"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

"Megashift" and "Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem"

If there are two books I would encourage you to read in 2011 it would be Megashift and Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.

Author Jim Rutz writes in Megashift that Christianity is overlooked as the fastest-growing faith in the world because most surveys only poll traditional Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church while ignoring Christian believers who have no part of either.  Rutz says there are 707 million born again evangelical Christians who compose the fastest growing "religion" in the world,  increasing by 8 percent a year, and none of these individuals are part of Protestant denominations or the Roman Catholic Church. So fast is this group growing, that were current trends to continue, the entire world will be composed of evangelical believers by the year 2032.

Biblical, evangelical Christianity is sweeping through places like China, Africa, India and Southeast Asia – making it, by far, the fastest growing faith on the planet.  Most news reports suggest, and most people believe, that Islam is the fastest growing "religion." Not true, says Rutz. It is the faith in Christ that is the fastest growing "religion." Rutz calls these disciples of Christ "core apostolics" – or "the new saints who are at the heart of the mushrooming kingdom of God."

Whether you agree with Rutz or not, his research and conclusions are thought provoking. Combine Rutz's work with the second book, Jay Richard's Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, and you might begin to understand why the fastest growing economies are in those regions where Christianity is exploding.

It has become fashionable for young evangelicals in the United States to advocate a form of socialism as the epitome of Christ's teachings. In Richard's brilliant book--written by an author possessing theological acumen, biblical understanding, and financial prowess--Richard's convincingly shows the reader that capitalism is consistent with, and the economic product of, Christ's teachings. One reviewer writes of the book and its author:

"Like so many people of faith, Jay Richard's path to a Biblical view of money and economics went through the pietistic town of socialism. But even more so than most secular books on the subject, Richards uses a basic checklist of economic errors to methodically walk through the pertinent topics. If only every believer would take the time to evaluate their own thinking in the light of these common economic fallacies! Richards tackles every popular objection in circulation to the idea that the Bible provides the foundation for free market prosperity and incentive. He decimates the intellectual error of Communism, and lays out the step-by-step case for an integration of modern capitalism with the Christian faith. His treatment of the subject is simple, but filled with profound insights. The book is inundated with Scripture, yet he does not sacrifice economic literacy for the cause of Biblical fidelity. There is a tremendous nod to the great champions of capitalism (Adam Smith and F.A Hayek, in particular), yet he avoids the error of suggesting that their insights are somehow superior to the text of Scripture. Rather, he shows through careful reasoning and persuasion that the invisible hand of the marketplace is a God-created phenomena, and that the current practice of maligning the pursuit of wealth is not at all compatible with the Bible. I believe the book is absolutely read-able for high school age students, and yet the vast majority of adults I know ought to read it as well. It is balanced, comprehensive, and irrefutably logical. I can not recommend it strongly enough, and I truly do pray that it will gain the audience it deserves before the cause of freedom and opportunity is completely monopolized by the forces of secularism."