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Most Helpful Favorable Review
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.
A powerful writer with a vision from God that is compelling and direct
Richard Stearns is President of World Vision. In this book he proves to not only be a capable businessman and leader, but a powerful writer with a vision from God that is compelling and d...
Richard Stearns is President of World Vision. In this book he proves to not only be a capable businessman and leader, but a powerful writer with a vision from God that is compelling and direct. From page one, Stearns sets out to address the missing link in the gospel found in many churches in America - a gospel often missing compassion for the hurting, sick, dejected and downtrodden. It is filled with scripture, quotes, personal stories, and facts that will inspire you to give, serve and call on others to do the same.
As a comparison, I recently read Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. Chan's goal is to help believers get out of the rut of complacent Christian life, devoid of passion and the guidance of the Spirit. While Chan provides a general kick in the backside, Stearns is much more precise. One leaves Chan thinking, "I should do something, and I could do something." After Stearns, you will say, "This had better be what I am doing in one way or another."
Stearns is self-abasing and transparent to a level that is startling, but refreshing. He shares his call to serve with World Vision, a call that is full of jumps and spurts, as he attempts to avoid all that God has done in his life to position him for this role. Chapter 3 especially provides a glimpse into how God worked in his life. It is clear that Stearns does not want to give the impression that he is the perfectly motivated and compassionate person who demands us to be like him. Rather, he calls on us to pray a prayer with him, that our hearts would break for the things that break God's heart.
Stearns is not suggesting everyone leave for Uganda. Rather, he wants them to get personally involved in the full gospel. He presents this as "planting seeds" and "watering" (p.19), rather than just waiting for the harvest. This means caring for kids with serious needs like hunger, poverty and disenfranchisement. This means helping families and societies move in the right direction by providing them skills, training and hope, rather than just handing out food and cash recklessly. He is careful to balance and articulate faith and works that prove our faith.
WWJD - What Would Jesus Do - is presented as more than just cliche. Stearns wants believers to really think about Jesus' actions with every decision they make so that they will act accordingly. Jesus is shown in scripture to be someone who was moved to help the blind, sick and rejected. And this is not just for the "spiritual" - those called to "full-time" Christian service.
Chapter 18 "Putting the American Dream To Death" is required reading for every American believer, in my opinion. It provides a necessary critique of our common acceptance of a system that runs contrary to God's way of thinking. Not that equality or the ability to pursue our hopes is wrong. But when we do so at the expense of others, and with the full knowledge that our material comfort is out of reach to billions (p. 204), we need to seriously question our motives and way of living.
This is a read that will compel every reader to follow Jesus into a life of compassion and service, whether overseas or at home. I have already recommended it to many of my friends as it has repeatedly come up in conversation.
posted by georgemarshall2 on May 19, 2009Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
8 out of 15 people found this review helpful.
The Hole in Our Gospel
I am a conservative C...
I am a conservative Christian, so I believe we should help the poor in Jesus' name in order to introduce them to Christ. But unfortunately there will always be the poor until Jesus returns because we live in a fallen world.
He has a more liberal world view and actually believes that we, as humans, can wipe out hunger. He says that it's unflattering of Christians to be against the theory of global warming, homosexuality, gay marriage, pornography, sexual promiscuity, alcohol, drug use, abortion, Islam, and more. Who cares? We are to be truth and light in the world and not be transformed to the world.
I can't give it a positive review because I disagreed with so much.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.
posted by donna444444 on April 14, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The Hole in Our Gospel
The Hole in Our Gospel is the story of Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, and his journey from the top of the corporate ladder, hitting his "American Dream," to his experience aiding the poor and following God's plan for his life.
The "hole" that Stearns speaks of is the ministry of Jesus and God's command to help the poor and destitute of the world, and how in our culture we focus so much on the service aspect that we forget it is all about the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
After reading this book I really gained a lot of insight. It is a practical book and also convicting.
Stearns' writing style causes you reflect on your own mistakes and also learn from what he has gone through.
I was impressed how Stearns accepted the call of God and ended up being exactly where he needed to be at the right time and place. It was a great reminder that regardless of our emotions, outer circumstances or financial situations that obeying God is the only way to be truly satisfied.
Most of the book is a testimony of how God brought Stearns to a brand new place in his life where he couldn't help but feel passionate and excited about serving those in need. The book has so many stories of Stearns's experiences in other countries that make you realize how fortunate we are.
One of my concerns about this book was that it would be so focused on "social justice" that it would condemn those who are "rich and powerful," but it did not go that route which made me more eager to read it. I think that there is a balance when it comes to enjoying life and God's blessings, and also in helping people. Sometimes books of this nature can have the mindset that anyone with "stuff" or living a comfortable lifestyle are somehow in sin.
But I believe this book just really portrayed that yes that stuff is great, and helping people is also wonderful, but if we forget to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people it is really not going to change a person's life.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2010
The Hole in Our Gospel - audiobook review
How does the president of a company that produces fine tableware find himself at the helm of a Christian organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and its symptoms? This is the story of Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision, Inc. and the author of The Hole in Our Gospel (audiobook read by Tommy Creswell).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Stearns' book is a detailed account of his personal journey leading to his position at the head of World Vision. While the book does trace his career path, the narrative has more to do with the change of heart that occurred over time to bring him to such a role.
