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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough?

I  only thought that when I read David Platt's "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream" I was challenged.

Well, I've just finished what I feel is the perfect companion book to Radical.  

Chris Plekenpol, former Captain in the U.S. Army and  recent Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, wrote Stumbling Souls which is the story of his interactions with a homosexual, HIV-positive, homeless man named James.  Chris tells the story of how he and a Bible Study group choose to pour their lives into James in order to try to help him get back on his feet.

Through many twists and turns in his story, Chris finds that he is the one who "gets back on his feet" spiritually and in his understanding of what it really means to love the Lord and serve others in His Name.
"I went from a Christian ideologue to a person who has an understanding of life on the streets and an understanding of how Christ makes believers righteous on the basis of grace, by means of faith.  I have a deeper love for the lost.  I have a better grasp at how rotten I can be in my own sufficiency.  There wasn't just one stumbling soul in this book; my sins were pretty apparent, and God is still working on my selfishness and pride.  I know that with God all things are possible."
 I was struck from the very beginning with Chris and his story.  Here is a piece from the introduction:
"I love seminary.  I love sitting under the teaching of amazing godly people who have been walking with Christ far longer than I have.  But I have found, during my time in seminary, that God has revealed as much of Himself to me through my interactions with "the least of these" as He has in the classroom.  Some days I walk out of class and my head would be spinning because of how great and incredible our God is - in theory.  But for any disciple, there comes a time when learning Christ must become living Christ.  The greatness of my seminary experience was complete only when the miraculous intangibles of God's character became real in me - when I strove to be Christ to the 'sinners' in my world."
 What follows is an intriguing story of a seminary student, who between study sessions of translating passages of the New Testament in Greek, learns what it is to live out those very passages of Scripture.

I appreciate the transparency of Chris as he shares his story about his interactions with James.  He says the very things you and I struggle with in ministering to others but are just to embarrassed to admit.  The chapters are short and you will be dumbfounded at the end!  This is a MUST READ!!

Thank you B&B Media Group, Inc. for sending me this book to review. 

Stumbling Souls can be purchased at