Book Review: Unfinished:Believing is only the Beginning, by Richard Stearns

Unfinished cover
In July, 2009, I said Richard Stearns’ first book, “The Hole in our Gospel:What does God Expect of Us?” was an amazing read, calling Christians to accountability.

Stearns’ latest book, “Unfinished” takes up where “A Hole in our Gospel” left off. While the first book talked of the missing pieces of the Gospel, Unfinished shows us where they are and how to live them. I love his analogies of the three kingdoms: the magic kingdom, which is primarily first world living, the tragic kingdom, inhabited by those living on the margins – and the kingdom of God, that place where the magic and tragic meet, and where each has wisdom and responsibility for the other. Stearns masterfully articulates who and Whose we are as Christians – and how to live a full and abundant life in the Kingdom of God (John 10:10).

And lest you think he takes the path of the Health & Wealth proponents, he artfully and carefully describes this upside-down kingdom into which Jesus invites us. The life goals of most Christians in first-world cultures (magic kingdom) don’t seem to line up with Jesus’ invitation to lay our lives down for His Kingdom. This is clearly a book written to Christians living in the magic kingdom – and redefining in biblical terms what an abundant life looks like!

I heartily recommend this book without reservation!

Next Steps . . .

Do you ever marvel at the turns your life takes? I’m sitting in the Kanga coffee shop in Davao City, Philippines, looking at the woman I fell in love with 40 years ago. To me she is even more beautiful today than that day I noticed – really NOTICED her (might it have been that tight green sweater and sparkling green eyes?). I’d known her for several years already, but never dreamed she might “like” me. Then a couple years later as we stood at the altar, no wait, the judges desk (in Walla Walla, WA where we ran away to be married), I couldn’t believe she was truly mine!

We’ve been on a wild journey since that day (Feb 17th, 1972). We abandoned ourselves to follow a Jesus we barely knew and have over the years continued to revel in the power of His work in our lives. We have 3 children who’ve grown into amazing individuals – each of whom married equally remarkable people. In three weeks or so, our 5th grandchild will be born.

And we’re at another crossroads. We have spent the last 7 or 8 years preparing for this next step of the journey. Sherry has been here in the Philippines for almost 3 months, completing an internship as a midwife; after our return to CA, I’ll be leaving for 2 months in Bolivia, hand-digging water wells among the Quechuas with an organization called Water For All. After that, who knows? We’re looking for some direct and clear guidance as to what the future might look like. All we know is that we have committed the rest of our lives to living out (as best we can) God’s word through Isaiah . . .” to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke . . . to share [our] food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when [we] see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from [our] own flesh and blood? . . . and if [we] spend [ourselves] in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then [our] light will rise in the darkness, and [our] night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide [us] always; he will satisfy [our] needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen [our] frames. [We] will be like well-watered gardens, like springs whose waters never fail. . . (Isa 58:6-11).

I invite you into the journey with us!