This picture of my bedside table is slightly embarrassing. But, authentic. I am a bibliophile, a lover of books. And I do not have enough shelf space, obviously. Anyhow, I would like to share with you tonight a little bit about two books; one that I am in the midst of reading, and one series I just finished.
Our small group is currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I am only on chapter 4, but I love it so far. Let's just say that this book is meant to radically change how you think about yourself and your relationship with Christ. It is honest, probing, uncomfortable at times, but takes an amazing look at God's absolutely insane love for us, and how we can return that love in same. Chapter 4 is the chapter where Francis just tells it like it is. After I read it, I took the book to my husband and said, "You need to read this now. It will make you feel like crud (except I didn't use the word crud) but you need to read it." You have to understand that Jason does not like to read AT ALL and getting him to read something is like pulling very stubborn wisdom teeth. But he read it, and then we proceeded to have a long conversation about it. The title of this chapter is "Profile of the Lukewarm". In all honesty, most of churchgoing America is lukewarm in their pursuit of God, including myself. I am trying to transform myself into the follower of Christ who offers Him everything and will do anything he calls me to do, but it is not easy. This chapter really convicted me to change my thinking in a lot of areas of my life. Just a few excerpts I would like to share: (Chan follows each of these with relevant Scripture which supports what a true follower of Christ should do.
"Lukewarm people gauge their morality of goodness by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satified that while they aren't as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street."
"Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money and their thoughts, but He isn't allowed to control their lives."
"Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give."
"Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God."
In contrast to the lukewarm Christian, I just finished The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. When I began the first book in the series, "A Voice in the Wind", I wasn't sure I was going to like it because it is historical fiction, set back in the days right after Christ's crucifixion. There were a lot of Latin and Greek words that I didn't know and names I couldn't pronounce. But once I got into the characters, I could not stop reading. Talk about people who were the opposite of lukewarm! The story revolves around a Jewish girl who becomes a slave after the fall of Jerusalem to Rome. Her family was Christian, and she is the only one who survives the aftermath of the destruction of Rome. Her transformation from a shy, timid girl, to a woman of unbelievable faith and trust in the Lord is inspiring. Living in the world we live in today, we cannot even understand the level of persecution Christians were up against back then. As I read through the series, I got to see how her faith walk and willingness to obey Christ's calling for her life affects so many people who know her, and even ones down the line who did not. She believed God!!!!
I hope you all get a chance to read these books. Books cannot replace time you spend reading God's word, but they can offer hope and inspiration in your life and broaden your knowledge in different areas. Here's to dumping out that lukewarm water, and filling yourself with piping hot love for our Lord!
"Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt.22:37-38)