Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ch 10: The Crux of the Matter

This book begins and ends with the same intense passion. And I agree to chapter 10 as much as I agreed to chapter 1.

P. 172 Chan states "The world needs Christians who don't tolerate the complacency of their own lives." Concurrence with this statement begs a question: How/why do we become complacent? Pretty simple .... Comparison + Inadequacy = Complacency.

"We have a God who is a creator, not a duplicator." (P. 167). What a profound statement! And yet I often become frustrated because I cannot duplicate the traits I see in my fellow believers. The love of Laurie - the wisdom of Brandi - the self-control of Toni - - - - Admiring these amazing women of God is not wrong; the problem arises if I allow my gaze to remain on them instead of Jesus and His unique design for my life.

Comparing myself to others will deny Christ's unique purpose through me. And the enemy quickly shifts the act of comparison to feelings of inadequacy. The summation of these unhealthy factors results in a summed life of complacency. "....I'll just settle for this level of God in my life, because I won't ever be able to (...fill in the blank...)......"

In 2010, I expect an "awakening" from my Heavenly Father. I anticipate a beautiful confirmation of I Cor 12:4-7: '...different kind of gifts...different kinds of service...different kinds of working...' The celebrated differences + an awakening of my identity in Christ will equal anything but complacency!

Thank you Francis Chan for this book. I respect your dedication to call the body of Christ to a place of Crazy Love.

Ch 9: Who Really Lives That Way

The journey of reading this book has been long. Honestly, I was very motivated for the first few chapters - agreeing with Chan that we (the western church) need a massive wake up call. We need to love our Lord Jesus in a greater way. Then somewhere along the way, my reading experience changed.....

I began to become more discouraged than encouraged with the book. I almost wish there was a sub-chapter suggesting the reader 'hold on - - Ch. 9 is coming'!

This chapter helped me understand the journey toward a greater love for my Lord is doable. The inspirational stories of many who have suffered for His cause lifted my spirits. Page 156/157 documents Rachel's story - - how she could live 20 years with a people group who murdered her brother is unbelieveable, but true none the less. George Mueller's demonstration of dependence on prayer is amazing!

I'm currently reading a compilation by Rebecca St. James entitled Sister Freaks. This entire book is story after story of women who have suffered and/or made the ultimate sacrifice for the Kingdom's cause.

Friends, we can never repay Him. We can never fully love Him in the way He deserves. But we can spend our lives searching for ways to grow in our devotion to Him - forever striving toward Crazy Love.

Ch 8: Profile of the Obsessed

Obsession is a strong word, and yet I beileve we live very obsessed lives. The norms we have placed on our own life are packed with seemingly inescapable responsibilities that will forever altar our destiny if we don't continue the frantic pace. Work - Family - Friendship - Children - Community - GOD - - - all these life facets comprise His design for our lives. Unfortunately, we quickly distort the God-honoring framework into an unrecognizable blur repeating itself until our life seems but a quickly disappearing stripe in the rearview mirror of our racetrack world.

On the bottom of page 131, Chan lists Luke 14:12-14 to drive the point of living outside ourselves. I recently served at a dinner for individuals that were homeless, fighting addictions or recently released from prison. While my heart was burning with a sincere desire to extend love to these people, I was ashamed at how ill equipped I was. The lack of relevant small talk appeared as the Grand Canyon between me and the faces I saw. I realized it; I have not purposefully invited the outside world into my world. Take note- - it was not that I had intentionally excluded them- - but I had failed to purposefully include them as part of my life.

Now, I long for obsession. To be obsessed with Jesus - -what He wants me to do - - where He wants me to go - - who He wants me to reach. I want to be a risk taker -page 133-with a life motto of God, bring me closer to you during this day, whatever it takes....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ch 7: Your Best Life ... Later

Two very meaningful sections for me in this chapter.
P. 115 - first sentence: Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.
The point = if Christians have lifestyles that are common to unbelievers, we are doing something wrong - - we are not demonstrating faith thru life choices that require God to come through for us. Great thought to ponder!

Building on that idea is P. 124 - What are you doing right now that requires faith? Bottom of the page... God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that re unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.

I do believe .... but my choices would indicate otherwise. Instead of claiming God boldly ... "putting myself out there" .... I build in a 'just-in-case-this-isn't-His-will' backup plan. This is robbing God of chances to glorify Himself.

Currently, I am wrestling with Him to understand where is the healthy boundary ... going on a risk limb vs. testing Him. I'll let you know how that pans out......

How about you? Did this chapter give you something to think about?

Ch 6: When You're In Love

Okay - to be perfectly honest, I am plowing my way through this book out of discipline and because it bugs me when I don't "finish" something!

While I agree with Pastor Chan's viewpoint and Biblical perspective, the delivery method has been a bit more defeating than encouraging up to this point. However I will say the last two pages of Chapter 6 were redeeming!

P. 110 - SomeOne I Can Be Real With - this section brought hope as I realized that I do in fact need His Spirit to equip and empower me to love.....

