Amazing Stories of What God is Doing Around the World
Bill & Amy Stearns
Bethany House, 2005, 234 pp. ISBN 0-7642-0016-X
The authors have updated the popular Catch the Vision 2000. An overview of missions in the Scripture is interspersed with powerful stories of God’s redemptive work in the far corners of the earth. A missions pastor told me (of the first edition), “I was staying overnight with friends. When I found the book on the night stand, I read it all the way through before I could put it down.”
A list of resources for growing your global vision is given at the end. A 13-week Bible study guide for the book is available at www.BillAndAmyStearns.info
“God does want to bless you...because He’s got a demanding role for you....” (15)
“In A.D. 1000 the ratio was 220 unbelievers for every true believer in Christ.” Now it is about 7 unbelievers for each believer! (21)
“The invisible, omnipotent God wants to be known for who He is. ...God is infinitely intense...about protecting and projecting His character, His reputation.” (35)
“You were selected by God to land in this era of history.” “You have a reason for being part of the big picture for such a time as this.” (45)
The Bible has an introduction, a story line, and a definitely climactic ending. The introduction is Genesis 1-11. Revelation is the climax. “The Book is firmly plotted with a single purpose, an unbreakable thread running through the entire saga, which has the universe as a backdrop and you as one of the principal players.” (47-8)
“God has a twofold program to restore His creation. Part of the program has to do with reclaiming His usurped kingdom, and part has to do with redeeming or ‘buying back’ mankind, who fell under the power of the evil usurper.” (50)
“The first eleven chapters of Genesis establish the main characters: God, angelic beings, and man; the setting: earth and ‘the heavenlies’; and the conflict: Satan’s fight for a kingdom and God’s redemption of mankind.” (62)
“Maybe Abraham was like many of us, whose real problem is finding the balance between being blessed and being a blessing!” (67)
Mongolia: “From possibly one believer in 1990, the church mushroomed to about 30,000 Christians by 2004.” (73)
“We who belong to Christ fit precisely into God’s repeated promise that by us—Abraham’s and Isaac’s descendants by faith—all the nations of the earth shall be blessed!” (78)
To Israel: “...in your role as a priest for others there is high accountability, because God’s name is at stake.” “Israel was to be a nation of priests, interceding for and serving the nations of the world in the name of God.” (p. 89, referring to Ex. 19:5-6)
“The Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you...that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty” (Joshua 4:23-24). (95)
“Perhaps David’s constant reference in his psalms to ‘the peoples,’ ‘the nations,’ and ‘the ends of the earth’ suggest why he became ‘a man after God’s own heart’—the heart that yearns after the world’s lost.” (104)
“God is jealous about His name, about His reputation, because a bad reputation drives people away. And His plan is to ‘draw all men to Himself’!” (107)
“There are now more Spanish speakers in the body of Christ than speakers of any other single language. All the unreached people groups of all of Latin America—mostly small, primitive tribes...—have been engaged by mission teams.” “South America has 50,000 new churches per year.” “Latin American Christianity is changing the face of the church....” (152-53)
“A ‘worldview’ is simply the way we look at things: what we do, what we value, and what we think is true and real. And perhaps your woldview so far in life has been tinted by cultural Christianity, which emphasizes personal top-line blessing and de-emphasizes the reality of Satan’s counter-kingdom.” “Our worldviews [like a pair of colored eyeglasses] color everything we look at.” (163) “The way we look at life through our cultural worldview ‘glasses’ is the way we know it to be.” (164)
“[I want] to be clean and pure, not just to be ‘good,’ but because my daily standing before God has huge implications beyond my life, I want to be a vessel fit for God’s use in His plans! All of this is extremely important, because God is carrying out His purpose through us, His people!” (167)
Definitions: (175, 176)
· Revival: when nominal Christians are challenged to live up to their commitment in Christ.
· Evangelism: When Christians share their faith with non-Christians in their own culture.
· Missions: Taking the blessing of redemption in Christ to the nations who have never heard.
· World C: 10% of the world who are committed Christians plus the 20% who are nominal Christians
· World B: The 40% of the world population who are non-Christians living in people groups with churches.
· World C: The 30% of the world that makes up the populations of unreached peoples.
· “A people group is a significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purpose, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church-planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” (see www.MissionFrontiers.org) (179)
· A reached people: “A nation is missiologically considered ‘reached’ when it has a strong enough church to evangelize its own people.” (179)
· “An unreached or ‘least-reached’ people has no church movement. If there are any Christians, they are less than 2% of the population.” (180)
“In mainland China, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America, there is now a Pentecost every hour—more than 3,000 newcomers join the body of Christ every hour of every day, 24/7!” (185)
“...why isn’t all of Christendom buzzing with the news that we can finish the task? What’s the catch? Here’s the easy answer: There is a cost. That’s the catch. Obedience costs. Real discipleship costs. The price? Giving up our small personal agendas that detract from God’s global cause.” (196) “Since it’s global war there are going to be casualties and body counts. Living out your part in God’s great purpose won’t be easy.” (198)
“Being led by God is biblically accurate and crucial; not moving till we get an experience-based ‘call’ is suspect.” “We as God’s people have been very clearly commanded and commissioned. We are to align our lives with God’s objective of making follower-learners (disciples) of every people, including our own.” (215)
“God didn’t organize the Word with one section of study on His heart for blessing the nations; instead, He integrated that unchangeable purpose into passages dealing with His character, obedience, blindness, the meaning of the Incarnation, the growth of the church, and so on.” (216)
“God’s great purpose incorporates every God-given discipline in your life—and every ministry in the life of your church.” (216) “Every God-ordained ministry that strengthens believers within the church can be expanded as it aligns its purposes with the purposes of God.” (218)