|90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life|
Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
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On a Wednesday morning in 1989 Pastor Don Piper died in a head-on collision, awaking in Heaven where he experienced the glories he had long preached about. Ninety minutes later, prayer brought him back to life, and the next time he awoke it was to a world of unimaginable pain, depression and anger. This is the story of Piper's healing and his journey to finding the answer to his most agonizing question: Why had God let him live?
1. From whom did you first hear about Don Piper’s story?
2. What is your motivation for deciding to read this book?
Chapter 1: The Accident
1.Why do you think Don chose an alternate route that day? What examples can you give from your life, or from someone you know, where you believe God ultimately used something harmful or negative for good?
2. Have you known anyone who has survived a serious accident? How did they respond to their experience?
Chapter 2: My Time in Heaven
1. How did Don’s experience differ from what many describe as a near-death experience?
2. Don describes heaven as a place where he was immediately greeted by people he had known on earth who also had faith in Jesus Christ. Who do you think might greet you when you arrive in heaven, and why?
3. A powerful light draws Don and his loved ones toward the gate of heaven. Do you believe the light represents God? Why or why not?
Chapter 3: Heavenly Music
1. Compare Don’s experience of heavenly music with the verse quoted at the beginning of the chapter, Revelation 5:11. In your life, what has been your most powerful experience with music? How might it compare with what heaven holds for us?
2. How does Don describe the heavenly gates? Have you ever observed anything that beautiful—and if so, what was it?
Chapter 4: From Heaven to Earth
1. EMTs declared Don Piper dead on impact. What caused Dick Onerecker to pray for him anyway? Have you or someone you know ever experienced an undeniable urge to do something unusual? What was the result?
2. How would you feel if, like Don, you were brought back from heaven to life on earth?
Chapter 5: Earth to Hospital
1. In what ways did God answer Dick Onerecker’s prayer?
2. Dick told Don “he wished he could pray like that all the time.” Have you ever prayed, like Dick, for a miracle? Have you seen God perform a miracle in answer to someone’s prayer?
Chapter 6: The Recovery Begins
1. Don Piper writes that he believes there are no “accidents or surprises with God.” How many miracles happened in order for Don to live? Why do you believe many people describe events as “fortunate circumstances” rather than miracles?
2. What did Don ask of God when he faced death again? How did God answer?
Chapter 7: Decisions and Challenges
1. What simple act of kindness did Don Maudlin do for Don Piper? are there people in your life right now that could benefit from such a thoughtful act? How can you help someone today?
2. Don suffered from the painful effects of the illizarov device for almost a year. Have you ever sustained an injury that kept you in constant pain? if so, how did it affect your attitude?
3. What does Don Piper say was “perhaps the biggest miracle of all?” (pg. 73)
Chapter 8: Pain and Adjustments
1. Don Piper was brought back from heaven to “live a pain-filled life on earth.” List several reasons why you believe God may have allowed this. How do your answers help you deal with your own personal pain, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual?
2. Pride kept Don from showing others how depressed he was. Do you believe it’s okay to express feelings of depression? How might depression draw us closer to God?
3. Despite the prediction of medical doctors, Don learned how to walk again. What lessons can we learn from Don about perseverance through pain?
Chapter 9: Endless Adjustments
1. How did Pastor Jay B. Perkins serve as a loyal friend to Don? Can you think of a time when a friend confronted you about having a bad attitude? What difference did it make?
2. Don finally allowed his visitors to help him . . . starting with magazines and a milkshake. How do you feel when someone allows you to help them during a time of need? Is there anyone in your life whom you need to let help you in some way?
3. What did the Bible verse Psalm 6:10 come to mean to Don? What does it mean to you?
Chapter 10: More Miracles
1. Don writes that he needed the “breath of God” to bring him out of his deep depression. How did music help him find emotional healing?
2. From your own experience, have you observed how thanking and praising God can change things? if so, how?
Chapter 11: Back to Church
1. In chapter 11, Don says the best he could do after his accident was simply to endure—even when he faced depression. Do you believe Don’s recovery process was another miracle? Was Don wrong or right to wish he could die and return to heaven?
2. After returning home from the hospital, members of the “Don Patrol” arrived daily to take care of his needs. How did Don’s attitude change toward receiving their presence and help? if you were Don, what do you think your attitude would be toward those who were helping you recover?
3. What did Don say when he first returned to church? Do you know of someone whose life was changed by prayer—either through their own prayers or by someone else praying for them?
Chapter 12: Opening Up
1. What challenge did David Gentiles give Don about sharing his experience in heaven with others? if you were Don, would you share your story of heaven? Why or why not?
2. Don thanked Dick Onerecker for praying him back to life. How did the experience change Dick?
Chapter 13: The Clasping Hand
1. What additional miracle did anita Onerecker share with Don?
2. Why do you believe this miracle happened in Don’s life? if such an event happened to you, how might it affect your relationship with God?
Chapter 14: The New Normal
1. Describe Don’s “new normal.” name a change that has happened in your life and how you have learned to appreciate and even celebrate your change in circumstances.
2. How did the faith of the Piper family sustain them through Don’s harrowing accident and recovery?
3. What knowledge keeps Don going as he deals with the constant pain and limitations of his “new normal”?
Chapter 15: Touching Lives
1. How did Don’s outlook change when he saw the teen in a wheelchair at the youth event? What happened to the teen as a result of Don’s determination to speak with him?
2. Don Piper’s willingness to reach out and comfort those enduring similar experiences has made a life-changing difference for many. is there someone in your life who needs comfort that you can provide because of what you have been through? What can you do this week to help someone who is suffering? (Optional: read the Bible passage at the beginning of the chapter.)
Chapter 16: Finding Purpose
1. As Don Piper visits with people like Brad and Chad, he provides encouragement from someone who understands. How do you think Don’s new ministry of hope has changed him?
2. How do you feel about Don’s statement at Joyce’s funeral: “Can you lose someone if you know where she is?” Have you grieved over the loss of a loved one while also being happy that they are in heaven? Describe your feelings.
Chapter 17: Longing for Home
1. Don says his experience in heaven is more real than anything he’s experienced on earth (pg. 19). Like Don, do you know for sure you are going to heaven when you die? If you’re not sure, what things can you do to answer that question?
2. Think of a time in your life, or the life of a loved one, when living involved suffering. Describe how you feel about heaven—a place where the Bible says there will be no more pain.
3. The author writes that he has found his purpose in life for as long as he is on earth. What about you? What is the purpose of your life?
Chapter 18: The Why Questions
1. The Bible verse 1 Corinthians 1:12 describes heaven as a place where we will “know everything completely.” Do you believe Don Piper went to heaven? Do you believe you, like Don, can know that your loved ones will join you there? How might that change the way you live today?
2. How has your view of heaven changed as a result of reading this book? How might Don Piper’s story change the way you pray in the future?