We are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more, yet we are more afraid than ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear. We face a defining moment. Will we cave to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.
In a World that Thrives on Fear, Have Faith
Compared to all previous generations, we are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet we are more afraid than ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear.
We face a defining moment. Will we cave to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.
By embracing Jesuss core yet counterintuitive teachings on truth, love, and risk, you can find freedom from the fear of the unknown, release from the uncertainty of the other, and liberation from the anxieties that hold you back.
Are you ready to pursue a countercultural kingdom of grace and love rather than safety and comfort? If so, here is your guide for changing the atmosphere of your culture, church, and world. It will only happen as you take risks big enough to break open the sky.
Stephan Bauman is the author of Seeking Refuge and Possible and the former president of World Relief, a church-based international relief and development agency that reaches more than five million vulnerable people a year. An ordained minister, he holds degrees from John Hopkins University, Wheaton College, and the University of Wisconsin. Stephan and his wife, Belinda, and their two sons live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"We live in a brave new world where terrorism, racism, and bigotry drive an engine of fear in our society and within our churches. Bauman tackles these topics head-on, compelling us by Gods love and exciting us by his grace to reject fear, embrace risk, and rediscover faith to care for people in the shadows. Break Open the Sky is a much-needed and valuable work that speaks to our current landscape in a fresh, new way."
Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College
"I think I can say that it is one of the best books I've read this year, a study of global pressures, social concern, and why fear seems to grip us in ways that aren't helpful or faithful. Formerly the director of World Relief, Stephan and his wife have travelled all over the world and the stories here are from brave folks on every continent. This is incisive in its examination of why we are too often unwilling to follow God's call into the world of need, offering service and faithfulness, and he inspires us gently to care more, understand more, give more of ourselves to be present to the pain and the joy of it all. It ends up beingit doesn't say this until the end and you then see ita study of the Beatitudes. What a great book about how to live well in our fearful, complicated, even dangerous times."
"Rarely do I read something with such deep spiritual analysis, profound insight, and poetic storytelling as Stephan Baumans new book Break Open the Sky. For those who think they already know the good news of Christ but still long for more, this short, honest, and beautifully written book is what you have been waiting for. Break Open the Sky is a timeless contribution to Christian and human spirituality."
Ken Wytsma, president of Kilns College, founder of The Justice Conference, and the author of The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
"A journey not for the faint of heart, Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live out an authentic faith in the midst of fear…, an invitation to hope!"
Tom Lin, president and CEO of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
"Humanitarian Stephan Bauman has witnessed love conquering fears, but he has also seen fear stymie faiths best intentions. His lessons from his life of global service can help us shed our fears and reawaken our commitments to that sociological impossibility, the global Christian community."
David Neff, former editor in chief of Christianity Today (retired)
"In uncertain and anxious times, Break Open the Sky is a critically important book for those who want not just to survive but to thrive. It is for those who want to find joy and power and impact in any season, especially the challenging ones. This is must reading for anyone who wants to go deeper into God and deeper into the real world we live in. This book couldnt be more timely."
Rev. Bill Haley, executive director of Coracle
"In the tumultuous days we are living in, when fear seems to be overtaking the hearts of so many, Stephan Baumans Break Open the Sky comes like a torch in the darkness. This book amplifies the very good news of an upside-down kingdom and is a clarion call to live out a faith that is honest, gritty, and beautiful."
Rob Morris, president and cofounder of Love146
"Stephan has been an eyewitness to real fear factors that have disrupted lives and derailed nations. With this book Stephan delivers a rich treasure trove of personalities and stories accumulated in his journey through this globes minefield of violence, disaster, and disregard. This book is an entertaining and thought-provoking travel guide offering a way to joy in the midst of insecurity."
Steve Haas, catalyst, World Vision
"Stephan Baumans artistry with words puts a new lens on old truths and a new way to view the events of our day that leave me feeling encouraged and courageous. This book is a must read for individuals, small groups, and university classes who truly want to live as Gods peculiar peoplefearless when the world says to be fearful, seeing abundance when the world cleaves to its storehouses of wealth, seeing the other as the ones who Jesus calls us to reach out to, especially now."
Dr. Beth Birmingham, senior director of Leadership and Staff Development, Compassion International; Associate Faculty, Eastern University
"Stephan Bauman is a unique mix of visionary, poet, strategist, and pastoral leader. Break Open the Sky is a book of hope in a world gripped by a culture of fear. Hope is out there. It may be messy and raw, but its glorious. Life isnt about living with an absence of fear; its about taking the risk to love anyway. Stephan points to a deeper understanding of the nature of God, one that hes witnessed firsthand in countless stories from around the world."
Mark and Vickie Reddy, The Justice Conference
"Break Open the Sky is not just a title …. It breaks open your heart, mind and soul with a hunger to pursue more. Packed with conviction and examples of real faith in the most desperate places in the world, wrapped with a depth of love that Jesus longs to see in all His people. A word desperately needed in these times!"
Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent, Emerita, The Wesleyan Church