This evening I finished my fifth book of the year, “Hurt Healer” by Tony Nolan. The book is a very good read for any disciple of Christ who is looking to follow Jesus’ 2nd commandment in Matthew 22:39 — Love your neighbor as yourself.  And the author, Tony Nolan, is one to know. He has a very powerful testimony that comes from someone who lived as a non-Christian “on the other side of the tracks”. He is now a very impactful evangelical preacher who makes the rounds as an advocate for those non-believers who are hurting. And while Christ is ultimately the “hurt healer”, as the body of Christ we should be instrumental in leading those hurting to Jesus who can heal. In essence, he says by putting on the love of Christ we become hurt healers in the process.

The book did a very good job at revealing my shortcomings as an ambassador for Jesus and encouraging me to go further. Throughout the book he creatively parallels the story of the good Samaritan and provides various perspectives to hammer home his points. The book also has space at the end of every chapter to ponder questions and documents thoughts and growth.

Additionally, Tony is a genuine person, not just as an author, but as someone who is real and reachable. Around the middle of the book, I came across a part where he was conveying his failure in meeting non-believer’s physical needs but not meeting their spiritual needs by sharing the love and sacrifice of Christ with them. He states in the book a nightmare he had where (and I am paraphrasing now) Satan tells him thank you for filling the stomachs of the homeless but not impacting their souls by sharing Jesus with them. It was eery and really hit home the short-sighted and impotent movement of “random acts of kindness” without including Jesus in it. Physical acts of kindness (short term, temporary needs) really mean nothing in the larger picture if we aren’t reaching people spiritually (long term, permanent needs). So this really resonated with me because I was struggling with something similar — I would help people but not share Jesus with them. So I wrote Tony an email and he responded very quickly. I was very impressed with his responsiveness, accessibility and authenticity. He truly is someone who walks the talk. I highly encourage you to read any of his works.

Now unfortunately, as it stands now, I am a bit behind on my 2012 reading list. And this is not my only reading goal for the year — I am pursuing this 24 book list, I am reading through the Bible in entirety this year, and I am reading “The Story” as my church progresses through that book that creatively weaves scripture cohesively and linearly as a novel would. It is a lot to bite off and, while I am making some good progress, I can see delays and goal adjustments in my future.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net