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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

“Rich Stearns has penned a passionate and persuasive book aimed at Christians who find themselves absorbed with their own existence, pursuing the American dream of health, wealth and happiness.  Rich traces his own spiritual journey from having it all, to sacrificial living on behalf of those who have nothing.  Not only is Rich eloquent, he’s right.”

--Kay Warren, Executive Director HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA

An urgent, powerful summons to live like Jesus. Stearns weaves solid theology, moving stories, and his own journey of faith into a compelling cal

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Product Details

Product Description

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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3.0 out of 5 stars Serves its audience well May 19 2011
This book is aimed at American (and possibly other nationalities) evangelicals who are beginning to think about moving from personal holiness only toward a more holistic understanding of Jesus' calling to his followers. If you are this person, and at that stage in your thinking, it is a good and useful personal story to reflect on. If you have already thought about these issues, or don't believe they need thinking about, this will not be the book for you. The author also focuses almost exclusively on international poverty issues (admittedly his specialty), rather than addressing social inequalities in the US, thereby sidestepping the probably more contentious issues of domestic poverty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There is no hole in this book! July 12 2009
Did you know that if you are reading this post, you are probably very wealthy and didn't even know it? In fact, if you make $25, 000 per year you are in the top 90th percentile of the world's wealthiest people. Over 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 per day but the average North American lives on $105 per day. Drastic disparity. In a very unapologetic current account of the state of Africa and other developing nations, Richard Stearns takes a hard look at North Americans to change their perspective and grasp the pervasion of poverty around the world. Formerly the CEO of Lenox (luxury tableware), Richard was literally called by God to 'sell his possessions and follow Christ', just like the rich young ruler in the New Testament. The only difference is that he actually did: he resigned as CEO, gave up the Jaguar company car, sold his 10 bedroom mansion, and reduced his income by 75% to become the President of WorldVision U.S.. His life has not been the same - he has seen firsthand accounts of the miracle of clean water, medical care, and schooling provided through WorldVision's efforts. He calls upon all people - the knowledge, access, ability, and finances gives no one an excuse to not join the effort of saving dying children. Literally - dying children. He lays it out all out - the stats, the pleas for help, the duty as humans. We cannot ethically ignore the destitute - our way of live in North America is not the norm around the world - we are an anomaly. You almost don't want to finish the book because he asks for action and the epilogue provides a study guide to generate ideas for you to contribute your time, treasure, and talents. Then he leaves it up to you - but he asks one question: is it possible to love God and not your neighbor?
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated about the hole in "the hole"... Aug. 25 2010
In reading The Hole in our Gospel, I was coming in with a blank slate, not knowing who Richard Stearns was. Knowing he was from Worldvision piqued my curiosity, but I wasn't sure what to expect.

The book is essentially about answering the question "What is missing in our theology/evangelism?", and Stearns gets into his answer quickly and unapologetically.

Stearns argues that the real gospel "entails a public and transforming relationship with the world" (2) and by that, he means "social revolution" (20) in the form of helping the poor (21), compassion for the sick (22), and liberation for anyone who is a victim of political, social or economic injustice (22). In case anyone is confused, he gives the standard St. Francis of Assisi "preach the gospel always; when necessary use words" quote (23) and slips the prayer of Jabez in for good measure (40).

Now I did like his comments on how he used to understand the Gospel as simple `fire insurance' (17) and I love the "God expects us to serve Him on His terms - not ours" (39) quote, along with his same page slam against the prosperity gospel. I don't want to be hyper negative against Stearns. Much of his intention is honorable, and I agree that Christians don't live the truth of the scriptures in the lives of the poor, sick and oppressed. Rich Stearns has seen a lot and it has transformed him. I hate the real truth that the church has become a ethno-centrically organized social club for many, and I agree that the gospel hasn't actually impacted those who claim to believe it. But I wholeheartedly disagree with Stearns' understanding of what the gospel IS.

Stearns, on page 21, quotes Luke 4:14-21 and suggests that this is Jesus' mission statement.
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