to live a good life. For Christians, Piper writes of a cause that is paramount to all others.
He encourages us to consider the cause of Christ, the greatest king who ever lived. He writes, "The greatest cause in the world is joyfully rescuing people from hell, meeting their earthly needs, making them glad in God, and doing it with a kind, serious pleasure that makes Christ look like the treasure he is."
Piper avoids rules, formulas and steps to living a fruitful live. He proposes becoming single-minded in possessing a passion for Christ and for glorifying him above all else in our lives. As we do this continually, we are sure to live satisfying, fruitful lives, says Piper.
Piper accomplishes more than covering the basics of living the Christian life. Using personal stories, quotes from other writers, and many scriptures, he emphasizes the values of Christ and his calling upon our lives.
Piper summarizes his view of Christ's calling upon our lives, "God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace."
The book consists of ten chapters with each chapter having several sections. A theme that runs through the book is the virtue of taking risks in life for the glory of Christ. Piper emphasizes courage as characteristic to the Christian-courage to take steps of faith, to risk losing life to gain glory for the name of Jesus.
He writes, "There can be no weary resignation, no cowardly retreat, and no merciless contentment among Christ's people while he is disowned among thousands of unreached peoples."
Piper calls Christians to arms in a battle that we can join no matter who we are or where we are. We can advance Christ's kingdom in the workplace or on the missions field. If we become passionate about living for Him, we will experience his passionate joy and avoid wasting our lives.
Don't Waste Your Life succeeds in creating passion and purpose in the reader. Piper concludes the book with a prayer that will help the reader communicate the desires of his or her heart to God.
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101 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2008
This is a full blown 10 chapter Reformed Baptist sermon on `don't waste your life'. There is an excellent chapter on `risk', in fact if you read no other chapter, read chapter five about why and when to take risks in life.

The overt goal of the book appears to be to plead with people, including non-Christians, to dedicate themselves completely to the glory of God and His purposes. Piper makes an impassioned argument for a `state of emergency' approach to living the Christian life, what he terms a "wartime" rather than "peacetime" lifestyle. Ultimately, for John Piper, this goal is worked out to be the `great commission'; which is where the book ends up.

The heart of Piper's message is reserved for foreign missions, which reveals what could be called the `hidden agenda' behind the `don't waste your life' message. When telling us what God's priorities are, he selects only missionary oriented scriptures. No doubt this is a priority of God, but Piper writes as if to suggest it is God's only priority.

Most Christians would readily acknowledge that what Piper says is convincing; he is successful in his goal to present a theologically sound and convicting sermon style message - on `not wasting your life' - to Christians. But what we really need is the power to live it.

This is one of those books that tells you: `this is the way, walk in it'; and as is often the case with this type of book, you may well find yourself asking: `if only I could get this right'.

I don't think there's even a mention of the Holy Spirit in the whole book, let alone the Holy Spirit's role in leading individuals into God's will for their lives. The onus is put entirely on the reader - it is your responsibility to love God, to magnify Him with your life, to work for Him, to change the course of your life, to save souls. But what about God's desire for us, what about His plans for us and His power to accomplish them?

Having being convicted by Piper's message, I will look forward to a sequel where he fully expounds on how the power of the Holy Spirit can empower ordinary Christians to actually accomplish and sustain the lofty aspirations that God has for us.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
From [...]

Having heard John Piper speak at the NC Evangelism Conference (by the way -- great conference and the messages are available for free download at [...] and knowing that he was preparing for major prostate surgery, I felt compelled to read yet another of the works of this great man of God. When I met Dr. Piper at the Conference, I found him to be a gracious and humble man. I told him that I had quoted him so often in conversation that my wife just assumed that he died 200 years ago (I don't quote many who are still around -- dead preachers don't change their minds). He chuckled with me about that, and assured me, just days before his surgery that he was "alive and well." He did endure that surgery very well from reports I read online, and for that we praise God. Now on to the book -- Don't Waste Your Life.

