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Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian

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"There must be more to the Christian life than this--more than church each Sunday and waving to my neighbors and giving some clothes to Goodwill when I go through my closet each spring." These aren't bad things, of course. But they're safe and comfortable and easy. And there's a reason they're not satisfying your desire for something more significant and meaningful--we're "There must be more to the Christian life than this--more than church each Sunday and waving to my neighbors and giving some clothes to Goodwill when I go through my closet each spring." These aren't bad things, of course. But they're safe and comfortable and easy. And there's a reason they're not satisfying your desire for something more significant and meaningful--we're created by God for adventure. International Justice Mission president Gary Haugen has found that engaging in the fight for justice is the most deeply satisfying way of life. This book shows how we too can be a part of God's great expedition.


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"There must be more to the Christian life than this--more than church each Sunday and waving to my neighbors and giving some clothes to Goodwill when I go through my closet each spring." These aren't bad things, of course. But they're safe and comfortable and easy. And there's a reason they're not satisfying your desire for something more significant and meaningful--we're "There must be more to the Christian life than this--more than church each Sunday and waving to my neighbors and giving some clothes to Goodwill when I go through my closet each spring." These aren't bad things, of course. But they're safe and comfortable and easy. And there's a reason they're not satisfying your desire for something more significant and meaningful--we're created by God for adventure. International Justice Mission president Gary Haugen has found that engaging in the fight for justice is the most deeply satisfying way of life. This book shows how we too can be a part of God's great expedition.

30 review for Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    As someone who is in ministry I'm always on the lookout for good books to read with or recommend to others. Just Courage is now THE book I would choose if I wanted to introduce other Christians to the Biblical call to justice. It is powerful, well-written, and theologically on point. Haugen weaves together stories from the ministry of International Justice Mission, Biblical teaching, and a compelling call to courageous obedience of God. There are probably better books for people who already beli As someone who is in ministry I'm always on the lookout for good books to read with or recommend to others. Just Courage is now THE book I would choose if I wanted to introduce other Christians to the Biblical call to justice. It is powerful, well-written, and theologically on point. Haugen weaves together stories from the ministry of International Justice Mission, Biblical teaching, and a compelling call to courageous obedience of God. There are probably better books for people who already believe in the Biblical call to justice and are familiar with the work of IJM. But even they will likely enjoy this book as I did. As for the audio recording the reader did a good job, though occasionally the tone struck me as a bit over-enthusiastic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    Would we rather be safe or be brave? This study makes you think deeply about the question and what it means for the Christian. Haugen is a lawyer and he is passionate about justice. So is our creator. He gives a very clear definition of what the word justice means. I think it is a bibical one at that. He also points out without righteouness, there is no justice. Sometimes the world cries justice, but without righteouness. Haugen is part of an organization that gets deep into the world of organiz Would we rather be safe or be brave? This study makes you think deeply about the question and what it means for the Christian. Haugen is a lawyer and he is passionate about justice. So is our creator. He gives a very clear definition of what the word justice means. I think it is a bibical one at that. He also points out without righteouness, there is no justice. Sometimes the world cries justice, but without righteouness. Haugen is part of an organization that gets deep into the world of organized crime freeing those caught up in the slave trade. It is horrifying and heart breaking what is happening. Justice takes courage. The restless in our hearts may be due to lack of courage and more about being safe. We are not called to safe living but brave living. For fighting justice, not be on the defensive side but on the offensive. You will hear of wonderful stories of those freed and given justice. So many are not. So the question remains, do we be safe living in our comfortable homes, or do we be brave and getting into the trenches of our ugly world. Their are opportunities locally and global. When we choose brave over safe, we see God working in ways we miss when we are safe.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    Excellent book. The push to enact Christianity as part of the Social Gospel is an old one and maybe a tired one. Haugen's push, though is different. He isn't asking God to sign off on what enlightened people who happen to be nominal Christians have come up with, he is rooted deeply in God's expression of His character through His Word and sees the fight for social justice as an extension of that. This fight, he argues, will spread the Gospel at phenomenal speed by SHOWING the love of Jesus to tho Excellent book. The push to enact Christianity as part of the Social Gospel is an old one and maybe a tired one. Haugen's push, though is different. He isn't asking God to sign off on what enlightened people who happen to be nominal Christians have come up with, he is rooted deeply in God's expression of His character through His Word and sees the fight for social justice as an extension of that. This fight, he argues, will spread the Gospel at phenomenal speed by SHOWING the love of Jesus to those who most need to see it and His power to the entrenched evil of the world. As no small matter, he also says that Christians who engage in this fight as an expression of where God's heart is will live in power and freedom like they have never experienced because we will be fighting the battles we are wired to fight in God's strength He loves to display.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul J

