The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected

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Overview


The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard...
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Overview


The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place?  It sure didn't work in Somalia.

Nik recalls that, “God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?” It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.

How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?

The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Insanity of God is a book you could read in a single sitting but you won’t. You can’t. Time and again you will have to stop, go aside, and weep. At times you will weep for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world who experience persecution for King Jesus as normal Christianity. At other times you will weep for joy at how the gospel continues to run wide across the globe in spite of demonic opposition. And, you will also weep as the anemic and tepid “Christianity” of the American Church is exposed for the shameful counterfeit it too often is. I was literally “undone” by this book. I will not be the same for reading it. Be warned: neither will you!”
 
Daniel L. Akin
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
 
What can I possibly say about this book? It completely and utterly wrecked me. Half the time I found myself sitting in heartbreaking silence on the verge of tears, and the other half I found myself want­ing to shout and dance over some of the stories. No one will read this book and be the same person after the last page. If you want a front row seat to the raw, potent, heart transforming power of Jesus, this book is a must read.
 
Jeff Bethke
Author, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus
 
This is a book that every well-meaning Christian ought to read. It gives the most comprehensive overview of what life is like for the true followers of Jesus who are willing to pay the whole price for following Him. Extremely touching at times. It makes you cry and it makes you laugh. But remember they are your brothers and mine. Therefore we have a responsibility of standing with them as part of the body of Christ worldwide.
 
Brother Andrew
Founder, Open Doors International
Author, God’s Smuggler and Secret Believers
 
The Insanity of God is a compelling, convicting and life changing book. This true story grips you from the introduction and keeps you reading page after page. You will weep as you read about persecution around the world. You will fall under conviction as you read about the commitment of Christians in dark places who risk their own lives to share the good news of Jesus. You will be encouraged as you real­ize that the power of the gospel supersedes evil and the malevolent intentions of men. In the end you will come away with a renewed sense of faith in God who truly is enough, even in the face of extreme persecution.
 
Dr. Mac Brunson
Pastor, First Baptist Church Jacksonville, FL
 
In his book, The Insanity of God, Nik Ripkin takes us on a journey of extreme emotional highs and lows to demonstrate that our lim­ited understanding of events in our lives is only one piece of God’s larger puzzle of fulfillment and salvation. This book puts our daily struggles into perspective and leaves us inspired and ready for the next challenge.
 
Dr. Ben Carson
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D. and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, R.N. Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
President and Cofounder, The Carson Scholars Fund
Author, Gifted Hands
 
Not only was Jesus persecuted, so are his followers to this day around the world. This is a heart-breaking, faith-stretching, insider’s look at what it means to pick up your cross and follow Jesus.
 
Mark Driscoll
Founding & Preaching Pastor of Mars Hill Church
Founder of Resurgence
Cofounder of Acts 29
NY Times #1 Best-selling Author
 
The story is gripping; the crisis is universal.
 
John Eldredge
Author, Wild At Heart and Beautiful Outlaw
 
We are in danger of rapidly losing what it means to feel compassion for those held in the grip of sin on this broken planet. After glancing at a few fleeting photos and hearing the usual review of “today’s tragedies” on each evening’s network news, we casually top off the evening with a little “weather and sports” before plodding off to an undisturbed sleep. But for Jesus, the very sight of those crushed beneath the boot of the Adversary was nothing short of gut-wrenching. He was compelled to do something about it! Now Nik Ripken takes you on a personal, real life journey with Jesus into the dark, back-alleys of human depravity where only Christ’s love can overcome. With remarkable clarity, this gifted writer transports you into a world where, through the blood-stained glass of persecution, the light of Christ shines brightly.
 
Tom Elliff
President, International Mission Board
 
In The Insanity of God we are reminded of the power of the gospel to save using biographical sketches that most of us in the American church will struggle to comprehend. Deeply moving, intensely powerful and challenging describes the stories contained in these pages. I cannot rec­ommend it strongly enough. This book will help you walk closely with Jesus and challenge you to take great risks for the sake of His name.
 
