Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crazy Love - Preface/Chapter 1

STOP PRAYING - CHAPTER 1


Hello! Welcome to week 1 of the "Crazy Love" discussion group!! Remember this will only work if you actually DISCUSS, so be sure to engage in the discussion via the comments form link at the bottom of the post. Try to answer all the questions, but if you only feel led to answer 1 or 2, that is ok. If something spoke to you in the chapter that we didn't touch on in the post, feel free to begin a discussion on that topic. We want this to be engaging and beneficial for everyone. Let's get started!!

In Chapter 1, Francis Chan leads us to think about God. The God of the Universe. The Great I AM. Did you take the time to watch the two videos - "The Awe Factor" and "Just Stop and Think"? If you didn't, please stop right now and go here and watch them.



In Chapter 1, Chan says a couple of things that we think are great for giving us a perspective on this first week of discussion. On page 28 he says, "I sometimes struggle with how to properly respond to God's magnitude in a world bent on ignoring or merely tolerating Him. But know this: God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him." Then on page 31, Chan reminds us, "there is no way we can ever fathom all of who He is."



Chapter 1 is really about the bigness of God and how, when we really grasp it, we realize that first, we are pretty insignificant, and second, this huge God desires to make us significant by entering into relationship with us.


Questions for Discussion




1. Francis Chan says on page 21:
"I hope it (this book) affirms your desire for 'more God' even if you are surrounded by people who feel they have 'enough God'." What does it look like, in your opinion, to have
'enough God'?




2. Chan quotes R.C. Sproul on page 26. "Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." This is where a review of the first 10 or so verses of Isaiah chapter 6 becomes helpful. Where do you most often see the majesty of God displayed? Describe it.




3. Which of the attributes of God that Francis Chan listed in Chapter 1 resonates most deeply in your heart? Why?




4. From the Week 1 video - Chan says that sometimes we become so familiar with someone they become common to us. Do you still have a sense of awe for God? If yes, how does that affect you? How do you express that sense of awe?



CHALLENGE



Choose any of the Scriptures from Chapter 1 and meditate on it or memorize it this week. Listen for the Lord to speak to you through it. Share with the group over the next week how this particular Scripture is being used in your life by the Lord.



Let's love Jesus with a Crazy Love,



Channy, Spence and Leah



20 comments:

Leah said...

I thought, while I had time, that I would leave my answers/thoughts to this week's chapter.

First, with regard to the bigness of our God. I just started Beth Moore's Bible study "Stepping Up" and on the very first day of homework she said something that I thought fit so well with this book, "Crazy Love".

She said, "Humility is the natural posture of anyone who grasps the greatness of God." I completely agree. When I truly understand Who God is, I can do nothing but fall on my face.

Question 1: I think a person who has 'enough God' is self reliant, proud, disinterested in Bible study or prayer, unable to see any reason why they would need more God, often unmoved by the simple workings of God in daily life. I know this to be true because this was me for so many years. I was a Christian, but I had enough of God to suit me.

Question 2: Most often I see the majesty of God displayed in nature. In the new life of Spring, in the beauty of the autumn colorrs, in a hummingbird or a deer. I also see the majesty of God displayed in the miracle that He has done in my heart over the years. The softening of it and the re-working of it blows my mind.

Question 3: The holiness of God resonates most deeply with me. As I ponder His holiness, I am undone with the fact that He, in His utter holiness, would condescend to a relationship with me!! Oh my goodness. Isaiah's words in Isaiah 6 verses 1-8 really speak deeply to me.

Question 4: I know that my sense of awe for God could certainly stand a boost. I do become complacent, but this book has certainly done a lot to renew my sense of awe. So often my sense of awe is expressed by silence before Him and going to my knees in worship. Lord, may you never be common to me.

Leah

~Trina~ said...

1. Enough God? That’s hard for me to fathom. I seem to have a deep place in me that is always hungry, an ache for more. It never gets completely filled. If I think of someone who has had enough God, I see someone who has grown stale, lost that hunger and passion. Reminds me of the Matthew West song, “The Motions”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaHmiFaX_pk
Someone who’s going through the motions without passion for God. Sometimes this person may be self-reliant or has even all but rejected God, but at times it’s just a person who has lost their passion and desire in a spirit-numbing way.

