Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You Might Not Finish This Chapter - Week/Chapter 2

Crazy Love Week 2

Chapter two begins with two very profound, yet simple thoughts. The first is that you could die before you finish reading this chapter. We are reminded that we are not promised another breath past the one we are currently breathing.

The second thought is that on the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. If you don’t believe that take a look at a little child—an innocent little child. The entire world lives to serve and please them. It doesn’t get much better as we grow older.

On page 44, Chan gets in our faces and says, “frankly, you need to get over yourself.” You and I play the supporting role in this thing called life. Our great big God is the main character; we are the supporting actors and actresses.

Author Max Lucado echoes Chan’s thoughts in his book 3:16 The Numbers of Hope when he says, “The hero of heaven is God. Inhabitants of heaven forever marvel at the sins God forgives, the promise he keeps, the plan he executes. He’s not the grand marshal of the parade; he is the parade. He’s not the main event; he’s the only event.” p.93

As we go through this life, are we living as if it is all about God or all about us? Think about it!!

Question 1

On page 40 Francis Chan quotes Fredrick Buechner. “Intellectually we all know that we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. On the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.”

Why do you think we live as though our lives will go on forever?

Question 2

On page 42, Chan says the following:

Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.”
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.”
“Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.”

Worry and stress are big deal things that affect virtually EVERYONE. What would it take for you to dump worry and stress completely?

Question 3

After reviewing the answers given by others in the group to last week’s questions, have you made any changes in your life or your thoughts? Have you had any revelations with regard to your love for Jesus? Do you view your relationship with Jesus Christ differently because of last week’s study and if so, how?


Revelation 3: 1 – “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive,
but you are dead.”

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 – “His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

Chan says, “All that matters is the reality of who we are before God”.

Carve out some time this week and examine who you are before God. Determine to get gut level honest with yourself and with God. Ask Him to reveal who you believe you are before Him and who you truly are in His eyes.

Channy, Spence and Leah


Faye said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leah said...

Ok, here is where we have to really start to get transparent, folks. I told Channy earlier this week that these questions are not ones that I particularly wanted to post because my answers will incriminate me hugely. They are, however, the questions I believe the Lord wanted posted.

Question #1 - I think we live as though our lives will go on forever because we are afraid. We are afraid of what we can't see and feel and touch. We don't have the kind of faith that really trusts that God will take better care of us than we can take of ourselves. We never glimpsed Eden with our own eyes and so we have nothing to compare it to here on earth. We can't imagine that anything could be better than our best day here. We just simply don't believe Christ when He said "I go to prepare a place for you."

We also think our lives will go on forever because we think we are so important to the grand scheme of things that the world might cease spinning if we somehow did stay on top of it. Ouch, I'm stepping on my own toes!!

Question #2 - "Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.”

I cannot express how badly that bites and stings me. I'm guilty of both worry and stress. I can take a hangnail and make it into cancer in a matter of a few moments simply by dwelling on it.

What would it take for me to dump worry and stress completely? To be totally transparent with you, I'm not sure I can even visualize what that looks like. I have been a Type A all my life and stress has been an unending part of my person. I stress when I don't have anything to stress about. I am ashamed to admit it but I don't believe that I could completely dump stess and worry. It would truly have to be a complete taking over of my mind by Christ and obviously I haven't gotten to that point yet where I can completely let go. Jesus, forgive me and help my unbelief!!!

Question #3 - Because of last week's discussion I sense more of an urgency to live with total abandon to Christ. I sense that He is calling me to a deeper walk with Him, to a walk that is radical and causes others to think I'm weird (as if they didn't already think that!!). I long to be faithful to walk that way with Him. I sense that the Lord is up to something BIG in our world and I want to be found faithful to Christ.

Laura said...