Micah Fries
Lead Pastor, Frederick Boulevard, St. Joseph, MO
 
Nik and Ruth Ripken have long been heroes of mine as I have watched and admired them from afar, drawing personal inspiration from their passion, faith, and resilience that comes from the Resurrection Lord they serve. More than once I have been encouraged to keep going, because they kept going, overcoming challenges that would crush lesser souls. In this, I am not alone. Around the world, I have met countless young missionaries who trace their pilgrimage back to the influence of Nik and Ruth.
The Insanity of God merges the Ripkens’ story with those of hun­dreds of other heroes of the faith who did not consider their present sufferings worth comparing to the glory that will one day be revealed in them. These stories bear telling, and hearing, and reproducing. You need to hear these stories that the Ripkins have rescued from this world’s prisons, gulags and shadows. I pray that they will do for you what they have done for me: encourage you to shake off your slumber and press on to the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus.
 
David Garrison
Author, Church Planting Movements
 
A touching, deeply stirring book about the seriousness of the Great Commission. This book rekindled my passion to do all that God is leading me to do for the nations, to expect and attempt great things. I am grateful for the grace that drips off every page of this great work.
 
J.D. Greear
Lead Pastor, The Summit Church
 
If there’s one thing many desire, it’s going deeper and knowing the God of the Bible intimately. When one takes the trip of following Jesus to the ends of the earth, having previously counted the cost, died to self, surrendered fully to His call, they may then know the reality of 2 Timothy 3:12, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suf­fer persecution.” The Insanity of God will stretch you to new places of trusting God for the impossible in reaching the nations, at any cost.
 
Johnny Hunt
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA
 
In this life-changing book, Nik Ripken recounts his adventures as one who walked in faith, hoping against hope, obeying God’s call regard­less of its costs in hardships, pains, and bewilderments. To the list of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, we may add our contemporaries who took God’s Word seriously, and at any cost! I heartily recom­mend this epic story as a necessary “vitamin” to help Christians live out their faith in this terribly secular age, demonstrating that we walk by faith, and not by sight.
 
Bassam Michael Madany
Middle East Resources
 
Nik Ripken has told a great story, and in doing so he has made it clear that the question every believer must answer is whether we have the courage to bear the consequences of obediently exercising our freedom to be salt and light to all peoples, wherever they live. Perhaps Nik has put it best when he says, “Perhaps the question should not be, ‘Why are others persecuted?’ Perhaps the better question is, ‘Why are we not?’”
 
John Maxwell
New York Times Best-selling Author
 
This is not a book. It’s a soul earthquake. You don’t read it as much as you experience it, and when it’s done with you, you’ll never be the same. Ripken’s story is one of those that shows up once in a genera­tion, and everyone I know needs to read it. ‘The Insanity of God’ may very well be the book of the century.
 
Johnnie Moore
Vice President, Liberty University
Author, Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches
 
Once I picked up The Insanity of God I literally could not put it down! After multiple occasions of participating in the Ripken’s persecution workshops with our team at East-West Ministries, I thought I was prepared for what I was about to encounter in The Insanity of God. I was wrong. Nik Ripken is truly one of the best, most captivat­ing story tellers that I have ever met. In The Insanity of God, these stories literally come to life, carrying the reader on a dramatic, life-changing missionary journey with Nik and Ruth—across Africa and eventually around the world. But these are not simply their stories, these are God’s stories. Reading The Insanity of God led me to a wonderful, fresh encounter with Jesus—and with His calling upon my life to “go and make disciples of ALL nations,” especially those in greatest spiritual darkness where persecution of witness for Jesus is most intense. As I read these compelling stories of resurrected faith, I laughed out loud and I wept aloud as well. I felt as though I was right there—literally witnessing each miraculous story unfold right before my eyes. These are God’s stories, powerful stories, like those recorded in the Book of Acts, played out in the lives of real, every day men and women all around the world. Men and women whose extraordinary faith in the resurrected Jesus enabled them to endure unspeakable per­secution and yet not lose heart. Most of all, these faithful believers did not allow their tormentors to silence their witness for Jesus and for His gospel. The Insanity of God ushers one into a fresh encounter with the Jesus and with the power of His resurrection, with the joy of being called to suffer for His Name, and with a compelling call to “Find Jesus! Find the gospel” —and then to follow Him and serve Him with resurrection faith and resurrection obedience anywhere He leads.
 
