Amazon.com Review As though blowing oxygen upon the dying embers of a fire, pastor Jim Cymbala revived a broken-down church in a rough-shod inner-city neighborhood through Christian faith. Twenty-five years ago, the Brooklyn Tabernacle could barely draw 26 people to a Sunday service. Nowadays the congregation is 6,000 strong--filled with converted prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, and homeless people, as well as yuppies and wholesome families. Although hes quick to give God credit for this miraculous success story, Cymbala admits that there may be a few human decisions that led to this Christian triumph. Most significantly, he made sure his church community embraced everyone, from all walks of life--no matter how distasteful or foreign. Christians often hesitate to reach out to those who are different, according to Cymbala. They want God to clean the fish before they catch them. If someones gold ring is attached to an unusual body part, if the person doesnt smell the best or the skin color is not the same, Christians tend to hesitate. Thus, Cymbala encouraged his congregation to adopt the very same tolerant and accepting attitude as their God does. The results? Lets just say a church thrives in Brooklyn. Accomplished cowriter Dean Merrill helps this tender true story stay satisfying and highly readable. --Gail Hudson This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. Read more From Booklist Twenty-five years ago, Cymbala, worn out from pastoring two congregations, devoted himself solely to the dwindling band of worshipers at ramshackle Brooklyn Tabernacle. Today, the old building has been replaced, there are 6,000 worshipers at four Sunday services, the church choir wins Grammies and sings for Billy Grahams crusades, and Cymbala is asked to speak all over the world about how he did it. Although he believes he didnt do it--God did--Cymbala does have a secret: the church is first and foremost a house of prayer, he says, a place where souls can call on God. Accordingly, Cymbala established Tuesday-night prayer meeting as the most important church function (later, church members began a Prayer Band to intercede round the clock for all and sundry). With professional Christian writer Merrills help, Cymbala tells not his churchs story as much as the stories of individual souls whose saving illustrates the truth of his testimony that God responds to prayer made in repentance and faith. Cymbala considers his work part of the revivalist tradition of nondenominational Christian evangelism, and he cites 300 years worth of the great revivals and revivalists often, adding greater interest to a book that voices some of the oldest Christian wisdom with the vivid immediacy of telling tomorrows news. Ray Olson This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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