Nik recalls that, "God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?" It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.
How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world's toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?
The Insanity of God tells a story - a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story - of the Ripkens' own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.
In the anniversary edition of this electrifying real-life story, readers are gripped from the first page by the harrowing account of a young man who risked his life to smuggle Bibles through the borders of closed nations. Now, sixty years after Brother Andrew first prayed for God's miracle protection, this expanded edition of a classic work encourages new readers to meet this remarkable man and his mission for the first time.
Working undercover for God, a mission that continues to this day, has made Brother Andrew one of the all-time heroes of the faith. His narrow escapes from danger to share the love of Jesus will encourage and embolden believers in their own walks of faith.
All Christian disciples have one thing in common: as they carry the gospel across the ocean and across the street, persecution will become the norm for those who choose to follow Jesus. How believers respond in the face of persecution reveals everything about their level of faith and obedience.
The Insanity of Obedience is a bold challenge to global discipleship. Nik Ripken exposes the danger of safe Christianity and calls readers to something greater. The Insanity of Obedience challenges Christians in the same, provocative way that Jesus did. This book dares you - and prepares you - to cross the street and the oceans with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Some of Jesus' instructions sound uncomfortable and are potentially dangerous. We may be initially encouraged by His declaration, "I am sending you out." But how are we to respond when He then tells us that He is sending us out "like sheep among wolves"?
In light of the words of Jesus, how can modern day believers rest comfortably in the status quo? How can we embrace casual faith in light of the radical commands of Jesus which are anything but casual? Ripken brings decades of ministry experience in some of the most persecuted areas of the world to bear on our understanding of faith in Jesus. The Insanity of Obedience is a call to roll up your sleeves . . . and to follow and partner with Jesus in the toughest places on this planet.
"We have the high privilege of answering Jesus' call to go," Ripken says. "But let us be clear about this: we go on His terms, not ours. If we go at all, we go as sheep among wolves."
Jesus gives us Himself. And He gives us the tools necessary for those who dare to journey with Him.
Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and friend of Eugene Cho
"A gutsy and gritty exposé on the motives of a generation in love with the idea of saving the world, Overrated by Eugene Cho is a necessary exercise for all who desire to truly be a part of the change God wants to bring to humanity. This book is real, personal, necessary, and a must-read, so we can all continue on the path toward justice for all."
Louie Giglio, Passion City Church/Passion Conferences
"When you're done talking about the gospel and are ready for your walking to be the gospel: Start here. I needed this book."
Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts Many people today talk about justice, but are they living justly? They want to change the world, but are they being changed themselves?
Eugene Cho has a confession: "I like to talk about changing the world but I don't really like to do what it takes." If this is true of the man who founded the One Day's Wages global antipoverty movement, then what must it take to act on one's ideals? Cho does not doubt the sincerity of those who want to change the world. But he fears that today's wealth of resources and opportunities could be creating "the most overrated generation in history. We have access to so much but end up doing so little." He came to see that he, too, was overrated.
As Christians, Cho writes, "our calling is not simply to change the world but to be changed ourselves." In Overrated, Cho shows that it is possible to move from talk to action.
When Audra Grace Shelby and her husband felt God calling them to minister in the Middle East, she was fearful--how would she raise her children in the heart of conservative Islam?
Armed with prayers and a faith that always seemed too small, the family made the move to Yemen, enduring deadly illness, uncertainty, and the unnerving experience of being Christians in an Islamic culture.
Yet God was at work, and Audra was invited to see what few Christian women have seen: behind the veils of Muslim women. Here she shares about the friendships she forged, about the opportunities to minister when her new friends' hopes shriveled and their own religion faltered--and how the grace of God touched lives in the midst of an enemy stronghold. With humor, passion, and honesty, she shows readers glimpses of life deep in the heart of Islam and the yearning heart of our loving God.
What do you do when you encounter someone who isn't like you? How do you feel? What goes on inside you? How do you relate to him or her? These are the kinds of questions we want to explore in this book. Few things are more basic to life than expressing love and respect for people who look, think, believe, act, and see differently than we do. We want to adapt to the barrage of cultures around us while still remaining true to ourselves. We want to let the world change us so that we can be part of changing the world. And we want to move from the desire to love across the chasm of cultural difference to the ability to express our love for people of difference. Relating lovingly to our fellow human beings is central to what it means to be human. And when it comes down to it, Christian ministry at its core is interacting with all kinds of people in ways that give them glimpses of Jesus in us.
