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Monday, November 13, 2006

Book Review - Eternal Impact

A couple of days ago I finished a book entitled Eternal Impact - Investing In The Lives Of Men.The book was written by Phil Downer with Chip MacGregor. Phil is a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and professionally was a successful lawyer. The book seems to indicate that he is now, at least when the book was written in full time ministry. The book was published in 1997 by Harvest House Publishers.

It is a book that basically addresses issues of discipleship. For someone who is familiar with the principles involved it is a good refresher and certainly serves to refocus one's attention. The first part of the book is better than the end. I found myself getting increasingly board as the book went along. That is not a good thing for a book! The book comes in at 298 pages and I found myself basically scanning the last couple of chapters because I was ready to move on to something else. I read this book mostly after going to bed at night.

The book is divided into three major sections composed of about 100 pages each.
Part One - Investing in the Lives of Men
Part Two - Living with Power
Part Three - Making a Difference

The first section was the best, at least for where I am. It was a very forceful reminder that the best thing we can be doing is investing our lives in the lives of others. In eternity that will really be all that matters. It will not matter how much you made, or how much you accumulated. All that will matter is how many did you leave behind who had espoused the cause. It was a needed reminder for me.

The second section was also good giving some practical material about the kinds of things we are attempting to do with those we disciple. He has six chapters that are helpful in reminding us what we are trying to do with our "Timothys". The chapter titles are:
Fostering Commitment
Encouraging Obedience
Establishing Devotions
Developing Character
Surviving Adversity
Knowing God's Will.
He deals with each of the topics thoroughly and as best I can remember appropriately.

The third and last section was the least compelling for me, but others may find it to be different for them.

Overall it is a book worth reading, especially the first section. For those who have no familiarity with the concept of discipleship it would be most helpful.

Following are several quotes from the book:

If we Christians would stop all the bickering over the color of the pew pads, we could get out into the battle and see what life is really all about. It's time we stop focusing our lives on success and begin to focus on significance.

If success is just a feeling you get when you reach your goals, significance is making a difference in the lives of people over time.

The definition of "finishing well" is not merely living our lives free of indictment, but leaving behind a legacy of men set upon a course to reproduce themselves in the lives of other people.

Meaning in life comes from leaving a legacy of godly people!

Since there is no glory in making disciples, it doesn't get much attention. Discipleship is a relationship, not a program, so most churches don't know what to do with a disciple-maker. It doesn't appeal to short-term thinkers or those who need regular recognition as they minister.

It takes mature people to change the world.

I began to understand the concept that Jesus has called us to serve, not to star.

Our job is to be faithful regardless of the apparent response.

Jesus didn't just give the twelve a set of directions; He offered them an example to follow....the Lord held them accountable.

The Lord didn't set up programs; He prepared some people.

You can't transform the world until you transform a person.

Christ understood the importance of shaping a handful of mature believers over a crowd of immature church-goers.

If you want to wait until you glow in the dark with righteousness, you'll spend your entire life marking time.

Keep in mind you're setting up a potentially lifelong friendship.

We've got to decide now that , if we want our lives to be significant, we must pursue people.

Sometimes we expect men to be committed and loyal when they've never seen those qualities modeled in their families, professions, or marriages.

One of the things that has become more and more clear to me over time is my walk counts more than my words.

Men today aren't looking for answers but for examples.

But Christ doesn't expect me to be faultless - He expects me to be faithful.

When we look at others as tasks, we are not only ineffective disciple-makers but run the risk of injuring others' spiritual lives.

We're all bound up in who won the game, how much our new car cost, the taxes we owe, or the squabbling in the church. We miss the pure joy of celebrating the work of God in the lives of people. Instead of getting this tremendous, profound, eternal blessing of having spiritual children and knowing they walk with God, we're spending our time on other issues.

....you example will drown out your words.

We are after disciples not decisions.

Relationships are what change people not prescriptions.

All of that from the first section.



Churches have failed to challenge people over the years, expecting little and receiving exactly that.

The Scriptures aren't just a general account of good ideas, but an owner's manual for Christians.

Without the discipline of obedience, you can find yourself in serious trouble amazingly fast.

It's amazing how the lack of absolutes has caused men and women to live in a dream world. They think they can escape the certain consequences of sin by denying its existence. But sin is a bad deal; no one sins and gets away with it. Every sin you commit impacts your character.

God is holy, and He isn't going to make any special exemption from justice for those who find the consequences of sin too inconvenient to believe.

A man involved in secret sin is a fugitive, continuing in sin until he's caught.

But keep in mind God brings tough times to create tough people.

Sometimes in our culture people equate "forgiveness" with "fantasy"; God can forgive you of the most heinous sin, but it's fantasy to believe your life will go on as though the sin never happened.

When Ron asked me about his marriage, I told him his happiness was not God's first concern. Ron's holiness was what the Lord was most concerned about.

God is more concerned about the condition of our hearts and our obedience than He is about our feeling good.

The touchtone of your faith will be if you can look at your Timothy and say, "I don't know why it happened. But I trust God just the same."

That was from the second section.


My colleagues at work didn't know I cared for them; they just thought I wanted to convince them.

That was from the third section.

The book is worth reading just for the first section, and you will find the second section helpful, and for others the third section might be more appealing than it was for me.

Book rating **
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