If you’ve spent any time on this blog then you’ve likely seen that among the various topics and passages discussed the centrality of the message is one geared toward awakening those “Christians” that are slumbering or merely coasting through life in their relationship with Christ. In fact, maybe this best describes your situation right now. Perhaps you aspire for spiritual growth, but try as you might in your own strength, you simply are not progressing. Author Alan Redpath provides the following analysis, “Full blessing in the Christian life is not bestowed except to eager, hungry people who press in to receive it.” So if the full blessing comes to those who hunger to grow in their relationship with Christ, how then does one develop this hunger?
In his book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, author Francis Chan asks, “Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions?” His book provides answers to these questions and many more as Chan explores the depths of religious complacency in all of our lives and exposes us to thoughts about God, the Creator of the universe, who loves us with a “crazy, relentless, all-powerful love” that seeks to draw us ever closer into a relationship with His Son, the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Throughout this book, Chan’s tone is more like a conversation with his readers than a textbook style lecture. His thoughts flow from one point to the next and through the extensive use of Biblical references, he succeeds in drawing readers to examine themselves on the inside to see if their Christian life would be better classified as “lukewarm” or “obsessed”. The book opens with a request to stop reading and proceed to his website www.crazylovebook.com where Chan directs the reader to view the first video of the awe-inspiring majesty of the Creator of the universe and just how immense and worthy of praise this creation is. The second video is a dynamic monologue that Chan delivers as he walks along the coastal cliffs of California on his way to enjoy the splendor of God and also surf a few waves (included below).
As the book unfolds the reader begins to get a glimpse of just who God is, why He loves us so much, and why anything less than a heartfelt, passionate, pursuing relationship with Him, simply will not do. Chapter 4 is perhaps the most penetrating as Chan details 18 characteristics that makeup the “Profile of the Lukewarm.” It’s here where he makes a bold assertion based on the Parable of the Sower that Jesus teaches in Matthew 13, by saying, “Do not assume you are good soil.” Chan argues that, “most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God.” In concluding this bold approach to establish the “lukewarm” Christian, Chan provides the following conviction, “lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God.” So disgusting in fact that Jesus makes reference to the lukewarm in Revelation 3:16 by literally stating He will spit, or more accurately, vomit, them out of His mouth.
In the chapters that follow, Chan speaks of the love of God and how we are to let God do the work in us and make the changes in our heart. He states that running toward Christ, pursuing, and loving Him is much less exhausting than running from guilt and fear of sin and in fact it is liberating because it frees us up “serve, love, and give thanks” to Him. This message of loving God, fully surrendering to Him, and allowing Christ to work in our hearts are the marks of genuine intimacy that all lead up to perhaps the boldest chapter of Crazy Love, chapter 8, “Profile of the Obsessed”, which includes 14 characteristics that contrast those given earlier for the “Lukewarm.” In concluding his book, Francis Chan presents examples of real, everyday Christians that have lived their life in complete surrender to God, obsessed in their relationship with the One that pursues us relentlessly with a Crazy Love. In this final chapter, Chan supplies 2 quotation gems worth noting, “It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church” and “The world needs Christians who don’t tolerate the complacency of their own lives.”
Crazy Love is a passion-filled message to the “lukewarm” church that has become so pervasive in America today. It’s message is one of urgency that should not only awaken those that are slumbering, but should invigorate those who are already living passionately for Christ to examine their relationships with friends, family, and fellow churchgoers to help them encounter the love of God. Chan closes his book with a Q&A section where he makes the following statement, “The idea of Crazy Love has to do with our relationship with God. All my life I’ve heard people say, “God loves you.” It’s probably the most insane statement you could make to say that the eternal Creator of this universe is in love with me. There is a response that ought to take place in believers, a crazy reaction to that love. Do you really understand what God has done for you? If so, why is your response so lukewarm?”