Friday, June 04, 2010

A Book to Fill Our Spiritual Cavities

TITLE: The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World
Author: Richard Stearns
Published: Nashville: TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2009.

What Leonard Ravenhill has done for revival in the Church, Richard Stearns does for stirring up missions through compassion in the Church. Beginning with a personal testimony about his calling from for-profit corporate life to non-profit service in World Vision, Stearns writes with conviction and heart-felt compassion for the afflicted in poorer places like Africa. Without any theological training, Stearns plunges into the world of serving Christ through missions, and subsequently sharing his experience and exhortation to the Church in America. His refrain is familiar:
  • The 'hole' in my gospel may be similar to yours;
  • Are we demonstrating God's love or are we simply 'talking' about it?
  • Why are we here on earth for?
  • What are we doing with the talents God has given us?
  • "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything." (152)
  • God can use you....
  • "What will you do?" 
Through pleas and rebukes to the Church, Stearns shoots off the hip to make comfortable Christians feel 'uncomfortable.' It is hard not to be moved by what he writes and shares.  Many of the things he says are tough, but they carry substantial weight as far as the gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned.

My Comments
As I turn the pages, I feel that Stearns' sharing is powerfully authentic. He writes in a lively manner. He lets his frustration with the complacent churches show. He stirs up the reader to do something about it. The sad stories he share are heart-breaking. The fruits of his ministry are encouraging and should challenge Christians to go beyond mere pew-warming. His 'tale of two churches' reflect his deep anguish and frustration over the passive American Church that has so much, versus the active African Church that has so little. The former are wealthy and never seems satisfied with more. The latter are poor but seems contented with whatever little they have.

I appreciate his honest sharing about his journey, as well as his generous stories collected from many different sources into one book.  This helps the reader understand that this 'hole in our gospel,' is quite a common phenomenon. Stearns is not alone in speaking out. Perhaps, with this book, there will be more who will share the vision of Stearns, perhaps World Vision as well. Above all, may our vision of the Kingdom be so exciting, that Church people will long to WANT to share Christ, rather than 'have' to share Christ.

Plug your bookshelf with this book right now. This book calls the Christian disciple to plug more holes than one. Perhaps, it can spark us to start filling our spiritual cavities.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> 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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