Colorado Spring, CO: David C. Cook, 2013
Looking for a book that will challenge your commitment to Christ? If so, this is one I would recommend to you. Francis Chan is an interesting and passionate writer who is sold out to Jesus. I would say that he’s doing some things with his life that many of us would consider radical. For example, some time ago he and his wife downsized their house and gave the rest to the poor. Or, think about this – after thirteen years pastoring a church that had grown to 1600 members, Chan resigned. He and his wife sold their house (while she was pregnant with their fifth child!) with no idea where God was leading them. During that period they ended up traveling and ministering in various parts of Asia.
Not only does Chan share his personal stories of following Christ, but he tells the stores of others whom he’s met and read about, those “who sought to live their lives fully surrendered to God. Some are still alive; others have finished their race. Their examples differ vastly from one another, but each bears the mark of a person distinctly transformed by the beauty and reality of God’s love and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Before going any further, here’s some background on this unusual man: He was born in San Francisco to native Chinese parents. His mother died giving birth to him. His father sent him away to Hong Kong as a baby to be taken care of by his grandmother. The family moved back to the U.S. when Francis was 5 years old. His father remarried when he was one year old. Then, his stepmother died in a car accident when he was 9 years old. His father remarried again when he was 10. His father then died of cancer when Chan was 13 years old. These deaths helped Francis Chan understand at an early age the importance of knowing God.
Let me give a caution to the reader – sometimes in reading a book like this we can begin to feel that our salvation is based on doing great things for God, but Chan makes it clear here and there in the book that our salvation is solely by grace. At one point he writes, “I do not want true believers to doubt their salvation as they read this book. In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us.”
Another caution in reading this book is that we might begin to think that our commitment to Christ must look like Chan’s or some other hero of the faith he writes about. To that thought he writes, “Be careful not to turn others’ lives into the mold for your own. Allow God to be as creative with you as He is with each of us.”
Here’s the main point I get from CRAZY LOVE: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God – God’s crazy love for us should cause us to step out in faith in wholehearted service for Him whatever that might look like for each of us.
For those who want to read more here some random quotes from the book:
I hope reading this book will convince you of something: that by surrendering yourself totally to God’s purposes, He will bring you the most pleasure in your life and the next. I hope it affirms your desire for “more God” – even if you are surrounded by people who feel they have “enough God.”
It is important that we NOT measure our spiritual health by the people around us, who are pretty much like us.
The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of God.
Our culture says anything goes; fear of God is almost unheard of. We are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry. The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of him.
In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of God.
We are programmed to focus on what we don’t have, bombarded multiple times throughout the day with what we need to buy that will make us feel happier or sexier or more at peace. This dissatisfaction transfers in our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him. Because we don’t think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshipped and loved. We are to fear Him.
On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don’t consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that life truly is a vapor.
In about fifty years (give or take a couple of decades) no one will remember you. Everyone you know will be dead. Certainly no one will care what job you had, what car you drove, what school you attended, what clothes you wore. This can be terrifying or reassuring, or maybe a mix of both.
Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God. Our lives here are short, often unexpectedly so, and we can all stand up to be reminded of it from time to time. … in the movie of life, nothing matters except our King and God.
I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?
So why does God still love us? I do not have an answer to this question. But I do know that if God’s mercy didn’t exist, there would be no hope. No matter how good we tried to be, we should be punished because of our sins.
Our love for Him always comes out of His love for us. Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you? Do you really know and believe that God loves you, individually and personally and intimately? Do you see and know Him as Abba, Father?
Jesus isn’t just making a cute little analogy here (in Luke 14:34-35). He is addressing those who aren’t willing to give everything, who won’t follow Him all the way. He is saying that lukewarm, halfhearted following is useless, that it sickens our souls. He is saying that this kind of salt is not even fit “for the manure pile.”
Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world “making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that he commanded?” You’ll notice that He didn’t add, “But hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians – you know, the people who get to heaven without having to commit to anything.”
What scares me most are the people that are lukewarm and just don’t care.
The ultimate example of sacrifice and surrender is, of course, Jesus Christ. He had everything and still chose to surrender it out of love for His Father. Your attitude should be the same as His (Philippians 2:6-11.)