Few things surprise me anymore. You?
Spend enough time watching the morning or nightly news and the shock factor simply, and sadly, fades away. News stories fly at lightening speed, the more gruesome ones making breaking news. Crowds cheer when a victim gets kicked.
Let’s establish while there are some negative kicks in the seat of our pants, there are also some positive kicks in the seat of your pants. Neither are comfy scenarios, but…
I’m going to prove to you good kicks will make you a better, more effective believer.
Please meet my friend “Buck” in the above photo. He’s our “kicker” for today.
My goal today:
…to enlighten you to read any verse in your Bible, in a different manner.
…for us all to open our eyes and hearts differently when we open God’s Word.
How many of you have ever read writings by Francis Chan or heard him speak? He has the uncanny gift of preaching while kicking you in the seat of your pants. I’ve been known to veer in the opposite direction from him, knowin’ I was gonna get it.
A few years ago, our Book Club read and discussed a powerful book of Francis’: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. (Danae Yankoski and Chris Tomlin are also contributors.)
I warned our members this book was going to mess with them in a mighty way. The chapter on being lukewarm nailed me to the wall.
Revelation 3:16 warns, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
One of our very good friends, who at the time, happened to be the manager of the bookstore at our church, was so convicted by this book she and her husband put their home on the market. It quickly sold.
They got rid of a lot of their belongings (I benefitted from her books she was ridding herself of, thanks again Sara!), and moved to South Carolina to help with a start-up church. They moved into a neighborhood to be the salt and light of Christ, being true disciples.
I confess I thought they were a wee bit Crazy-Love-Cuckoo. Something in me, however, revealed I no more had the guts to do what they were doing than a man in the moon.
To throw myself under the bus one more time, I haven’t read any more by Francis until today. Somehow, he snuck into a book I bought unknowingly.
Oh, I can see the Lord smiling: “Gotcha!”
Francis, along with his inspiration from the Lord, has kicked me in the seat of my pants again. It’s my pleasure to try and kick all of us in the seat of our pants today! I promise, you’ll thank me. (Please hang in there….)
The book? PASSION: The Bright Light of Glory by Louie Giglio, with contributions from Francis Chan (I totally missed that!), Beth Moore, John Piper, Judah Smith and Christine Caine.
Each of the sixteen chapters are talks given by these wonderful teachers from Passion conferences. They each pack a punch. They all revolve around Passion’s mantra from Isaiah 26:8 that says,
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth,
We wait eagerly for You,
For Your name and Your renown
Are the desire of our souls.”
CHECKOUT www.268generation.com for more information about the Passion conferences as well as Louie’s church, Passion City Church, in Atlanta, GA:
Francis shows us Isaiah 66:2 –
“This is the one to whom I will look:
He who is humble
And contrite in spirit
And trembles at my word.”
Ready to be kicked? …
(We’ll “get” to see “Buck” more than once, sorry…)
Francis asks, “Do YOU match the description of the person to whom God is looking?” (Humble, contrite in spirit, trembling at His Word???)
What does it mean to “tremble at God’s Word”? Francis says we’re to respond like this:
“Wow! That came from God! I just read words sent to me from God Almighty, from the Great I AM!”
Francis says, “When you view the Word of God like that, you realize:
How much you need to listen,
How much you need to act.
I want to beg you to read your Bible.
But that’s not all. I want to beg you to not just study the Bible, but to tremble at the very words of God.”
He continues, “Imagine trembling at everything in your Bible! With every page you turn, you maintain a sense that ‘I’ve just heard from the voice of God!”
Oh, we best repeat that: “I’VE JUST HEARD FROM THE VOICE OF GOD!!!!!”
Francis reminds us how Peter trembled at the Word of God in Matthew 17 (verses 1-8). Later, in 2 Peter, verses 16-25, Peter returns to that experience, when he heard God’s voice on the mountain. He says we’d “do well to pay attention” calling the Word “living and abiding”, with the beautiful climax echoing Isaiah: “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
Francis says, “If we actually took God’s Word seriously on this point—if we trembled at His Word—then we could actually live out the grace that Peter talks about in 2 Peter 1:2 – “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
Ready to be kicked again?…
Round Two with “Buck”…
Francis asks us, “Is God’s Word formed in your life in such a way that people see grace and peace exuding from your life and wish they had your God?
“From knowing Him,
From a relationship with Him,
If we are close to God and tremble at His Word, then these things will characterize our lives.”
Francis’ prayer is one for us all: “May you experience so much of God’s grace that everyone around you says,
‘Wow. I wish I had your God’.”
‘Nough said. I pray we’ve all benefitted from these kicks…
(If you haven’t been kicked enough, ha, be my guest and finish reading chapter five in Passion—The Bright Light of Glory. I didn’t reveal all….Mr. Chan, and the Lord, thankfully, aren’t thru’ with us yet. As my Uncle Bruno used to say, “You worry, I’ll be back!)
‘Til next time…