In a culture that thrives on fear, have faith.
"We are not trapped or locked up in these bones.
No, no. We are free to change. Love changes us.
And if we can love one another, we can break open the sky."
— W. Mosley
Terrorism. Racism. Refugees. Political vitriol. Our culture is driven by fear. Compared to all previous generations, we are more safe, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet, we are more afraid than ever. Our faith has fallen prey to this culture of fear. Fear slips into our souls, leaving us not only afraid, but on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, and a bastion for love, faith has become a caricature of the real thing. We are left wondering, questioning, even disillusioned.
We face a defining moment. Will we cave in to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation into living out what matters most.
Praise for Break Open the Sky:
“Rarely do I read something with such deep spiritual analysis, profound insight, and poetic storytelling as Stephan Bauman’s new book Break Open the Sky. For those who think they already know the good news of Christ but still long for more, this short, honest, and beautifully written book is what you have been waiting for. Break Open the Sky is a timeless contribution to Christian and human spirituality.”
—Ken Wytsma, president of Kilns College, founder of The Justice Conference, and the author of The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
“We live in a brave new world where terrorism, racism, and bigotry drive an engine of fear in our society and within our churches. Bauman tackles these topics head-on, compelling us by God’s love and exciting us by his grace to reject fear, embrace risk, and rediscover faith to care for people in the shadows. Break Open the Sky is a much-needed and valuable work that speaks to our current landscape in a fresh, new way.”
—Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College
“A journey not for the faint of heart, Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live out an authentic faith in the midst of fear…, an invitation to hope!”
—Tom Lin, president and CEO of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
“Humanitarian Stephan Bauman has witnessed love conquering fears, but he has also seen fear stymie faith’s best intentions. His lessons from his life of global service can help us shed our fears and reawaken our commitments to that” sociological impossibility,” the global Christian community.”
—David Neff, former editor in chief of Christianity Today (retired)
“In uncertain and anxious times, Break Open the Sky is a critically important book for those who want not just to survive but to thrive. It is for those who want to find joy and power and impact in any season, especially the challenging ones. This is must reading for anyone who wants to go deeper into God and deeper into the real world we live in. This book couldn’t be more timely.”
—Rev. Bill Haley, executive director of Coracle
“In the tumultuous days we are living in, when fear seems to be overtaking the hearts of so many, Stephan Bauman’s Break Open the Sky comes like a torch in the darkness. This book amplifies the very good news of an upside-down kingdom and is a clarion call to live out a faith that is honest, gritty, and beautiful.”
—Rob Morris, president and cofounder of Love146
“Stephan has been an eyewitness to real fear factors that have disrupted lives and derailed nations. With this book Stephan delivers a rich treasure trove of personalities and stories accumulated in his journey through this globe’s minefield of violence, disaster, and disregard. This book is an entertaining and thought-provoking travel guide offering a way to joy in the midst of insecurity.”
—Steve Haas, catalyst, World Vision
Today’s political and social culture too often incites people to fear the “others” among us. Oftentimes these are the poor, forgotten, hurting and voiceless, living in the margins of society. This is who Jesus was referring to when he commanded us to “love the least;” not the “less than.” Stephan’s book shows us how these very people – whom we may be tempted to pity, look down on, or dismiss – can become our teachers.
—Terri Traudt, Bioethicist
“Stephan Bauman’s artistry with words puts a new lens on old truths and a new way to view the events of our day that leave me feeling encouraged and courageous. This book is a must read for individuals, small groups, and university classes who truly want to live as God’s peculiar people—fearless when the world says to be fearful, seeing abundance when the world cleaves to its storehouses of wealth, seeing ‘the other’ as the ones who Jesus calls us to reach out to, especially now.”
—Dr. Beth Birmingham, senior director of Leadership and Staff Development, Compassion International; Associate Faculty, Eastern University
“Stephan Bauman is a unique mix of visionary, poet, strategist, and pastoral leader. Break Open the Sky is a book of hope in a world gripped by a culture of fear. Hope is out there. It may be messy and raw, but it’s glorious. Life isn’t about living with an absence of fear; it’s about taking the risk to love anyway. Stephan points to a deeper understanding of the nature of God, one that he’s witnessed firsthand in countless stories from around the world.”
