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OPINION

FIRST-PERSON: This Christmas, give a Bible

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- For our anniversary gift, I found a beautiful leather briefcase for my husband. The brand's tagline was "Your kids will fight over it when you're dead." It was a great gift, but here's a Christmas gift idea that's much more valuable than that.
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We all know someone who is not a Christian. Would you give that person the ultimate Christmas gift? God's Word -- the Bible -- is a gift that can actually impact someone's eternity! Here's how:

-- Prayerfully determine the recipient. A friend, acquaintance or relative who needs Jesus? A teen or co-workers or elderly neighbor?

-- Choose the Bible. Select a translation and cover they'll like. If you splurge for a leather edition, imprint their name on the cover. A teen might enjoy a contemporary cover. Bookstores carry inexpensive Bibles, perfect to give to your whole bowling team or neighborhood.

-- Prepare a printed page to clearly explain how to become a Christian. Include a place to sign and date it, and instructions for a new Christian's next steps. Laminate and place it inside the Bible.

-- Write a personal note inside the cover, such as "Katie, because you are a special friend, I want to share this important book with you. It's changed my life!" Highlight verses, or add a Bible promises book with the gift.

-- Wrap it beautifully and present it to your friend.

-- Ask God to give you opportunities to chat with that friend about Him. Invite her to church. Ask if she's begun to read the Bible. Did she read the laminated page? Does it make sense to her? If she's undecided, continue to pray. God is at work. When she accepts Christ as Savior, celebrate!

Your Bible class could do this for an eternity-impacting group Christmas project. Each person could bring a Bible for their friend, and you could provide the laminated page and gift-wrap supplies.

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For an effective church-wide project, order Bibles in bulk. Distribute one for each worship attender, along with the laminated explanation about becoming a Christian. They would prayerfully write a personal note and give it as a Christmas gift to an unsaved friend. Share ideas for follow-up and pray for the recipients.

Interestingly, that briefcase I mentioned came with a 100-year warranty. That's nothing. God's gift of salvation lasts for all eternity. I'm praying that every person who reads this article will give a personalized Bible to at least one lost friend this Christmas. Will you give the gift that keeps on living?

Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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