The billions of us sharing planet Earth together have so much in common. We're all born. We all die. We're all created in the image of God. We eat, sleep, persevere, and care for our young. We long for meaning and purpose, and we develop societies with those around us. But the way we go about the many things we have in common is deeply rooted in our unique personalities and cultures. So although we have so much in common, we have as much or more about us that's different.
When Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, he revealed that the key for reaching the world with the gospel is found in sending, not gathering. Though many churches focus time and energy on attracting people and counting numbers, the real mission of the church isn’t how many people you can gather. It’s about training up disciples and then sending them out. The true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.
But there is a cost to this. To see ministry multiply, we must release the seeds God has placed in our hands. And to do that, we must ask ourselves whether we are concerned more with building our kingdom or God’s.
In Gaining By Losing, J.D. Greear unpacks ten plumb lines that you can use to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. The good news is that you don’t need to choose between gathering or sending. Effective churches can, and must, do both.
Abdulmasi kills hundreds of Christians in northern Nigeria with no remorse—until the day he chooses a new life of faith and sacrifices everything for a God of love.
What can we learn from these faith-filled brothers and sisters around the world? How can we pray for them? And what do their remarkable stories teach us about a God whose light shines in a dark world?
I Am N reminds us that we are each “N”—as radical Muslims in Iraq identify followers of Jesus the Nazarene. Wherever we live, we have camaraderie with those who are persecuted. So come meet their families. Read their stories. Deepen your faith in a God who gives us the courage to shine in a dark and hurting world.
"The church exists by mission as fire exists by burning." With these words of Emil Brunner, the author reminds us to be the church, is to be in mission. After describing the various captivities of the mission, which subjugated to Christianity in the United States, the author struggles to expose a strong and committed practice of mission, beginning in local congregations and extending to the broader community. This book Una Introduccion a la Mision can help seminary students and lay study groups to learn the fundamental Christian mandate and join God's mission in the world.
Finally, the book considers the fulfillment of the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ and the church. It examines Jesus' parables and ministry, his proclamation of God's kingdom among the nations, and the work of the Holy Spirit through the church.
Announcing the Kingdom is the product of Arthur Glasser's more than thirty years of teaching and has been used by thousands of students at Fuller Theological Seminary. Now revised by Glasser's colleagues, this study provides mission workers and students with a new understanding of their calling and its biblical foundation.
In his most incredible and eye-opening book to date, Brother Andrew invites you to meet:
• Ahmed, a young Muslim terrified by nightmares until he is introduced to Isa (Jesus)
• Mustafa, a former leader in a fundamentalist Muslim movement that persecuted Christians
• Salima, a privileged young Muslim woman who is held captive by her family when they find a Bible in her possession
• Abuna, a priest faced with an aging congregation and constant threats to his beloved church
• and many more.
Secret Believers not only gives readers a glimpse of the lives of these courageous believers, it also proposes four practical initiatives for Christians in the West to help these persecuted brothers and sisters. It calls us to join this new kind of jihad, leaving vengeance behind in favor of forgiveness, radical love, and unyielding prayer.
Born in Beverly Hills, Clarke was raised around the glamour of Hollywood and looked like a star herself, a beautiful blonde reminiscent of Grace Kelly. The choreographer Busby Berkeley spotted her at a restaurant and offered her a job, but Mary's dream was to be a happy wife and mother. She raised seven children, but her two unfulfilling marriages ended in divorce. Then in the late 1960s, in midlife, she began devoting herself to charity work, realizing she had an extraordinary talent for drumming up donations for the sick and poor.
On one charity mission across the Mexican border to the drug-trafficking capitol of Tijuana, she visited La Mesa prison and experienced an intense feeling that she had found her true life's work. As she recalls, "I felt like I had come home." Receiving the blessings of the Catholic Church for her mission, on March 19, 1977, at the age of fifty, she moved into a cell in La Mesa, sleeping on a bunk with female prisoners above and below her. Nearly twenty-eight years later she is still living in that cell, and the remarkable power of her spiritual counseling to the prisoners has become legendary.
The story of both one woman's profound journey of discovery and growth and of the deep spiritual awakenings she has called forth in so many lost souls, The Prison Angel is an astonishing testament to the powers of personal transformation.
DeYoung and Gilbert write to help Christians “articulate and live out their views on the mission of the church in ways that are theologically faithful, exegetically careful, and personally sustainable.” Looking at the Bible’s teaching on evangelism, social justice, and shalom, they explore the what, why, and how of the church’s mission. From defining “mission”, to examining key passages on social justice and their application, to setting our efforts in the context of God’s rule, DeYoung and Gilbert bring a wise, studied perspective to the missional conversation.