The author's compassionate heart is present in every chapter. Listening to Stearns describe the current state of poverty in our world, it is hard not to be drawn in emotionally. Perhaps this was part of his purpose in writing this book, to tug at the heart of those who might otherwise be oblivious to the living conditions that many outside of our context know as "normal".
Because I listen to my audiobooks mostly while driving, I was able to listen to a large portion of this book during a period when I happened to be in the car a lot. One doesn't need to listen in a single sitting (rarely do any of us have that luxury of time to spend anyway). I found that the chapter division would be good stopping points to take the book in pieces.
While I did find much of the book very interesting and engaging, I have to admit that I am somewhat distracted by the book's title. With the subject matter of the book it could be easy to leave someone with the impression that compassion for the poor is an essential element of the gospel. A person could wonder about his status in Christ if he doesn't share the same level of concern for the things Stearns and others do. The "hole" isn't in our gospel, it is in our understanding of how the gospel moves us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
If in the all this book does is to poke a hole (no pun intended) in our Christian bubble so that we become more aware of the economic state of the rest of the world, then I think Stearns has done his job. The author's argument and presentation isn't flawless but it is still very engaging and is worth a read (or listen in my case).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from christianaudio.com as part of their christianaudio Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted June 26, 2010
I'm glad I read it.
The Hole in our Gospel, by Richard Stearns takes a hard look at the problems facing our world today, and what the Bible says is our duty as Christians. Stearns tells his life stories and as he shares with you those stories he relates that Jesus called us to action not inaction, and that is the hole in our gospel today.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I found this book to be fairly entertaining thanks to all of the stories both of Stearns and of others it really brought the book to life. My major problem with the book was that the entire point of this book seems to be to get us American Christians to DO something to help with the world's problem, but as the CEO of World Vision it almost at times feels like he wrote this book just get donations for his company. I must admit at times it was a powerful message and it tugged on your heart strings and you consider donating to his organization. I don't believe this was his purpose in writing this book though, I want to believe that he truly cares about the poor and sick of this world and that it does not matter to him which organization you support as long as you find a way to take action and try and do your part to help the people of this world.
Posted July 16, 2009
I was so excited when I chose my next Thomas Nelson Blogger Book Review Book. I wanted to choose a book that was different that what I had been reading. The "try these (insert number here) steps to be a happier you that people will suddenly want to be around you and your life won't suck anymore" books. I chose "The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change The World" by Richard Stearns because I wanted to do just that . . . change the world. Unfortunately, by the time I actually got around to reading the book, I was sort of full from my "if you really love God, do this" readings. That sounds bad, I know, but by the time this book reached the top of my list, I was ready for some easy, fiction reading. So it took me forever to finish the book, and by finish I mean, seeing the words without giving the book my full attention. However, I believe the message in the book is clear, that we need to stop talking and start doing. And while we think we do enough, as long as there are lost souls and hungry people, it's not.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I do plan on going back to re-read this book soon and I recommend you read it too.
Posted June 22, 2009
Richard Stearns represents more than World Vision, he stnads between those who have and those who are in need.
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to Thomas Nelson for providing copies of wonderful books for blog writers. I found "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns to be captivating and very inspirational. As a student pastor of a fairly young church I have seen countless ways for our young people to show compassion to a hurting community. This is a book that I will challenge all of our youth volunteers to read. I really enjoyed the opportunity to take a look into the heart and mind of the current president of World Vision. His commentary on passages of scripture helped revealed the Biblical mandate for meeting the needs of those who do not feel capable to make it in this world. My favorite part of the challenge that Stearn outlines in this timely book is that help needs to come to the poor and down trodden in many ways other than just monetary help.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I had expected this book to be a large pamphlet explaining the need for people to partner with World Vision. Stearns is clearly a man of vision and was able to look past his organization and personal agenda to cast a vision to all of us to do what we can and do it now! Stearns brings to our attention the words of World Vision's founder "May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God." He presents a desire to glorify God as our motivation to reach out to those in need. He presented the acting out of faith in this world as the missing component in our Gospel witness. As it has been said, "They can not hear the Gospel over the growl of their stomachs." Stearns spin on it would be that they will not want to hear what Christ can do for there eternity if they cannot see the impact He can make on this side of eternity. As expected I was not completely satisfied with Mr. Stearns explanation of what the Gospel truly is. As he comes to a clear conclusion that there is a "hole in the gospel" I believe their our some aspects of salvation he failed to cover.
My favorite chapter would have to be "Putting the American Dream to Death". I live in an area where the American dream is even more evolved then in the small city I grew up in Kentucky. Parents feel their kids have to have paid programming for every minute of their lives. Mr. Stearns clearly lays out the fact that our entertainment is at the expense of millions around the world. Not only are we paying extravagant amounts for our amusement but kids around the world are involuntarily making a sacrifice. God's plan for His believers is to large and wonderful to fit into the American dream. One must die. I want to follow the advice of Richard Stearns and let the American dream die in my heart, see the needs of the world, and begin to meet them on a local level.
Posted April 25, 2010
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Posted August 22, 2011
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Posted November 18, 2010
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Posted September 12, 2010
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