2. I do think that in our efforts to “make God more personal and user friendly” we have lost our concept of His majesty and stopped being in utter awe of Him. Isaiah reminds us of His absolute Holiness and that He is GOD!
Where do I see the majesty of God displayed? I am always delighted by the sky whether it’s a brilliant red and purple sunset, a dark night sky scattered with stars, clouds, or the sun bursting through the clouds. But I have also been reminded of His majesty in God’s healing of my son’s heart after a devastating divorce, the physical healing of my youngest son when he was 3 and we thought we might lose him and all God spoke into our lives through these two trials, and most recently the joyous transformation of my brother-in-law’s life after committing adultery against my precious sister-in-law (they are in their 50’s). He was so broken over what he did that he is finding the relationship with God that he’d never had before. God has used this very broken time to bring both of them to Himself and it has been amazing to watch the changes that are occurring in every facet of their lives. I get so excited I can hardly contain myself.

3. God is Holy. Francis says, “To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. And because of His set-apartness, there is no way we can ever fathom all of who He is.”
I’ve had many people who are skeptical about God say things to me about not believing in Him because they can’t understand or fathom Him. For me that is one of the coolest parts about God. I don’t want to fully understand Him. I want my God to be beyond my comprehension, beyond my understanding. If He were on the same level as me, how could He be the God who created all things. I want my God to see and know all things above what I can. How could I trust someone with my life who couldn’t see anymore than I can. I want Him to be all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. My strength, peace, and comfort come from knowing He is not limited to my human abilities, understanding or existence.

4. I confess that I do not live in a state of always being in awe of Him. There are times that I am, but I sometimes wonder how I get in those places that I seem to be so casual in my awareness of Him.
My sense of awe is usually accompanied by tears. I’m not a big crier, but when God moves me with His presence I find tears rolling down my face. Sometimes it leads me to my knees or face with vocal expressions. But more often than not, I am speechless. I can’t seem to find the words that are adequate to express what’s taking place in my heart.

~Trina~ said...

I forgot to include this quote by Andrew Murray that I keep posted where I can see it daily,
"May not a single moment of my life be spend outside the light, love, and joy of God's presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for Him to fill full of his Spirit and His love."

Leah said...

Trina,

I LOVE THIS! Love it.

I don’t want to fully understand Him. I want my God to be beyond my comprehension, beyond my understanding. If He were on the same level as me, how could He be the God who created all things. I want my God to see and know all things above what I can. How could I trust someone with my life who couldn’t see anymore than I can.

That is the kind of God we have and He is AMAZING!!

Thank you for sharing.

Leah

Yolanda said...

1. Interesting ? as my husband & I just discussed this last night. I know of two women that aren't going to participate in our group study this summer, they only want to follow the school schedule. Their children are raised and grown and they have been believers for YEARS. It breaks my heart and I pray that I will never think and ACT UPON taking a rest from bible study. That I will ALWAYS have a holy fire for His Word because I can never ever have enough or too much of God. I realize it is dangerous to judge, yet in this situation I don't want to think like others and not learn. I want MORE of God.

2. For me, I think when I see someone that is truly being a servant. Not doing it for any one's glory, including their own...they are doing it for the audience of ONE. Christ alone. Because I see that truly as His majesty, His miracle. Then I would say creation itself. From a baby to the mountains, to the roaring sea, to the plains of the prairies.

3. I love that God is all-knowing. When I began to understand or grasp that more, then I began to more easily let go of things that would hurt His heart. It's easy to say no one will see, but the truth of the matter is GOD ALWAYS SEES and HE ALWAYS KNOWS.

4. I still have a sense of awe for God, I call it Bragging on God. I do it several times through out every single week, because He so amazes me. Often, I just bubble over with an exuberance for life. Joyful to the point that I want to dance.

I also want to share a quote from Mark Batterson's book, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day:

Part of spiritual maturity is caring less and less about what people think about you and more and more about what God things about you.

If I walk this out, then I could never have enough of God.

Lovingly,
Yolanda

Anonymous said...

