Saturday, June 9, 2012

Favorite Snippets from Francis Chan's "Forgotten God"

I recently read Francis Chan's book on the Holy Spirit, called Forgotten God.  He doesn't delve into anything terribly controversial.  You'll find nothing on tongues, or and little on how discern whether an extra-biblical "word" is from the Lord.  I wouldn't say it's a deep or meaty book.  But what he does say, he says nicely.  Here are a few of my favorite sections.
Right now I want you to take a break from reading and spend some time asking yourself why you want the Holy Spirit. Is it for power? Is it for your own betterment and purposes? Or is it because you want to experience all that God has for you? Is it because you love the church and desire to be a better servant to your sisters and brothers?... As you look around at your brothers and sisters, do you think to yourself, I love these people so much. I pray God empowers me in some way to encourage these people toward a deeper walk with Him?
It is easy to use the phrase “God’s will for my life” as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day. 

I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power.
When he asked an ex-gangster why he'd stopped attending church:
 “I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in the gangs we weren’t just nice to each other once a week—we were family.”
Francis Chan speaks most compellingly when he speaks about radical generosity.  This comes out even in a book about the Holy Spirit.  He tells what happened after his church leaders examined Acts 2:43-47:
What followed was a beautiful time of sharing as our elders laid “everything” at one another’s feet. We surrendered the keys to our cars, homes, and bank accounts. The elders looked me in the eyes and said, “What’s mine is yours. If anything ever happens to you, I will support and care for your kids as much as I would care for my own. I will be your life insurance.” And because they had a history of genuine sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, I believed what they said.
And, later in the book:
My wife and I recently decided to give all of the royalties from my previous book, Crazy Love, to the Isaiah 58 Fund. All of the money goes to the needy in the world—the starving, sick, impoverished, and to those in the sex-slave trade...
People told us that we were being foolish and irresponsible with the gifts God gave us. They said we should have at least put some away in case of an emergency. My response back was, “Is it not an emergency that children in Cambodia and Thailand and even the United States are being raped every single day of their lives? Why is that not an emergency?”
Chan's writing shines not so much in content as in attitude: his genuine hunger for God's Spirit to rule his life is what makes this book stand out.

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