"Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary." - St. Francis of AssisiGet this book! I am listing "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns as one of the best books I've read in 2009!
In 1998 God met Richard Stearns in a unique way as he sat in a mud hut and listened to the story of an orphaned child in Rakai, Uganda. Stearns found himself having answered 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 working with World Vision.
This is a very personal book of one man's journey, story and struggle to obey God whatever the cost, and his passionate call for all Christians to change the world by actively living out their faith. According to Stearns, to which I wholeheartedly agree, we have relegated the gospel as merely a set of propositions to believe - but it is more than that. That understanding of the gospel as left us with an anemic faith and a "hole in our Gospel". Rather the gospel isn't just about the head, but must be accompanied by the heart and the hands and feet as well.
The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to serve and help the least, the last and the lost. We are not to be just concerned about a person's soul (although their eternal destiny is very important) but also with the "whole" person.
Stearns' chapter on the systemic issues of injustice that keep people trapped in poverty - was one of the most helpful chapters to me in understanding that helping people goes way beyond giving someone some food and clothes, but rather it is going to require that we change systems and institutions that are keeping people in poverty prisons.
Again, I can't recommend this book more highly. As you read Stearns' personal journey and the stories throughout, your heart will come away - broken, convicted and committed to bringing the "Whole" gospel to those in need.
"Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything" - Bob Pierce