I have recently done a review of Chip Ingram’s Good To Great in God’s Eyes for one of my classes and I though I’d share a little of if with you. It’s a great book, go read it! 😀
Pastor Ingram is an accomplished and reputable pastor, teacher, speaker, and author; and through the analysis of the lives of many considered great in the faith, he identifies characteristics that lead to a mature and abundant Christian life. He believes the principles he presents in this book are “…an opportunity to fulfill the highest and best purposes God has for…” our lives, and therefore he sets out to describe in great detail each concept to be embraced and put into practice in order to achieve greatness in God’s eyes. He also makes it very clear that Good to Great in God’s Eyes is not a book about earning God’s favor, but a book of living up to God’s perfect plan and desire for our lives. It’s a book about going against our current culture, not embracing the status quo and our willingness to turn away from what the world defines as successful.
If I was to identify one main argument in this book, I would say it is putting self and pride aside to make more room for Christ in our lives. Each of the ten practices discussed by Pastor Ingram are vital in the Christian life. I would dare say however, that some carry a heavier weight in pushing us over the edge of greatness (in the Christian life). Of his top three for example (thinking great thoughts, reading great books and pursuing great people), I would say pursuing great people stands out most to me, being intentional in seeking someone to be our mentor in the faith is paramount.
The next four practices: dreaming great dreams, praying great prayers, taking great risks and making great sacrifices are so tightly woven together, that they could have become a book of their own. These four principles really resonated with me and I found myself nodding in agreement and identifying with them. The undergirding theme in these chapters is faith. Faith is given to us by God (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Timothy 1:13-14), and it is only because of faith in Christ that we can dare to dream great dreams. It is faith that gives us the strength and the courage to believe God’s promises, promises which are laid out in the Scriptures. It is through faith that we can “…grasp the immensity of God’s power [and] can have dreams without limits.” Ingram calls it “Sanctified Dreaming,” dreaming that comes from an “…intimate communion between Jesus and his people – [it] is the fuel that gets kingdom business done.”
When God gives us a dream, He is calling us to “Pray Great Prayers,” to “Take Great Risks,” and to “Make Great Sacrifices.” I am taking the liberty here to draw this parallel. God’s desire is to have a closer relationship with us; a relationship, like any other, is nurtured through communication. After being presented with a dream we must inundate it with prayer; prayer for wisdom, discernment, courage, and strength to take on the great risks that are involved in carrying out such dreams. With great risks come great sacrifices. It is only through prayer that we can find the strength and courage to withstand the hardships that may come, whether financial, physical or emotional. These four principles describe our (mine and my husband‘s) own experience in starting Living Bread, a God given dream, drenched in prayer.
When we started LBM we had absolutely no financial backers, only a clear vision and confidence of what God’s will looked like at that point in our lives. To quit our jobs to step out in faith and pursue such a dream looked foolish to our friends and relatives. It simply made sense to us and it was the answer to our prayers. Certainly we have made and continue to make some sacrifices, but when I step back and look at the big picture, how God is using Living Bread to bring the Gospel to the desperately poor, I rejoice and I am humbled that we can be a part of his plan in this way and I am pushed to sacrifice even more. I really appreciate Pastor Ingram’s statement about his “Americanized” view of sacrifice and suffering: “We tend to avoid suffering at all costs. Yet those I admire most are often those who have sacrificed and suffered the most.” By no means am I saying that I have arrived, that I am a great Christian. There are certainly many areas in my life needing improvement, areas that the Lord has used this book to bring to my attention.
Overall, Great in God’s Eyes is an encouraging book for those seeking a deeper relationship with God and who seek to live intentionally to further God’s Kingdom. It is an encouragement for those considering (or going through) the difficult task of going against the grain of our worldly culture, and dimming our ourselves so that Christ’s light can shine brighter.
 Chip Ingram, Good to Great in God’s Eyes: Ten Practices Great Christians Have in Common (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007), 9.
 Ibid, 11.
 Ibid, 77.
 Ibid, 78.
 Ibid, 144.