August 30, 2009

Crazy Love was Crazy Good

Crazy Love. Loved this book. It was at times difficult almost suffocating to read. Suffocating because I want to be involved with the divine works of the Lord each day of my life and I am not. The times that I have stepped out on faith with God the blessings that I have received from Him are breathtaking. I want that EVERY day. I want to live a life that is not Lukewarm. I have always swung the pendulum from one end to the other rarely sitting in the middle. Maybe that is why my spirit is restless when I am not hot or cold. I am grateful that the "hot" is what draws me now, I can't imagine being "cold" towards the Lord. It would be the worst thing I can imagine to not be seeking Him and asking for His love to fill me each day.

This book speaks to Christians. It really isn't for the non-believer. This book is for those of us who think that being a Christian shouldn't infringe on our comforts or our pleasures. This book is for those of us who think that sacrificing for the poor is giving up Starbucks for the week. This book is for those of us who would rather die than be lukewarm and we need to be shaken upside down by scripture to get our heart beating for the Lord, and wake us from this comfortable and sheltered daze we live in. This book is for those of us who struggle to love those who aren't easy to love.

Chapter 4 has a little quotation under the title, "profile of the lukewarm."
"It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity."

"Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually"David Goetz

I have to think about what I ask God for when I pray. Am I asking for comfort, material blessings, that raise we need, or am I asking God to make me stronger, no matter what it takes? Those words seem scary to me, but what is more scary? Missing the boat with God or loving my life a bit too much. Francis Chan talks about this a bit.

And I loved this quote:
"I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don't swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That's for the "radicals" who are "unbalanced" and who go "overboard." Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering."

This book is not just a commentary, it is filled with scripture and there is scriptural references for the points made. It is very difficult to look at these scriptures and deny that they are calling me out.

So what? What do I need to do to live a life that is pleasing to God. Not one that makes God want to spit me out of his mouth? Each person's calling is different. Each persons sacrifice is different. Francis Chan writes," God's definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love."

And isn't the depth of our love for others around us the gage for just how much we will sacrifice for them. Our money, time, resources...

Frederick Buechner writes in the Magnificent Defeat
"The love for equals is a human thing - of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing-to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy-love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured's love for the torturer. This is God's love. It conquers the world."
Ah. That. Is. What. I. Want. To be a vessel that submits to God to shower His love to the world. To those who are easy to be around, and to those who aren't. God help me love those who are my equals, those who suffer, those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely, help love those who are more fortunate than me, help me love those who succeed where I fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, and God help me love those who mock me, help me love them with Your supernatural love. Help me love those who hurt my children and cause them pain. Help me love those who without you would not be possible.

This book is a great read to accompany Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire that I read a month or so ago. On my own the love and sacrifice I am called to seem too hard, too tiring, too impossible, but if I dedicate time for prayer and submit myself to God in that way, then the love I am called to seem's possible with God. I believe that prayer and then follow thru are my next steps.


Tim Archer said...

Great review! I haven't had a chance to read the book, but it reminds me of several things I've read lately. Seems to me that God is putting certain themes out there for us to see, raising them again and again in book after book.

Thanks for sharing.

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. I am looking forward to reading it!