—Mark and Vickie Reddy, The Justice Conference
"An important book that acknowledges the complexities and messiness but still points us to a deeper hope that we desperately need..." - Eugene Cho
"Inspiring. Hopeful. Needed." - Louie Giglio
Across the world, people are rising up to fight poverty, oppression, and injustice—not just professionals, but bloggers, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists and advocates. People who refuse to accept the world as it is, who dare to believe change is possible.
But we face a crisis of vision. We know what needs to be done, but often we don’t know how to do it. Without a better blueprint for doing good well, our moment in history will slip away.
Stephan Bauman, president of a leading charity believes true change begins in the hearts and actions of ordinary people. In Possible, he presents clear and biblical thinking, powerful stories, and practical tools for sustainably impacting our workplaces, neighborhoods, villages, and cities.
Possible is an eloquent and personal call to reconsider what it means to change ourselves so that we can change the world.
"A compelling perspective on our calling, our orientation toward suffering,
and the anatomy of lasting change." - Gary Haugen, IJM
“A convincing case for how we can bring genuine change to our suffering world.”
Willow Creek Community Church
"Inspring. Hopeful. Needed. Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World is a beautiful road map for us all as we discover our role in brining God's heart to the whole world."
"Possible is a beautiful, remarkable book. Stephan Bauman gives us a blueprint for changing the world that is light on superficialities and heavy with essentials. Whether you're a young activist discerning your path, or a seasoned leader recalibrating for the road ahead, you'd do well to say a prayer, and then start here."
Former Director, Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the White House
"As a dreamer, I long for those transformative moments when an old impossibility gets replaced by a new possibility. This book pierced me with joy as it dispelled lies that I'd been led to believe, then revealed just how attainable changing the world might actually be."
"After he spent decades on the front lines of justice, we are now able to read about the philosophy, faith and experiences that have led Stephan to believe justice is not merely a goal to strive for, but is indeed possible."
"This is a book about not shrinking back form the challenges of the world, but leaning into them with love, resolve and inexplicable hope. It’s about not doing easy things, but doing lasting things. Stephan's rolled out something beautiful on the table. But it not for us to just look at, but act upon. Part memoir, part manifesto. You’ll enjoy this book which will challenge some of your assumptions and confirm others."
author, Love Does
"Stephan Bauman is a poet practitioner with the dirt of the world’s biggest challenges under his fingernails. Many books point towards the world's problems, but few layout reasonable solutions."
founder and CEO, Made in a Free World.
At a conference on justice, a speaker observed that it is easier to persevere than it is to maintain hope. Indeed, the challenges of the world can easily discourage us. But Stephan Bauman comes to us withPossible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World and forces us to rethink the way we see ourselves, our world, and our God. Possible will stir your imagination, challenge your faith, and invite you to take action. Read this book – especially with a group of like-minded friends – and you’ll come away renewed in your belief that changing the world is possible.
author and professor, Gordon College
"Stephan is a visionary for what the people of God can do with a little faith. Possible doesn’t just encourage us to believe in the impossible but gives us a blueprint for action. When so much can overwhelm us about what’s wrong with the world, this book helps us act with, learn from, and just be alongside those who are vulnerable. Weaving personal stories with practical application, this book is an essential handbook to a community of change-makers.
Author, Welcoming the Stranger
"Stephan Bauman is a leader after the model of Jesus."
president and Founder, Mercy Ships
"This wonderful summons to do justice is a powerful combination of gripping stories, solid theology, and probing challenge. "Possible" doesn’t just call us to change the world; it convinces us that we can do it."
author, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
"Stephan Bauman helps us understand that if we want to steward our moment in history, we must turn our thinking upside-down—first to recognize the resilience and creativity of those who suffer, then to thank God for the privilege of coming alongside them as co-creators of the solutions. I love this book!"
Willow Creek Community Church
It has become quite fashionable to talk about social justice. Unfortunately, many of us fail to move beyond the talk into meaningful action. Quite frankly, we often just don't know where to begin. With Possible there is no longer any excuse for such paralysis, for Stephan Bauman charts a course that every one of us can pursue. Tempering heart-wrenching stories with the hope of the gospel, this book made me believe, once again, that with God all things are indeed possible.
co-author of When Helping Hurts and President of the Chalmers Center at Covenant College
"We can all find resources that tell us why we must make a difference in the world, but Stephan Bauman presents the most compelling blueprint I have read on how to do that. I wish I’d had "Possible" forty years ago!"
