Archives For Crazy Love

The Box

September 17, 2009 — 2 Comments

boxThe box has been sitting near our desk at home since May 31st.

Each time I saw it, I thought of the lives it represented.

Lives I was praying for…each time I saw the box.  Wondering what God was doing in each person’s life…praying that they were being refined by the Holy Spirit.

Now it’s empty…

You see, last Spring I taught through Francis Chan’s book – Crazy Love – during Sunday School.  At the end of class on the final Sunday, I passed out note cards and a sheet that listed the “Profiles of the Lukewarm” and the “Profiles of the Obsessed” we had read about in chapters four and eight.  I asked each person to write a note reminding themselves of one lukewarm and one obsessed area that they felt they needed to work on – areas in which they (by faith) wanted the Holy Spirit to refine them over the next three months.

We prayed, people wrote, the envelopes were collected, we prayed again, and I said that I would mail the envelope back to each person in September.  I went home and set the box near our desk.

The notes are in the mail.

I hope – I pray – that they serve as a reminder and encouragement to each recipient.  A reminder of the amazing, crazy, and undeserved (but graciously given) love that God has for us.  A reminder of our call, as Christ Followers, to reflect that insane love to the world, for the praise and glory of God.

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So why write this post?  You may be reading this and say, “So what, I wasn’t there.”  Two reasons:

  1. To encourage YOU, the reader. The Apostle Paul (and others) did this.  Paul often wrote to one group of people and reported about other people’s faith in order to encourage people (Romans 1:8 & 12).  He challenged Christ Followers to think of ways to encourage each other (Hebrews 10:24).  So: If you haven’t read Crazy Love, I highly encourage it.  It (and the biblical truth on which it is based) will refine you and make you a better worshiper of Jesus.  If you have read it, are you living in light of it?
  2. To challenge myself and those who lead and teach. We must always remember to encourage people to take the next step – to live the “topic” out…tangibly.  Simply teaching and not encouraging “practice” is, quite frankly, a waste of time and really doesn’t foster growth or further the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 10:24-25).  Recently, I heard Rick Warren say, “Jesus turned up the heat little by little to mature his disciples.”  Shouldn’t we, as teachers and with the love and care of Christ, do the same?  Have I mastered this?  No – thus the challenge to me as well.


Blessings & Maranatha!

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Abidin’

May 21, 2009 — Leave a comment

I started listing to Andy Stanley’s podcast series, “Defining Moments” the other day – very good series!  One verse that has been resounding in my head since starting has been John 8:31-32:

31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The main reason for this rocking around in my head is because I’ve been teaching through Crazy Love this past quarter at church.  There is a ton of stuff in there (and the accompanying scripture) that is life changing and challenging – it hit me when I first read the book, now in teaching through it, its pounding me!

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anniecropI was on a business trip last week and, in addition to the souvenirs I got for Karen (I never come home empty-handed), I came home with severe allergies.  I stayed home from work Monday and, as I sat in my chair, clogged up, napping, and watching TV, our dog Annie caught my eye – totally resting, relaxed, content, looking at me. She always sits so that she can tell if Karen or I move, because that may mean one of two things: play time or a COOKIE! As I looked back at her, it dawned on me – she is always happy, tail wagging, ready to please.  She can be totally out of breath from play, she can be hobbling with a hurt leg, she can be just about to eat her supper, …she can be just about anything: but she is always happy, tail wagging, ready to please.

It got me thinking about one of the Profiles of the Obsessed in Francis Chan’s Crazy Love Chapter 8, which was this past week’s Sunday school lesson:

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Not feeling too well today…I’m in Florida for a work conference and the allergies are kickin’ my be-hind!  Whine completed…now on the with post.

I was prepping for Sunday School this evening (Francis Chan’s Crazy Love), and two things hit me smack dab between the eyes:

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(Sung to the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies)

Come and listen to a story, ‘bout a gal named Sue
Church volunteer – amateur singer, too
The crowds and the judges were doubtful of her skill
She reminded all you can’t prejudge – although we prob’ly will
(Forgive us, Lord. It’s sin. We know.)

AND

Come and listen to a story, ‘bout Carrie Prejean
Christian first, then model…beauty queen!
The crowds and the judges were sure of her skill
Till she showed integrity – now it’s all ill will
(I wonder Lord, would I have done the same? Hopefully, that is,
through the p’wer of Your Spirit!)

Wow…in the space of two weeks, two confident women – with differing public reactions.

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biff-sings-video1Maybe it’s me, but every time I read Isaiah 40:21 & 28 (“Do you not know? Have you not heard?”), I always have this image of Biff knocking on George McFly’s head in that scene from Back to the Future! You remember, the one where Biff is wondering why George hasn’t done HIS homework.  (Need a reminder?)

Anyway, in chapter 40, Isaiah seeks to comfort, assure, and remind the exiled Jewish people about the greatness and faithfulness of GOD. Every time I read this chapter, I am drawn to and held by the descriptive power and awesomeness of  God! I’m also saddened and convicted by how I easily miss or don’t fully grasp how great God is sometimes. I KNOW it; but still, in my distracted humanness, often MISS IT!

Hello? Anybody home? Think, Dennis. Think!

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sinThere is a laboratory where I work that does research on “extreme deformation and failure of materials and structures.” That’s basically a scientific way of saying that they blow stuff up to see its limits and recommend solutions.  I know, pretty cool! I’ve been to the test range, but they weren’t testing at the time – maybe someday.  The scientists and staff there do some pretty cool research that saves lives of people in a number of situations.

So that is the Explosions part – now on to Tori…

I was surfing iTunes last night and saw that Tori Amos‘ new CD is called Abnormally Attracted to Sin.  Intrigued by the CD title, I did a Google search and found an interview where she talked about her new CD (whose title is a line from Guys and Dolls) and the impetus behind it.  Interesting article – here are some excerpts:

I’m drawn to questioning what traditional authorities have defined sin to be. As a minister’s daughter, I’ve been exposed to the traditional belief system. [Sin] has been used to shame and control people. If you’re controlled by a religious structure, then you’re going to have a very different outlook on life and what you’re open to than if you’re not controlled by these old, crumbling concepts.

I guess I was never a Bible-thumping Christian; I was always trying to question because I had so much religion in my upbringing. I was drawn to those people and those ideas that weren’t accepted necessarily, and it’s not because these ideas in reality are “evil” — that’s just the perception that’s being given. The reality I was brought up in was, “Anything that doesn’t work within the Christian doctrine is sinful.” And that’s a lot of stuff.”

My thoughts – combining both (I write this directed toward Christ followers…me most of all!  I will not pass judgment on Tori or others who ascribe to her line of thinking.):

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