Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: Sharing Christ with the Dying

Sharing Christ with the Dying

Title: Sharing Christ with the Dying
Author: Melody Rossi
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1165-2

From the back cover:  When your friend or family member is facing death, here is the help you need to share Christ in a loving, non-confrontational way.  It will show you how to:

  • Serve in ways that speak louder than words
  • Respond to signs of spiritual openness
  • Discuss maters of eternal importance
  • Cope with the ups and downs of this difficult time
In addition, this book offers you spiritual care, answering your questions about end-of-life issues, and addressing your grief and loss.

And this book does just that!  Being a pastor's wife and sharing ministry life with my husband for over 20 years, I know first-hand how necessary and important it is to have a book like this available. Melody Rossi so sweetly shares from her experiences with three close family members in a way that shows not only her heart and compassion for her loved-ones, but her greater love for the Gospel message.

I so appreciated how she begins the book by opening up about her own experiences, fears, submission and obedience to God.  She shares the importance of sharing Christ with the dying, but from someone who has been through the trial and can relate to those readers who are or have experienced the same journey.

In part 2 of the book, Rossi so aptly lays out the tools needed on this journey.

  • A Road Map (Know the Destination)-Rossi marks what the road will look like, landmarks to watch for, and how to keep focused on where you are going with the gospel (knowing how to share the gospel and not get side-tracked with debates or other derailments).
  • Sturdy Shoes (For the Rugged Terrain): Preparing to serve your loved one as you sacrificially walk them, prayerfully, home.
  • GPS (To Keep You on Track): Trusting God's plan and the Holy Spirit's guidance.
  • Emergency Information (Documents You Will Need):  Discussing Living Wills, DNR order and other special circumstances, as well as basic documents.
  • Traveler's Assistance (When You Feel Lost and Weary): Calling for help, having your own support team, your church, etc.
This section was so practical and full of loving reminders.  I know it would be a great resource for those finding themselves in this position and not having the time nor the mental capacity to process the needs she so graciously points out.

Part 3 speaks to the reader about not turning back, the realities of spiritual warfare, and endurance while Part 4 lovingly explains about the journey's end: what it might look like and how to cope during the grieving process.

I know I keep using the word "sweet", but the overwhelming sense of kindness, care and concern in this book is one of its greatest offerings.  Rossi speaks from an obvious heart of love and with a desire to help others be used, for His glory, in this unique and often overlooked ministry. Too many just rely on the minister to attend to those nearing the end of life.  A minister has a calling to lead us biblically and teach us God's truth, but we are all called to go out and share His Truth.  I love this excerpt from the book:

"How will God use me?  Recently I took a trip to the Philippines to visit missionaries working with Wycliffe Bible Translators.  I was amazed to see how many different types of missionaries there are! Administrators, accountants, bookkeepers, office personnel, school teachers, librarians, computer experts, construction workers, medical staff, and of course, linguists are all needed for the work of Bible translation...The work of sharing Christ's love with the dying is similar.  While the main objective is to introduce the person to Christ, the small seemingly unimportant duties are often what allow this to be accomplished.  Instead of talking directly about God, you may first find yourself providing a meal or transportation.  Ordinary tasks such as these have incredible impact on an unbeliever, and often, sharing the Gospel cannot otherwise happen.  God will reveal to you how He wants to use you to share His love.  For now, the most important thing you can do is decide to walk along with the person for a little while.  So put on your shoes and trust that everything will be made clear to you as you travel."

This book is not only full of heart felt and loving encouragement, but is also laid out almost like a guidebook.  It will be such a great tool for someone right in the middle of loving and serving someone at the end of their life. This is an easy pick-up-and-read book while also a handbook to keep alongside to refer to for insight, instruction and encouragement.  This would be a great resource for ministers and all Christians alike to have on hand to give to those in the hour of need.