. As a person who has been a believer for years and as one who has a new undying hunger for more of The Word and more knowledge and MORE GOD. I don’t think that there is any such thing as enough God. How could there ever be enough in my miniscule mind and thinking and His hugeness?? There is so much of Him that there could never be enough to me. However, I, like Leah went through years of what I thought was enough. I didn’t think it outright but I wasn’t doing anything to get more God. I was stagnant, how sad! I believe that one who has “enough God” is one that might be afraid of what God will ask of them. They could be in a comfort zone and think that what they have is all that there is or maybe they don’t want their lifestyle challenged? I hope to never become stagnant again in my faith and walk with God. I am loving this study and I am absolutely in awe of God, His majesty, His greatness, His power and control, His love for us, for me. I had to watch the video’s twice to even get my mind around them and both times I was on the brink of sobbing because it is hard to fathom that God, the maker of the universe, of everything great and small still wants to know me, little, bitty, completely unworthy, me.

2. Amen, Amen, Amen to the R.C. Sproul quote. I am right there, right now! I often see the majesty of God when I take the time to look at the stars on a clear night or the intricate details of the inside of a flower that is blooming. I often see the majesty of God when I look at my daughter and I see her growing; healthy and strong and think that He actually knit her together in my womb. I also see the majesty of God when I consider my life and the husband that God blessed me with, how he loves me and cares for me. I am also brought to tears many times when I consider Gods majesty when He speaks to me through scripture, through the Holy Spirit or the words of a dear friend. I have to agree with Trina about how we miss much of His majesty due to our ways, not His.

3. That God is all knowing. It resonates with me because I am so NOT “all knowing” and need a God that is. I am able to trust Him, my circumstances, etc. because He is all knowing.

4. I must admit that while I am always amazed by what God does, I had lost my awe. Recently through study and particularly this book, it is back full force. I recently had some tough times where I truly struggled emotionally and even slightly physically and I realize that I didn’t expect much from God. I no longer expected a miracle or for Him to “awe“ me. I could totally relate to what Chan said about God becoming common and it hurt me to the core to think that I was in that mindset. I totally have the awe factor back and lately sometimes I am so in awe that I don’t know how to react to His majesty. I have become more speechless lately and more in awe.

Thank you Trina for your quote - that is great and I must so be maturing!! Yaay!!

Tiffany Wilson, Lawrenceville, GA

Leah said...

Love the quote, Yolanda.

I know what you mean about never having enough of God. Over the years, our Bible study group has always taken off for the summer because most of the ladies have children and I understand how busy the summer is with kids. However, I MUST constantly be in some type of in-depth Bible study, even if it is just me participating. Otherwise I would be in such a pit of sin, I might never climb out.

I imagine that where you are currently vacationing gives you many opportunities for major AWE!! Enjoy!

Leah

Leah said...

Tiff,

I love seeing the Lord working in you. I, too, am so NOT all knowing. It is almost more than my mind can comprehend. It is very comforting when I remember that despite the condition of this world, HE is still totally in control and knows exactly what is happening.

HE IS AMAZING!!

Leah

Janice said...

1. "Enough God" looks like the person who thinks coming to church is optional...to gather with other believers is not really a necessity. Coming to church once a week is sufficient and praying when they need something is enough.
After all, God is just "up there" waiting on them to call on Him when they need something. And just knowing that He is always within reach is "enough."

2. I see the majesty of God displayed in nature. I LOVE to see the morning sky as the sun rises. And the beauty of all the new growth coming on as Spring nears makes me thank God for the beauty He has created for us to enjoy. It reminds me of a prayer I once read: "God of miracles, how kind You are to grace your world with such indescribable beauty. Our hearts sing amid the rich variety of sounds and colors and images You have created. For the beauty all around us, and wonders yet to be, we raise our grateful hearts in praise. Amen." I once was at the base of the Grand Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at sunrise. The awesomeness of the sun hitting those ice-covered peaks was breath-taking, indescribable, and caused me to worship the Creator at that very moment.