What drew me to the book was the humbling story that graces the back of the book. "I will tell you what a tragedy is," Piper writes. "I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader's Digest: A couple 'took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 50 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball, and collect shells. ...' Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: 'Look Lord. See my shells.' That is a tragedy."

As I read those words, I thought, "Oh my! That is the American Dream isn't it?" That is what most of the folks in the congregations I have served would think is success in life. And I confess that on far too many days, that is what I long for more than the daily grind of being stretched and stressed in the work of ministry. But like a mirror -- not one of those funhouse mirrors that you know is making fun of how you look -- but a true mirror that reveals the awful blemish that scars us, Piper's words pierced me. Inside the pages of the book, the wound grew deeper, but it was a cut toward healing.

Piper's autobiographical glimpses in the early chapters are a blessing to one like me who has enjoyed his writings for many years. Many of the phrases that recur in all of his writings ("God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him," "Missions exists because worship does not", et al.) are found in this book as well, but his autobiographical sketch allows us to follow him on the life journey that led to the discovery of these wonderful truths. A theme that I am seeing more and more of in Piper's writings is that being loved by God does not mean that God makes much of us, but rather that God has done all that is necessary to enable us to make much of Him forever.

Three main points I want to highlight here are Piper's comments on suffering, on vocation, and on global missions. Several years ago, I read a chapter written by Piper in a book on expository preaching called Feed My Sheep. That chapter was on preaching to the suffering, and in it, my entire outlook on the pain and suffering of God's people was challenged and changed. Those same convictions were found in this book as well, as Piper reveals (in this culture of concealment) the true cost of discipleship. Following Christ might just be lethal -- but what other alternative do we have? He suffered for us. Not that we won't have to suffer, but that our suffering might be for His glory and the spread of His name among the nations.

Concerning vocation, Piper reiterates the doctrine of priesthood of believers advanced during the Reformation by Martin Luther. "Career Ministry" in the form of pastoral work or missionary service is by no means more important than the calling to live for Christ in secular vocation. Piper gives a biblical theology of secular work for the glory of Christ in Don't Waste Your Life that is unparalleled in modern literature. However, he acknowledges that in that role, one may find a connection with the life of suffering and the life of missionary advance.

If you have ever read Let the Nations Be Glad! (and shame on you if you haven't!), you know that Piper has a "white-hot passion" for global missions to the unreached peoples of the earth. In Don't Waste Your Life, Piper unashamedly calls every follower of Christ to examine his or her life to evaluate the contribution being made to the advancement of the gospel on the frontlines. He even pleads that many who read this book will give their lives to career missions, a challenge that he confesses issuing to himself each year at Bethlehem Baptist Church's Missions Conference.

Jonathan Edwards, C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Adoniram Judson, Samuel Mills, and a host of other (perhaps more surprising -- like the Marines of Iwo Jima) influences make cameo appearances to reinforce Piper's points along the way. Their words resonate with his own calling the reader to abandon all pursuits that will lead to wasted life, and in exchange begin to seek nothing but the glory of God being displayed through one's life.

I don't think I have read a book in recent days that I have enjoyed more than this book, and I would encourage all in my limited readership to acquire a copy and devour it at your earliest opportunity. It is plain to me that Piper has written this book to a younger audience (college students and early career adults), but I found myself on multiple occasions pricked in my own conscience by his stirring words, and thinking how relevant his message would be for the most advanced senior adults as well. I have recently picked up his latest book God is the Gospel, which looks like it will expand some of the themes introduced in Don't Waste Your Life.

