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The Hole in Our Gospel: What does God expect of Us? The Answer that Changed my Life and Might Just Change the World [Hardcover]

Richard Stearns
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 10 2009


Is 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?

Ten years ago, Rich Stearns came face-to-face with that question as he sat in a mud hut in Rakai, Uganda, listening to the heartbreaking story of an orphaned child. Stearns’ journey there took much more than a long flight to Africa. It took answering God’s call on his life, a call that tore him out of his corner office at one of America’s most prestigious corporations—to walk with the poorest of the poor in our world.

The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who setaside 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.

ECPA 2010 Christian Book of the Year Award Winner!

“Read this compelling story and urgent call for change—Richard Stearns is a contemporary Amos crying ‘let justice roll down like waters….’  Justice is a serious gospel-prophetic mandate.  Far too many American Christians for too long a time have left the cause to ‘others.’  Read it as an altar call.”
--Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC

“Rich Stearns calls us to exhilarating obedience to God’s life-altering, world-changing command to reflect his love to our neighbors at home and globally. The Hole in Our Gospel is imbued with the hope of what is possible when God’s people are transformed to live radically in light of his great love."
--Gary Haugen, President & CEO, International Justice Mission 

“Richard Stearns is quite simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known.... When he became president of World Vision I had a front row seat to witness the way God used his mind and heart to inspire thousands.... His new book, The Hole In Our Gospel will call you to a higher level of discipleship.... Now is the time...Richard Stearns has the strategy...your move!”
--Bill Hybels, Founding and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL

“Rich Stearns has given us a book that makes absolutely clear what God hopes for and expects from each of us.... He reminded me of my personal responsibilities and the priority I must give them and also where life’s true rewards and fulfillment are to be found.”
--Jim Morris, former executive director, United Nations World Food Program

"World Vision plays a strategic role on our globe. As the largest relief organization in the history of the world, they initiate care and respond to crisis. Rich Stearns navigates this mercy mission with great skill. His book urges us to think again about the opportunity to love our neighbor and comfort the afflicted. His message is timely and needed. May God bless him, the mission of World Vision and all who embrace it."
--Max Lucado, author of 3:16—The Numbers of Hope, Minister of Writing and Preaching, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, TX

“With passionate urging and earnestness, Rich Stearns challenges Christians to embrace the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ by embracing the neediest and most vulnerable among us.  After reading the moving stories, the compelling facts and figures, and Stearns’ excellent application of scripture and his own experiences at World Vision, you will no doubt be asking yourself: What should I do?”
--Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

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About the Author

Richard Stearns has served as president of World Vision U.S. since 1998, having formerly been the CEO of Parker Bros. Games and Lenox, Inc.  He and his wife, Reneé, have five children of their own and millions more around the world. 

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From hole to whole April 6 2009
By Christina Banks TOP 1000 REVIEWER
It would be difficult to read this book passively. Richard Stearns brings us face to face with the poor and needy of the world. He pops our protective bubbles and challenges us to see the world through God's eyes. The statistics that Stearns shares are staggering, and numbing, but it is the true life stories that really touch the heart and made me rethink how I viewed the poor and needy of this world. Rich shares his heart in an open and conversational style. He tells about his own struggles to see people through God's eyes, and how God changed his life.

Richard Stearns came from poor roots, rose the corporate ladder, lived the American dream and gave it all up for the sake of a whole gospel. He tells his story of being at the "top of his game" to joining the real game, God's game. Rich argues that there is a hole in the American gospel because we are ignoring all the passages that talk about taking care of the poor and needy in the world. As President of World Vision U.S., Stearns shows us how we can fix the gospel and make it whole again.

Don't read this book unless you are ready for God to touch your heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read!!! July 12 2009
In his book Stearns tries to get us to see that North American Christians are not doing what God has called us to do, love our neighbors! Millions of people die every year because we have become complacent and comfortable. This book is a wake up call and a plea for us to not be lukewarm any longer, to have our hearts break with the things that break the heart of God. The need is great and if all of us did our part it could be attained!

I will start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Don't get me wrong, it was often tough to read about the pain and suffering of my fellow sisters and brothers around the world, but it is all stuff that desperately needs to be said! People need to hear this and read this book! I work in this field of trying to care for the poor, orphaned and widowed, albeit on a much smaller scale than World Vision, but it was a great refresher of what God has called me and all of us to.

In his book "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision USA,
surprised me at how honest and open he was with his own short comings and failure to realize or answer the call of God, and when he did so, it was with fear and trepidation. Seriously, he admits to just crawling in bed a weeping crying out to God before he finally decides to take the job.

Stearns is a great writer. The book is well thought out and seems to follow a logical flow of information. There are five basic parts 1. A Hole in My Gospel-And Maybe Yours 2. The Hole Gets Deeper 3. A Hole in the World 4. A Hole in the Church and 5. Repairing the Hole.

He starts off the book with several stories of people that he has met in his travels, many of them absolutely gut wrenching to read and had me sobbing by the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Hole in Our Gospel: Review June 8 2010
The Hole in Our Gospel is a simple book with a simple message. The church has embraced a gospel that is too small, a gospel with a gaping hole in the middle that is our collective neglect of the poor and the marginalized. We have reduced the good news of Jesus Christ to a 'personal transaction with God, with little power to change anything outside our own hearts.' The gospel that was first announced as 'good news to the poor' (Luke 4:14-21) has too often been anything but. We have, as one of the quotes that begin each chapter says, 'shrunk Jesus to the size where He can save our soul but now don't believe He can change the world.'

The structure of the book is fairly straightforward. Stearns begins in parts one and two with describing his own personal journey toward realizing that care for the poor was part of the gospel. He then gives us a lay of the land globally in part three. An arsenal of statistics, stories, and studies is marshaled to give readers an idea of just how dire the situation is for the world's poor. Part four is an indictment of the church. Stearns is fairly blunt about how little we actually do for the poor as Christ's body in the modern West (one of the chapters is called 'Two percent of Two Percent' to highlight just how little of our income we actually give to world relief). Finally, Stearns closes the book with a call to action. Part five provides a whole list of practical ways to get started, from where to give to what to do to what to read, once we become aware of the scope of the need and our mandate as Jesus' followers to be a part of the solution.

Despite all of the statistics and data, this book is an intensely personal one for Stearns. The hole in our gospel began with a realization of the hole in his gospel.
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this was an incredible book. it's written by the president and CEO of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns. i have always loved this organization and its efforts around the world. reading more from the man running it makes me want to support it even more. this book is worth it alone to read his radical story of obedience. i appreciate his humility in recognizing that few resonate with his position. not many feel sympathy for the wealthy, and he doesn't ask for it. but he describes the struggle he had as someone who resembled the rich young ruler in scripture making the step to give over his life to what God wanted. a wealthy CEO of a company, he is called to work for World Vision. he fights this calling at every step and through God's prodding and obvious direction in his life, he steps out in faith. it is inspiring to read of someone so willing to make that step. more than just his personal story weaved throughout the book, it felt like him and i must have had a conversation the day before he wrote it. it spoke deeply to me, and put voice to many thoughts i've been batting around my head for years now. a call to action, to actually follow the teachings of scripture to care for the poor and oppressed. i would recommend this book to anyone. 5/5 on the blair-o-meter.
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