Final [and way overdue] post on Francis Chan’s book: Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. [I team taught through the book last quarter in Sunday School at church and decided to blog about the book.]
Posts from other chapters:
I’ll plan on giving a synopsis and review of the Forgotten God DVD Resource in a separate post.
Chapter Six: “Forget about God’s will for your life “
I think one of the things that I appreciate about Chan’s books are his chapter titles. Chapter six is a perfect example. He takes one of the core things that Christians concern themselves with and turns it on it head (hopefully I’m not the only one here…) – that being our focus on knowing God’s will for our lives.
The big thought here is that we often miss, even ignore the Holy Spirit’s leading and prompting with our focus on knowing or figuring out God’s will for our lives. Chan is not saying to totally ignore this – but the key is not to be so consumed that everything else (people, life, opportunities, etc.) take a back seat to our search, even quest for God’s will.
I don’t think we purposely do all this, but it can and does become a distraction.
Living out the chapter title is a huge step of faith and certainly involves depending upon the Spirit for courage – trusting that things, situations, people are placed in our lives for a purpose.
Personally, I would like to know without any shadow of a doubt what God’s will is for my life – who wouldn’t; but, maintaining my focus is often what brings MORE glory to God…relying on and trusting in Him.
I can just imaging if, after surrendering our lives to Jesus, we each had His will revealed to us. The result, could be living on our strength without dependence on God…or empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Chapter Seven: “Supernatural Church“
Early in this chapter Chan writes, “I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through.” In this chapter, he extends everything he’s written so far to the “church” – not the buildings, God’s people. This same statement should be true of churches that are attended by Holy Spirit-empowered people.
Five or 10,000 attendees…a church’s dependence on the Holy Spirit should cause a reaction or realization that God is good, amazing, and powerful. The sad part is that often churches garner praise and adoration for themselves instead of God. (BTW, the same is true for people - we take credit for what obviously is only accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.)
It all starts at the personal level, of course.
I really appreciated Chan’s statement that we often forget that the God we worship and serve is the same one from the Bible that Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Esther, etc prayed to, trusted, served, and praised. I know that sounds silly, but we often think that He’s different and that He “can’t” or “won’t” or “doesn’t” – when we know full well (according to the truth of His word) that he “can”, “will”, and “Does”. Those beliefs taint and inhibit our trust, prayers, and actions – to the delight of Satan (of course) and the chagrin of God, for sure. Chan points to a favorite verse of his – James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently.” As a class, we memorized the verse.
Equally convicting was Chan’s story about a former gang member who started-then-stopped attending his church because he thought joining a church was going to be like a gang – full of loyalty, commitment, familial in its makeup. Sadly, he found that at church, people were often only nice to each other once a week [Sunday]. Being an empowered or “supernatural” church ought to result in exactly the kind of community that this person was desiring and looking for – and it starts at the individual level.
The bottom line here was that as individuals and as a church we must make the choice to live risky lives for God – as Chan put it in Crazy Love…lives that are obsessive for God and empowered by His Spirit.
One more post on this life-challenging book: some thoughts on the DVD, both content and as a resource.