“Have you ever heard of John Piper?”
A question asked of me in 2007 from a young LifeWay employee in Columbia, SC.
Let me tell you how that question was birthed…
Our house burned in early 2006. 144K in structural damage, and an absolute nightmare of a situation. Just a week before, as I drove to my six-figure job in Columbia, feeling the weight of God pressing in on me more than ever before, I angrily barked out these words in that dumpy little mold infested Honda Accord…
“God, you want something I cannot give. I am simply not going to give up my six figure career. I am one of those young success stories. I came from mounting tires to running a store. I came from nothing to something. If you want me to give it all up, YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE IT FROM ME.”
And so He did. A week later our house burned, a day after my daughter’s birthday, and this fire set us on a course to the Twin Cities a decade later.
A pit stop on the journey.
One of the results of the fire, as we put our life back together, was my transition from Sam’s Club to LifeWay store management. I started my training in Augusta, GA. I loved it! It was everything I dreamed leading in a Christian context would be and more. We even started our days leading our staff in prayer and scripture! After a devotional on Romans 8:28 with the staff before the day was set to begin one morning, one of the assistant managers pulled me to the side and said these words:
“Great devotional this morning! You know, there’s a lot more going on in Romans 8. Do you mind if I share that with you?”
Well, that conversation wrecked and angered me. So much so that I came up with a very viable, and true, reason why training in the Columbia store, which was closer to my house, would be so much better than training in Augusta, and LifeWay agreed.
While in Columbia training, I happened to find myself in the break room one day for lunch with another young man who was similarly aggravating me with this whole “Romans spiel”. He was getting nowhere, and he knew it.
He ended our conversation with these words:
“Have you ever heard of John Piper? If not, you should listen to his podcasts. He’s just finishing up a series on Romans.”
I’d never heard of John Piper…
I finished my training with LifeWay and moved to my first store manager assignment in Amarillo where I spent the next six months before coming back to the Charlotte area LifeWay as their store manager. I had never heard of John Piper, so for six months there in Amarillo, any moment I had free, I didn’t read books or listen to many other podcasts. I was dialed into Romans for six months. I listened to Romans on the way to work. I listened while cutting the grass. I listened while in the store early and late. I devoured this man and this teaching that I had never heard before.
I’ve never been the same, and continue not to be…
BY JOSHUA WHETSTINE – NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD CITY MISSIONARY FOR MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL.