Wednesday, April 22, 2009

crazy love wrap-up

This morning I finished reading the final chapter in Crazy Love. (Wow!) Tomorrow I'm going to flip to the beginning of the book and read it all over again. I've never done that before with a book (well, aside from the Bible.) I'm so glad that I trusted the recommendation of my three new friends.

I have been challenged, encouraged, and inspired by all that Francis has shared through his book. And yet, he fully acknowledges that he can't tell the rest of us how to live our lives, because he's having hard enough time discerning what he should do with his. :-)

So, my thanks go out to Pastor Chan for taking the time to write such a life changing book and my praises go out to the God who inspired such an incredible book. To God be the glory.

If you haven't grabbed a copy yet and are in a place in your life where you feel stagnant, this book is for you. If you have a good understanding of your faith, but haven't yet figured out how to live it out on a day-to-day basis, this book is for you. If you are able to be challenged without being offended, this book is for you. If you see others pouring out their lives for Christ, but aren't sure if you could do the same, this book is for you. If you don't have a lot of free time or are a slow reader, Chan has an audio-book for you. ;-)

I actually just ordered a copy of the book on CD for my husband. He doesn't have a lot of spare time for reading, but does have a 1/2 hour commute to work every day. I'm SO excited to hear what Geoff thinks of the book, cause I can already tell, God has big things He's waiting for us to jump up and get a'workin' on! :-)

So, before I go round two with Crazy Love, I thought I would share a little bit of what stood out for me in the tenth chapter. I think that we are all going to take away different things, which is the beauty of God's very nature.

"Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you." (Oswald Chambers) I have been so guilty of this over my life and as soon as I read those words found myself repenting for all of the times I've done this very thing. Sigh.

Chan followed up that quote with one of his own, "Be careful not to turn others' lives into a mold for you own." We are all created uniquely and God has plans for each of us. None more important than another's. He created me to be uniquely "Amy" and I'm learning more and more every day exactly what that looks like. When I try to be someone I wasn't created to be, those giftings and strengths get completely derailed, and basically, I stink. :-(

God needs ALL of us to do our own specific "work," to do it well, and to do it together. We are supposed to be one body. I've been saddened lately seeing a large portion of the body of Christ with hacksaws in hand going after each other. We can be so destructive when we allow fear, doubt or jealousy get hold of us. Again, another area for me to personally repent.

I pray that God will bring about the forgiveness and healing that needs to happen in order for us to be able to work together to do His Kingdom work. So much time and energy get wasted when we are so busy pointing out the flaws in someone else's work and forget that THE God of the universe is watching them. He is capable of correcting them and guiding them. We need to put our eyes back on our own work and keep our focus there. Such a good reminder for me.

Chan also wrote, "True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God's fidelity to His promises." This is a huge area where God has been teaching me lately. Especially in regard to our adoption and beginning to step out and be a voice for widows and orphans world-wide, especially in Ethiopia. He continues with, "We must learn to listen and obey God, especially in a society where it's easy and expected to do what is comfortable." Even among Christians.

I'm saddened to think of all of the times I have discouraged others from doing something they felt God calling them to do. When I try to talk them out of something they feel passionate about, or even just don't actively support their decision, I am in effect doubting God's power. It's not about their ability to hear God correctly. It's about God's ability to work through them for His will and His glory.

(Oh, Father. I'm so sorry for all of the times I have gotten in your way because of my own personal doubt. Please continue to increase my faith in You and my understanding in who You are. Please help me to believe the best about others and to cheer them on as they actively pursue You and Your purpose for their lives.)

Francis also challenged me to make it my own personal goal to "live as though each person I come in contact with is Christ." I'm working on that. It takes time and persistence, but the results that happen when I do this are amazing. All of the petty problems quickly melt away and my vision is immediately cleared. Not only do I see others through a lens of love, but I also see myself through a lens of love. God is SO good.

Praying your day has been full of purpose, passion and joy. May we all fully embrace LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

In Christ's love and grace,


Becky Ryder said...

Happy 29th Birthday;) Beautiful pictures. Very sweet kiddies!

Wendy said...

happy birthday I take it. :) I hope it is a blessed one.

I'm reading this book w/ 5 teenage girls. I'm so excited to dig into it w/ them...for their sakes and for mine! Thanks for the write-up on it! I'm finding we share quite a lot in commone.
~ Wendy