Hurt Healer: Reaching Out to a Broken World

Hurt Healer: Reaching Out to a Broken World

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by Tony Nolan
     
 

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Ours is a generation of brokenness. Personal and global strife has led many to question the existence of a loving God--or of a God at all. Drawing from his own story of brokenness and redemption, evangelist Tony Nolan wants to change all that. In this stirring call to walk the talk, Nolan calls on Christians to be modern-day Good Samaritans, not so they can pat…  See more details below

Overview

Ours is a generation of brokenness. Personal and global strife has led many to question the existence of a loving God--or of a God at all. Drawing from his own story of brokenness and redemption, evangelist Tony Nolan wants to change all that. In this stirring call to walk the talk, Nolan calls on Christians to be modern-day Good Samaritans, not so they can pat themselves on the back, but so that they can model the love of Christ in a hurting world.

From the foreword by Johnny Hunt:
"If there was ever a generation or a time in history when people were in need of hope, it is now. This book has the potential to touch a generation not only in America but literally all over the world as we consider that the deepest need, the deepest hurt, and the deepest wounds can only be healed in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An injured man lies bleeding on a dirt road. Two men walk past--one stops to help. The Good Samaritan is not a new character, but in the hands of pastor-speaker Nolan the story becomes contemporary and applicable to even the most terrifying situations. Nolan stresses the need for Christians in particular to put life on hold to help someone in need. To help readers slow down their thoughts and lives, he forces readers to pause after each chapter by asking questions to stimulate reflection on his message. Incorporating his version of the Good Samaritan parable into recycled tales that tell of others' redemption, the author demonstrates the reward of halting to help. Although some of his anecdotes about others sound unoriginal, Nolan is best when recalling his own painful past, with physical abuse, drug use, and suicide attempts. His childhood memories are haunting and violent, but when toned down with a witty, hopeful voice, the author becomes a living example of hurt man turned hurt healer. His forward-thinking optimism inspires action without inducing guilt, a recipe that should "fling open the locked hearts of those who are indifferent." (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441213143
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
267 KB

Read an Excerpt

HURT HEALER

reaching out to a broken world
By TONY NOLAN

Baker Books

Copyright © 2010 Tony Nolan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8010-1352-2


Chapter One

Know show

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15

Christianity sucks!

How could I say such a thing? Well, I didn't. They did.

Who are they?

They are not believers in Jesus. They are obviously put out with the church. They are young, middle-aged, and senior citizens. They have toddlers, toupees, and tattoos. They dance when no one is looking. They drool at the sight and smell of dessert. They nervously chew their fingernails as Ryan Seacrest pauses to reveal the next American Idol. They shed tears at funerals, weddings, and graduations. They feel strongly about issues like abortion, homosexuality, and injustice. They are very human. And what I know about them compels me to make sure we never forget that they exist. They are the reason I am writing this book, and according to God, they matter ... a lot!

And because they matter, we must reach out to them.

I want you to know that I was and in a lot of ways still am one of them. I am an unapologetic believer and follower of Jesus Christ. But I haven't always been a believer, nor did I grow up in church. So I get where they're coming from; I understand the negative ideas they have about Christianity. Most of these thoughts about Christians are false, and they faded from my own mind after my conversion. Other beliefs, however, have proven shamefully true.

If they had a MySpace or Facebook profile it would contain a disturbing detail: "turned off to all things Christian." It's hard to conceive people would be bent like that, but they really are. In the book unChristian, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons indicate that only 3 percent of young people in America have a favorable impression of Jesus as portrayed in the lives of evangelicals. You may not be surprised by this data; neither was I. But what I learned next stunned me. Get this: a high percentage of them said that they had been exposed to Christianity, meaning they had some kind of encounter with something or someone Christian. They visited a church, worked with a Christian, or sat next to a Christian in an English composition class. The point is that they heard or saw something that claimed to be Christian, and their impression about Christianity after the encounter was not very good. If you are a Christian, this data should make you concerned.

