Crazy Love, by Francis Chan, is probably the most challenging Christian book I've ever read.
Just take a look at some of the chapter headings and you'll see what I mean.
Chapter 1. Stop Praying
Chapter 2. You Might Not Finish This Chapter
Chapter 4. Profile of the Lukewarm (this was chapter was excruciating and wonderful at the same time)
Chapter 5: Serving Leftovers to a Holy God
Chapter 8: Profile of the Obsessed
Chapter 9: Who Really Lives this Way?
Here's how it starts: "This book is written for those who want more Jesus. ... it is for those who don't want to plateau, who would rather die before their convictions die."
I don't want to continue to respond this way:
The God of the Universe - the creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor - loves with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.... Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of the world with tangible, even radical solutions? (from the back cover).
My plan is to address each chapter in a blog post, and how it impacted me (and more importantly, what I'm doing about it).
Chapter 1 - Stop Praying.
What if I told you to stop talking at God for a while, but instead to take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word? Solomon warned us not to rush into God's presence with words. That's what fools do.
I know I need to take my eyes off myself more often, and put them on God instead. All morning I have had a particular problem weighing heavily on me. One of my kids needs discipline of some sort. She has failed in a bargain she made with us (her father and I). What to do? What to do? I have been worrying over it like a bone, talking to God about it, asking Him for His direction.
When I pray to God about my problems, I do feel the burden lifted - I give my problems (and other people's prayer requests) over to Him to carry, instead of carrying them, myself. But I think that's only half the equation.
What Chan is talking about is a whole shift from a me-centered, my-issues world to a God-centered world. Taking time to look at Him, listen to Him, consider what He has done, stand before Him in awe. I got a sense of that earlier this year when I wrote about my theme for the year, Seeking Him.
It may seem a hopeless endeavor, to gaze the invisible God. But Romans 1:20 tells that through creation, we see His invisible qualities and divine nature.
This chapter is all about the amazing things of God's creation that point us toward Him.
|The beauty and complexity of nature awes me, like this iceberg set on fire by the sun.|
On his website, http://www.crazylovebook.com, Chan challenges us to watch the video "Awe Factor". It is a stunning perspective of these verses, Psalm 19: 1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.
We need frequent reminders that we are not the center of our universe.
Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. - R.C. Sproul
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us... Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the greatest question before the church is always God Himself, the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. - A.W. Tozer
God hasn't spoken to me about the problem of what discipline to enact. But re-reading this chapter, and then writing about it, has shown me that I'm too focused on finding a solution right now. I need to step back, even stop praying, and just be silent before Him for a while. Put Him back in the center of my universe.