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Dirty Faith: Bringing the Love of Christ to the Least of These Paperback – August 5, 2014
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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From the Back Cover
Put Your Faith Into Action
Do you ever feel like something in your faith is missing, that going to church, studying the Bible, and tithing just aren't enough? There has to be more, right? What would it look like to truly follow Christ and not just believe in him?
David Nowell asked the very same questions, and was led to minister to the "least of these," whom God loves deeply. In Dirty Faith, Nowell shares powerful stories of faith in action, and encourages us to move with him from the sidelines to the front line, to get our hands dirty helping the hopeless, the disenfranchised, and the poor.
Loving as God loves is central to the gospel, whether that means taking in foster children, ministering to inmates at the local jail, or something else God has in mind just for you. Let this inspiring book help you find what's been missing in your faith.
"Nowell's prophetic call strikes like a hammer on the anvil of Scripture. No reader will feel entirely comfortable here, myself included. Yet alongside the ringing iron is the whisper of grace, both the wellspring and the ultimate end of all Christian service."--Jedd Medefind, president, Christian Alliance for Orphans
"In his compelling voice, David Nowell leads readers to discover what it looks like to truly love 'the least of these' and shine the light of Christ into some of the world's darkest places. Filled with unforgettable stories from the field, Nowell's writing will both break your heart and lift your vision. This insightful book motivates every believer to act with biblical wisdom, practical actions, and compelling clarity. Dirty Faith is a must-read for those who want to put their faith into action by serving others." --Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor, The Moody Church
"David Nowell has challenged not only our view of the church's responsibility in light of the worldwide plague of violence on children--from poverty to homelessness to prostitution--he has challenged our view of Jesus Christ. Nowell's Jesus has dirt under his fingernails and calluses on his hands. The Word becoming flesh is not just incarnation, it is a holiness that is willing to be stained by the brokenness of a world that would abuse an innocent child. I want my staff to read this book. It will challenge them to do what is required of them, and then some." --Dr. Walter Crouch, President/CEO, Appalachia Service Project
About the Author
David Z. Nowell (www.davidznowell.com) is an author, speaker, and President of Hope Unlimited for Children, a Christian nonprofit that ministers to sex-trafficked children, street orphans, and child prisoners. Prior to joining Hope in 2007, he spent most of his career as a senior administrator at several Christian colleges. He is a graduate of Baylor University with a PhD in historical theology. Nowell's blog, Pursuing Dirty Faith surrounds topics of faith, orphan care, and lifestyle stewardship. He and his wife, Susan, make their home in Jefferson City, TN.
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David Nowell goes beyond talking about the "least of these"; he manages to bring you TO them. Through stories of his work with Hope Unlimited for Children, he takes you to the slums and prisons of Brazil to meet children living in unimaginable conditions, children with no conceivable alternative than to be pawns in the drug and sex trades of the area. The stories will break your heart and probably shock you a little too. .
If all the author did was share stories and pull at the heartstrings, this book might be like so many others on the same topic. He doesn't. In fact, he makes it perfectly plain that the last thing he wants from his reader is pity. He's not about guilt assuaging mission jaunts or even pocketbook solutions. He's about transforming lives through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, not just the lives of the orphans of Brazil, but the lives of those willing to step out of our comfort zones and into some "dirty faith" wherever it may be.
The book is on my list of MUST READS. I recommend it for individual reading but also think it would be excellent for small groups or congregations.
Dirty Faith is all about how to go about ministering to the “least of these”, that is orphans, widows, those who are being sex-trafficked, those in prison, etc.
I found this book to be challenging at every turn, but never condemning. I also found this book to really cause me to think.
You will not find “pat” answers in here. There is no advice to merely throw money at a problem. There is challenge. There is wisdom. There is compassion. And there are frequent calls to action. Act. Act with wisdom. Act with the right motives. But act.
I knew I had a lack, but awareness isn’t enough. I didn’t know the remedy. This book coupled with prayer is part of the remedy. The remedy for indifference. The remedy for a lack of compassion. The remedy for not knowing what to do.
If you suspect you may have some indifference or lack of compassion in your life towards those less fortunate than you and you would like to change that, then you will probably love this book. If you are already doing works of service in this area, this book may give you a fresh perspective or new ideas or fresh encouragement to help you keep going.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
What is "dirty faith"? How do we relate to "the least of these"? God calls us to, but how? And what does that mean? The least of these. The person sitting alone on the street asking for money? The thousands of children in foster care and state homes? The homeless? The cashier at Wal-Mart? Your waiter at dinner last night?
It has become a habit of mine to listen to God as I am at a store checking out. I ask Him if this is a person I need to be praying for. If I get a "yes", I will ask the cashier if there is anything going on in her life I could be praying for. Maybe 2% say "no". An overwhelming amount will tell you yes and sometimes share some really big things that they are dealing with. Sometimes it's just a simple "my family" with tears welling in their eyes.
So often, when we go on mission trips and even ask people how they are doing, we have this "power and position, and you do not" attitude. "I have Jesus; you don't. Unfortunately, I think it is precisely the perspective we often bring to our interaction with the poor, not just in spiritual matters, but in all things. The giver operates from a position of power and privilege. The recipient, by definition, is the inferior."
David continues, "Relationship with others is integral to our relationship with God. Jesus' indictment is that, if we are not capable of having a relationship with His brothers and sisters, then we do not have a relationship with Him. Not a gray judgement here. It's black and white. No relationship with my brothers and sisters in these circumstances, no relationship with me (Jesus). Determinate, not just indicator."
He also says, "I cannot begin to tell you how many times someone has said to me something along the lines of 'It is such a wonderful work you are doing, but God just has not called me to that.' Well, actually, yes, He has. Perhaps not to adopt, or even to foster, but He has called you to care for the orphan."
I could continue to quote this book all day.
David Z. Nowell is the President of Hope Unlimited for Children. This is a refuge for children that are living on the streets, prostituting themselves out so they can survive (at VERY early ages), and doing whatever it takes to make it. This is a place where they can feel loved, learn about Jesus, and feel safe. Unfortunately, many children are more fearful of the unknown, so they are more comfortable living on the streets. David's goal is to show Jesus to them. Not just for a week or two on a short term trip. He once asked a girl what she enjoyed about her mission trip and the young lady answered with the typical answer of showing them Jesus. His response was, "You were the face of God for them, and you left. You came back to your comfortable life, and those girls are still on the streets every night selling their bodies to strangers What did you really tell them about God?"
He, in no way, is against short term missions, but the point of this book is that we love to write a check and not get our hands dirty. Jesus came here as an example of how to do EVERYTHING. We are to relate to others just as He did. He became a servant. Physically, not with money and well wishes. He got his hands dirty.
I hope you will take a look at Hope Unlimited. There are a few different things he is involved in that one is bound to speak to you. Check out his resource page and see where and how God is calling you.
It is always scary to step out in faith, but look at everyone in the Bible that God called faithful. It was always the weak, the "least of these" and the ones that stumbled through life. The difference is, they got back up and asked God "what's next?".
Please pick up a copy of this book and then another one for a friend. It's completely reasonable at $8.99.
Thank you, so much, netgalley! I appreciate the book and, as always, this is my honest review. Here's to many more!