    When I feel challenged by a book, it is always time to give it 5 stars. God has called us to an exciting life that is filled with joy and blessing, but not comfort. When we would rather be comfortable than obedient to do what is right, it will surely backfire on us. God calls us to be courageous in the darkness. After all, we are light and we expose the darkness for what it is. Let's go!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Gary Haugan is an inspiration.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    I appreciated the challenge of Haugen to fully incorporate following Jesus into our life. The call to adventure in following God into a more just and loving world is well worth the time to read this well written book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diana Muresan

    A necessary challenge to be a part of the justice movement. I love that it ends with several easy and empowering ways we can each encourage justice with. Reminded me that I'm a force! As Americans we have so much power to be a part of good change!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily Fromke

    Haugen starts this book by describing a passage from John Stuart Mill's, "On Liberty" that he read as a freshman in college. The quote, criticizing Christians, reads, "The sayings of Christ coexist passively in their minds, producing hardly any effect beyond what is caused by mere listening to words so amiable and bland." My freshman year at Wheaton College I also read "On Liberty" and had written out this quote on a notecard and posted it on my dorm room wall because it convicted me so. How cou Haugen starts this book by describing a passage from John Stuart Mill's, "On Liberty" that he read as a freshman in college. The quote, criticizing Christians, reads, "The sayings of Christ coexist passively in their minds, producing hardly any effect beyond what is caused by mere listening to words so amiable and bland." My freshman year at Wheaton College I also read "On Liberty" and had written out this quote on a notecard and posted it on my dorm room wall because it convicted me so. How could I listen to the Word of God, words of eternal life, and still act as if I'd never heard the truth? "Just Courage" encourages Christians to examine their beliefs, such as "blessed are the poor and humble; it's better to give than receive; judge not, lest you be judged; love your neighbor as yourself etc." and ask whether or not their actions and their lives reflect these beliefs. Mill calls out Christians for their hypocrisy when they do not live as they preach they ought to live (with the exception of the compliments he gives to the early Church — believers who were martyred for their faith). Haugen challenges Christians to live out their faith and take up the biblical calling to fight injustice. This is an excellent read. Don't read "Just Courage" if you're content to safely seek personal piety without regard for God's command to seek justice or without conviction that we reveal what we truly believe through our actions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This book was very disappointing. I read it for a book club...and therefore I stuck with it even though I would have preferred to find as better use of my time. The author should have allowed the real-life stories to exemplify his idea of modern courage. Instead, I felt he used analogies, anecdotal stories and biblical references to 'guilt the reader' into moving out of what he calls 'safe' into an area of 'courage and bravery'. (As if those who live in safety are equated with cowards ~my words This book was very disappointing. I read it for a book club...and therefore I stuck with it even though I would have preferred to find as better use of my time. The author should have allowed the real-life stories to exemplify his idea of modern courage. Instead, I felt he used analogies, anecdotal stories and biblical references to 'guilt the reader' into moving out of what he calls 'safe' into an area of 'courage and bravery'. (As if those who live in safety are equated with cowards ~my words, not his.) Three things that really bothered me: 1) I felt his biblical references were often used out-of-context. 2) I felt the author never acknowledged that the Lord could be using the average Christian (and his/her gifts) in their current sphere of influence, and thus they could be making a difference for God's kingdom. In contrast, I felt the author was 'shaming us' into feeling that we are not serving God unless we get out into International areas of injustice... and thus, he didn't leave room for those who are serving the Lord as parents, plumbers, teachers, politicians, media professionals, social workers, nurses, bankers, etc. 3) This book felt like a sales pitch for IJM. The author could have furthered IJM's cause by writing more about IJM's successful work and less about how the reader should join their cause.