Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

In his book Stearns tries to get us to see that North American Christians are not doing what God has called us to do, love our neighbors! Millions of people die every year because we have become complacent and comfortable. This book is a wake up call and a plea for us to not be lukewarm any longer, to have our hearts break with the things that break the heart of God. The need is great and if all of us did our part it could be attained!

I will start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Don't get me wrong, it was often tough to read about the pain and suffering of my fellow sisters and brothers around the world, but it is all stuff that desperately needs to be said! People need to hear this and read this book! I work in this field of trying to care for the poor, orphaned and widowed, albeit on a much smaller scale than World Vision, but it was a great refresher of what God has called me and all of us to.

In his book "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision USA,
surprised me at how honest and open he was with his own short comings and failure to realize or answer the call of God, and when he did so, it was with fear and trepidation. Seriously, he admits to just crawling in bed a weeping crying out to God before he finally decides to take the job.

Stearns is a great writer. The book is well thought out and seems to follow a logical flow of information. There are five basic parts 1. A Hole in My Gospel-And Maybe Yours 2. The Hole Gets Deeper 3. A Hole in the World 4. A Hole in the Church and 5. Repairing the Hole.

He starts off the book with several stories of people that he has met in his travels, many of them absolutely gut wrenching to read and had me sobbing by the end. All of the stories are woven together making his points and accenting them well.

Then he cautions the reader that he is going to become more statistic oriented and says that this might turn some of them off, and it did me to some extent. It takes away the feeling of connection with the heroes of the stories he is telling and lets you put them in a box with all the other 300,000,000 people who are in that same situation. For me that always makes the situation hopeless and I get overwhelmed with the enormity of it all, but to have a name and a story of one family in the country, that makes it possible for me to think that I can help. I know I cannot save the whole world but I might be able to save a few.

He does not sugar coat the problems and short falls of the church, but the good news is he does not leave us there feeling chastised. He goes on to say that there are ways we can change and if we all just do our part in what God wants and calls us to do, then this is a problem that can be overcome! He tries to motivate us to truly walk the road that God has called us to walk.

I think that this book is amazing and can roughly be summed up in this quote, "Can you also see that God has provided enough resources for all of His churches to thrive? It's just that they are not distributed evenly - that's our task" (pg 188).

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