Readers in all spheres of ministry will grow in their understanding of the mission of the church and gain a renewed sense of urgency for Jesus’ call to preach the Word and make disciples.
Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It’s about radical sacrifice and selfless service—how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It's a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It's about living like we mean it. It’s a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane.
This book is for us—a generation intent on pursuing our life's work in a way that leaves us without regrets.
Author Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and twentysomething who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference.
From astronomy to exegesis, from apologetics to the Global South, from being missional at home to employing our resources in the global cause, Finish the Mission aims to breathe fresh missionary fire into a new generation, as together we seek to reach the unreached and engage the unengaged.
Send the Light: Letters from Lottie Moon is a collection of letters written by the most beloved of all Southern Baptist missionaries. These letters offer a rare glimpse into the daily routine of a woman who challenged nearly every missionary preconception that Baptists cherished at the turn of the century. She faced wars, anti-American animosity, and cultural alienation with a quiet dignity and faith that inspired her fellow missionaries and eventually won the hearts of her Chinese neighbors. She urged her denomination to support their missionary enterprises with the same type of zeal that motivated her. Moreover, Lottie Moon was never bashful about chiding, even scolding them when she thought they were not doing enough to support missions.
Beyond her numerous admonitions to Southern Baptists in general and the Foreign Mission Board in particular, Moon's personal correspondence captures a sensitive, caring woman who loved children and valued education. Always one who maintained deep family roots, these letters offer an intimate look into her desire for her family members to live happy, productive lives. They also reveal a woman whose sober, common sense approach to life was tempered by a subtle, often unexpected, sense of humor. All told, Send the Light reintroduces the world to a devoted missionary who forever changed the way Southern Baptists viewed missionaries.
This intensely practical handbook includes many helpful tools: summary sections encapsulating the ideas contained in each chapter in a popular way; suggested practices to help readers embed missional paradigms concretely; and adult learning-based techniques and examples from other churches and organizations that enable readers to process and assimilate the ideas in a group context.
Make no mistake about it; the scope of the change that is required to shift to the kind of movement described in The Forgotten Ways is nothing less than paradigmatic. Every element of mDNA poses a direct challenge to the prevailing ways of doing church and mission. When taken together, all six elements of Apostolic Genius make the task seem enormous. But we don't think it is actually as difficult as it seems. And it is certainly not impossible. The Chinese church proves that a highly institutionalized form of Christianity can become a remarkable movement given the right circumstances. And we don't believe that we have to have persecution to activate Apostolic Genius. Less intense forms of adaptive challenges can, and do, force the church to respond. What we are witnessing in our own day indicates that. Because the church carries the gospel as well as the full coding of Apostolic Genius in her, the potential for world transformation is always present in us. We can always draw upon latent resources and instincts. God is able and very willing to stir his church up. In fact we see this as one of the very special works of the Holy Spirit--to awaken God's people to their calling and destiny as a movement that can and will change the world.
Joey exchanged a comfortable life, running the family business in the Nashville suburbs, to engage in mission halfway around the world. The Lankford’s left behind family, friends, and the familiar in search of a unique calling–economic development among South Africa's poorest communities. Fulfilled is one family's daring plunge into freedom, not by running away from it all, but by running directly into total surrender to God. Joey Lankford and his family found that in order gain it all, you have to be willing to lose it all; in order to really live, first you have to die.There's still a life that's both full and fulfilling, a life spent in wild pursuit of God.
In Toxic Charity, Robert D. Lupton revealed the truth about modern charity programs meant to help the poor and disenfranchised. While charity makes donors feel better, he argued, it often hurts those it seeks to help. At the forefront of this burgeoning yet ineffective compassion industry are American churches, which spend billions on dependency-producing programs, including food pantries. But what would charity look like if we, instead, measured it by its ability to alleviate poverty and needs?
That is the question at the heart of Charity Detox. Drawing on his many decades of experience, Lupton outlines how to structure programs that actually improve the quality of life of the poor and disenfranchised. He introduces many strategies that are revolutionizing what we do with our charity dollars, and offers numerous examples of organizations that have successfully adopted these groundbreaking new models. Only by redirecting our strategies and becoming committed to results, he argues, can charity enterprises truly become as transformative as our ideals.