How bout you? Are you able to get real with God?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ch 5: Serving Leftovers to a Holy God

If you have not read a single chapter of this book - READ CHAPTER FIVE!
If I were a govning officer responsible for Believers in the Western Church, I would require all of us to read this chapter and sign off indicating we deposited it into our souls!

So much truth - so much to really examine our lives with. Pg 93: Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." Wow! This stopped me in my tracks! Because of my nature to be fast-forward-progress-driven, I realized how dangerous it could be to work fervently at the wrong task! Success would then be failure!

The exercise on pg 94 - replacing "love" with your name in I Cor 13 - well, I can't even talk about how convicting that was for me .... Pages 95-96 - all about faith without works is dead - - - yep, that hit home too.

I hope this is not defeating you but rather awakening your spirit to the true love we have for Jesus and the ways we can better demonstrate it to Him!

How are you doing? Is this book helping or hurting - - - - just wondering - - - -

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ch 4: Profile of the Lukewarm

Okay sisters - - I think I'm going to need to re-read this chapter a few times! The spiritual inventory required in the Lukewarm Profile section was like shining a flood light in my soul. And more than once, the eyes of my heart winced. Perhaps the best summary for my response to this chapter is top of p. 67:

"Do not assume you are good soil"

Often I am preoccupied with day-to-day (top p. 75), playing it safe, and oh yes, CONTROL ... feel like I've got to be in control. Lord - forgive me for being lukewarm! I want to be a fire for you - a bright light - salt that has not lost its flavor!

What spoke to you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ch 3: Crazy Love

P. 57 "This is how God longs for us to respond to His extravagant, unending love: NOT with a cursory "quiet time" plagued by guilt, but with true love expressed through our lives."

I grew up in a church culture that placed greater emphasis on legalistic rituals, such as morning quiet time, than on living a Spirit led life. Don't misunderstand - I do believe we need to read our Bible and have purposed time regularly with God. But I also believe we demonstrate the light of Jesus by loving others in radical, consistent ways.

We serve a creative, dynamic exciting God! Let's enjoy serving Him creatively!

...and by the way, if the dad and DAD section on page 54 sounded familiar based on your past, may I encourage you to seek out someone to process this with. Don't let a difficult experience with your earthly father rob you of a divine experience with your Heavenly Father!

- okay - - let's hear from ya!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ch 2: You Might Not Finish This Chapter

Well Pastor Chan really served it up in this chapter! The story of Stan was incredible ... and the legacy of Brooke literally took me to tears. But the big idea for me in this section was:

P. 44: "...When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God. Psalm 73"

Our society pushes intellect over faith - and I'm embarassed to admit how many times I've gotten "analysis paralysis" from desperately trying to think through a situation ... to understand it. That simply is not God's plan!

Father - please forgive my ongoing desire to find supernatural peace in my human understanding. Instead, may I find rest in your faithfulness.

How about you - - - what was your big idea?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ch 1: Stop Praying

So many statements to expound on! Loved 2nd sentence p. 30 .... and what about last sentence p. 31? But the most resonating word for me was convicting, and held me to my promise of vulnerability and transparency as I author this weblog.

Last line, p. 33: "Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?"

Ouch! While I wince at the thought of being arrogant, I cannot deny the times my life has been an "if/then" experiment with God.
'If you open this door, I'll praise you for it'.
'If you give me revelation, I'll honor you with it.'
'If you show me my destiny, I'll worship you in it.'

Granted, my motives may be pure - but I am still asking for explanations from a God who owes me nothing. As the video on declares, He is far greater than my teeny-tiny mind can comprehend. Yet I often request explanations in my prayer life instead of simply asking Him, how can I honor you with my life today?

Your turn - Ch 1, pgs. 25-38 - what moved you most?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preface: Our View of God

Crazy Love: page 20 - "I grew up beliving in God without having a clue what He is like". This statement lept off the page at me. My walk with Him began as a 12 year old girl, the only believer in my family. As I reflect on my early years as a Christian, I realize there was tremendous emphasis placed on perfecting the practices of my denominational rituals. Great efforts were made on understanding my doctrine and the ability to successfully suppport it. "If you can intellectually understand God, you can better explain Him to others" .... that was my perception. But He is not to be explained...He is to be introduced.

Now - I realize how little time I spent trying to seek the heart of my Heavenly Father.
Now - I want to share an unexplainable yet undeniable Savior.
Now - I truly want to know what He is like .....

What sentence, idea or concept of the preface (pages 19-23) stood out to you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

What do you expect?

First book post coming in 48 hours or less. What are you expecting from God as you enter this journey?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Getting Ready!

Tomorrow night, Monday, we will complete our Kickoff Meetings and begin to dive into our book. I hope you've purchased a copy of Crazy Love and are ready to take the journey with us!

God loves you - and together, we are going to discover how to express our love to Him!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Welcome to Bibles & Bling!

I'm so glad you're here!
This weblog is for VCC Nursery team members to enjoy an online community of discipleship. Very soon we will begin an interactive book club to discuss Francis Chan's Crazy Love!

So leave a comment so we will know you stopped by! Hit Barns & Noble or to pick up your book and let's discover just how much our amazing God loves his girls!