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, (ret.)
“Possible" is for everyone who wants to move beyond complacency to commitment, from doing little to truly changing the world. Lots of writers tell us that our world is a mess but Stephan Bauman shows us how to fix it.”
president, National Association of Evangelicals; author, Leadership That Works
"In a world of poverty, suffering and downright evil, Stephan Bauman calls us to live lives of hope, justice and vision. Rather than passively accepting what is, he challenges us to courageously rouse ourselves – and our communities - to make a difference in the world."
president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
"Stephan Bauman’s new book, Possible, has all the marks of greatness. It avoids common pitfalls of many justice books that can either be overly optimistic or idealistic on the one side or pessimistic and cynical on the other. This book is for people who still believe it is possible to change the world, but want a deep and meaningful conversation on how to get there. Stephan has accomplished something pretty special in this tight and compact treatise—it is passionately written, marked by Bauman’s years of radically hopeful living; is intellectual and deep, yet remains accessible and inspiring. Possible is sure to spark your imagination and fire your passions."
founder,The Justice Conference and author of Pursuing Justice and The Grand Paradox.
"Stephan Bauman’s fresh and creative blueprint for remaking our world,Possible, is a poetic and prophetic rendering of church history, literary insights, and encouraging stories of “average” folks working towards a more just and peace-filled world. Every chapter paints a picture of the possibilities and hope embodied in a community of love, rooted in beliefs, values, and behaviors that align with the Biblical fruits of the Spirit. All who are committed to following their God-gifted call to work towards justice—in big ways or in small steps—will glean significant truth and inspiration from this wonderful and timely book.
professor, Point Loma University
"Like Jesus of Nazareth, Stephan Bauman realizes that in order to change the world, we have to change people's hearts, starting with our own. Anyone who aches over injustice and wonders if real change is actually achievable should read "Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change The World."
former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture; author, Changing the Face of Hunger
"Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World invites us to take the first step toward living out God’s purpose for our life, as agents of reconciliation and restoration in the world. Wonderfully accessible, user friendly and faithfully-grounded, Bauman challenges the status quo, answers the question “what can I do?” and unleashes what’s possible for ordinary people to address root causes of suffering and really change the world."
president, Bread for the World
"This is an inspiring book! Written by the leader of one of the world's most effective relief and development organizations, it is full of stories that taught me and equipped me to be more effective in helping like Jesus."
senior Pastor, Northland - A Church Distributed
"Possible is not just a blueprint for change; it's a cartography of courage. Stephan has personally challenged me beyond the safety of facile and distant engagement so pervasive in our age to the arduous but promising incarnational work of world-changing. If you, like me, resist the cynicism that too often accompanies world changing, Possible calls you to leave the Shire with renewed hope."
president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
"I was in tears by the end of this book. Stephan and Belinda weave their own journey throughout these pages with grace, humility and passion. They are not asking others to do something they are not doing themselves. This book is an invaluable resource to encourage, equip, correct and inspire a generation of positive 'transformation' agents."
author and Activist, Redbud Writers Guild
"The weave and texture of Possiblecatapults this book to high levels of literary beauty, yet at the same time emotionally and intellectually intertwines our lives with the most vulnerable of the world. Stephan’s personal vulnerability, connecting with solid biblical, historical, psychological and cross-cultural models, defines Possible as a seminal book for our times."
JO ANNE LYON
General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church
"Possible is a gift for all of us ordinary people who long to more meaningfully engage injustice in Jesus’ name. With the grounded, reassuring optimism of a seasoned practitioner turned theoretician turned storyteller, Bauman combines keen kingdom insight with fresh, proven tools to help everyday disciples translate their longing into faith-filled action. How dare he believe such a thing is possible."
pastor, Fellowship Missionary Church
"In a world rife with poverty, conflict, and injustice, sometimes striving for change seems futile. Possible is a beautifully written testament to the truth that ‘what is impossible with us is possible with God.’"
Evangelical Immigration Table andAuthor, Welcoming the Stranger
"Read this book for an intimate tour into the heart of every person’s call to justice and reconciliation."
professor, Point Loma University