Chester argues that meals are also deeply theological—an important part of Christian fellowship and mission. He observes that the book of Luke is full of stories of Jesus at meals. These accounts lay out biblical principles. Chester notes, “The meals of Jesus represent something bigger.” Six chapters in A Meal with Jesus show how they enact grace, community, hope, mission, salvation, and promise.
Moving from biblical times to the modern world, Chester applies biblical truth to challenge our contemporary understandings of hospitality. He urges sacrificial giving and loving around the table, helping readers consider how meals can be about serving others and sharing the grace of Christ.
When our lives are done, it is the truly Spirit-led obedient believer who will hear:
"Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21).
The global community of Christians is stunning in its scope and spiritual impact. But what is happening to the Church as new technology, marketing, and generational shifts make their unavoidable mark? And what difference does it make for Christians in day-to-day life? Equal parts travelogue, character study, and global documentary, The Meeting of the Waters interlaces stories and instruction in the tradition of Freakonomics, The World Is Flat, and The Tipping Point. This breakthrough book is for any Christian eager to make a difference in a changing world.
From the acclaimed author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak comes a powerful new account of venturing beyond the borders of religion into the unpredictable territory of faith.
On Ash Wednesday, 2012, Sara Miles and her friends left their church buildings and carried ashes to the buzzing city streets: the crowded dollar stores, beauty shops, hospital waiting rooms, street corners and fast-food joints of her neighborhood. They marked the foreheads of neighbors and strangers, sharing blessings with waitresses and drunks, believers and doubters alike.
CITY OF GOD narrates the events of the day in vivid detail, exploring the profound implications of touching strangers with a reminder of common mortality. As the story unfolds, Sara Miles also reflects on life in her city over the last two decades, where the people of God suffer and rejoice, building community amid the grit and beauty of this urban landscape.
CITY OF GOD is a beautifully written personal narrative, rich in complex, real-life characters, and full of the "wild, funny, joyful, raucous, reverent" moments of struggle and faith that have made Miles one of the most enthralling Christian writers of our time.
In this second edition of Missions, long-time missionary Gailyn Van Rheenen revises and updates his classic text on Christian missions, laying sound theological and strategic foundations for the missionary of today and tomorrow.
Van Rheenen helps renew the missionary vision by discussing areas such as:The history of Christian mission, and how it affects where we are todaySpiritual formation for God’s missionThe missionary cycleCross-cultural communicationThe character and calling of missionariesTypes of missionariesChurch maturationSelecting mission fieldsThe role of money in missionsFour levels of involvement in missions
But Missions is more than blackboard theory. Written by a long-time missionary, it carries the conviction and insights of one who has lived his subject. Accessible to students, practitioners, and laypeople alike, Missions provides a primary go-to resource for understanding and becoming involved in the dynamic activity of world missions.
But as communism in Eastern Europe declined, Brother Andrew shifted his focus to strengthening the Christian church within the Islamic world. In a time when a mass exodus of Christians has drained the Middle East of God's light, Brother Andrew headed into this war-torn land to bring hope and encouragement to those who remained.
Light Force recounts the continuing saga of Brother Andrew's most recent mission. Through dramatic true stories, readers get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at real people affected by the centuries-old conflicts in this volatile part of the world. Now readers can join Brother Andrew and fellow Open Doors missionary Al Janssen in their quest to strengthen God's light in the Middle East. These gripping accounts of Christians caught in the crossfire will captivate readers everywhere.
When Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer arrived in Afghanistan, they had come to help bring a better life and a little hope to some of the poorest and most oppressed people in the world. Within a few months, their lives were thrown into chaos as they became pawns in historic international events. They were arrested by the ruling Taliban government for teaching about Christianity to the people with whom they worked. In the middle of their trial, the events of September 11, 2001, led to the international war on terrorism, with the Taliban a primary target. While many feared Curry and Mercer could not survive in the midst of war, Americans nonetheless prayed for their safe return, and in November their prayers were answered.
In Prisoners of Hope, Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer tell the story of their work in Afghanistan, their love for the people they served, their arrest, trial, and imprisonment by the Taliban, and their rescue by U.S. Special Forces. The heart of the book will discuss how two middle-class American women decided to leave the comforts of home in exchange for the opportunity to serve the disadvantaged, and how their faith motivated them and sustained them through the events that followed. Their story is a magnificent narrative of ordinary women caught in extraordinary circumstances as a result of their commitment to serve the poorest and most oppressed women and children in the world. This book will be inspiring to those who seek a purpose greater than themselves.
From the Hardcover edition.