Kurt Nelson
President and CEO
East-West Ministries International
 
The Insanity of God is an incredible testimony to God’s power to overcome all forms of darkness. No matter your circumstances, you cannot help but be both impressed and overwhelmed with the view Nik Ripken gives us into the circumstances in which believers in per­secution live. Yet, this is also a book that is immensely personal as it challenges us all to consider the cost of complacency as compared to the reward of sacrifice. Read and be changed.
 
Frank S. Page
President, SBC Executive Committee
 
If you think being a God-follower will make life safe and secure, buckle your seat belt. The Insanity of God will jolt you into a new reality and change your life—for the better. Discover the thrill and adventure of following Jesus like you never have before! This book will awaken a new boldness in your spirit. Don’t miss out on this amazing message!
 
Drs. Les Parrott and Leslie Parrott
Authors, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts
 
The Insanity of God tells an incredible story of faith lived out in the most difficult of circumstances. It showcases the power and glory of God no matter the context, challenge, or opposition. The Ripkens haven’t just lived this story, they have been students at each step of the way, learning from those who have suffered most and sharing those lessons with all of us. As a result, you will not be the same person on the last page of this book as you were on the first. You will be struck anew with the unquenchable power of a great God to build His kingdom and bring glory to His name. May we read, may we learn, and may we go forward in the power of Him who brings light to the darkest of places!
 
Thom S. Rainer
President, LifeWay Christian Resources
 
Priorities: Survive or thrive? Peace or freedom? Death or life? Where can one find that Jesus is really enough? Read The Insanity of God and you’ll be surprised how your worldview might change. You might even pray for the persecution of the church by praying that believers in persecution will never stop loving and sharing Jesus. Insane . . .
 
Steve Ridgway
CEO, Open Doors USA
 
A captivating spiritual diary! Join a journey of discovery how God is spreading his kingdom in the midst of adversity, suffering and even the most atrocious persecution. It shares the experiences made in gathering the wisdom of 700 followers of Christ in 72 countries who are walking with Jesus in hard places. A challenge to radical disciple­ship! And a helpful source on how to cope with persecution.
 
Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer
International Institute for Religious Freedom
Editor, “Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom”
 
It’s true. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8). The Insanity of God is an account of Nik Ripken’s life-long and very personal journey of discovery into the ways of God related to persecution and suffering. You’ve heard that fish are not aware of the water they swim in. Nik chronicles how God has revealed to him the water we all swim in related to persecution in our sojourn in the Kingdom of God on this earth. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). This book explains why. Jut as a pearl is formed from a simple grain of sand with layer upon layer of deposits until it becomes a large and lustrous thing of beauty, God has worked in Nik’s life to reveal the beauty of His ways and thoughts which are different from our own. Inspiring. Engaging. Insightful.
 
Curtis Sergeant
International Mission Board
Director of Church Planting, Saddleback Church
 
Jesus’ call to discipleship is to come and die. Few Christians take the call literally, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility given the cur­rent state of the persecuted church. Insanity of God is not for “safe” Christians, or those interested in pursuing comfort over the cross. Be warned, this book is a threat to mediocre, cautious, lukewarm faith.
 
Ed Stetzer
President, LifeWay Research
Author, Subversive Kingdom
 
The Insanity of God is one of those rare books you’ll want to give to everyone you know. But you may feel the need to apologize to those you give it to, knowing it will shake their world! Give it to them any­way. Its message is one every believer needs to hear, and for those who are looking for evidence that God still loves this world, you’ll find it here.
 
Jeff Taylor
CEO, Open Doors International
 
The Ripkens’ simple faith and willingness to follow Jesus wherever He said to “Go!” led them to wrestle with and discover some of the deep­est truths of the faith. In some of the darkest places on earth members of the persecuted church experience a fellowship with Christ and life in abundance that few of us have known. As a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, and a missionary I was alternately encouraged and convicted by what I read. I am humbled to call the people in the pages of this book my brothers and sisters. This is a book I will read again and again and share with others.
 
