Friday, December 14, 2012

The Unusual Suspect by Stephen Baldwin and Mark Tabb

While perusing the library a couple months ago, I saw this book on the shelf. I had heard about Stephen Baldwin becoming a Christian and was curious to see what he had to say. I was seriously blown away by the  honesty, clarity and blunt, in-your-face message he shared with his audience. He is clearly not ashamed to share salvation in Christ and he is not afraid to go into the dark places to share the Truth.

The book is Baldwin's spiritual autobiography. He does not share explicit details, but he most definitely gives a clear idea of what his life was like before becoming a believer. What is so striking to me is Baldwin's admission that he was having a good time in life when he came to Christ. He knew there had to be more, but he was enjoying the celebrity life. I think sometimes we feel like we have to pretend like sin is not fun, but he readily admits the struggle of not wanting to change because life seems good.

Baldwin's wife, Kennya, became a believer before he did. He shares about her conversion and life. My favorite quote of the book comes from his sharing about what his wife did for him during this time.

When she said she planned on serving Jesus she wasn't kidding. She served Him, all right, and she did it right in front of my eyes. But she didn't try to push her Jesus on me. She never wagged a finger in my face and told me I had better get right with God or else. Nor did she pressure me to go to church with her or attend any of her Bible studies. No, she did something far more dangerous: She started praying.

Having recently been feeling the need and urgency to pray more, this spoke greatly to me. Baldwin continues on to describe how his wife prayed and lived before him and it was very convicting. I want to become even stronger in prayer.

Baldwin continues on to describe how he became a believer and how his life changed. He even "challenged" God to prove Himself if Baldwin completely submitted to God. God has not let Baldwin down. In fact Baldwin goes on to speak of how life with Jesus is amazing and wonderful. Quite a refreshing look at a person following the Lord.

The biography concludes with a look at ministry and how to reach those that seem unreachable. Baldwin shares about his ministry, Livin' It, as well as other ministries that are reaching those that are in different worlds. He challenges believers to be active and think outside of the box to be relevant to those in different spheres like Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

It is a great challenge for all of us. 

The clear presentation of the Gospel message along with straight forward talk and challenge make this book a worthwhile read. 

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