Monday, March 30, 2009

Crazy Love: Week 3/Chapter 3

Is everyone hanging in there? The discussion has been great and I can tell that we are all growing in our love for the Lord through this study. Those of you who have not left your comment/answers to the questions, please come join us even if you are not reading "Crazy Love". Feel free to go back and comment on previous week's questions, as well. All of these questions should provoke some serious contemplation from most any heart. Ok, now on to Week 3/Chapter 3.

At the beginning of Chapter 3, Francis Chan says, "For years I 'got' God's love in my head, checked the right answer on the 'what God is like' test, but didn't fully understand it with my heart." Does that resonate with anyone? I know it did for me. In chapter 3, Chan compares God's love for you and me with a parent's love for their child. Just like with a parent and child, God doesn't need us for anything. He just flat out loves us and wants a relationship with us. Examining how we should respond to that was a big part of this week's chapter.

I encourage you to go here to the Crazy Love website and view the video for Chapter 3. Now for our questions for this week:

Question 1: Choose and share one word or phrase to describe your feelings about God in the early years of your Christianity. Then choose and share one word or phrase to describe your feelings about God in your current walk with Him. Finally, if you can, please explain why you chose those words or phrases.

Question 2: Jeremiah 1: 4 The LORD gave me a message. He said, 5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world."

God knew you and me before He made each of us. As you meditate on this concept, what feelings, thoughts or emotions come forth?

Question 3: Share the moment in your life when you first realized that you loved God with your heart, mind and soul.

Thank you to each of you who are willing to share your thoughts as we move toward a deeper walk with Christ. He is so worthy of our love and devotion.

Spence, Channy and Leah


Leah said...

Question 1: One word or phrase that described my feelings about God in the early years of my Christianity - REAL, YET FAR OFF AND HAZY.

One word or phrase that describes my feeling about God currently - BEST FRIEND, SUFFICIENCY, MY PASSION - oops that is more than one!

QUESTION 2: Jeremiah 1: 4-5 evokes so many emotions within me. The first is utter humility. That He knew all about me eons before He ever created me is almost inconceivable. He knew that I would be saved at 15 years of age, He knew that I would enter into a bad marriage, He knew that I would stray horribly, He knew that I would sin against Him repeatedly, He knew that He would call me back and I would come running, desperate to be back home with Him. He knew all this and still loved me and wanted me to exist. it just blows my pitiful mind.

The other feeling and thought that these verses bring to mind is the fact that He created me just the way He desired me to be. He made this body, this mind, this heart and He declared it to be good. It truly is the ultimate slap in His face when I disparage myself or my body. When I am dissatisfied with what He made I am saying that not only is the creation flawed but that must mean that the Creator was wrong in what He made. What an affront to a Holy God!

Also, He appointed my calling. The calling that He has put on my life to speak and teach the Word is unique to me. That calling won't work in exactly the same way for anyone else. I must remember that the ministry He has given me is HIS ministry and He is responsible for making it happen. My job is simply to trust Him and to be faithful to the last word I heard from Him about it.

Question 3: I don't remember the exact moment but it was in the past 10 years. Over those 10 years as I have stayed consistently in His Word and developed a deeper prayer life, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with Him. One particularly meaningful time was last summer when He began bombarding me with Romans 12: 1-2. I knew that He was calling me to a new level of sacrifice and offering to Him. He wanted me to take these verses very literally and "offering my body as a living sacrifice, seeking each day to make it holy and acceptable to Him." His desire was that I not be "conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind" through prayer and studying His Word.

The emotions that have really come to the forefront over the past 10 years are trust in Him and peace in my heart.

Cindy said...

1. One word that describes my feelings about God in my early years of Christianity would be distant. Now He is close. I became a Christian when I was eight years old, but didn't realize that I had to do my part to cultivate a deep relationship with Him. Only through Bible Study and an active prayer life have I had a close relationship with Him. He is always with me and I can go to Him with anything.

2. When I truly meditated on this concept and not just read the words on a page I was overwhelmed with emotion that the God of the universe had a plan for me in existence before I was. It has taken me a very long time to "see the light" so to speak. I always wondered why in the world God would want with a relationship with me. I have often felt like I could never measure up with other Christian women at church or Bible Study because it just seemed that they were so far ahead of me spiritually. I felt like a fake, a failure at the God thing. I knew that He loved me, but how could He love me as much as someone who seemed to have it all together spiritually. For some reason last week when I was reading Chapter 3 I finally understood that He doesn't compare me to anyone. I mean I really knew that but it finally sunk in. Some of us are slow learners.

3. I finally realized that I loved God with my heart, soul, and mind after I began in-depth Bible study. Again, I am slow. I look back and wonder how it took me so long.

Janice said...

Question 1: One word or phrase to describe God in my early years as a Christian - I was saved at age 12, so I would say SAFE, SECURE, THEN DISTANT (I moved - He didn't!)

