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.
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.