1) Why do you think we live as though our lives will go on forever?
For those of us who are Christians I would way that sometimes that the thought that this life is not forever does not really enter our minds for we live moment by moment and do not look at the long run. I know for me I am only 36 yrs old and looking at the big picture has not entered my mind until the last few years and it was because of some close people in my life passed away. It is then that hit me right in the face of what this life is really to be about. It is not what I see though. Life is so fast and in a moment, we are gone. For myself, my focus is really realizing that I am just passing thorough no matter of what is going on around me. I am on a journey and it will not last here.
2) Worry and stress are big deal things that affect virtually EVERYONE. What would it take you to dump worry and stress completely?
For me, I tend to worry and focus a lot on things that I cannot change. GOD is working on me major about this especially the past few weeks. Nothing that happens in my life can I CHANGE. Again he is calling me repeatedly to realize that he is GOD and he is in control. When I worry and stress out I AM telling GOD that I do not trust him and he needs my help. GOD does not need my help or anything like that. What I need to do is to honestly tell GOD my concerns of my heart and the things that are troubling me and leave them there. That is so hard cause there are things in life that I just don’t understand but GOD is again calling me to trust him not matter when my eyes don’t’ get it. What I can do is to trust his heart for that has never disappointed me. Praise his name.
Question three
The past few weeks before the LORD and I have been intimate and times of conversations before him. He has called me to be real before him and to just call on him. He knows the struggles of my heart that really I do not need to talk about but I do know this that HE is my GOD. He is my portion. He is so real before me today that I cannot even write how he reveals himself to me as I seek him. I do not know if that answers the questions or not but this is where my heart is today.

In him, Laura

Yolanda said...

1. Perhaps death hasn't really hit us close to our hearts, with a parent, a sibling or a child. Until that happened for me, I tend to think that life is meant to be lived to the ripe old age of 100. But not true....

2. A MIRACLE. Really, because often I reflect upon God is in control, nothing comes without sifting through His hands, and yet...I am anxious and I worry when my thoughts leave the above mentioned aspect I've just walked through. It's like looking in a mirror and walking away forgetting what I just looked at.

3. Just yesterday I said to Bill, can you even begin to imagine how many different types of GRASS God has created? Each blade is different, etc. WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD. Not sure I would have thought of that prior to last weeks chapter.

Just this morning, I wrote in my journal asking God to forgive me as I easily forget this is not about me, but all about Him.


Janice said...

#1: I think we live as though our lives will go on forever because we simply can't grasp the fact that we are going to die someday. The day has already been set and we still don't believe it. Our grandmothers and grandfathers die and we just think that they are old and we'll never be that old - or at least it's a long way off. Before you know it, years have passed and death is more of a reality. I have a friend who has been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. He is in his fifties, which is young, when you, yourself are around that age. It's too young to die, anyway. I'm sure he is thinking more about death these days. If all of us would live like we've been diagnosed with some terminal illness, we would focus more on eternal things and loving people and worshipping God the way He deserves to be worshipped!

#2: I think I'll stop worrying and stressing when I draw my final breath! Worry and stress are mean and they won't leave me alone! They are always ganging up on me! The Bible tells us that worrying doesn't change a thing, but it is so hard to not worry. Why can't I just believe God and let Him handle it? I find myself praying about something, believing in my heart that God can handle it, and then still worrying about it and trying to "help" God. HE DOESN'T NEED MY HELP!!!!!!!

#3: I think I have been more aware of God's awesomeness since last week's discussion. I was reading in Proverbs this morning about how He set the heavens in place and marked out the horizon on the face of the ocean, and gave the sea its boundaries so the waters would only go as far as He said they could go - is He awesome, or what? I can't even find the Milky Way when I look into the night sky! And He calls the stars BY NAME!! Whew!! I want to be listening closely for His voice and be ready to act when He opens a door of opportunity.

In awe of Him,

Channy said...

You echoed much of what is in my heart in your comments to this weeks chapter. I will add my own answers soon. Thanks to all for challenging me and helping me to focus on the Main Man.

Cindy said...

1. We get so caught up in our lives and this world that we can only see the day-to-day and we lose sight of the fact that this is not our real home. We get so busy that we would have to "schedule" our death so to speak. We can't fathom that there could be a hitch in any of our life plans.

