Yesterday I was present at a talk by famous author and pastor Francis Chan. His book Crazy Love changed the trajectory of my Christian life and ministry, so I was truly looking forward to hearing him speak. Here are some brief notes from the talk.
Right off the bat:
If you’ve come to hear from Francis Chan, and not God, you’re here for the wrong reasons. He is what we pursue.
Well, that was convicting because I’m pretty sure I went looking forward to a Francis Chan sermon, not expecting or asking for God to speak to me.
He spoke on the idea that the Holy Spirit comes and empowers in special ways primarily in times of crisis when Christians are on mission. Examples included the Spirit descending on the disciples in Acts as well as Elijah’s confrontation with the priests of Baal.
He talked about the experience of Korean missionaries imprisoned by the Taliban, who say it was a time of great closeness to Christ that they sometimes wish they could even return to.
If you were a sheep, and Jesus was your shepherd (as in Psalm 23) wouldn't you sometimes want to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death just to see what Jesus would do?"
As always, Francis comes across as incredibly sincere, and as someone who has a heart of obedience to Christ. He spoke the great importance of all Christians to be making disciples–if we are complaining about not being fed enough by our pastor, he says, it may be time to “man up,” feed yourself if you’ve been equipped to do so, and go to work making disciples. Otherwise you are keeping yourself in spiritual infancy.
Chan says the Holy Spirit in Acts is the same Holy Spirit today, and he calls us live out the mission of going into the world and making disciples. This will bring us into socially awkward situations and perhaps even physical danger, but this is where we see God, in obedience. If we don’t see parallels between our life and lives of the early Christians in Acts, something is wrong.
Very challenging, but his word on making disciples rings true. Am I being obedient to Christ, not just unto death, but even unto social awkwardness? Do I look at my relationships with friends, family, and my children as opportunities to make disciples? Am I willing to take an active role in seeking out the lost? Is something wrong if I don’t I have the time to search out God’s will via prayer and soaking in the Scriptures?
These are the questions I came away with.