As I bring this bookblog to a close, let me say a word concerning a popular prejudice against Dr. Piper. I overheard this conversation at the NC Evangelism Conference before Dr. Piper was to speak. Someone asked a colleague, "Who is John Piper?" (Can you imagine!). The colleague smirked and retorted, "Just some Calvinist!" The following week, the Biblical Recorder (or Biblical Distorter as it is called in some circles) reported on the conference with banner size headlines reading something to the effect of "Piper Adds Calvinist Flavor to Conference." Indeed, John Piper is a Calvinist. He would be the first to tell you that. But I believe that he would also be quick to point out that he is not a hyper-Calvinist who believes that only the elect should be preached to. In fact, I heard him say that we do not know who the elect are, so we must preach to everyone. And I would also like to say that Piper is a Calvinist, but he is more than a Calvinist. In Evangelicalism today, we feel like once we've labeled something, we have it figured out. People don't read Piper or go to hear him speak because they have him figured out already -- "He's just some Calvinist." Beloved, I am not a Calvinist, though I often get mistaken for one because my views run so parallel to Calvinism (If you must know I am a Molinist, meaning I hold to Middle Knowledge. I used to be a "reluctant Calvinist" because I thought my only other alternative was to be an Arminian, and who wants to be "a dopey Arminian" as my undergrad philosophy professor said.). Yet, even though I am no Calvinist, I don't think there is a writer alive today who blesses and feeds my soul like John Piper. So, can I call us evangelicals to a laying down of the labels and an opening of our minds to hear one another share our passions for Christ and rejoice together where we agree and dialogue together where we disagree? Please, for the glory of Jesus, let us do this all the more as the day approaches.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2003
I find this book a modern day call equal to William Law's,A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Dr. Piper's passion for the essence and main point of life are evident in this work of challenge. I was actually sad when I finished the book because I didn't want the book to end. When I read Dr. Piper's words, scripture is clearer and I am refueled and ready to offer Christ my whole life. It is ALL by grace but here is a man who is not afraid to give us guidelines to what a Christian might look like. His challenge is for both the "young" and "old." He addresses those who would serve God in their jobs and those that God might call to missionary service. You will also be challenged in your use of money and whatever "shells" you might be prone to collect. I know God will be honored by this book. Do you want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Please, read this book.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2003
I can't believe I'm the first person to review this book, so I'll get that little bit of excitement off my chest.
The heartbeat of this book, and this man, is not to waste your life. You have one life to enjoy God and invite others to be glad in Him. Lay aside every encumbrance that you might win the prize, the upward call of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, this book aims to convince you that there is ONE thing in life worth pursuing, ONE thing in life worth giving everything for, ONE thing in life worth radically pursuing, and that is, the glory of God. Piper has, in other books, argued for this very thing. But I get the sense in this book that he is desperately pleading with this generation to throw away mediocrity and to be devoted wholly and completely to the Treasure of the universe, and that anything short of a total sell-out to Him will result in our saying in the end, "I've wasted my life!" He is urgent. This is a dangerous book that, if read carefully, will cause you to rethink and reshape not only what you're basing your life upon, but challening you to build what will last on it.
Written with a popular audience in mind, Piper sums up many of his other great books in a clear, passionate cry to be most satisfied in God, whether you're a missionary or a mail man. How can you, whoever you are and whatever you do, gladly make others glad in God? This book seeks to answer that question and urges you to take whatever steps necessary to secure your happiness in Him. I highly recommend it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2003
This is a great book, an antidote to the trivializing spirit of our age. I would especially recommend it for new Christians and non-Christians. The book is about 200 pages long, divided into ten chapters, and it's easy to read. It's a sort of shortened, more accessible version of Desiring God. Those who have read that book should recognize the theme that God is most glorified in us when we're most satisfied in Him. The opening chapters tell the story of how the author, John Piper, came to recognize that truth in his own life. The next several chapters are about the application of that principle to various areas of life, such as pain, death, the workplace, and missions. The final chapter is a prayer to God. Not much of the content will be new to those who are highly familiar with Piper's material, but it's a good summary of what he's presented in other formats. This book would be a great gift for students and a great tool for evangelism. Even for mature Christians, it's a good reminder of what our priorities should be. This book glorifies Christ and encourages us to love Him and glorify Him more.
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