3. The attributes of God that resonate most with me are the fact that He is eternal. We weren't there when He formed the earth out of nothing and therefore we have no right to question anything He does. He is all-powerful and all-knowing and I rest in that fact. I found out at the age of 46 that I was pregnant. I never dreamed I would be raising another child. I rest in the fact that God knew it in eternity past and He is in control. He is on His throne even when we can't see what He is working in our lives and in the world. He knew Caroline before He formed her in my womb. She is a delight and I thank God for her. Right now, she thinks I hung the moon - even though I am teaching her that, in fact, God did! She saw a rainbow the other day and when asked who made it, she replied, "Mommie!" I told her that God made it and I want her to know His awesomeness and His majesty!! It's nice to have someone that thinks you're the "stuff" because my other two grown daughters don't think that of me anymore!!! HA-HA!!! It makes me feel good to know that someone needs me and loves me above all else - just think how God must feel when we acknowledge that HE is "THE STUFF" and we love Him above all else! Come to think of it, He has a pretty "Crazy Love" for us as well! THANK YOU, ALL-KNOWING, ALL-POWERFUL GOD!!!

4. Sometimes I do forget to be in awe of God. I get busy in day-to-day life...I need to "Stop and Think" as Francis Chan said. When I do, I love the feeling of acknowledging Who God is. And guess what - He loves it, too!!!

Janice

amorgan07 said...

I only have time to answer question 1 right now, so here goes:

Sometimes people don't even realize that they are acting as if they have enough God. I remember a conversation years ago with a mentor. We discussed church and "being fed." She and her husband are wonderful Christian people, but they left a particular church because they weren't being fed by the pastor's sermons. Now, they were very involved in the ministry of the church and as we talked I told her that I respectfully disagreed with her opinion. It's not about being fed. It's about serving. Sometimes God keep us in places because that's where we are of most value to Him. That day the Lord almost audibly confirmed my (our) call to ministry. He told me that it was not my job to sit back and be fed. That He had called my husband and me to feed his sheep. I went home and listened to the chapel sermon for that day (we were at seminary at that time), and it was about feeding his sheep and how that's a call to death - death to self. I think is why most people have enough God. They only want to give up the parts of themselves that they choose. I know I struggle with that continually. That call to death is hard, but I'm thankful that God is loving as He brings about His character in us.

amorgan07 said...

#2 - I see God's majesty in the imagination of my 3 year old and the sweetness of my 8 month old saying mama. I see it in the fact that I have two healthy children and in the fact that my little nephew's body has been through so much but he's still alive and healing. I see it in the diversity of nature and the birds and mountains. I see it in how He speaks to me personally.

#3 - God is all-powerful. He does things because He's God! It doesn't matter if I understand why. He understands. He doesn't need me!

#4 - When God bowls me over with his awesomeness, I just want to be alone and fall down before Him and just process what He's shown me about Himself. It usually includes repentance because I get such a clear picture of myself! Sometimes it's sheer praise and adoration and thanksgiving and singing because my heart is so full.

- April -

Sharon said...

1. To me, having 'enough God' is attending church once a week on Sundays, praying only when a crises arises, and opening the Bible during the pastor's sermon. I'm describing my old self and pray I will never be that person again. I need God 24/7, every moment of everyday!

2. I most often see the majesty of God displayed in nature and in my children. I am moved by the glory of God all around us (I don't mean just here where I live; His glory is EVERYWHERE). Romans 1:20 comes to mind anytime I look outside my window or look at something that takes my breath away. His majesty is displayed in the fireball we call the sun, the palette of colors in the sky, the roars of the oceans, and in the intricate details found on trees, flowers, insects, fishes, birds, animals, and people. I love that our all-caring, all-knowing, all-great God cares about the littlest details!

3. The fact that God is all-knowing resonated deeply within me. There is nothing hidden from God. NOTHING. He knows me and the depths of my heart better than I know myself because He made me. I really like the last two sentences Francis Chan wrote on p.32:

"This is the God who takes time to know all the little details about each of us. He does not have to know us so well, but chooses to."

I am truly blown away by how much God loves us!

4. I am in awe of God now that I have a relationship with Him (2 yrs now). That sense of awe is often expressed in uncontrollable explosions of tears. His Beautiful Presence is overwhelming and never fails to wash my face with inexpressible tears of joy. Othertimes I'm on my knees or facedown!

Sharon

Cindy said...

1. Unfortunatly I lived much of my life as one of those people who had "enough God". It was enough to go to church twice a week, to pray daily and to claim that I was a Christian. Only when I realized in my desperation that while I had "religion" I didn't have the relationship that God so desperately desires for us. Thus began my journey with God and I know that I can never have enough God. He has to be in every facet and detail of our lives.

