Jon Tyson is the pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City. Originally from Australia, Jon Moved to the United States fourteen years ago with a passion to understand and help work out the future of the Western Church. He lives, works, and serves in one of the largest cultural and missionary contexts of the world--the global city. www.trinitygracechurch.com
Darren Whitehead is originally from Australia and has lived in the United States for more than thirteen years. With a passion for the global church. Darren joined the staff of one of the most influential churches in North America as a teaching pastor for Willow Creek Community Church. www.willowcreek.org
There are no words to adequately describe how brilliant this book is, but I will try. What initially piqued my interest was the description of the book... "Where is the life God promised us? Life is busy. We live like slaves to our fast-paced, suffocating schedules. But Jesus calls us to a better way. Another dream--an unimagined future. Close the gap between what you hear about and what you see." Thus the book title, "Rumors of God--Experience the kind of faith you've only heard about."
Each chapter defines a rumor; i.e., abundant life, generosity, love, community and justice. Pastors Darren and Jon take you on a journey which will compel you to love and serve others. I loved every chapter of this book, but what especially stood out for me were the rumors of community and justice.
The rumor of community was about loving beneath the surface. Pastor Jon states that one of the great challenges we face in moving into community is the incurable need for the approval of others. This approval drives us to put on a mask or hide behind a profile, but doesn't give others the chance of loving us for our true selves. In a true biblical community there needs to be intimacy and acceptance through transparency. He states that by learning to lower our masks, we begin to love one another for who we truly are.
Over a year ago, I was part of a small woman's bible study group which met at every Wednesday at 8:00am. What started out as just a formal bible study, grew to be something so beautiful and wonderful. Little by little, our masks came off. There was no judgment, condemnation or criticism; only love. We all looked forward to meeting together and share the things that were on our hearts. Then we began to earnestly pray for one another. I can truly say that God met us in a special way and started answering our prayers. We also began functioning as a community; if someone in our group had a need, we would all try and help. I can truly say I never experienced anything quite like that. I know that it would not have been possible if we all didn't risk being vulnerable and transparent with one another.
The rumor of justice was equally provoking. Pastor Darren states as Christians, we have an obligation and responsibility to answer the clarion call of injustice not just with our cash, but also with our very lives. Oh my, this just went to the core of my heart. I have always been passionate about justice. There is this restlessness in my spirit to want to be proactive and "do something" to solve problems of injustice. As some of you know, I am passionate about children; hungry children, abused children, abducted children and sex trafficked children. This chapter on justice brought it all home for me. I learned that while it is good to be compassionate, compassion without action is fruitless.
What I also learned from this book is that our Christian walk has to mirror Jesus' walk. Jesus came to love and serve others, we also need to love and serve others too. This is called love in action. I am thankful that I've experienced this rumor, and the rumor is true. I personally know missionaries serving in other countries, loving others unconditionally. I am grateful to have experienced that first hand. This verse came to mind while reading this chapter, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27)
I highly recommend this book to everyone. This book will definitely change your life. I'm not just saying it, I mean it.
In conclusion, I want to take this opportunity to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers (BookSneeze) for sending me a free copy of this book to review. It is by your kindness and generosity that I am being blessed beyond measure. I am so thankful and appreciative.