About the author: Stephan Bauman is the president and CEO of World Relief, a church-based international relief and development agency. Bauman oversees programs in health, economics, agriculture, and refugee assistance in twenty countries. He has worked with international relief organizations for over twenty years, including World Hope International and Mercy Ships International.

An ordained minister, Stephan holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Wheaton College, and the University of Wisconsin. He and his wife, Belinda, and their two sons live in Baltimore, Maryland. (copied from Water brook&Multnomah website)

After reading this book I am uncertain of how I feel. Stephen seems to have a high view of God and love for Jesus. But he does not ever reference the Gospel. The book is full of heartwarming stories that stir up the emotions. There are many references to praying, encouraging others, providing physical needs and relief. What I did not read about was God’s grace, the conversion from darkness to light, or people receiving Christ’s forgiveness of sins. I am inspired by the author’s stories, personal sacrifice, and efforts. I am leery about social liberation theology. I believe we should help others, and pray about injustice. We should seek the opportunity to help the hungry, the widow, and the fatherless.  Christ did provide social help and meet physical needs, but never apart from offering His love and forgiveness.

I enjoyed much of the book. I probably need to read it again to understand the full scope of what he was saying. I underlined many parts of the book, I will need to go back and process. I think that he made many good suggestions, but it sounded like liberation theology. He wrote about the Kingdom, and suggested that we co-partner with God to re-create the earth. The kingdom that Stephen describes is one without poverty, suffering, and injustice. He sounded post-millinial. I don’t know if he is, he just presented himself in this manner, in his writing. I do believe that such a kingdom will exist, but not because of us. I also agree that God uses us to settle injustice, but I believe that the Gospel balances the scale of injustice. It is our responsibility to share the truth of Jesus Christ. Live, give, and forgive like Jesus, yes, but I never share without giving the Gospel in some form.

I believe that much of the book contained great ideas with valuable information. The book includes two appendixes. The first appendix, titled the beautiful tree, explains an fresh approach to changing oneself. It is a tool, a model that explains the transition from belief-values-behavior-results, a tool that will help to reveal the genuineness of our hearts. The second appendix, titled mapping a better future, is a plan designed to implement change within a group or community. In exchange for an honest review Blogging for Books has provided me a review copy of this book. I have written an honest review.