The more I read this book, the more I want to shake the hand of Francis Chan. I've been reading it one chapter a time, giving myself time to really soak in & stew over what each chapter is about for a few days before going on to the next chapter. I love that there are things I've felt & believed for years that someone has finally put into words for me. There are things in the book that make me want to stand up & cheer....other things that bite a little.....other parts that make me want to shove the book in someone's face & say "See???". (Hello pride, my name is Liz.)
Ironically, a friend of mine is reading another book that she's been talking about on her blog the last few days. It's called "Radical". When I first read that title, it does me the same way it does you. Being called 'radical' always makes us Christians cringe doesn't it? Radical has been given such a bad rap in our society. Radicals do crazy things, they live weird, they act freaky. Right?
Or do they?
As a teen, I was on fire for Jesus. I see my daughter leaning more that direction every day & I am excited to see that 'charge Hell with a water gun' sort of enthusiasm grow. Most Christians have had a time when they were super "on fire". During that time, we were probably all considered to be pretty 'radical', but we didn't care! How is it that somewhere along the way we decide being 'on fire' is weird & we need to tone it down, darn it!?
As I read today's chapter in Crazy Love, I couldn't help but hear echos of what my friend's been posting about the "Radical" book on her blog. There are lots of similarities with that book & this chapter. Today's chapter is called 'serving leftovers to a holy God'. Here are a few of the especially powerful parts I enjoyed & a few comments from me.
*Revelation 3 talks about how God will spit out those who are lukewarm. Mr. Chan points out that there is no gentle interpretation of the words 'spit out' in the original Greek. It actually refers to wretching, gagging, choking & vomitting.
Ouch. Go back & read my post on last chapter's Profile of a Lukewarm person.
*Jesus's call to committment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling themself a Christian without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.
*Let's face it. We're willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation. Can I divorce my wife & still go to Heaven? Do I have to be baptized to be saved? Am I a Christian if I'm having sex with my girlfriend? If I commit suicide will I still go to Heaven? If I'm ashamed to talk about Christ, will he really deny that He ever knew me? These questions demonstrate that we're more concered about going to Heaven than loving the King.
How many times have I heard new believers & young people ask these very questions? How often do we lean nearer to these sorts of questions every day? Can I watch this one TV show & still be a Christian? Will He still love me if I get high this one time? Aren't we all limit-pushers?
*Which is more messed up -- that we have so much compared to everyone else or that we don't think of ourselves as rich? That on any given day we call ourselves 'broke' & 'poor'? We are neither of those, we are filthy rich!
For a family who lives paycheck to paycheck, this one is a statistic that is always hard for me to grasp. I absolutely know that I'm richer than some people, but to think that we actually have more than the MAJORITY of the world is a little astounding.
*Does God get a scrap or two because we feel guilty giving Him nothing? A mumbled 3 minute prayer at the end of the day when we're half asleep, 2 crumpled up dollar bills thrown into the church's fund for the poor.... *God is holy. In Heaven exists a Being who decides whether or not I take another breath. This holy God deserves excellence, the very best I have.
I thought those two (above) fit together nicely. Which one do I give Him daily? Which do you give Him?
*Our greatest fear as individuals & as the church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things that don't really matter. --Tim Kizziar
*Following Christ isn't something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.
*Most of our thoughts are centered on the money we want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have....but the fact is that NOTHING should concern us more than our relationship with God.
Father, help me to instill this in my children every single day.
*If given a choice between our 'stuff' and God, most of us hope we'd choose God. But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward & where we invest our energy is equivalent to choosing or rejecting God.
Where are the bandaids? That one stings a little.