Book Club: Week 2 - Chapters 3 - 5, Crazy Love
Wow, I feel like we had some great back and forth discussion about some of the points Chan raised in the first two chapters of Crazy Love. We explored issues like God's punishment of sin, the definition of discipline and how our own experiences can often impact how we view faith.
For this second session of Crazy Love, we're going to go through chapters 3-5. I found them as challenging as the first round of chapters and look forward to hearing what you thought. Here are my ideas from chapters 3-5.
1. "Over time I realized that when we love God, we naturally run to Him—frequently and zealously… Our motivation changes from guilt to love." Pg. 57. I really want that and sometimes, more now then ever before, I experience it. But sometimes, I don't go to the Lord out of an overflow of love and joy, I go to Him because I think that's the right thing to do. The challenge for me is that I often will say, "Well, I need to wait until I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and love before I do my quiet time." I think that's dangerous, because in some ways, love is a choice and our feelings lie. There are a lot of things in life that I don’t “feel” like doing but I still do them out of discipline. Do you ever struggle with that thought process?
2. On page 58, Chan talks about taking a four day spiritual retreat by himself. Have you ever done something like that? What did you do? What do you feel like happened during that time? If you were going to recommend that to another Stuff Christians Like Book Club member, what would you suggest?
3. I love Ephesians 2:10 about us doing works that God prepared in advance for us. That's such a great reminder that it's not about me and my mission, it's about me being obedient to God's mission.
4. "His being is utterly complete and perfect, apart from humanity. He doesn't need me or you." Pg. 61. I love this and actually spoke on this idea at the Dave Ramsey organization back in October. I need to write about this at some point on SCL, but God doesn't need us, He loves us. There's a huge difference between those two mindsets.
5. Chapter 3 concludes with some questions I've been writing about a lot lately: "Are we in love with God or just His stuff?" "Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you?" Those are great questions to ask yourself. How would you answer? For me, writing this book has forced me to answer those types of questions constantly. From the beginning, God has been asking me, "If the only life that changed from this book you're writing is your own, would that be enough? If all you get out of this experience is a closer relationship with me, is that enough?" Honestly, for a long time, the answer was no. I wanted money or admiration or approval or popularity or a bunch of other stuff. But in the last few months, I've started to realize how temporary and shallow all that stuff is when held up against the all consuming love God offers us.
6. "According to the account in Luke chapter 8, when a crowd started following Him, Jesus began speaking in parables –'so that' those who weren't genuinely listening wouldn't get it. When crowds gather today, speakers are extra conscious of communicating in a way that is accessible to everyone. Speakers don't use Jesus' tactic to eliminate people who are not sincere speakers." Page 66. How do we reconcile this paragraph with the seeker friendly approach to church? Is that even a helpful exercise?
7. Most of chapter 4 focuses on the list of what lukewarm people do. There are 18 different descriptions. Which descriptions could be applied to how you live? For me, I would say that I struggle most with the following:
"Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict." Pg. 69
"Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act." Pg. 70
"Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven." Pg. 75
"Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control." Pg. 77
"Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to." Pg. 78
8. "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33. What does giving up everything look like on a daily basis? Because I don't think it's a single act so much as it is a lifestyle.
9. "Is this idea of the non-fruit-bearing Christian something that we have concocted in order to make Christianity 'easier'?” Pg. 85. Good question. I wonder if we did invent the concept of a "casual Christian?"
10. "The reality is that, whether we acknowledge our wealth or not, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually." Pg. 90. I don’t know if I ever thought about it this way. I think it's really interesting that he follows this line up with the two stories of the rich man and the camel/needle and then Zacchaeus. I always knew he was a wee little man, but I never really thought about the situation the way he described it "The impossible happened that day –a rich man received his salvation!"
11. I'm not sure who Tim Kizziar is but he dropped a bomb when he said, "Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." Pg. 93
12. Did you do the challenge Chan presented on page 94 where you take 1:Corinthians 13:4-8 and substitute your name where love was? "Jon is patient, Jon does not envy or boast." It would be hard for me to say that last one given how prone I am to arrogance.
13. "We disgust God when we weigh and compare Him against the things of this world." Pg. 97. Do we disgust God? If you're saved and covered in the blood of Christ, does God ever look upon you, and see your actions and say, "You disgust me?" I don't think Chan was saying that exactly, but that's how I read it and I think in my brokenness I could easily interpret that as a call to perform for God and earn His love by doing things that do not disgust Him. Again, not saying that Chan said that, just how the condemnation inside me wanted to take it.
Those are my thoughts. What did you think? What did you like? What did you dislike?