Monday, November 8, 2010


Disclaimer: more than anything, please understand that the sole reason why JD and I are where we are in our lives, is not due to two books we recently read. God simply used these books and other events (as you'll read about in a later post) as the final push (if you will) to open our eyes to what we needed to see. He's spoken to us for years through the Bible, family, friends, blogs, stories, sermons and probably through ways we can't remember or articulate. I want it to be very clear that we didn't come to this place because of a book or two. It's just that God uses people to speak to all of us. This is why I often pray that I'll have the ears He wants me to have to hear Him and the eyes He wants me to have to see the things He wants me to see.

As I mentioned, I read Radical in a couple of days. It was an amazing wake-up call for me. In that I realized I'd been kind of coasting through life. I am a huge dreamer and I always have ideas brewing and often act on some of them, but all in all, I've been frustrated and confused for years as to how God wants to use me -- aside from the obvious: being a wife and mother. I always feel called to those roles. My prayer after reading these books was that God would not only use me/us, but that He would stretch us. When I think about being stretched, I think about being taken from my comfort zone. I think about having my convenient, easy life challenged for something bigger than me. God had already primed my heart with Crazy Love, so when I started reading Radical I was very receptive to it's messages about the need for those of us who claim to love the Lord and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ to act on behalf of the suffering and orphaned around the world. I only had one entry in my journal that addressed Radical and before 'D-Day' (October 15th). Here it is:

October 12, 2010

Oh Father, I lay before You my stirring heart and mind. I lay before You my confusion, heaviness and difficulty discerning. I ask You for clarity, peace, and direction. Once again -- as has been the case so many times over the last couple of years! -- I don't know which way to act, what approach to take, how to proceed. I ask You for Your wisdom and discernment. May this book (Radical) be offering me what You want me to hear and grow on. May it be of You -- and whatever's contained within that You don't want me to take away, may it fall away. However, may the points You wish to stick, stick.

Father, I'm convicted that the only way to put this stirring to rest is through action. Guide my every step and move. Use me and equip me for all of it. I feel ridiculously incompetent and ill-equipped. Overflow me with Your Holy Spirit.

Father, forgive my unbelief, doubt and questioning of You. Build my faith in You. May I love You more.

Perhaps you'd like to hear more about Radical. I think I'm hesitant to say too much because I feel like I can't encapsulate it well. But I'll share with you some of the things I highlighted in the book that really spoke to me. There are so very many, so I can't include them all. Better than these few points, just read the book. :)

Page 69:

"We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the sad result is a self-centered Christianity that bypasses the heart of God."

Ouch. I so struggle as a self-centered Christian. Trust me.

Page 73:

"In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all."


To me, this means that sometimes I take what's great about being a Christian and cash in on it, but leave the challenging parts (and there are challenging parts!) of being a Christian and cast them aside. As if they're mutually exclusive.

Pages 104-106:

(Bear with me on this one because it's long, but more than that, it might hit you where it it did me).

"In our Christian version of the American dream, our plan ends up disinfecting Christians from the world more than discipling Christians in the world.

Let me explain the difference.

Disinfecting Christians from the world involves isolating followers of Christ in a spiritual safe-deposit box called the church building and teaching them to be good. In this strategy, success in the church is defined by how big a building you have to house all the Christians, and the goal is to gather as many people as possible for a couple of hours each week in that place where we are isolated and insulated from the realities of the world around us. When someone asks, 'Where is your church?' we point them to a building or give them an address, and everything centers around what happens at that location.

When we gather at the building, we learn to be good. Being good is defined by what we avoid in the world. We are holy because of what we don't participate in (and at this point we may be the only organization in the world defining success by what we don't do). We live decent lives in decent homes with decent jobs and decent families as decent citizens. We are decent church members with little more impact on the world than we had before we were saved. Though thousands may join us, ultimately we have turned a deaf ear to billions who haven't even heard his name.

Discipling is much different.

Whereas disinfecting Christians involves isolating them and teaching them to be good, discipling Christians involves propelling Christians into the world to risk their lives for the sake of others. Now the world is our focus, and we gauge our success in the church not on the hundreds or thousands whom we can get into our buildings but on the hundreds or thousands who are leaving our buildings to take on the world with the disciples they are making. In this case, we would never think that the disciple-making plan of Jesus could take place in one service a week at one location led by one or two teachers. Disciple making takes place multiple times every week in multiple locations by an army of men and women sharing, showing, and teaching the Word of Christ and together serving a world in need of Christ.

All of a sudden, holiness is defined by what we do. We are now a community of faith taking Jesus at his word and following his plan, even when it does not make sense to the culture around us and even when it costs us.

In the process we are realizing that we actually were intended to reach the world for the glory of Christ, and we are discovering that the purpose for which we were created is accessible to every one of us. Children and the elderly, students and workers, men and women all joined together in a body that is united with other followers of Christ around the world in a practical strategy to make disciples and impact nations for the glory of Christ. A community of Christians each multiplying the gospel by going, baptizing, and teaching in the contexts where they live every day. Is anything else, according to the Bible, even considered a church?"


Page 108:

"More than twenty-six thousand children today will breathe their last breath due to starvation or preventable disease."

'Ouch' doesn't even suffice.

Then there's this chapter called "How Much is Enough? American Wealth and a World of Poverty." I've picked a couple of points Platt makes in this chapter. Here goes.

First and foremost, this point must be made loud and clear:

Page 109:

"The Bible nowhere teaches that caring for the poor is a means by which we earn salvation. The means of our salvation is faith in Christ alone, and the basis of our salvation is the work of Christ alone. We are not saved by caring for the poor, and one of the worst possible responses to this chapter would be to strive to care for the poor in order to earn salvation or standing before God.

Yet while caring for the poor is not the basis of our salvation, this does not mean that our use of wealth is totally disconnected from our salvation. Indeed, caring for the poor (among other things) is evidence of our salvation."

Amen, brother.

Page 119:

"Like the rich young man in Mark 10, every Christian has to wrestle with what Jesus is calling us to do with our resources as we follow him."

And finally...

Page 140:

"We can switch the channels on our mega-TVs and continue our comfortable, untroubled, ordinary, churchgoing lives as if the global poor don't exist. We can let these numbers remain cold, distant, and almost imaginary. Or we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the faces that are represented by these numbers."


And here's another staggering number for us: there are approximately 150 million orphans across this globe.

Alright, so I know these first two posts are very faith-based, 'preachy', or whatever you choose to call it. I felt it was imperative that I explain in great detail how mine and JD's hearts and minds got to where they are. This brings me to October 15, 2010 and how God spoke very clearly to JD and I about how we, personally, were to respond to what He had revealed to us.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Moving on...

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