Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to read this book. Richard Stearns is the new CEO of World Vision International. The first part of this book describes Richard Sterns battle with himself in yielding to the Lord’s Will and accepting the job as the CEO of World Vision. He did not feel qualified or prepared in a Theological or Non-profit Organization way. He was the CEO of a company that produced fine china and tableware. He had good organizational skills for a For Profit company, but how would that translate to World Vision.

Also, he did not feel spiritually or theologically prepared. He fought the process at every step. What was amazing was to read about the confirmations that were placed in his path as the process proceeded. Also, to see how Satan attempted to throw a huge obstacle in the way of God’s will, the obstacle of pride and wealth. To Stearns credit he was so seeking the Lord that he would eventually agree to take on this position and serve the poor as his Savior requested.

Starting in part II Stearns talks about Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25 and the teaching that comes through here regarding serving the poor and helpless. He does a great job of declaring the message that was so on the heart of Christ and the Father. Serving the poor, the hungry, the widow, the orphan and the sick is what the Lord desires for his people to do. Our true belief in Christ will show it self in our tangible outward actions. Unfortunately for many of us our outward actions still ignore the poor and destitute, because they make us uncomfortable.

Stearns pointed out in the beginning of the book about a group of students who took their Bibles and marked all of the references that the Bible has in regards to the poor, the widow, the needy and also about justice. The result, a huge portion of scripture deals with these topics. One of those students then took a Bible and cut out every reference they had marked. What was left? Well, what was left was a Gospel message with a huge hole in it. What a great visual representation.

Stearns paraphrased Matthew 25 in this way, "For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."

Ok, so that really helps bring the message home. You might be asking yourself, is this book just a book intended to make me feel guilty? Is it a device to make me give a donation to relive my feelings of guilt? My answer to those questions, NO.

If you feel guilty, maybe it’s because you have not thought about the poor. Maybe you have turned a blind eye to those in need. Maybe you are living more like a Pharisee than like a Disciple.

I believe you will learn much from this book. I think it will challenge you to look at others around you differently. It will help you ask the question, is there a hole in the Gospel that I preach, teach and demonstrate through my life?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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