It's 1998 and Richard Stearns' heart is breaking as he sits in a mud hut and listens to the story of an orphaned child in Rakai, Uganda.
His journey to this place took more than a long flight from the United States to Africa. It took answering God's call on his life, a call that hurtled him out of his presidential corner office at Lenox - America's finest tableware company - to this humble corner of Uganda.
This is a story of how a corporate CEO faced his own struggle to obey God whatever the cost, and his passionate call for Christians to change the world by actively living out their faith. Using his own journey as an example, Stearns explores the hole that exists in our understanding of the Gospel.
Two thousand years ago, 12 people changed the world. Stearns believes it can happen again.
©2009 Thomas Nelson; (P)2009 Thomas Nelson
This book is actually two volumes woven together: the first volume is the account of urgent global needs and a call to respond to those needs as followers of Jesus Christ. The second volume is the testimony of Richard Sterns, and how God dramatically called him from a very successful, lucrative corporate career to assume the leadership of World Vision. The first volume is compelling, though it does get bogged down in details that are more informational than inspirational. The second volume however, is priceless. It was this section of this book that moved me deeply, learning how one man could sacrifice his "successful Christian life" to make a true difference in the world. The true path to greatness in the kingdom of God is found not by climbing up a ladder of success, but by climbing down a ladder of service. Richard Sterns illustrates that truth vividly here. I recommend this book highly -- just be warned, your Christian life may not be the same again.
I, like so many others, knew about global poverty, and suffering but thought of it as "out there somewhere." I also felt helpless to really make a difference. This book has opened my eyes to the reality that it is not someone else's responsibility to "fix it." It is mine. And it is yours. Please read this book. Your world will become so large, and your own problems so small.
I recently discovered how much better I comprehend books (and complete them) by using Audible.com; having said that this book is one you'll keep and pass on to your kids. This is a must read for everyone. It dispels the myths and prejudices so many of us grew up with and believed about poverty. It gives solutions that will stand the test of time in an ethical responsible way. Read it, pass it on for generations to come.
The authors uses his own biography to illustrate how he became away of global poverty and how we the church should address it. This is not a "social gospel" look at Christianity. This is a biblical view of what the church is called to do. Great book.
This book will challenge each Christ-follower reading it (or listening). We live in our comfort and attend our inspiring church services. But, Richard Stearns invades our consciences and shines the light of truth by reminding us vividly of what Christ expects of us regarding the truly needy and hungry of our world.
There were parts of this book that seemed like they were written especially for me. I identified significantly with Mr. Stearn's personal story. I work at company that is frequently found at the top of Forbes Best Places to Work and on the side my family runs a non-profit that provides access to clean water to communities in need. I often wonder if I would follow if God asked me to leave the former to do the latter full time. Listening to Mr. Stearns' story was like listening to my own.
The middle of the book drug on a little for maybe because I am intimately aware of the issues related to global poverty.
I appreciated the end of the book and its practicality.
I will say that theologically I may not be 100% in line with Mr. Stearns, but we are pretty close. Close enough that I could listen to the book with my own beliefs in mind and connect what he was saying to what I believe.
This is definitely worth the listen.
This book has changed my life on the way we serve in the Mission field. A must read.
I listened to this book as one of many books, in preparation for my first short term mission trip to an impoverished nation. I'm not sure that I would have finished it without that motivation. Here's why.
First, the narrator has a deep, rich voice and reads smoothly with appropriate intonation. He represents well the persona that any high powered executive would want to portray. It was a solid four star performance.
Richard Stearns spends the bulk of the book explaining how he was recruited by World Vision and how far he came down in pay grade to accept his position with them, the extent of the pain and suffering in the majority world, how pathetic North American Christians are at alleviating worldwide suffering and how we should be doing more, like sponsoring children, etc.. He of course quotes Francis of Assisi, "Preach the gospel at all times and when absolutely necessary, use words." This constitutes "the hole."
I believe that the gospel (i.e. God loves us so He sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we can be forgiven and know him personally) is the most critical bit of information any human being can be presented with and that apart from being born again through hearing and accepting the good news that God personally made a way for forgiven sinners to enter Heaven, this life is as good as it gets whether you live in the USA or Malawi. No amount of "being nice" to suffering people will matter without that relationship beginning through a new birth into Jesus Christ. The gospel of Mr. Stearns and World Vision seems to be that we should make people as comfortable as possible on the bus to Hell, unless they happen to ask if they're on the right bus.
The Bible teaches that after the new birth in response to hearing the gospel, there must come growth in a Christian's ability to live a life of active love. I agree with the author, that Christ followers should invest their lives intentionally and sacrificially to ease suffering, care for widows, orphans and the oppressed and work to make this world as good a place as possible in which to live. I don't agree that this work should be done without proclaiming salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone and that this must be done with words. If, for some strange reason, you really don't care for Jesus but choose to listen to this book, you may want to skip the last 12 - 15 minutes. The author does eventually use words to preach, but it comes off as an afterthought.
Just as a hole without a doughnut surrounding it is worthless, so is just being nice without the story of God's love for us through Jesus. I gave the author three stars but I was "being nice."
"What a challenge to the modern church !"
Ranks in my top 3 of all audio books I ahve lisened to. I ahve never felt as challenegd as this book made me feel. What powerful and poignant stories, what a response from RIchard.
None yet. This is one of a kind. I believe many people are afraid to go where Richard has gone.
His resistance to the job at Wolrd Vision and his eventual 'surrender'. Very compelling
Yes, by all means.
I hope more people read this book. Just thinking of the different world this would be if Christians executed in their own little way what Richard is talking about fills me with excitment, hope and promise. This would be a fantastic world for ALL. God bless you Richard.
It took me a while to get through this as there is an awful lot to think about and digest. Its certainly not an easy listen, well not for me, as it has made me question my whole attitude to the poor and needy in the world and particularly the developing world.
I really like the personal stories about the author as I can understand where he was coming from. I particularly liked the parts when God was challenging him to take the job at World Vison USA and he really didn?t want it. He is very honest which is very refreshing and very helpful. I also like the way he has made me realise that the people living in the developing world are just like me with a personality, hope and dreams. They are not just statistics in newspapers or the internet.
It is aimed at the American Church and as I live in the UK, at times I did feel alienated by the statistics and the culture. (Perhaps there could be an notes for other countries?)
There is a lot in this audio book and I think it is an excellent resource to help every Christian to get involved in social projects and not just expect someone else to do it. Richard Stearns is right in quoting that it?s the Church?s job to be salt and light and if we don?t it who will?
Thanks to christianaudio.com reviewers programme for copy of this audio book.
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