Friday, April 5, 2013
UnFinished by Richard Sterns
Richard Stearns, president of Christian relief organization World Vision, has spoken to countless people worldwide from all walks of life, and found that many express a common concern. In Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning(9780849948510, $24.99, Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing), Stearns observes that believers want to be sure they are living out God’s calling for their lives.
The April 30 release is a book about “what it means to be a follower of Christ in the 21st century,” Stearns told Christian Retailing.
The book’s title has a dual meaning, he said. It refers to the unfinished mission Jesus gave His disciples: to preach the gospel to the whole world. But it also refers to how many Christians “feel incomplete in our faith, that’s something’s missing.”
More than evangelism, Stearns said the Great Commission is “really what Jesus always called the kingdom of God … going into the world and showing the world a different way to live, a different way to relate to one another, a different way to relate to God, caring for the poor and the vulnerable and the widow and the orphan, being people of integrity, people of compassion, people of justice.”
However, Stearns writes, with the endless details of everyday life, many believers have lost sight of God’s larger narrative. To help them recover what that is, Unfinished begins by investigating a big question, “What is Truth?” and then summarizes God’s grand story.
Stearns describes what he calls the clash between “the magic kingdom”—the affluent Christian life—and “the tragic kingdom”—the Christian life shaped by poverty. He says neither reflects the true kingdom of God, which requires individuals submitting to God’s rule, communities governed by His values and people going into the world as His ambassadors.
Among the examples he cites are Steve Reynolds, who introduced U2 frontman Bono to Ethiopia’s famine, and the Stu and Robin Phillips family, who sold their Wyoming ranch to build God’s kingdom.
Stearns’ previous book, The Hole in Our Gospel, also from Thomas Nelson, won the 2010 Christian Book Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.