Crazy Love - chapter 1

God as a handy companion; God as someone I should think about once in a while.

For the longest time, that was my attitude towards the Creator of the universe.

What arrogance! And it still pops up sometimes, as I continue to suffer from "spiritual amnesia."

The first time I remember reflecting on God as a being to be feared was in second-year university, when our theme as a Christian fellowship was "facedown" -- based on John's vision in Revelation. It started to sink in that, in the Bible (a real book!), John (a real man!) was describing the throne room (a real place!) of a Holy God (a real reality - the realest thing that can possibly exist!).

A few years later, my pastor taught a series on "The Attributes of God." Though I grew up in the church, I had not ever truly meditated on each of God's incredible attributes. I was well exposed to the phrases of "God is love" and "God is wise" (we can learn many good things from Him). But holy? eternal? all-knowing? all-powerful? just? fair? I realized that my ignorance of those attributes had horribly stunted & narrowed my view of the Lord.

Are you staggered by His awesomeness?

Do you live your life with an awareness that every action/breath/thought is completed in the presence of the Almighty? When you pray and sing to worship Him, are you mindful of the majestic holiness of the One you are worshiping?

Oh, it is so easy to forget. I do, all the time.

By His grace though, I'm starting to understand more and more about why God gave us the Bible, gave us the church (Christian community), gave us the testimonies of other saints (believers) who have gone before us, gave us praise music to enjoy ... it seems that the more we surround and immerse ourselves in these things, the less distracted we become with the world, and the easier it becomes to blow off the fog and see reality = the Lord is God, I am not.

What are some things you do to help keep the majesty of God in focus from day to day? Share some suggestions for us to try, so we can help keep each other out of spiritual amnesia.
example - I find my mood really affected by music (especially song lyrics) so I try to make a point of filling my days with songs that have worshipful words. For instance, the song below was shared with me a few months ago, and just listening to it caused my heart to overflow with praise. It's like being in His throne room! Though I know it is but a shadow! Take a listen (surround sound/earphones if possible)... do you agree?

And here are some more helpful follow-up questions from the CL Study Guide --

Stop and think about the last prayer you voiced. How did you begin? Our Father? Dear Lord? Jesus? What word or phrase did you use to start the prayer? Now, take a minute and consider the prayer you prayed before that prayer. How did you begin? Same word or phrase? Different? Sorta different or radically different? If you begin all your prayers in much the same way, ask yourself why.

Take on this scenario: You’ve just seen Jesus. One of those courtroom sketch artists has asked you to physically describe what you just saw. What do you say? Be as specific as possible. Try and figure out the sources of some of your descriptions.


Crazy Love - preface

I vividly remember the first time I heard this preface. Yes, "heard"! I had downloaded the audio version and decided to take a listen while waiting for a transfer at the Hong Kong airport...

The first sentence of the preface had me hooked.

I recall an odd kind of giddiness that arose as I listened on, realizing that I am not alone in perceiving a large gap between the character of the early church as described in the New Testament, and character of today's churches in the West. I was also excited to learn that this book was not out to "bash the church" as many others have done ... Jesus calls the church His bride and very own body. How can we bash that?

Similar to Francis Chan, I grew up "believing in God without having a clue what He is like."

Thankfully, also similar to Chan, God has been opening my eyes these last few years to see just HOW BIG and HOW AWESOME He truly is.

A quotation I came across the other day really sums up a truth I've been discovering -

Deep theology is the best fuel of devotion; it readily catches fire, and once kindled it burns long. - Will Metzger

Love is always accompanied by, or you could say expressed by, a singular devotion to the object of your love. Are you devoted to God? Is your life devoted to loving Him?

For a long time, that answer for me was NO. And I didn't know how to get out of that rut ... but God heard, and He graciously pulled me out. As my understanding of Him grew deeper, my devotion got hotter!

I am really praying that God will do the same for each of you (and me, still) especially in these coming weeks as we meditate collectively on the craziness of His love for us.

Here are some questions for discussion in the comments...pick one (or more!) and run with it. Or add some of your own. :)

  • Who are you? We have about 24 people doing this together right now ... introduce yourself (I guess mainly for Jenny's sake, since she has never met any of you other wonderful people!) and let us know where you are coming from - maybe a bit about your background, your previous experience(s) with God, what made you decide to join in the reading...?
  • What do you expect and/or hope to learn in the coming 10 chapters?