Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Hole in Our Gospel

I have been reading a book called "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. A few of the main questions posed to the readers in this book are: "What does God expect of us?" and "Are you willing to be open to God's will for your life?" Richard, the author, was the CEO Lenox, a fine China company. Needless to say, through this position within the company, he was making a lot of money. In the book he discusses how he went through an interview process with World Vision to potentially become their President. Richard did not want to leave his CEO job and become the President of World Vision. The board at World Vision literally felt God calling Richard to the position. Patience had to be key with these people as they went through the waiting process for Richard to open his doors and let God take control of his career path. Richard became the President of World Vision and since then he has traveled all over the world sharing the love of Jesus with others.

This book states that our Gospel, the Gospel of the life of Jesus Christ, has a hole in it. Jesus called those 12 disciples to go out and proclaim the Name of Jesus to the everyone. Jesus has called us to ask God to send out workers into the field. This "field" is the world. The world includes those living in the slums in Africa. The world includes that friend you don't talk to anymore. The world includes your family. The world includes every single person you encounter every single day. This "hole" is the urban poor. Luke 4:18-19 says "He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." GOD has called each of us to preach the Gospel to the poor. Those homeless people you see on the streets, Jesus wants you to reach out to them. Africa, a country that has a lot of poverty, God wants people to go there and preach the Good News. Where has God called you to share Him?

My professor gave me this book because it talks about having compassion for the poor and ministry oversees. This book is breaking me. It's breaking my heart for the ministry that I will be a part of in Nairobi. It's breaking my heart for the many, many children all over the world that don't have a drop of water to drink let alone a hot meal to eat. It's really made me wonder where I am going to be after I graduate. Has God called ME to be one of these people to go out and proclaim the Good News to the poor? Is God showing me my brokenness for the poor for a reason? These are questions that will be answered in time. 

There are a lot of things in this book that have really stood out to me and made me think and question where my heart is right now. Granted, I am only on page 106 in the book out of 300 pages, but I have been learning so much through these pages. Here are a few quotes that have really hit home with me

"To be a disciple means forsaking everything to follow Jesus, unconditionally, putting our lives completely in His hands. When we say that we want to be His disciple, yet attach a list of conditions, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender. 'Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'" (page 39)

"Here is the answer to the question, what does God expect? 
  • We are to love God.
  • We are to love our neighbors.
  • We are to go and make disciples of others who will do the same." (page 68)
"God can't give you the blessings He has for you until you first put down the other things you are clutching in your hands." (page 89)

"Two thousand years ago, the world was changed forever by just twelve. It can happen again." -Richard Stearns (page 5)

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner (page 36)

"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21) (page 37)

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." -A prayer by Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision (page 9)

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8 (page 53)

"For the follower of Christ, anything that becomes more precious to us than our relationship with the Lord becomes destructive." .... "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Matthew 6:21 (page 43)

"Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, 
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." -Saint Teresa of Avila (page 13)

The GOD of this universe is calling each of us to proclaim the Gospel to not just those around us, but the poor across this universe. What are YOU doing to share Christ's love to others? I'd like to encourage you to go out and purchase this book. I guarantee it will change your perspective on the world. Pray for God to guide and direct you to share the Gospel where you are. Pray for God to give you the boldness you need to proclaim the Good News. 

Be blessed, my friends.

In Christ,
Brandi :)

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