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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crazy Love by Francis Chan (More than just another Book Report)

I never heard of this pastor/author before but about a month or so ago, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a You-Tube video of Francis Chan that I have yet to look at in its entirety. However, a friend of Lynette’s recently replied to one of my blog posts suggesting that I check out a book written by him, entitled “Crazy Love”. Being on vacation, I took the opportunity to read it. It turned out to be just what I have needed to hear. Over the course of the past several months, I have been feeling quite disenchanted with our American way of church and the so-called “Christian culture and lifestyle”. I have not been on the spiritual bandwagon, to say the least. It is easy to put the blame on our culture and our in-vogue way of church, but the insights espoused by Francis Chan redirect the problem to us as individuals.
Francis Chan dares to write what I as a “mainstream” Christian, secretly wonder in the depths of my heart… things I have yet to adequately put a voice to and only intermittently opine to my wife about. He hits home a strong but forceful statement that challenges a re-thinking of how and why I believe in God. Love for Christ, rather than fear of God and/or punishment, should be what motivates my daily actions and choices in life. Francis is not shy in identifying that the way of life (both socially and spiritually) for most Americans who call themselves Christians, is a false one. He points out that Jesus’ feelings towards those who are LUKEWARM, is one of disgust. Jesus would rather SPIT us out! We needn’t delude ourselves, there is no middle-ground. A “lukewarm Christian” is NOT a Christian. Francis reminds us again that Jesus said that the road is narrow and few will find it. There is a cost that we do not willingly want to admit to. We think that we are “safe” in our Christian communities, living as good people who go to church, raising our families, and living comfortable lives. But, nowhere in the Bible does this description equate to what the life of a true follower of Jesus looks like. This is not right and it is what I have been feeling. Grace is how we are saved, but verbal lip-service without actions shows that without fruit we don’t belong to God’s family tree. Truly loving God means loving and obeying God in daily life, changing in such a way that mainstream Christians will call me and my family “radical”, “extreme”, “going overboard”, “crazy”… they will be uncomfortable with the choices that need to be made. I worry about these choices and how they would impact my family. However, God tells us not to worry and to trust Him in everything. In essence, this is what it all boils down to… that in my rich, spoiled American life, I have put my security falsely in myself, my savings, my job, etc. such that when things go wrong, I don’t truly believe that God will intervene for me… I believe that I would have to save myself with what I have “stored”. It turns out that here are limits to how far my faith will actually sustain me and how far I would really go or endure for Christ.
My discontent of late only proves one thing… that of late I have been LUKEWARM. The book is quite inspirational and though he calls for change, Francis Chan does not define for the individual what and how that change will look like. He asks for a true introspection of who we are if we dare call ourselves members of God’s family… then he calls us to re-read the Gospels for ourselves and to live it out with great force so that we will change the world. That is, to follow Jesus not out of obligation or fear, but instead, out of a true love for Him because of His “crazy love” for us. The Creator who was, and is, and is to come…He who is complete without us, actually loving and wanting us to be with Him. This will cost us potentially our safety and success as defined by the eyes of the world, but it will prove in the end to be the necessary groundwork in order to prepare us for our true life to come in Heaven.
I recommend this book whole-heartedly to any who would call themselves believers. The challenge is to not just read it and stop there having “felt convicted”, but to change from calling yourself a Christian to actually being a Christian.

2 comments:

  1. I listened to the first part of this book online a month ago, and was completely challenged and convicted by it. I need to read the rest of it! The book (which my husband has listened to as well) has been the source of many conversations for us.

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  2. I'm so glad that God used this book to work through you! I just finished reading it myself; and was challenged much by what Chan had to share. I'm glad that you encouraged your wife to read it, too, and enjoyed reading her thoughts on the book, too. May God continue to direct your paths as a family as you seek to be used by Him!

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