Ryan Williams
Executive Director, Leadership Development, Campus Ministry, CRU
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433673085
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 65,143
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Nik Ripken is the world's leading expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts. He is a missions veteran of 30 years, having served primarily in North Africa and the Middle East. He is the author of The Insanity of God and the new book The Insanity of Obedience. He and his wife have done extensive research on the persecuted church, and on Muslim background believers, in approximately 72 countries.
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Table of Contents

Foreword David Platt xxiii

Prologue ... Ready or Not xxvii

1 Descent into Hell 1

2 Growing Up Country 9

3 The Face of Evil 17

4 But I Wanted to Be a Veterinarian 27

5 Broken by a Smile 37

6 God's Gift: Ruth 49

7 "Take My Baby!" 57

8 Mosquitoes Win 67

9 Why Didn't I Just Keep My Mouth Shut? 75

10 Just Show Up 83

11 Bubba Sings 91

12 Tears for Somaliland 103

13 Broken and Poured Out 109

14 Too Great a Cost 117

15 When Your Best Is Not Enough 125

16 Death Follows Me Home 129

17 A New Path 137

18 Seeking Answers in the USSR 145

19 A Prison Sings 155

20 The Genealogy of Faith 163

21 Learning to Live; Learning to Die 171

22 Fear or Freedom? 181

23 Refusing to Be Silenced 189

24 Secret Rendezvous 201

25 One Extra Pair of Underwear 217

26 The Power of Prison 227

27 The Chinese Road Trip 233

28 Preparing for Persecution 245

29 Rebuked by God 255

30 Dreams and Visions 265

31 The Toughest Man I Ever Met 275

32 HeartSongs 289

33 What If He Is Alive? 301

34 It's All a Miracle ... And the Journey Begins 313

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Life changing!

    This book has changed my life, it has changed me. Don't read this unless you are ready to see how God works in this world!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Amazing

    This book changed the way I view God and how alive and active he IS in this world.

    The author uses true stories to show the reality of the petsecuted church.

    A must read by any Christian!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Best book I ever read

    This book is very humbling! We in the US are lazy chistians. This book is like reading about Pauls experiences but happening in todays world. It is about God speaking to people that have never heard the gospel and yet God seeks them out and uses them to win others. Many times the gospel is spread when someone is sent to prison. This is a must read for Chistians!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Life Changing

    Read what it to be blessed and if it agrees with your interpretation there of. I will not be using that phrase lightly again. Read how God uses the sufferings of the persecuted to greatly increase his church of followers. After reading this book, I realized why the explosive numbers of people coming to Christ in oppressed countries such as China is because of the sufferings of the persecuted. If you are persecuted you are growing. Excellent read.

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  • Posted February 7, 2013

    Let me start off by saying that I admire anyone, regardless of f

    Let me start off by saying that I admire anyone, regardless of faith or non-faith, who trys to help ease the atrocities in a so-called third world country. Giving aid via food, healthcare, clothing, water or any basic need without any hidden agenda. That is commendable. Doing so under the guise of bringing people under the banner of the christian faith, perhaps not so much.
    Looking at this book from a perspective of a person, who believes in God.
    It gives the overall feeling of being about Ripken's personal quest to enlighten as many people as possible. That does not mean that he hasn't seen and experienced hell on this earth, both in his personal life and professional one. The book however takes on this overall feeling of 'God speaks to me, I am his messenger and only I know the right path.'
    Looking at it from the perspective of a person, who doesn't believe in God.
    When someone believes that there is no hope for anyone without Jesus then I question how rational they are. It also equates all victims and perpetrators in African warzones if they are non-believers, because they have the same level of 'Lostness.' Devoting everything you do and each action you take to that one thing, your faith. Making that choice for yourself is one thing, but making that choice for your family and in doing so putting them in harms way is another. That of course is up to the Ripkens, however children have no choice do they. They go where they are told to go.

    As for the book or memoir, I felt the emphasis was completely on one person and towards the last half it lost a little clarity. The chapters on Russia and China could have been more structured.
    Overall reading between the lines I think the book gives a picture of how generations of people have been hounded for their faith. It shows us how religion is still one of the most dangerous and controversial topics of our day and age.
    I think this book, about a man trying to bring comfort and peace to others via his faith, will interest both believers and non-believers.
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

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    Posted May 5, 2014

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    Posted June 28, 2013

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    Posted February 27, 2014

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