2. It is beyond me how anyone can claim that we started with a big bang. I see Him daily in the laughter of small children, in the strength of a raging storm or the stillness of a beautiful sunset. When I saw the Grand Canyon I couldn't breathe. To think that a Creator that put every rock in place and hung every star in the sky created me, well I just couldn't even fathom it. I pray that I will never become so complacent that I fail to see Him in the day-to-day things.

3. I think that the Attribute of God that is the most amazing and hard to understand is that He is fair and just. There is so much evil in this world and the most evil people seem to be the ones that go unpunished. And things just keep getting worse. However, God is fair. Even when we can't see it. Even when we can't feel it. Nothing takes Him by surprise He is the Chief Justice of the Universe. And He loves us so much. He wants what is best for us.

4. Sometimes I feel like God is so familiar that I take advantage of Him. Of course no one can take advantage of Him, but I think I sometimes don't have a proper reverance, awe and fear of Him. That is when I get face down and ask for His forgiveness. Because there is nothing common about Him. All I have to do is to look around me or think back at what He has done in my life to get my perspective back in line.

Anonymous said...

Cindy -

I can so identify with your #4 - you put it perfectly!

Tiffany Wilson

Mandy said...

Hey everyone! I am kinda new to this blogging stuff and I thought I posted all of this last week, but when I got on here tonight to check for THIS week, I saw that I had posted nothing! So, I'm going to try again!

Here it goes.....

1. When I think of someone who has had “enough God” I think of someone who is lost. Someone who has no guidance and possibly has had a very hard time making sense of the world and life that surrounds them. I think that people who are in this place may be people who spent time in a church environment and felt judged, or left-out, or that they didn’t belong. There is also a possibility that someone who has appeared to have had “enough God” maybe has never really been given the opportunity to get to know Him. They have heard of Him, but never saw any reason to search for Him. They see so much imperfection in the world around them that they believe that God is a being that the weak have devised to give themselves a reason to hope. Isn’t it sad that in this day and time, with all of the technology and the computers and the cell phones, that there are people who are still not “connected.” These people are not just in 3rd world countries either. There are people like this surrounding us daily. These people have had “enough God” because they have never spent time with people who can never get enough God. They have never been in an environment where they felt accepted and comfortable enough to ask questions and search for a relationship with Him. It’s like they have no idea what they are missing by not personally knowing Him, but they have no desire to go looking because the only experience that they have had could have been a negative one, or possibly no experience at all


2. I can see God everywhere I look. He is so obvious to me. My husband and I often break out in laughter when we listen to people try to explain the theory of evolution. They try to make it sound like God didn’t have anything to do with the way the world is – it just evolved into what it is. Right. It makes us giggle because we don’t think that there is any other way to explain the beauty and majesty that surrounds us with out giving glory to God. When you start to look at the world around you and you see how it all fits together, there is not other explanation – it was all divinely designed and it is all amazing. But, since I need to get to answering the question, if I had to pick a place where I see him most it would have to be in the gift of my husband. The fact that God made someone just for me, to love me the way I am – me (and I am NOT easy to love) – is just mind-boggling. And then, on top of that, to think that my husband’s love for me is NOTHING compared to God’s love for me, well, THAT is just awesome.

3. I think that the fact that God is all-knowing resonates most deeply with me. On one hand, I am so glad. The fact that He is all knowing means that when there are times in my life that are uncertain or scary, I know that He has a plan and that He knows where it is all going and He will tell me in His time, if I could just be patient with Him. I need Him to be that way and I find a lot of comfort in that. On the other hand, the fact that He is all knowing sometimes makes me feel full of shame and wishing that I could be a better child to Him. Even though I don’t act on every negative thought, He still knows when I have them. He knows that I am not perfect, no matter how hard I try to make everyone else believe I am. He knows the depths of me – the parts of me that are beautiful and the parts of me that aren’t so beautiful – and He loves me anyway.

