Monday, November 21, 2011

Crazy Love

I'm reading a new book.  Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  A member of our small group passed it off to Forbes last week.  Unfortunately for him, he has a handful of books in his cue at the moment, although he has been wanting to read this one for a long time.  Fortunately for me, I got to take it along to work with me last night and ended up reading almost half of it. 

Basically, this book is reinforcing my mindset that I am not doing enough to live out God's purpose.  I am not following some of His basic commands in the bible.  I am not loving my neighbor as I love myself.  I have not taken up my own cross to follow Him.  Sure I live a pretty good life.  I am serving those around me.  But my selfish desires so often come before the needs of others. 

I learned a very simple truth last night while reading this book, that I seem to have overlooked: Christian = Disciple.  After reading it in the book, I came home last night and asked Forbes what the difference between a disciple and a Christian was.  Luckily he is smarter than me and responded with "nothing."  What a radical thought!  There is nothing different between a disciple and a Christian? 

Are you a Christian?  How would you honestly answer that question?  You know 83% of Americans would classify themselves as Christian. 

Now ask yourself this: Am I a disciple of Jesus?  For me, that question hurt.  A disciple proclaims the name of God and is not ashamed.  They give everything they have to teach others the good news.  I went back to my initial question... is a disciple the same thing as a Christian.  Can that be true if I don't feel like I'm a disciple, and yet I call myself a Christian?

The first disciples were those guys in the New Testament that were martyred for Jesus.  They taught about grace and mercy and they sacrificed everything to teach the gospel.  They did not call themselves Christians but were named as such by others.  When someone looks into my life would they be able to call me a Christian?  By my actions am I exemplifying a Christian?  Can I be a Christian if I am not first a disciple?

This morning Forbes and I finished the devotion book that we have been working on for the better part of a year.  Become a Better You by Joel Osteen ended with a bang this morning with a huge call to action.  The idea is that life is fragile and you do not know when your last day will be.  This is not a morbid thought, but a call to action and it echoed a full chapter in Crazy Love that I read last night.  If today was your last day, what would you do?  Knowing you would be home with Jesus in the morning, and standing before God, how would you like Him to acknowledge you?  What would you fill your last day with?

Forbes immediately responded with, "I would not go to work!"  No, dear, you would not!  But what would we do instead?  Certainly we would want to see our friends and family to say goodbye.  God would not hate that thought, he is a loving God who loves relationship.  But would that be the best way to go out with a bang? 

Perhaps I would like to see the Grand Canyon before I die, or if I'm going to die anyway, heck let's just go to outer space to see what that is like, right?  God would surely honor that.  He would laugh at our sense of adventure and welcome us home with open arms, huh?

But what if we dropped everything to serve.  To feed the hungry, speak out for the oppressed, free slaves, and hold orphans in my arms and teach all these about the love of our Father.  Then what would God say?  God has given me everything I need in this life.  Isn't that a call to responsibility to help others with their basic needs?  What can I do today to help someone else?  What can you do today to help someone else?

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