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About Break Open the Sky

In a World that Thrives on Fear, Have Faith

Compared to all previous generations, we are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet we are more afraid than ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear.
 
We face a defining moment. Will we cave 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 to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.
 
By embracing Jesus’s core yet counterintuitive teachings on truth, love, and risk, you can find freedom from the fear of the unknown, release from the uncertainty of the other, and liberation from the anxieties that hold you back.
 
Are you ready to pursue a countercultural kingdom of grace and love rather than safety and comfort? If so, here is your guide for changing the atmosphere of your culture, church, and world. It will only happen as you take risks big enough to break open the sky.

Praise

“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

"I think I can say that it is one of the best books I've read this year, a study of global pressures, social concern, and why fear seems to grip us in ways that aren't helpful or faithful.  Formerly the director of World Relief, Stephan and his wife have travelled all over the world and the stories here are from brave folks on every continent. This is incisive in its examination of why we are too often unwilling to follow God's call into the world of need, offering service and faithfulness, and he inspires us gently to care more, understand more, give more of ourselves to be present to the pain and the joy of it all. It ends up being—it doesn't say this until the end and you then see it—a study of the Beatitudes. What a great book about how to live well in our fearful, complicated, even dangerous times."  
—heartsandmindsbooks.com

“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

“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

“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

“Break Open the Sky is not just a title ….  It breaks open your heart, mind and soul with a hunger to pursue more. Packed with conviction and examples of real faith in the most desperate places in the world, wrapped with a depth of love that Jesus longs to see in all His people.  A word desperately needed in these times!”
—Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent, Emerita, The Wesleyan Church

About Stephan Bauman

Stephan Bauman lives to see people everywhere rise to the biblical call of love and justice. Stephan transitioned from a career in the Fortune 100 sector to Africa where he directed relief and development programs for nearly a decade before serving as President and CEO of World Relief, an international relief and development organization serving more five million vulnerable people each year.

Today Stephan is the Executive Director of a philanthropic Foundation serving the least resourced and accessible places of the world. 

Stephan is the author of Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World (2015), Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis (2016), and Break Open the Sky: Saving our Faith from a Culture of Fear (2017). Stephan considers his African friends his most influential teachers, and his wife, Belinda, his most important mentor. 

Stephan, Belinda, and their two sons, Joshua and Caleb, live near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and enjoy the woods, the arts and late night conversations with friends. 

Product Details

224 pages | Published by Multnomah

On Sale Date: May 23, 2017

Trim Size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/4

Carton Quantity: 24

Sneak Peek

Click Here to download the first chapter of Break Open the Sky by Stephan Bauman 

About Break Open the Sky

In a World that Thrives on Fear, Have Faith 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. We can become, once again, a community of hope.

Press Release

Media Contact:
Brett Benson, Senior Publicist
PH (719) 264-5661
bbenson@penguinrandomhouse.com

An Invitation to Rediscover Courageous Faith in an Age Plagued by Fear


“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
 
Our faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear, leaving many not only afraid, but on edge, even disillusioned. We face a defining moment. Will we cave in to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, 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. His latest book, Break Open the Sky: Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear (Multnomah, May 23, 2017), is an invitation to live out what matters most during an age thirsty for answers.

Bauman describes his book as “an expedition into living a life of authentic faith, free from the fear that so often plagues our faith communities. We can either turn away or choose to be brave. The journey is not for the faint of heart.”

Bauman knows what it means to leave a secure, safe place and become an emissary of hope in the midst of fear and uncertainty. He left a successful business career to live in Africa, directing relief and development programs with World Relief for nearly a decade. He was regularly confronted with difficult decisions while living and working in some of the most intense environments in the world.
 
In Break Open the Sky, Bauman explores three main themes:
 
TRUTH: He examines the central teachings of Jesus, including the Sermon on the Mount, and shows how they are more relevant than ever in our post-truth culture. Additionally, he tackles suffering in the life of a believer. “As we encounter grace through suffering, we are drawn close to the heart of the living God,” he says.
 
LOVE: Bauman looks at how we so easily misunderstand love’s true nature and source, why faith is meaningless without it, and how it can become the foundation for a different way of living in a world increasingly bereft of love. He lives to see Christians rise to the biblical call of love and justice and he shares numerous inspiring stories that show how Christians and churches around the world—from the U.S. to Cambodia—are reaching out with love and hospitality to refugees, modern-day slaves and others in need. “We are at our best—as a people, a church, a community and a nation—not when we fear but when we love with gentle strength,” Bauman notes.

RISK: He explains how authentic faith and genuine love catapult us toward a life we’ve dreamed about but often don’t have the courage to live.
 
Bauman points out that “we must pursue this call together, not alone, within the community of faith, as broken and disillusioned as we may be.”
 
Praise for Break Open the Sky:
“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
 
“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
 
“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
 
“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)
 
“Break Open the Sky is not just a title…. It breaks open your heart, mind and soul with a hunger to pursue more. Packed with conviction and examples of real faith in the most desperate places in the world, wrapped with a depth of love that Jesus longs to see in all His people. A word desperately needed in these times!”
Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent, Emerita, The Wesleyan Church 

Religion/Christian Living
ISBN 978-1-60142-585-0 ● Paperback ● 210 Pages ● $15.99 U.S./$21.99 Canada
eBook ISBN 9781601425874 ● $12.99 U.S./$17.99 Canada

Contact Publicist

Brett Benson

By Elizabeth Los

When I saw the description of this book, I was curious. How can I strengthen my faith when there are so many things to be afraid of? It seems like the bad things happening in this world has increased exponentially. Is that the case or is it simply our digital age that makes it appear so? Regardless, these events instill fear into our hearts, causing us to rethink our daily routines or planning for family adventures. "What Ifs" that had...

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By Tijuana Canders

CHRISTIANITYBreak Open the Sky: Saving Our Faith From a Culture of Fearby Stephan BaumanMultnomah, 2017Review by Tijuana L.CandersSep, 2017Author Stephan Bauman provides an easy read with captivating truths regarding the intersections of faith and world issues. The truth about world crises must be told but the faith of Christians must also be kept and not dwindle into a place of complacency and dark solitude. Values of faith help to dissipate...

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By Iris Jeon

Fear has slipped in the American culture. Xenophobia, arguments of national safety at stake because of terrorism taking place elsewhere, consequences of Pax Americana deployed worldwide, all frame our ideas of freedom, and heavily influenced faith as well. The magnitude of suffering we witness on the global stage - whether from acute acts of terrorism, chronic violence, or sudden injustice - invites a torrent of fear and raises a thousand...

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By Mindy CHumbley

Break Open the Sky is a refreshing change from the media soaked fear driven culture we face every day.  I loved Bauman's practical insight, spiritual wisdom and hopeful outlook. The greater church will be empowered to live out their faith in the positive heaven focused way which inspires growth.  If you struggle with fear this is a book to put on your must read list.

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By John Curiale

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.  This book will help you overcome fear and choose love- the very thing Jesus said will cast out fear!  

Read the Full Review