On the back cover of this book by the World Vision US president, the blurb states: “What does God expect of us? If our faith just about going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins – or does God expect more? Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it? … The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life. He uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel – the whole gospel – was always meant to be a world changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with us.”
My prayer is that the following quotes from this book will inspire you to read the book for yourself, and maybe you too will be challenged with God’s requirement for all of us – to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God!
“The idea behind The Hole in Our Gospel is quite simple. It’s basically the belief that being a Christian, or a follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.”
“Jesus asked a great deal of those who followed Him. He expected much more from them than just believing He was God’s Son. He challenged them to embrace radically different standards, to love their neighbors and their enemies, to forgive those who wronged them, to lift up the poor and downtrodden, to share what they had with those who had little, and to live lives of sacrifice.”
“Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, once prayed, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Jesus’ heart was continually moved to compassion as He encountered the lame, the sick, the widow, and the orphan.”
“We have shrunk Jesus to the size where He can save our soul but now don’t believe He can change the world.” (Anonymous).
“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.”
“If Christ is Lord, then nothing He asked us to do is optional.”
“Only about 4 percent of all U.S. charitable giving goes to international causes of any kind. We have become detached and indifferent toward the constant and repeated images of poverty and adversity that bombard us.”
“More than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that.”
“We are wired in such a way that we can become almost indifferent to tragedies that are far away from us emotionally, socially and geographically, but when the same tragedy happens to us or someone close to us, everything changes.”
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4).
“The Bible is clear from the Old Testament through the New that God’s people always had a responsibility to see that everyone in their society was cared for at a basic-needs level… A modern-day version (of Leviticus 23:22) might read: If your job produces a decent income for you, do not spent it all on yourself. Make some of it available to the poor and less fortunate, that they, too, might live a decent life.”
“Most of us have never been truly hungry. Oh, we say things like, “I’m starving,” or “I’m famished,” but few of us have gone even one day without food. So it is very difficult to understand what hunger really means for the poor.”
“In Africa, they don’t say that water is important to their lives; they say that water is life.”
“We must not, as Christians, stick our heads in the sand and pretend that the world is doing just fine because we are. We must not avert our eyes, like the priest and the Levite, walking by those suffering on the other side of the road – our neighbors. We must face the brutal facts about poverty and injustice – only then can we take the first steps to respond.”
“We must never see poverty or justice as “issues” that need solutions; rather we must see the human beings at the heart of those issues as people who need and deserve our love and respect. I believe that we really can alter the world, but we can only do it one person at a time.”
“Where indeed, (is) the Church? If the world as I have described it truly is wracked with poverty, injustice and suffering, and God has clearly called us to embrace the whole gospel – characterized by love for our fellow man, a commitment to justice, and a proclamation of the good news of His salvation to all people – then we must next look at His Church and ask whether it is being faithful in its responsibility to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.”
“There are some 340,000 individual congregations in the United States, which together possess unprecedented resources and capabilities. There are also hundreds of thousands of poor churches in the developing world, whose members struggle with daily survival. I try to imagine how this looks to God as He sees all of HIs churches – the wealthy and the needy – and wonders why the churches He has blessed have not reached out to their poor, burdened brothers and sisters.”
“When our churches become spiritual spas in which we retreat from the world, our salt loses its saltiness, and we are no longer able to impact the culture.”
“If the Church is indeed a revolutionary kind of institution, called to foment a social revolution by promoting justice, lifting up the sanctity of human life, fighting for the underdog, and challenging the prevailing value systems in our world, then it seems we should be out in front on social justice issues rather than bringing up the rear.”
“Jesus healed the sick, loved the poor, touched the leper, stood up for the down-and-out, forgave the sinner, condemned the religious hypocrites, dined with prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors, challenged the wealthy and powerful, fought for justice for the oppressed, defied His culture, renounced materialism, demonstrated that greatness is found in serving – and then died that others might live. These actions – performed by one man – changed the world. These same actions, when carried out by His followers, still change the world today.”
“There is much at stake. The world we live in is under siege – three billion are desperately poor, one billion hungry, millions are trafficked in human slavery, ten million children die needlessly each year, wars and conflicts are wreaking havoc, pandemic diseases are spreading, ethnic hatred is flaming, and terrorism is growing.”
“It’s time to commit. What are you going to do about it? In the end God works in our world one person at a time. The hungry are fed, the thirsty are refreshed, the naked are clothed, the sick are treated, the illiterate are educated, and the grieving are comforted, just one person at a time.”
“That bread which you keep belongs to the hungry; that coat which you preserve in your wardrobe, to the naked; those shoes which are rotting in your possession, to the shoeless; that gold which you have hidden in the ground, to the needy. Wherefore, as often as you are able to help others, and refuse, so often did you do them wrong.” (Augustine).
“It starts with you. In the end, God simply calls you to be faithful to the things He has given you to do. He doesn’t require you to be a superstar, just faithful and obedient, by praying, loving, serving, giving, forgiving, healing, and caring – doing small things with great love.”
- To learn more, or order your copy of this book, visit www.richstearns.org.