4.The part where Chan talked about being with someone so much that they become familiar really hit home for me because I find that I do that a lot with God. There will be times when I am sitting in the backyard throwing a ball for my dogs and I think to myself, “Geez, sister, do you know how blessed you are?!?!?” And then I take a few minutes and go into a quiet place of thanks to Him for his blessings and I ask for forgiveness for ignoring Him and becoming complacent in my day-to-day life. He always finds a way to bring me back to focusing on Him, I just wish I could do it on my own and carry that sense of amazement with me always – even in the mundane chores of the everyday.

Leah said...

You are all great!! These comments are awesome! I hope everyone is getting back on periodically and reading what everyone else writes! That is how we will learn and grow with each other. Keep it up.

Channy said...

I had the unequaled privilege this last weekend of attending a Student Life conference in Dacula, Georgia where the featured speaker was none other than Frances Chan himself. God blessed all 2000 in attendance and ripped every toe nail off my feet. I hope that exploring this book and sharing in discussion will grow us closer to our God ordained positions. You have a duty to perform right now on the kingdom calendar. Have you checked God’s planner against yours? I hope that I can convey a little of what I gleaned from the conference in the weeks to come. “Spence” will carry a truly unique perspective as she attended also and is a strong vibrant thread ready for God to weave into His tapestry as she begins her adult life. What follows are my belated comments to this weeks questions. I have enjoyed contemplating each of your comments. Jesus is moving!

1. Sadly, I feel that the church in America (in general) is a portrait of individuals with “enough God”. I do not exclude myself from this conclusion. We are content to carve out for the kingdom Sunday mornings from 9:30 until precisely 12:00 noon. We are particularly dedicated if we also add Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. We tithe exactly 10% (let’s not argue gross and net). How proud I am if I take time for quiet time every day and through up my concerns about God moving the way I want him to. After all, I am very busy spinning my own self-centered universe. I don’t swear (much), I am faithful to my husband, I take my kids to church and pray before meals--well at least at family dinners. We look squeaky clean to those around us and rarely embarrass any fellow parishioners. We serve on committees and bake cakes for fund raisers. We even sacrifice some time in the summer to teach VBS. Don’t I look good? What do you mean it’s not about me? Jesus didn’t look like every other Jew. He didn’t build a home and take a wife and take over his father’s wood working shop. No wonder He wasn’t accepted in His own town. He broke tradition. He didn’t just follow the teachings of the law. He was edgy. Are we? The Bible didn’t say to be like the Israelites, it says to be like Jesus.

2. Have you ever studied the intricacies of an orchid? Have you ever marveled at the first 15 months of physical and intellectual development of a human child? Have you ever watched a hummingbird hover and sip nectar? Do you know how a kidney functions? Have you given birth to or are you yourself a normal, healthy person? Do you realize how many things could have gone awry inutero? When I study God’s creation, I am left speechless! My youngest has a way of erupting in spontaneous appreciation and praise of Jesus which causes my eyes to well with tears and affixes a stupid grin to my face. “Mama, did you see how Jesus painted the sky tonight--it’s gorgeous!” Last summer and fall after to joining in countless prayers for an end to the drought, she and I emerged from her preschool into a downpour. At the top of her lungs (which have very respectable volume for a 30 lb. child), she raised her hands and her face toward heaven in the midst of parents and toddlers and praised God, “Thank you, Jesus, for the rain.” Then she danced and twirled her way to the car. I didn’t know whether to praise God more for the deluge or this miraculous little imp who fills many with such joy. I marvel at each of the blessings God has bestowed on me in the form of remarkable, unique children full of life and promise. I praise him for a devoted and talented husband--far better than I deserve.

3. The attribute of God that silences my babbling is His HOLINESS. I am so thankful that He is different, distinct, better, higher, wiser, than we. I am so fallible. Humans are so fallible, even the ones we put on a pedestal. I am so thankful that God is right, He’s got it. I don’t have to understand and I don’t have to figure out this journey called life on my own. In His holiness, he still wants me even though He certainly doesn’t need me. Holy, holy, holy. And I bow my stiff neck.

4. When I am wrapped up in my own muck, I tend to use God as a vending machine. I set Him aside until the time is more convenient. If my spinning plates crash, I immediately run to Him for holy superglue. Lord, forgive me. When I take two seconds to restore the proper perspective in my mind and remember who it is I’m talking to and demanding from--I feel precisely as Isaiah must have felt. “Woe is me.”