2. Wow! I never really thought about worry or stress in this way. Who in the world do I think that I am, that God isn't big enough or because I am so exceptional, I need to worry. I am still reeling over this one. "Both worry and stress reek of arrogance". I daily try to give my worries over to God, but seem to snatch them back at some point. I sometimes think that nothing short of death could case me to quit either. I do desire greatly to change this.

3. I am trying to view myself the way Jesus views me. He desires a relationship with me even though I am undesirable. I can't even begin to understand. Since He feels this way about me, how can I not be head-over-heels in love with Him?

Irritable Mother said...

Hi Leah,

You were right about question #2.
When worry and stress are spelled out like that - when we see ourselves as offenders, rather than victims - well, it puts our "woe is me" song in a whole new light!

Mandy said...

1. I think that people live as though their lives will go on forever because they don’t really take the time to think about life, how short it is, and their reason for being here. We are here to glorify God, but sometimes as the “routine” of day-to-day life sets in, that is a fact that is easy to overlook. It sort of goes back to the first chapter when we talked about how easy it is to get used to the daily routine if you never stop to take a look at all that God has done, and is doing, around you. If there is anything I have learned in the last year or so, it is that your life can change in the blink of an eye. You can lose someone close to you. You can lose your job. You can get a phone call that drastically changes your life forever. None of that fits into your plan. If we could take just a few minutes a day to stop and think rather than run from place to place, maybe we could see that life doesn’t go on forever and we would enjoy it all a little bit more.

2. This passage in the book about worry and stress really hit home for me. I felt so guilty and so ashamed as I was reading. I am a worrier. I married a man who worries about nothing and everyday I am amazed by him. I want to be like that. And what I find is that the more I ask God to help me with my impatience and my worrying, THE MORE OPPORTUNITIES HE GIVES ME TO WORK ON THAT! And still, I worry. I am a little hard-headed, to say the least. My stress doesn’t control my life, but it is present enough that when I read that worry and stress reek of arrogance I wanted to go hide under a rock. How dare I be that way! After all that God has done for me! After all the times he has seen me through things I couldn’t see my way out of! After all that he has provided and gifted to me! How dare I be that way! It was very convicting and it still sticks with me now even though I read the passage almost a week ago. I have absolutely no idea what it would take for me to dump worry and stress. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like – I have to think that “freedom” would be a good way to describe it. So, I will continue to work toward that goal. I will continue to pray for help with my worry and my stress, even though I have learned that the more I ask for help with it, the more of it I get. ;-)

3. After reading our chapter last week and reading everyone’s responses, the thing I have noticed about myself that has changed has been my attention to detail. I found that this past week I noticed God in a few places that I had looked over in the past. I actually started thinking of Him while I was admiring the sunshine Monday morning. I noticed Him while I was sitting outside eating my lunch at work. I found His majesty in the little things, and I really enjoyed that.

Channy said...

1) I am probably a very small minority, but I am probably more comfortable with the thought of death than most. My daughter says I’m morbid. Maybe. I guess it started about the time I realized my dad would die of cancer, and he did three years ago. I diligently clean my house before I leave town on vacation and have a letter on my dresser detailing how my children should be cared for and how my assets should be distributed if I should die unexpectedly. I guess I just believe that I can die as suddenly as Jesus can reappear and I don’t want to be unprepared. I deeply trust my loving and merciful Savior to know when that time should be. I think we get caught up thinking that there will always be a little longer to clean ourselves up, or do something worthwhile, or make a decision for Him. I’m reminded of the parable of the rich fool who thought he’d “Take life easy; eat drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, “You r fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” Luke 12:19-20 We always think there should be a couple more dots and God may say, “Nope,. Today was it.”
Channy May 1966...?

