Yes, I see your hand. And I see that hand near the back. And now another on my left . . .
My first exposure to Piper was Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which he co-edited with Wayne Grudem. Though excellent, this book may be the least traditionally Piperesque of anything he's written. My first exposure to the central idea he advocates, which I would characterize as the absolute necessity of a heart that possesses a deep affection for God, wasn't actually from anything Piper wrote at all. My eyes started to open when I was reading A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God about nine years ago.
My point is that the most effective way to propagate this idea that ought to be foundational to our faith may not be to cram Piper down the throat of everyone around you. Whether it's because of his overt Calvinism, his provocative language and style, his affiliation with the BGC, his charismatic tendencies, or his appreciation for Daniel Fuller, many people just aren't going to be willing to consider seriously and carefully the heart of his message. In my opinion, they resist to their own hurt, but perhaps we might be wise to look for ways to make an end run around that resistance.
Yesterday I found what might be one great example of that approach in Charles Bridges' The Christian Ministry (in addition, of course, to Tozer). Of a great many excellent reasons to read Bridges, I think the very best might be his chapter, "The Scriptural Preaching of the Gospel" (239-283). Of all his poignant statements in this chapter, this one might be the best:
Thus the doctrines of the Gospel not only explain the nature and obligation, but are themselves the principles--nay the only principles--of holiness. We must live every moment by faith; and as we live, we shall love--overcome the world--crucify sin--delight in the service of God. No mere precepts will extirpate the natural love of sin, or infuse this new bias in the heart. The doctrine of faith alone effects this mighty change, by exhibiting Christ as the source of life, and detailing all the exercises of holy practice, flowing from that life.
. . .
We must show Christian privilege to be a principle not of inactive indulgence--but of habitual devotion to God. It is, when the man of God is realizing his interest in an heavenly portion; when a sense of pardon is applied to his soul; when the seal of the Spirit is impressed upon his heart; when his soul is invigorated by "fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ"--then it is, that the grateful enquiry springs forth, --"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?"(265-266)