Faith in Action

[Book Launch] Unfinished: Why believing is only the beginning

The Gospels present a sweeping, holistic view of the lives Jesus calls us to lead as His followers. But modern-day Christianity tends to sell this message short: We go about our daily routines believing that if we live morally, respect each other, and believe in Christ, we’re all set.

Unfinished, the latest book by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., presents a more complete model for what it means to follow Christ: “Believing is only the beginning.”

Good Friday: Investing where hope seems dead

One of the most remarkable sentences in all of Scripture comes from the thief who was hanging next to Jesus on the cross. Jesus was just hours from death, and, by all appearances, had failed in his Messianic role.

Just days before, Jesus had entered Jerusalem, hailed as a king with shouts of “Hosanna!” But then, Jesus was betrayed, tried, beaten, and nailed to the cross. In the eyes of the disciples and all of his followers, it was all over.

Syrian refugee crisis: Moved to prayer

You won't hear much in the media about the conflict in Syria -- but it's causing significant human suffering that warrants our attention and prayer.

As the crisis approaches its second anniversary, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt is quickly approaching 1 million.

Here are some ways that you can pray for all the people affected as the unrest continues.

National Day of Prayer: Pray to end the West Africa hunger crisis

Today is National Day of Prayer, a chance for Christians across the United States to come together around the belief that we serve a God who hears us when we pray.

Join us today in lifting up families affected by the food crisis in West Africa. Failed rains have led to poor harvests across the region, affecting as many as 15 million people in six countries -- Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, and Burkina Faso. Many families have exhausted their traditional means of coping and are cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.

Without access to basic nutrition, growing children may suffer developmental issues that can last a lifetime. Your prayers for these families already affected by poverty are urgently needed.

Give yourselves fully

I always enjoy Easter for its atmosphere of wonderful, joyous celebration.

While Christmas might be described as special, Easter is triumphant. We celebrate the astounding miracle of a man, the Son of God, risen from the grave. But like a parade after any victory, Easter’s celebration is more than the festivity following an unexpected triumph.

We also celebrate what Jesus’ victory over death has freed us to do: to work for the kingdom of God.

What's "good" about Good Friday?

Visualize this: It’s 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. A crowd of Roman soldiers and community members gather around three crosses. You see Jesus, bloodied to a pulp, crucified. You smell impending death and hear a mixture of cheers, jeers, and sobbing.

All you want to do is run away so you can curl up in your own bed, desperate for any ounce of comfort and familiarity. But you don’t. Paralyzed, you stand and stare and hear and smell and feel.

So, what’s good about Good Friday?

Why my Grandma may be wrong: Living a life of sacrifice

"Sacrifice" is a funny little word. It conjures up images of pain, hurt, and unfinished to-do lists. This word especially takes on a warped meaning when combined with the word “Lent.”

Growing up, Lent was always a little bit of a joke. We teased each other for the excuses we all made for giving into the things we had given up.

My Grandma always had the best excuse. She said that Lent is technically only 40 days if you exclude Sundays, and that on Sunday, she could “break the rules.” I’m almost positive she somehow found biblical support for this, and I wasn’t going to argue if it meant my Sabbath was filled with Thin Mints.

That’s how sacrifice is most of the time, though, isn’t it?

"Be a person who is love"

Have you ever met someone who just radiates the love, light, and peace of God?

Last month, while traveling in Swaziland, I had the privilege of meeting Nomsa, a World Vision volunteer AIDS caregiver. She is one of those people -- so full of the love of God that it can’t help but spill out to those around her.

This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share her story. Nomsa presented me with a new way of looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV): “Love is patient, love is kind…it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

In a society that often equates the word "love" with romantic love, I had forgotten that this verse is talking about the way we should show love to everyone -- even the unlovely -- without condition, the way God loves us.

The power of one person's obedience

I am continually astounded by the power of individual people to make a difference.

After The Hole in Our Gospel was published, readers started sending me letters, telling me how God has used them to do remarkable things. Sometimes they took in foster children or became adoptive parents. Others changed careers or sold vacation property so they could be more useful to the kingdom of God. All of them are changing lives, spreading hope, and making the Gospel tangible to people in need.

The power of individuals to change the world has been a theme in our culture over the last year. It was a single person who launched what became the Arab Spring. Protesting corruption and inequality, a street vendor set himself on fire, galvanizing demonstrations that toppled the Tunisian regime, and setting off a protest movement across North Africa that continues even now.

Mission above mammon: Charting a course for success

As the president of World Vision U.S. and the former CEO of two for-profit corporations, I have spent all of my professional life trying to manage organizations to achieve success. Every organization, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, must have a successful financial model to succeed, but long-term success doesn’t come from just managing numbers. The most successful organizations are mission-driven.

In Christian organizations, this truth may be even more compelling.

At its core, this is the question of the means versus the ends. In a secular corporation, the goal is to create profits for the owners or shareholders; the means to that end might be selling automobiles, or books, or delivering a service like air travel or lodging. At the end of the day, the bottom line is profit.

But in a Christian business or non-profit, the role is reversed. The activity, selling books or providing a service, is the end; it’s the missional impact. Profits are simply a means to that end. We are called to put “mission above mammon.”