This Crazy Love from above

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I can’t remember where I have read about Francis Chan or about Crazy Love, but what I do know is that a lot of people I follow on the Internet commend this book he has penned. Since I can’t find any copies here in the Philippines, I took my chances when we went to the US last December-January 2016. Fortunately, there was a copy in the Barnes and Noble branch that my cousin worked at!

This wasn’t an easy book to read. I almost thought I wouldn’t push through with it when I was going through the chapter where Francis Chan enumerated the characteristics of a lukewarm Christian.

Word per word, sentence per sentence, I was reminded of my own lukewarm, half-hearted, lazy, and complacent qualities.

Here are a few that I underlined during reading:

“Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.”

I can name several people – family, friends, acquaintances, strangers who have inspired in me to pursue Christ more. I am moved, but the problem is this: it doesn’t inspire me to act, to even try to embody the Christ-like qualities they practice in their lives. It’s like seeing witnessing a farmer planting crops, so that his work will equate to money he can use for his children’s tuition. I am inspired, touched, motivated even to work hard too, but come Monday morning, thoughts about the farmer’s hard work is gone. I lose the lesson, therefore, I don’t get to apply this principle when hard work is called for.

I pray that I will be able to apply too what I have learned from the stories of people that Francis Chan shared in the latter chapters of the book. He gave profiles of ordinary people like you and me – some we haven’t even heard of – and how they showed God’s extraordinary love through their lives.

A proof of my own complacency too was that I read this book faster than the other books I have read so far this year. Compared to the other books, this was more challenging. This was more uncomfortable. Yet, why do I feel as if I just breezed through it and not really getting more of the lessons?

As much as I wanted to start reading another book, I couldn’t help but wanting to turn this book’s pages again and read.

Take in the words, visualize them more, understand them, apply them.

Because this is a kind of book that’s supposed to be lived. And when something’s supposed to be lived, you don’t rush it. You do it in time, you do it slowly.

Due to my impatience and laziness to commit to not just tasting but digesting the words, I may need to re-read this book, which will always be both a delight and discipline.

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Although there was a chapter where the lukewarm Christian is described, Francis Chan also has a chapter on the profile of the person obsessed with God. From the negative, we have the positively-stated traits to try to follow.

There’s more to reflect on in this book, so I think I will be revisiting its pages again in the future.

For now, here are some of the excerpts from Crazy Love that left lasting imprints on me (emphasis are mine):

  1. “But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through. Even though chapter 58 of Isaiah was written thousands of years ago, it speaks powerfully to the present day. I know it’s long, but it is well worth the read, I promise. […] ‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday…’
  2. “Similarly, we are given different gifts and talents by our Master. The thing that matters most is how we use what we have been given, not how much we make or do compared to someone else. What matters is that we spend ourselves.
  3. “Back when I was in Bible college, a professor asked our class, ‘What are you doing right now that requires faith?’
  4. “Would you be willing to pray this prayer? God, bring me closer to You during this trip, whatever it takes….”
  5. “It hit me that the students were talking about me, not God. I was standing before a holy God and robbing Him of the glory that was rightfully His.”
  6. “Change is not only good; it is critical. If you do the same things today that you did five years ago, you need to closely examine your heart. To repent means to change.” 
  7. “When I look at my relationship with God as a chore, a sacrifice, then I am getting the glory – not God. I keep saying, ‘Look what I have sacrificed for God…’ or ‘Listen to what I do for God. It’s hard, exhausting really.’

There are way more things that I want to share, but for now, I’ll just let myself be moved by this Crazy Love from above.

 

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