Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Jesus Agenda by Dr. Albert L. Reyes

Reyes wants Christians to become agents of redemption. He calls that redemptive mission “The Jesus Agenda.” That means “preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for prisoners, recovering sight for the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor for everyone in our circle of influence.” (10)

To help us understand what that means, he tells his own story, the story of Robert Buckner, and stories from Buckner International. He reviews the meaning of redemption and its use in the Bible. “Redemption is God's movement in history to rescue individuals from the dominion of darkness into the realm of the Kingdom of Jesus, his Son.” (22) He explores what it means to be an agent of redemption both locally and globally, and what may be possible in the future.

He draws insights about redemption from stories in the Bible. For example, from Joseph's story, we learn “nothing can stop God's redemptive plan for our lives.” Also, “Redemption does not mean a life exempt from pain, hurt, mistreatment, or injustice.” And, “the redeeming God is able to reverse tangible problems, destructive circumstances, and extremely harsh situations for his redemptive purpose and glory.” (40) From Moses we learn that when we feel disqualified for ministry, God will qualify us on his own merits, not ours.

Reyes desires to ignite a passion in his readers to become agents of redemption. The stories he tells are very inspiring. Many of then are related to the work of Buckner International, a faith-based social services organization that has been ministering worldwide for 135 years. He reminds us that Christians in the west have the ease of travel and the abundance of financial resources and therefore have a a greater responsibility to serve “the least of these.”

Are you an agent of redemption? “...[a] person who looks at his or her world wondering how the Kingdom of God can come near in his or her local community in real and tangible ways”? (77) If you have experienced the redeeming love of the good news of Jesus, you are. You have a calling to demonstrate a transformed life and influence the people in your circle, focusing in their redemptive potential. “Only Jesus does the work of redemption, yet we are his hands and feet.” (63)

This book will inspire you. It did me. The stories Reyes tells are so encouraging. His teaching reveals The Jesus Agenda as a ministry in which each of us can participate. Reyes has included thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter so this book would make a great choice for a mission committee or other small group. It is also a good book for ministry leaders to read with a view to releasing people into redemptive ministry. There is much to be done. Each of us can be a part of Jesus' redemptive work. This book will inspire you to get going.

You can learn more about Buckner International at www.buckner.org and at Reyes' blog, www.bucknerprez.com. You can learn about their ministry of giving shoes at www.shoesfororphansouls.com and their Foster-to-Adopt program at www.beafamily.org. You can see an overview of the book and read testimonials at http://www.jesusagendabook.com/.

Dr. Albert L. Reyes is President/CEO of Buckner International, a global ministry dedicated to transforming the lives of the most vulnerable children, orphans, families, and senior adults. He previously served as President of Baptist University of the Americas and a local church pastor and church starter. He and his wife have three adult sons.

Believers Press, 181 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Barnabas Agency for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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