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Overall, this was a decent book, and something I think a lot of Christians need to hear. We need to be involved in justice, and we need to have the courage to do God’s will in our world. The book makes it clear in a few places that it is written for an audience of middle class suburban Americans, and I think this is the book’s main problem. If you are in the target audience, of course you can travel the world to address injustice. But what about someone without the education and resources (privi Overall, this was a decent book, and something I think a lot of Christians need to hear. We need to be involved in justice, and we need to have the courage to do God’s will in our world. The book makes it clear in a few places that it is written for an audience of middle class suburban Americans, and I think this is the book’s main problem. If you are in the target audience, of course you can travel the world to address injustice. But what about someone without the education and resources (privilege)? On the one hand, it could be argued they don’t need the call to courageous faith and dealing with injustice, because they face it all the time. On the other hand, I think a lot of people can find themselves not quite able to respond as this book asks, but also needing to find a more courageous faith that fights injustice. Still, for the target audience, this is a powerful call to a courageous faith.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I can’t say that this book will resignate with everyone. The price of entry for its understanding is based on a couple fundamental beliefs (or at least an openess to learn) about Christianity, and the importance of justice. If you’re in one of the two camps, this book will surprise you. It calls to carpet what the author Mr. Haugen believes is the hypocracy of the church and the people in it. The hyprocracy the church’s inactivity in the fight for justice for people of the world, which he argues I can’t say that this book will resignate with everyone. The price of entry for its understanding is based on a couple fundamental beliefs (or at least an openess to learn) about Christianity, and the importance of justice. If you’re in one of the two camps, this book will surprise you. It calls to carpet what the author Mr. Haugen believes is the hypocracy of the church and the people in it. The hyprocracy the church’s inactivity in the fight for justice for people of the world, which he argues is in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teaching. The other way this book will surprise you is in its honesty. Mr. Haugen easily explains the plethorias of fear we have of letting go of our “lives of quiet desparation” (-Henry David Thoreau), but doesn’t sugar coat the dangers in doing so-especially in the quest for justice. But in its end he explains why, despite what we may be telling ourselves, we’re equiped and able to do so. He doesn’t just give us example via his own journey, but that of others as well. I found this book to be the source of a personally contemplative, and revealing look at my external and internal beliefs. For those simple facts alone I recommend it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book is well-written and provided me with great inspiration to live my faith. It caused me to be introspective and evaluate whether I am living consistently with what I say I believe. I loved the question - would you rather be safe or be brave? - because you can't be both. Knowing that there is a growing problem with youth today in being hopeless and struggling with mental health issues, I wonder if more of us stepped out of our lives of comfort and safety and set the example of bravery... This book is well-written and provided me with great inspiration to live my faith. It caused me to be introspective and evaluate whether I am living consistently with what I say I believe. I loved the question - would you rather be safe or be brave? - because you can't be both. Knowing that there is a growing problem with youth today in being hopeless and struggling with mental health issues, I wonder if more of us stepped out of our lives of comfort and safety and set the example of bravery... would they be more hopeful in addition to stepping out to help bring justice to those who have the greatest need? A quote the author made when I recently heard him speak at the Global Leadership Summit that stuck with me was... "Courage - like fear - is contagious."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Not a self-help book--yet it probably contains the best advice one could receive for how to live a self-actualized life. Not a spiritual transformation book--yet, if I were to follow its principals, my life would be transformed spiritually for certain. Not a parenting book--but how I wish I'd read this with a bunch of parents back when my kiddo was still at home. Great book. Not a hard read like one of Haugen's other books that I'm working on (The Locust Effect). Compelling. I'm not going to get Not a self-help book--yet it probably contains the best advice one could receive for how to live a self-actualized life. Not a spiritual transformation book--yet, if I were to follow its principals, my life would be transformed spiritually for certain. Not a parenting book--but how I wish I'd read this with a bunch of parents back when my kiddo was still at home. Great book. Not a hard read like one of Haugen's other books that I'm working on (The Locust Effect). Compelling. I'm not going to get my plane ticket for South Asia to go raid a brothel--but I am doing some serious praying about what my part is in "breaking the chains of injustice" as a participant in Christ's kingdom.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deane Barker

