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An impassioned offer

WE INTERRUPT THIS SERIES OF W E E K L Y W O R D S ON POPULAR TRENDS IN SPIRITUALITY TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. At least, I think it’s important. There are some things I’m passionate about; some things that motivated me to leave Middle Earth (alias New Zealand), and to come and live in one of the world’s most densely populated countries. I have tried to express this passion in a book called, Living as people of hope. It has to do with Europe’s future.

This announcement is to tell you why you should and how you can get this book. I’m not going to be shy about saying why I believe this message is important.

My central premise is that whoever offers hope, leads. I want to stimulate followers of Jesus to live the sort of lives which would spread hope in our world, especially here in Europe.

But, most Europeans don’t perceive us as people of hope, as the following excerpt from the second chapter explains:

Do we, people of God, have hope to offer our fellow Europeans?
If so, why do they not look to us for direction?
Why do they so often conclude that the Christian message is irrelevant?
that the Church belongs to the past, not to the future?
that Christians have nothing relevant to say about the headline issues of today?

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment.
When thoughtful, non-church-going Europeans look at us, the Church, what do they see? When they listen to our message, spoken and acted, what do they hear? Too often they see us retreating into the comfort zones of our congregations, playing spiritual parlour games among ourselves, the ‘sacred’ parts of our lives divorced from the ‘secular’ parts.
Message heard: Christians have little hope to offer tomorrow’s Europe.</b >

Too often they see us absorbed with our doctrinal disagreements
over a gospel apparently irrelevant to the everyday concerns of business people, politicians, factory-workers, the young and the unemployed.
Message heard: Christians have little hope to offer tomorrow’s Europe.

Too often they hear an expectation that things have to get worse and worse – an eschatology of ‘gloom and doom’ – and that all attempts towards European unity are antichrist conspiracies.
Message heard: Christians have little hope to offer tomorrow’s Europe.

Too often they see a hopelessly ‘balkanised’ Church, desperately weak in pan-European relationships, unable to demonstrate unity in diversity, and lacking the moral authority to lead the nations of Europe in their quest for unity.
Message heard: Christians have little hope to offer tomorrow’s Europe.

Too often they see us as living in the past, and our expressions of corporate worship as quaint relics of bygone times.
They look at the Orthodox church and glimpse Byzantium.
The Church of Rome reminds them of medieval times.
The traditions and vestments of some traditional protestant clergy can conjure up the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.
Some non-conformist evangelical services still reflect elements of the nineteenth century, while pentecostal meetings may evoke nostalgia for the early twentieth century…
Message heard: Christians have little hope to offer tomorrow’s Europe.

This may not all be fair.
But, let’s be honest. Some of it is.
Many of our contemporaries see and hear us through these filters.
Little wonder they do not look to us for answers to Europe’s problems!
Little wonder they do not regard us as being people of hope!
Little wonder the Church of Jesus Christ has lost her leadership role in Europe!
Little wonder we are perishing without vision in Europe!
In the language of Deuteronomy, we have become the tail and not the head.

TEN IMPERATIVES
So where are we headed in Europe?

Part one of the book tells of an encounter I had in Budapest which began to open my eyes to a possible neo-pagan future awaiting Europe, barring a revival of biblical values. We are already further into this future than we realise. Hence this current series on the new spirituality. This section has already been an eye-opener for many readers of the book.

But the whole purpose of the book is to point to biblical hope.

Hope requires a vision of the future. Without expectation there is no hope. If our expectation level is low, we hardly qualify as people of hope. How then can we recover vision, hope and expectation for Europe? How do we become the ‘head’ once more, leading the nations towards God’s purposes? The second part of the book spells out ‘ten imperatives for God’s people’, which I propose will help us recover biblical hope for Europe in the twenty-first century.

Frankly, books about Europe are not in great demand. I sometimes envy those publishing in America, a huge, coast-to-coast market in a single language with one currency and countless advertising channels in nation-wide publications. Compare that to Europe with all its languages, currencies and national borders that, despite the ever-increasing European Union, still hinder distribution. Christian English-language publishers have told me they are not interested in Europe as a subject, in spite of the new challenging issues of Turkey’s membership in the EU, and the nature of the EU constitution.

And there lies part of the problem: how will we as God’s people in Europe help shape her future unless we face up to our responsibility? Indifference towards Europe will continue to keep us off the field and on the sidelines.

Some who received advance copies say the following:

I really believe this book is desperately needed in Europe at this time.
Most of us already know the crisis situation of the European church.
I believe this book, with the power of the Holy Spirit,
is going to help us face this crisis in a proactive and victorious way.
I’ve known Jeff Fountain for decades and he is a man after God’s heart.
Please listen to what he has to say.
George Verwer, founder Operation Mobilisation

Jeff Fountain directs our attention to the future of Europe and our role in shaping that future.
Disciples of Jesus have a message of hope that needs to be heard in Europe!
We are called to active and positive involvement in Europe, in and from the church – also in politics.
Fountain offers valuable insights and provokes his readers to think from his own personal experiences and questions,
This book-with its vision of hope for Europe-has motivated and stimulated me afresh to respond to John Stott’s challenge, quoted inside:
‘Where are the Christian people today who see the status quo,
who do not like what they see,
who therefore refuse to come to terms with it,
who dream dreams of an alternative society which would be more acceptable to God,
and who determine to do something about it?’

An appealing book!
Andr√© Rouvoet, political leader of the Christian Union party of the Dutch parliament (voted Holland’s ‘Politician of the year, 2004’)

As the west has been turning away from the word as its anchor, many foresee the future to be very dim.
Through this book, Jeff Fountain gives hope, not only to Europe, but to the whole western world.
Loren Cunningham, founder, Youth With A Mission

So, the bottom line is, how to order and pay for the book? Here are some details.

Living as people of hope: pp182
Recommended retail price is €12.50, ¬£8.99, or $US15.00, excluding p+p.
ISBN 90-74319-50-5 Publisher: Initialmedia, P. O. Box 21040, 3001 AA Rotterdam NL; Email: info@initialmedia.com; web: www.initialmedia.com

How to order:
1. Ask your local bookstore – distributed in most of Europe through Asaf Books Gifts & Music: Het Vergun 1, 6931 KC Westervoort, Netherlands, tel: (+31)-(0)26-3113700 Fax: (+31)
-(0)26-3118044; E-Mail: info
@asafbooksgiftsmusic.com

2. In England: YWAM Harpenden bookstore, Highfield Oval, Ambrose Lane, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4BX, tel 01582 463 242
3. In Germany: FTA Books, Rathenaustr.7, 35394 Giesson, tel +49 (0)641 791526; email info@ftabooks.de/www.ftabooks.de
4. Or, send an email order to the YWAM Europe office:
<info@YWAMEurope.org>
e.g. please send ( ) copies of Living as people of hope to:
name:
street & number:
place & code:
country
******************
and make a bank transfer to
St. Jeugd met een Opdracht – YWAM, ABN/AMRO bank a/c
BIC code (formerly swiftcode) ABN ANL2A
IBAN #NL39ABNA0518736555
One copy, incl. p+p: €15; outside Europe, €18
Two copies, incl. p+p: €27 (€13.50 ea.); outside Europe, €30
Six copies, incl. p+p: €72 (€12 ea.); outside Europe, €78
Ask about special bulk orders.

The order will be despatched after the money has been received.

We hope to hear from you!

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

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