Spence said...

Like my mom said, my youth group got to attend a Francis Chan conference over the weekend. Umm... Talk about getting your butt kicked!! I left feeling puny, humbled... and more than a little convicted. Sounds pretty unpleasant, but it gave all of us a refreshing urge to try harder for God.
1. It's way too easy, in my opinion, to feel like you have enough God. Sure, I do good things, I'm a good person (I try anyway), I help out with activities at church, blah blah blah. At the end of the day, I think "Hey, I bet God's happy with me. I didn't really screw up today. Woohoo!" But really, did I strive to be better than I was the day before? Did I attempt to get in deeper with God? Did I do something crazy, something bold, just because I love him and I know he's worth it? If I'm honest, the answer is no, not really. I get complacent and passive about my relationship with God. I feel relatively happy with where I am most days, and for some silly reason, I assume God is happy with that too (NOT TRUE!). So, what does it look like to have 'enough God'? Sadly, if you would have pulled me out of class at, say, 11:52 last Thursday morning, that would have been me. After a nice swift kick in the hiney this weekend, though, I'm looking for more God.
2. Ok, I can't believe I am even typing this because I know my mom is going to make fun of me. First off, a little background info. I do not, and I mean DO NOT, like romance movies, mushy talk, or anything else in the "lovey dovey" family. Now out with it, I suppose... When I read this question, the first thing that came to mind was a precious, tiny old couple I saw walking in the parking lot at church. About halfway to their car, the old man grabbed his wife's hand, pulled her over to him, and gave her a big ol' smooch. Now, we live in a world of BILLIONS of people, a country of hundreds of millions of people, and God orchestrated it so that those two would end up together. Isn't that beautiful?
3. It always stops me in my tracks to remember that God is all-knowing. When I screw up and try to play something off, when I try to dupe God and then catch myself, oh boy does it shut me up. Now granted, I don't always LIKE the fact that God knows every little thing about me. But he does, and that is more than enough to make me feel small again.
4. Sadly, I don't always have an awe for God. Some days, I go through the motions of my day without giving a second thought to the miracle that I'm even here! I do get struck by God's magnitude sometimes, and when that happens, all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. When we were at the conference over the weekend, I zoned out for a minute during worship and came back to reality thinking, "WHOA WHOA WHOA, WAIT!! There are thousands of people in this room, and every single one of us is praising God in a different way." The crazy part about that, the awe-inspiring part, is that God was right there with every single one of us, loving us back in our unique way. So I smile, send him a thank you, and relish in the fact that I have it sooo good! :)

Leah said...

Spence, I really think you have been more real than most adults EVER are in their entire lives. I love the way you answered these questions and you have truly challenged me to love Jesus more!!

Leah

ELISE said...

Hi! This is my first time blogging...so I'm hoping I do all this right : )
1. I think often times people seemt to get 'enough God' because our society is so covered with religious stuff. Often times churchness gets boring. When I think about the beauty and absolute wonder of the Almighty God (not just the religious God we put in a box), I realize I couldn't possible ever have to much. He is always moving in a new way, showing His disciples how to be more like Him.
2. This is a hard choice for me. My first instict is to say nature, earthly beauty like the mountains or the sea. When I think deeper about God's great majesty I think about how much higher His thoughts are than mine. I see God's majesty, while it might sound selfish, in how God works! He makes good from bad... He heals us .. and makes all things new. I think thats pretty majestic.
3.God is eternal. So much of ours lives get rapped up in timing and planning and structuring the whens. God can look at the whole thing in one picture. Generations...all at once. It blows my mind and yet at the same time in moves me to try and humbly ask Him to help me have that "big picture" approach. Wow.
4. Honestly, in many areas of my life I forget to approach God for all that He is, so I'm not as in awe. My perspective becomes ordinary...so I forget how extraordinary the Holy Awesome God that we serve is. More recently I try to notice more things God is doing and think on the the Lord Himself. Rather then being distant from Him, when I engage myself to who the Lord is, I find myself being drawn to Him more and being drawn to serve Him more wholeheartedly. I express my awe in Him by falling to my knees, praying, and singing songs of joy and praise.