How easy is it for us, especially those who have grown up in the church and been to multiple Christian retreats/conferences, to hear a great sermon, be deeply convicted by a biblical truth, and then ...... do nothing?
Or, do something for a while but then drift back to the same old mold, conforming to the surrounding culture rather than transforming it?
When I finally realized a few years ago that it was exactly that pattern which clearly defined my life, I was humbled and shamed by the shallowness of my "faith." It drove me to do what Jon brought up (chapter 6 comment) -- to ask God for help to desire Him, to the degree that my life reflects, on a day-to-day basis, the reality that Christ has given me a new life in Him.
Pastor Francis' advice is tried and true -- expressing a "crazy love" for God is something we do in the seemingly small matters of everyday living. If we keep thinking about love for God as a big, spectacular thing we'll do for Him next summer, or when we start making a steady income, or when we find that perfect partner, or own a house big enough to entertain guests... we'll never get there, because we will have missed the whole point of what it means to love God.
Consider and actually live as though each person you come into contact with is Christ.
Is this what I want to be doing when Christ comes back?
How will you answer the King when He says, "What did you do with what I gave you?"
challenging words. wise words. fruitful words, if heeded.
At this point, having read through these ten chapters (at least, that's what I'm assuming!) and having contemplated His great love for you and the response He desires from you... what comes to mind? What is (at least) one take-away lesson that you will apply (or maybe even have been applying already)?
This was my second time reading it, but I'm glad to have done so, and at a slower pace too. I've been challenged to re-examine my motives for why I'm doing what I'm doing (studying at seminary and serving my local church). During these last few months, I have sometimes despaired of whether my "efforts" are worth anything, even by God's standards, and whether I shouldn't be off doing other things which are more fun and self-rewarding. But the truths outlined in this book have consistently brought me back to a right understanding of who God is and who I am. Studying and serving are not things I "have" to do, but things I GET to do. My redeemed life is about making much of my Saviour, not making much of me.
Years down the road, I hope to still be in contact with all of you somehow, and to hear wonderful stories of how God has kept your life from being stinky manure and has instead used you as fertilizing manure. But it all starts today. Choose to live for Him!
*p.s. make sure you don't miss out on the back matter - a mini-interview transcript and a preview to Francis Chan's other great & helpful book, "Forgotten God." The next whale tale? ;)