THE KINGDOM ASSIGNMENT: What Will You Do with the Talents God Has Given You?
Late last year, Rev. Denny Bellesi preached an ordinary stewardship sermon to his congregation at the Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. But he followed the sermon with an extraordinary call to action: he handed 100 members of the congregation $100 each. Bellesi told these volunteers that the money was not theirs, but God's, and that they needed to "invest" it in some way that would build God's kingdom. In February, the volunteers reported back to a standing-room-only church (and, via a Dateline NBC segment, to millions of viewers), describing how the money had been spent to transform lives, build churches, feed the hungry and comfort the sick. More than anything, this book hammers home the message that the volunteers saw their $100 bills being multiplied into thousands as total strangers offered more money to help them undertake their charity projects. As in the film Pay It Forward (which is what gave Bellesi the idea in the first place), one good turn generated another and another. The book, a collaboration with his wife, Leesa, is not elegantly written, but then it doesn't need to be; the story itself is front and center here. These invigorating real-life stories offer excellent examples of Christian faith in action, as church members were forced to leave their comfort zones and search for ways to bless others in the community. Readers will be inspired to go and do likewise. (Nov.)
Forecast:During the summer, the Bellesis' inspirational story was featured in People, the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere, so the prepublication buzz for this CBA title is already significant. Dateline NBC has committed to following the story further.