These numbers reveal that a spiritual pandemic has infected the church, resulting in a viral decline in church attendance. Consider the statistics provided by Dr. Dan Garland, director of pastoral ministry and church consulting for LifeWay Church. I recently sat in a conference with several hundred other leaders and cringed when he said, "In 1950 over 80 percent of our public school kids went to a Christian church, and now it is down to 4 percent." When I heard this, my heart sank. How can this be? When I was growing up, a few of my friends and family members and I didn't think too highly of Christianity, but I didn't realize that so many people had no interest in God. I didn't realize we are now on the cusp of having a Christless generation in America.

Well, I don't put much faith in statistics. I prefer to touch and feel the evidence of such claims. So I conducted my own little research project. In the last four years I have visited over 153 cities, speaking to well over a million people. Unfortunately, as I have traveled throughout America, I have seen that this negative mindset about Christians really does exist and goes beyond generational lines. Approximately eight out of ten nonreligious people I talked to said Christianity sucks. Some used the term sucks, others said it is dead, several claimed it is irrelevant, and many used words that would make even Bill Maher blush.

How can this be? How can so many people be turned off to this amazing, loving, gracious God that we know? The cause of this great dilemma points to a breakdown between the God that we know and the God that we show. And breakdowns can happen in the most innocent of circumstances.

I heard a story about the parents of a troubled teenager. They desperately needed to connect with their daughter, so they decided to have breakfast with her every morning. The idea was to use that time to connect with her before she connected with the harmful things of the world. Every morning they prepared a simple breakfast of eggs, juice, toast, and jelly. But the piece of toast they gave their daughter was the heel—the hard end of the loaf. This went on for a week until one morning the teenager in disgust picked up the piece of toast, slung it across the room where it stuck to a wall, and screamed, "Is this the extent of your love for me—heel toast? What have I done that makes you hate me so much?"

Dazed, the parents replied, "Honey, we're sorry. The heel of the loaf is our favorite piece."

Do you see it? What happened in that story illustrates our current dilemma in helping people understand Jesus. Innocently enough, we go to church and live our lives loving Jesus. We know how good he is, but it's not getting across to non-Christians. They have tossed back what we have been serving them through our religious lives, screaming their distaste. Will we chalk up their cries as mere outbursts of misbehavior, or will we pause a moment, take a good look at our attempts to connect with them, and make some deep life changes for the sake of reaching out to a broken world?

Remember, I was one of them. I haven't forgotten what it feels like to be broken, enslaved, and hopeless. I have done my share of toast slinging. But a group of believers heard my cry and cared enough to engage me. I am going to unwrap my story throughout this book with high hopes that you will experience a life-changing encounter with God so supernatural that after a non-Christian dines on your version of Jesus, they will be able to declare with the psalmist, "I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, blessed are those that trust in God!" (see Ps. 34:8).

DELVE

Who are the people that you know who may have an unfavorable impression of Jesus? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

Briefly describe a moment when you had a conversation with someone who had a bad taste in his or her mouth about Christianity.

____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

In this chapter the question is asked: Will we chalk up their cries as mere outbursts of misbehavior, or will we pause a moment, take a good look at our attempts to connect with them, and make some deep life changes for the sake of reaching out to a broken world? Briefly write down your response to that question.

____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

Dear God, hearing that there are many people who are turned off to you, help my ears to hear your heart beat for them as I take this journey through the rest of this book. Amen.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from HURT HEALER by TONY NOLAN Copyright © 2010 by Tony Nolan. Excerpted by permission of Baker Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Tony Nolan is an author and sought-after speaker who recently served as tour pastor and Gospel communicator for the Casting Crowns Lifesong tour and Winter Jam, the largest Christian concert tour in America. He speaks to more than 800,000 people at more than 100 events a year, bringing the love of Jesus to a hurting world. While he is often on the road, his permanent residence is in Georgia.

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