Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Helping Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert

book cover
When Helping Hurts,
Expanded Edition
by Steve Corbett &
Brian Fikkert

ISBN-13: 9780802457066
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Released: 2009; April 20, 2012

Source: Borrowed a friend's copy.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Churches and individual Christians typically have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty, resulting in the use of strategies that do considerable harm to poor people and themselves. This book is a must read to help create an effective and holistic ministry to the poor.

The book covers essential steps like assessing a situation to see if relief, rehabilitation, or development is the best response to a situation. The authors explain the advantages of an "asset based" approach rather than a "needs based" approach. Short term mission efforts are addressed and economic development strategies appropriate for North American and international contexts are presented, including microenterprise development.

Questions at the beginning and end of each chapter assist in applying the material. This expanded version includes a new chapter to further explain how to apply the book's principles to your situation.

My Review:
When Helping Hurts explores how current methods of helping the poor might do more harm than good to everyone involved. They also explore methods that can be more helpful long-term.

The authors believe the Bible's explanation of what's wrong with this world. They recognize and explain how a person's worldview can be a part of what is keeping them in poverty, so it's essential to teach a correct worldview based on the Bible for lasting change. (For example, if you worship rats and therefore won't stop them from eating your stored grain, then teaching you ways to grow more grain won't really help.)

I came to some of their same conclusions long ago. They explain how poverty is not solely a lack of possessions or money, though that is a result of the problem. You need to take the time to understand the culture and the situation rather than assuming you know what they need. It's about listening--about relationships and mindsets. It's not something you can fix with a handful of money and a few hours of your time.

They talk about the problems with current methods of poverty alleviation and how other approaches work better. They explain how to apply these principles in various situations, though they give the most detail in their American poor outreach examples. They talk about what we've done wrong--the authors, too--but how not getting things perfect shouldn't stop us from trying. They do talk about the problems with short-term mission trips and similar methods, but they also explain how these methods might be modified to create more positive, long-term impact for everyone involved.

Overall, I'd recommend that everyone read this book just so that they can get be exposed to other ways of thinking. I'd especially recommend it to those involved with missions and outreaches who are open to trying new approaches or to considering that there might be better ways to help the poor.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Veil of Tears movie (+free simulcast dates)

book cover
Veil of Tears

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
Kenny & Kyle Saylors

Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Source: Free Viewing for promotion purposes from Gospel for Asia.

Movie Description:
This gripping new documentary film tells the untold story of millions of women in India who are culturally persecuted for no other reason than the fact that they are women. From birth until death, their life is a vicious cycle of poverty and oppression, from the mass epidemic of female suicides, dowry deaths, forced abortion to the high rate of illiteracy among the women and even how more than 46 MILLION widows are being cast aside and ostracized by society simply because their husband died.

But there is hope. Christian women are sharing the Gospel across the entire nation of India, and it's bringing cultural change where government laws could not. Hear the stories of these oppressed women and get a glimpse of how the love of Jesus is restoring hope and dignity to a generation of broken women and rebuilding shattered lives.

Narrated by Natalie Grant, Directed & Produced by Kenny & Kyle Saylors (Kimjongilia, The Gamebreaker, My Finish Line), this film was shot on-location across the stunning nation of India, in some of the most remote tribal villages in the world today. This is more than just a film, it is a journey into a world where few outsiders have gone before.

My Review:
Veil of Tears is a documentary on the conditions that women in India still face, especially in more remote areas. But it's also about how the gospel message is transforming lives and communities to give hope, healing, and worth to these women.

The first half of the movie went all over India, from cities to remote villages, to expose how women in India still face persecution even though laws have been enacted to protect them. Women tell their story or the story of friends who have faced this cultural oppression.

The second half of the movie covers the hope that these women have found as Christian missionaries and pastors have impacted the culture through the teachings of the Bible and through showing Christ's love. It's encouraging to see how God is at work in India and that lives are being transformed. This isn't just a movie about social injustice. It's about how the message of Christ can transform a culture.

I'd encourage you to see for yourself how God is moving to transform a culture. Sign up for your free simulcast at Lifeway for anytime on March 26-30, 2014. You can show it to your women's group, missions group, church, or even just your family or yourself. This film will also be shown in some movie theaters and will later be available on DVD.

If you've seen this movie, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the movie in the comments.

Trailer: Watch the Movie Trailer.
Behind the Scenes: Watch a behind-the-scene video.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

book cover
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
by Nabeel Qureshi

ISBN-13: 9780310515029
Trade Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: February 11, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher received through

Book Description, Modified from Booklook Resources:
Many Westerners are confused about Islam, somewhat fearful of Muslims, or simply uninformed about the relationship between the Islamic and Christian faiths. In turn, many Muslims are hindered by cultural, intellectual, and theological barriers from understanding, or even rightly hearing, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, former devout Muslim Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with the friendships, investigations, and dreams and visions he encountered along the way.

Due to his desire to convert others to Islam and a deep friendship with a knowledgeable Christian, Qureshi examined the claims of Christianity and then of Islam. This engaging book portrays Qureshi's boyhood in a loving, devout family, his investigations as an adult, his doubts, and a heart-breaking choice that ultimately has led to joy and peace.

My Review:
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is an autobiography about a Muslim who converted to Christianity. While telling his story, he explains his culture/mindset, what events led to his investigations of Christianity and Islam, and what he discovered about Christianity and Islam.

Muslims and Christians can learn from this book about what the other actually believes and why. I liked how we get to see these beliefs in context--being lived out by a person and his community--rather than as disconnected facts. It made his beliefs and reactions much more understandable. His story also helped me to understand how an honor-shame culture works, which has previously been difficult for this guilt-innocence culture gal to grasp.

The author did an excellent job with engaging me with his story and drawing me into his struggle and journey. I also found this book very informative. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the claims of Islam and Christianity.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.