2) I don’t what God can do to conquer this arrogant part of my flesh. When it comes to the worrying stressing flesh, I’m the female version of Arnold Schwartzenegger. I, like Cindy, lay my worries down at Jesus capable feet and then quickly snatch them back with weak incompetent fingers. I think that if God ever miraculously cures me of this sin, I may live so much more victoriously. I buy into the world’s rhetoric. We are bombarded with topics of worry everyday. If you are lacking something to stress about, watch TV for an hour and each commercial will tell you what you should be worried about and will promise to sell you something which will then give you assistance in alleviating that worry. Thanks be to God that he is bigger than all our perceived problems. But do we really trust that he is?

3) I am restless in my spirit to draw closer to God who could flick me aside like an annoying mosquito, but instead loves me with agape love. I watched a portion of the DVD study resource of Crazy Love today and Chan was talking about what regrets I would have if my life were cut short today. Do we believe that we could die at His whim today? And if we do believe, are we willing to make the changes that will leave us without regret?

April said...

#1 - Channy, I so relate to that! Except my house is still messy when I leave. :0) The older I get the more I realize that God knows the number of my days, and I'm not guaranteed even all of this one. Sometimes I have to stop thinking about it and choose to trust that God knows best and make the most of each day. Since my nephew's been sick, it's really changed how I see my children. Zach's "annoying" behavior isn't so annoying anymore when I think that I am so blessed to have a healthy little boy. I don't want to regret how I spent my time. I want it to leave a rich legacy for my children and others so that they see Jesus.

#2- I always knew that self-pity was a form of arrogance but I never considered worry and stress to be that. When I read that quote, guess what? I was worrying and stressing. When will I stop? I'm pretty sure it won't be until heaven. Here's a quote a friend posted on FB the other day.

It takes some of us a lifetime to learn that Christ, our Good Shepherd, knows exactly what He is doing with us. He understands us perfectly. - Phillip Keller

#3. I have much more aware of when God is speaking to me and amazed that He does.

~Trina~ said...

1. Why do you think we live as though our lives will go on forever?

--I'm in the same minority with Chaney and my family has thought occassionally that I'm a bit morbid. I've always been relatively comfortable, if I can use that word, with the reality of dying. I've gone through the death of many people I love in life. In some ways I live with that reality and try to make a difference for God in my world but in other ways I come up far short.
I do think we live as though life goes on forever for the simple reason that we get so caught up in the day to day living. Life is busy and we all have a long list of things to do and our focus tends to lean towards getting the next thing checked off the list-living very short-sighted lives. I'm guilty.
I want to live daily in the bigger picture reality that each day is a gift from God for me to share His love and point others to Him.
Even though I've always realized that life here on earth could end at any moment, I will admit that closing in on 50 years old has ignited a whole new fire in me to live the second portion of my life with more purpose than the first portion.
Just for laughs...Since I turned 30 I keep telling my husband than I'm middle aged. Each year I move the boundaries of middle age up 10 years. Kerry wants to know just how long do I think I'm going to live if "50" is middle age. I'm sure we'll have the same conversation at 70-- lol

2. Worry and stress.
--I didn't get to really look at this discussion until Sunday afternoon. Funny, the sermon Sunday dealt with worry. If anyone wants to check it out, the sermon will be online Wednesday afternoon at www.stonegatefellowship.comGo to SGTV and click Sunday's message.
I dont' like to be a worrier. It's so draining and defeating. I tend to be more of a solution finder, but I do worry at times. Through many trials in life, God has been so gracious to teach me to trust "His sovereignty and His love" for me and for the ones I love that I tend to worry about. Sometimes I don't tap into that truth right away, but with a litle time, He brings that truth home to me again. It's been a process. I've been know to give my worries to Him and feel a breath of release and be foolish again to pick the worry right back up with all the tension flooding back into my spirit. I remember one night in particular that I went through this "give it up, pick it up" process all night long until I finally let it go. That was a big turning point for me. I also tend to be able to trust Him with the big things and the little things, but the middle ground stuff can eat me up.

Stress: That's a hard one, because I tend to be driven by a little stress. It pushes me to do things. Can there be two different kinds of stress? One being the kind that he refers to as arrogant and the other being low doses of stressors that push us along?