One word or phrase to describe God in my life today - REAL, MY ALL IN ALL.

Question 2: My thoughts on Jeremiah 1:4-5 ; If you had asked me this question prior to August of 2006, I would've said that it is yet another fact of how awesome God is, that He knew me before the foundation of the world is inconceivable...just plain "WOW!" But as some of you know, in August of 2006, I found out that I was pregnant. Yes, at the ripe old age of 46, I was having a baby! (Just call me Sarah!) I hadn't had a baby in twenty years and the thought never entered my mind that I would ever have another baby! I took great comfort in the fact that God knew it in eternity past. Oh, we were surprised - BUT GOD WASN'T!! He has known about little Caroline (soon to be two) for a long, long, time. What an awesome God we serve!

Question 3: I, too, am a slow learner. After a season in my life of living for "me" and not GOD, a group of ladies from my church went on a retreat - around 1999 - we had done some in-depth Bible studies prior to that, and the Lord was working on me. Our ladies ministry leader at the time sensed God moving in my life, and asked me to speak at this event. I spoke from my heart and shared what God was doing in my life. My marriage at the time was failing miserably (and had been deteriorating for some time) and my husband (at the time) was "not on board." He was a Christian, (or so he says - but he sure wasn't producing fruit, so that's between him and God)- I could go on and on, but I'll spare you the gory details - anyway, I can remember getting alone at that retreat and just weeping before God and thanking Him that He allows prodigals to come home - not only that, but He welcomes them home with open arms!! Chastisement hurts, but it proves I'm His child - and I thank Him for that!!!! The marriage ended, and I have been seeking God more and more since then, so to finally answer the question, I would say that I am loving Him more today than ever. I would say that I am still somewhat of a work in progress and know that I have a hunger for the things of God like never before! (And in a good marriage with a new baby!)

~Trina~ said...

Question 1: Describe your relationship with God at different stages:

Answer: As a child, God was just a natural part of my life. I don't remember it being a close relationship though. As I grew through teen years and into young adulthood, I'd say He became a little closer, but still seemed distant. I've always been in church and Bible studies and ladies retreats, but most everything dealt with trying to be obedient and improve in the roles I was in.

In 1991 I went on The Walk to Emmaus and through that and the next 15 years of participating in Walks, God worked in me the reality of His love for me. I said in a talk once that I'd always known God loved me "in my head", but I was finally beginning to conceive of it and receive it in my heart. Since then this has been the heartbeat of my life, what I live and share out of. HE LOVES ME COMPLETELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY.

Currently, those realities are true, but I will have to confess that I am at a place of dullness of heart. I don't know why and I can't seem to break it open.

Question 2:
God knew you and me before He made each of us. As you meditate on this concept, what feelings, thoughts or emotions come forth?

Answer: This has always brought me great comfort. When life is difficult, I know He knows about it and knew about it before I was ever born and has allowed it to bring me closer to His character and to ultimately bring Him glory.

He knew me and wanted me to be a part of His creation and plan. He has a purpose for me.

Question 3: Share the moment in your life when you first realized that you loved God with your heart, mind and soul.

Answer: I guess I tied that into question number 1. I do love God and I love Him with all that's in me or at least all that I am right now. I still think that falls way too short of what He deserves and way short of the term "with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength." The journey began one day when I was actually reading this scripture and I thought about how desperately in love I was with my husband and two young sons. The love for them consumed me, overwhelmed me, and directed my choices. I asked myself in light of that scripture, "Do I love God with the same all consuming passion that I love my husband and my boys?" I had to answer honestly, "No". I loved Him, but not with the same all consuming passion. So I began my journey of asking God to help me love Him this way. He tells us to ask Him, so I did. I began to see changes in my life almost immediately, some so small you might not detect them, if you weren't aware of my heart's desire and prayer to love Him COMPLETELY. So when I am going through a dull place as I have been off and on, I am very sensative to recognize it and seek out the root. Once you've experienced the love and passion of your relationship with Almighty God, NOTHING can fill you.

Yolanda said...
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Yolanda said...

1. I needed Him, but how do I give up all this for Him. (What ever my this was).

Today: It is such a joy to love Him and serve Him. He has made a major over haul in me that it boggles my mind, not about giving things up, it's all about LOVING HIM and desiring to do so.

2. My parents didn't "plan" me, GOD DID! He knew when, where, and to who He would have me born...and I can't help but then think of Esther...for such a time as this. So I don't necessarily question all of that today, but more become ready for where and to who He wants to use me to minister.

3. It might not have truly happened until I walked with my Mom thru Pancreatic Cancer & her death as well as when I did "Believing God"; because at that point I realized that I really did Believe God. And when I did my Walk to Emmaus I really grasped Agape, what an awesome TOOL God has for those that go through this application.