    Less of a book and more of a promo for the IJM ministry. Short; read it in 45 minutes. Reminded me of "The Hole in the Gospel" in that he picks an obvious point (there is injustice in the world and people don't deserve to be slaves) and just hammers away at it for 150 pages. It was a big argument in service of a point that I don't think anyone is debating. Again, I don't think the book has an independent -- rather, I suspect it's just a fundraising tool for his ministry.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt McAlear

    3 hour audio read. Nothing revolutionary in this book. The main concepts I got from it were to play offense and be active pushing outside of your comfort zone and be ready to give it all up for a higher calling. Other than those concepts he spends a lot of time talking about why IJM is a great organization (which it is). He also spends time at the end of the book to try to persuade you to get involved with IJM in some way. Quick read for a little reward I guess.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shellie Ware

    Challenging stuff. “If following Jesus does not feel dangerous, I should probably pause and check to see if it is Jesus I’m following.” What would the world be like if Christians wanted adventure, faith, miracles, and deep knowledge of Jesus instead of comfort, security, control (ouch), and success? Food for thought, and hopefully action.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erick

    Great question: Would you rather be safe or brave? Smart or brave? God’s call to be courageous and not comfortable is clear. And there are many people out there in developing countries and in the US who need Christians to be brave - the marginalized, the forgotten, the oppressed, widows, and the fatherless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    Gary Haugen is an inspiration; IJM is an incredible organization. But this book was essentially a watered-down combination of "The Good News About Injustice" and "The Locust Effect." Each of those books is dramatically more compelling. I suppose this was written to convey the message to an audience that has no appetite for data or the graphic details of injustice. So reading "Just Courage" is better than not reading any of Haugen's books. But you are better off reading one of his others.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    "Sometimes the will of God is scary because he is asking us to choose between a life that looks successful and a life that is actually significant, between a life that wins the applause of our peers and a life that actually transforms lives through love." p 119

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aino

    "Would you rather be safe than brave?" So simple. So convicting. I want to be a part of the adventure that we're all called to as Christians. Even though it's scary. Even though it's risky. Because in the end, it is good. So very good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    AJ Bourg

    Read this in a single day. The stories are incredible, I️ was in near tears many times. If you feel like God has more in store for your life than your comfortable little life, you need to check this book out.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Presnell

    It is a book building a case for their ministry of bringing justice to the oppressed around the world. Convincing argument from Scripture, history and experience. Interested in pursuing how Janine and I and/or our church can help their worthy effort.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Levi

    I love hearing how non-profits are started. The leaders are often so humble and driven. This story is no different. Refreshing to know the success yet read about such reverent, God-honoring steps that have continuously been taken. Love the work of IJM all the more!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Spear

    Wish I was a lawyer so I could work for IJM and fight injustice on a global scale

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bekah Backman

    International Justice Mission is doing great things to transform not only individuals but also corruption in the world governments. They are doing the hard work that matters. A great example to us.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book has similar ideas to Haugen's book Good News about Injustice, but it's more concise. It's a great source of information, solid theology, and ideas for how to take action.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Watson

    The dare to live bravely, not safely, and to be part of God's work for justice. Good introduction, especially for a younger person

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Ray

    Haugen makes some good points about the necessity of seeking global justice as Christians, but he spends too much time on his own organization, which makes the message too narrow.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Sowers

    Excellent book leading us to a life of courage and adventure

  30. 4 out of 5

    KinHo Chan

    Do I want to be safe or do I want to be brave? Do I put more value on being smart or being loving? Do I want to be successful or significant? Do I find it difficult to do my work without prayer? Is it because I don't need God's help in my work or is it because I am doing work that God doesn't need done? Haugen showed Christians a way to live with meaning and purpose in a world deeply suspicious of religious phonies. Very little in this book is original or earth-shattering, but Haugen's genuine ea Do I want to be safe or do I want to be brave? Do I put more value on being smart or being loving? Do I want to be successful or significant? Do I find it difficult to do my work without prayer? Is it because I don't need God's help in my work or is it because I am doing work that God doesn't need done? Haugen showed Christians a way to live with meaning and purpose in a world deeply suspicious of religious phonies. Very little in this book is original or earth-shattering, but Haugen's genuine earnestness in raising these issues left me inspired. The most notable section is where Haugen provided new lens for readers to reconsider the familiar story about the rich young ruler's encounter with Jesus. This short book is a potentially life-changing investment of just a few hours.

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