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Hastening (No Place Left) Paperback – November 1, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Hastening begins a two-volume saga that could do for mobilizing the church what Steve's earlier book, T4T, did for multiplying new disciples and churches. I commend it to you with great enthusiasm! --David Garrison, author of A Wind in the House of Islam
Everyone loves a well told thriller! I do, and so does Steve Smith. He has woven a beautiful tale in this fictional telling of real life drama. The pace and passion in Hastening helps get the message across—with impact. It's a must read! --Floyd McClung, author of Follow: A Simple and Profound Call to Live Like Jesus
Christians who enjoy reading something wholesomely different will find Steve Smith's mystery novel both informative and strategically focused on current challenges facing Christ's kingdom-builders. You may find it a bit jarring. Most of us need to be shaken up once in a while to keep focused on what Christ has commissioned His followers to do. --George Patterson, author of Come Quickly Dawn: A Training Novel
About the Author
Steve Smith, Th.D., planted a church in L.A. similar to the one in this book. For the last two decades he has led others in starting movements among unreached people groups around the globe. His book with Ying Kai on starting movements—T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution—gives practical helps on implementing Biblical principles of movements. It is a best-seller, translated into more than 20 languages.
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1 - The author pointed out that those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ can actually hasten (Greek "speudo", 2 Peter 3:12) the day of Jesus' return and he explained that concept. We do it in the same way as William Carey did it. William Carey had his detractors. And yes, God has fixed that date. But He fixed it knowing in advance, in His omniscience, the activities of William Carey and of you and of me that would all come together into the results that would be accomplished by a particular point in time. Thus knowing all future events, God could fix that date! If you are happy with the present state of the world (an ugly thing, especially with ISIS active and with the world full of individuals and organizations who are malevolent and sociopathic), then just sit back and wait. But if you are a follower of Jesus, get with it and be part of the events that can make that date sooner than what it would be without your participation! Remember the prayer that Jesus gave us back in the first century - "Thy Kingdom come". Do what is needed to bring people from among all people groups on the earth to become followers of Jesus Christ. (That is, they become members of His kingdom which comes now as an invisible kingdom in the hearts and minds and lives of His followers. Then when Jesus returns to the earth, His kingdom will come visibly manifest, and peace and righteousness will finally prevail on this earth!)
2 - The story line depicts what most missions experts would currently regard as an example of the prevailing type of approach for the gospel to finally reach all peoples. And this approach has been confirmed in two ways. First, it repeats what we see in the New Testament and in early church history where there was rapid spread of the gospel and establishment of churches without the encumbrances that eventually in history impeded that spread. Second, this approach has been used repeatedly with success in recent decades. And where adequate follow-up training has been incorporated into the approach, the results have been as good or better than slow traditional approaches with their huge organizational structure and overhead.
3 - The depiction of a clandestine organization opposing the spread of the gospel is, of course, a fictional construct. Who knows what all goes on in this world among people who operate in a clandestine manner for financial purposes, political purposes, religious purposes, or whatever! But since the first century, when the deranged Roman Emperor Nero began vicious governmental persecution of Christians, there is no doubt that there has been real opposition to the spread of the gospel. The actions of ISIS and other groups and individuals today leave little doubt that there is still serious opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for those of us who believe the Bible's explanation, the devil actually does implant thoughts, even evil and violent thoughts, into the minds of human beings to oppose the gospel. And through those human beings, the devil motivates organizations, whether open and clandestine, to oppose the gospel.
4 - In my opinion, in a few items the mission group in the book did not always carry out in the best or wisest way all of Jesus' commands to His followers. But all followers of Jesus Christ fail in some respect in living out God's commands. Only Jesus Christ Himself, being without sin, was perfect in that respect and in all other aspects of life! (So I would score the group at 99 or 98 rather than 100. But that is just my opinion.) I recently re-read about an event that is reported to have taken place in the life of D. L. Moody, the famous evangelist of the 1800's. A woman said to Moody that she did not like the methods that he was using to make the gospel known. Moody replied that he did not like them very much either. He then asked the woman what she was doing to make the gospel known. She said that she was doing nothing. Moody replied that he preferred his way of doing something to her way of doing nothing.
5 - So, I would suggest that we who are followers of Jesus Christ get on board and "do something", both in prayer and in other action. After all, the concluding prayer of the whole Bible at the end of Revelation chapter 22 is, "Come, Lord Jesus". (And this book can give you a good viewpoint and ideas for action as well as a motivational "kick in the pants" to get you going in your part NOW!)
The basic premise of the book is that Jesus won't return until the work of sharing the gospel throughout the world is completed, and the missionaries currently serving can't reach all of them. Three men, church planters, come up with the idea of mobilizing Christians to reach the over 3000 unreached people groups throughout the world by the year 2025 - a very ambitious ten year plan.
Throughout the book references are made to Perspectives class, an actual class, a 15 week study in missions. Prominent missiologists are mentioned by name, and the acronyms used are familiar to those who study trends in church planting and missions.
But this is fiction, a thriller based on present and future events, and so there has to be a protagonist. In this case, a group of men simply known as The Ten, a group that has power and resources that most of us couldn't even dream about. The two story lines intertwine very nicely, and the adversary adds an element of excitement and intrigue for those who may not be overly interested in dry facts about current trends in the field of missions.
I enjoyed this book, and actually read it in one sitting. I'm looking forward to the sequel, which will hopefully be released soon.
Although I was fortunate enough to get a review copy of the book in exchange for agreeing to review the book, I would willingly pay the asking price since it is such an enjoyable read. Please, though, although it is easy to get caught up in some of the facts about the mission field, this book is representative of a world-wide picture of serving.
For more information on the current challenges facing missionaries today, and about reaching Unreached People Groups head to NPL2025.org/respond
The book takes the reader through [what starts as] three plots that are wonderfully woven together. The main plot was beautifully crated and thought out in taking the reader through the process of "discovering" the No Place Left vision themselves. While it is a fictional work it has many real life implications. It has really re-fueled my passion and drive for the No Place Vision and desire to be that final gneration which hastens the day of our Lord's return.
To any missionary or church planter: I would highly suggest 2 things:
1.) You personally read this, I think it was good for my soul to be reminded of the end vision. I think it was also good to receive this vision in a new and less "instructional" manner.
2.) Give this to your short term teams, prayer partners and supporters. This will be a way to really vision cast and light a spark in their hearts for what you are doing!
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