“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
If you’re looking for inspiration, Richard Stearns’ The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World, (Thomas Nelson, 2009) might be for you.
As CEO of Lenox China, Rick Stearns is honest and transparent about his reluctance to head World Vision, a humanitarian organization. When asked in an interview whether he would be comfortable exposed to heartbreak, he said, “No way!” Then he added, “If you think you’re hiring Mother Teresa, you need to know that you have the wrong guy.” His humor and honesty makes him approachable; his stepping down from the corporate world and stepping up to a greater call makes him inspirational.
After the biographical opening, the next section of the book tells stories, quotes statistics and studies, and concludes with practical ways to follow Jesus. Some readers find his emphasis on the social revolution controversial, but his overall message is that there is not a hole in the salvation gospel but in our understanding of the good news and how we live it out.
As a wife and mom, I find this book challenging. I want, like the founder of World Vision, to “let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” I long to find a way to give my daughters an awareness of how to use our time, talents, and treasures the way Jesus desires to help our neighbor nearby as well as far away. Let’s consider the possibilities.
Some statistics astounded me. Rick Stearns cites that American churchgoers give an average of 2.5% of their income. If all American churchgoers tithed 10%, the extra 168 billion could make a difference in the world. Sixty-five billion dollars would eliminate the most extreme poverty in the world for more than a billion people, and nine billion dollars would provide clean water to most of the world’s poor. He encourages Christians to live out the whole gospel and help provide education, medicine, and clean water to the poor. If we did, what a witness we could be!
Read this 279-page book slowly and prayerfully. Ask God if there is a hole in your sharing of the gospel, and let the Holy Spirit guide you. You’ll find a study guide at the end of the book and further resources at www.theholeinourgospel.com.
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
|The Hole in Our Gospel|
About Ann Stewart
Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.
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