I don’t recommend many books. Those that know me may beg to differ, as it must seem to them that I am constantly shoving works of literature into their hands, or sending them terse e-mails to the effect that hey should read this book or that. But I maintain that since I read everything I can get my hands on, the number of books I will recommend is a very small percentage compared to what I will actually read. A colleague of mine commented that, in his personal library he will only have books that are doctrinally correct and philosophically sound. My tastes are, shall we say, more eclectic. In my personal collection I have books on the bizarre, the obscure, and the heretical as well as books that fit my colleague’s narrow choice of reading material. I say this as preparatory to the recommendation I am about to make, as the book I will eventually mention is absolutely one of the greatest works written in the last 30 years or so. But first, a story.
It was late 1995 or early 1996, and I had been engaging in publick ministry for not too terribly long when someone pushed into my hands a dog-eared, highlighted and underlined copy of a book called The Street Preachers Manual by Gerald Sutek. I of course had heard of Gerald Sutek as he had been friends with the man who was training me in the ministry. I read the book, which was, maybe 50 pages long, and gleaned from it what I could, but wasn’t terribly impressed. Of course, in the same vein as a teenager who thinks his father a dunce until he has overcome a certain amount of his own foolishness, a few years later when I read it and had a bit more experience under my belt, the book came across as simply brilliant.
As time and God’s will would have it, I would eventually develop a friendship with Sutek and would wind up reading almost everything he had ever written. Out of all his works though, the work that I think would be the most benefit to the most Christians is a book he wrote several years back entitled Fragments of Faith.
The average Christian exists very much cheek and jowl with the world’s system, the world’s philosophies, and the world’s mindset. Our mentality is very much of sight, and very little of faith. We have more confidence in the arm of our own flesh and the color of our own paycheck than in God’s provision. We will indebt ourselves to the world, and to the world system chasing the appetites of our flesh and because of that, miss out on the richness of living out of God’s hand.
Gerald Sutek founded the SWAT Team for Christ back in the 80’s, and the mission was simple. They would travel the country conducting publick ministry, and teaching publick ministry. Their chariot was an old car, and a small trailer that doubled as a preaching platform. In addition to this unusual endeavor, they would proceed without borrowing any money or asking for any funds, trusting solely in God’s provision. The story of their adventures and misadventures is covered in this book, and it’s sequel More Fragments of Faith. It is full of stories , not only of exciting adventures in the ministry, but rather of how God fed them over and over again, proving himself faithful.
Even as I write this Gerald Sutek is in the Philippines where he intends to live out the remainder of his days serving the Lord Jesus Christ by teaching and raising up preachers to reach the Philippine people. He told me the summer before he departed “I’m going to the Philippines in January whether I have the money or not, because God said go.” That January, he went, and God has fed him ever since. Would to God that I could apply the lessons he has tried to teach me as well as I ought! Would to God that I would rely on God more, and on Michael Alford less!
As the US economy continues its collapse, and our very society continues to come apart at the seams, it’s a book, and a mindset that I cannot recommend too highly. We need to know how to lean on God, to seek his face and his provision, to live as children of the day in the rapidly gathering gloom. This book will help you do that very thing.