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Book Review by Rachel McCreedie: Crazy Love

June 18, 2010

Banksy? by moufle.

Author and co-author Francis Chan and Danae Yankoski (foreword by Chris Tomlin)

Who should read it? Christians who want to live the real and radical life that Jesus calls them to.

Advice for reading this book
Read with an open heart and be honest with yourself. Avoid being overly defensive of things that look too radical or like too much effort.

Review

It is rare for me to finish a book in a fortnight, let alone in a day. There wasn’t anything special about Crazy Love, it was just the next book on the list – the next source of knowledge, advice and encouragement.  But something in this book grabbed me and within 24 hours, it had had its way. I strongly believe that that something was Jesus. Could this book have been so effective without Jesus acting through it? No. It couldn’t even have been written. Even though the author put the words on paper, God put the words on my heart.

Why was this book so effective?
It was honest. It spelt it out. It challenged me. Francis Chan doesn’t mind if he steps on your toes. Why not? He’s giving us God’s message, God’s reminder, and telling us how to do it God’s way. And God certainly doesn’t mind stepping on your toes if it will get your attention.

What is it about and how does this effect us?
The book addresses a major crisis in the church. This crisis – or more accurately crises – are ‘lukewarm’ Christians. Chan states that he does not mean to discourage true, faithful Christians, but to address those of us who may be lukewarm, or in danger of cooling down. Even the most devoted heart can gain from reading his description of the lukewarm Christian, which highlights where we are most vulnerable, and must guard our hearts most carefully.

Many of us have heard the verses ‘So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But do you not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked…’ Revelation 3:16- 17.

But I believe many of us, if not all, have at some point forgotten the enormity of this verse. It’s an easy verse to sweep under the carpet. It’s comfortable to sweep it under the carpet – and for me comfort was the issue.

I think comfort is an issue many of us in the Western world face. Chan speaks of how in order to live in comfort we store up and plan for the future, hoarding our goods for ourselves, and living in a way where we feel safe. The attitude of: ‘it’s great if Jesus does come through – but just in case he doesn’t…’ seems to be hidden under many of the decisions we make.

What example does this set to our friends, neighbours, enemies?

Any non-believer can suddenly appreciate God after he’s performed a miracle. Any non-believer can love his friend. As believers, shouldn’t we use our resources for those who need them most, and trust in God to come through when we might need what we gave away? Doesn’t he say he’ll provide? Shouldn’t we love our enemies, knowing that God is the ultimate judge?

Chan points out ‘many feel called to help the rich, but few feel called to help the poor.’ He made the point that if we are to love others as we love ourselves, doesn’t that equate to us spending as much on others as we do ourselves?

A simple conclusion to draw, but rarely put into practice. Does Jesus not say that each time we give to those in need, we give to him? My eyes were opened afresh to this astounding truth. How can we withhold the resources in our care from those who need them most, from our enemies, the sick, from the poor, when – even if we find it hard to feel love for these people – when we show them love, we are loving Jesus. Have we hardened our hearts so much that we have forgotten how to love him?

How did it effect me?
It would be impossible for me to sum up all the important points he makes, and every point that had an impact on me. This is why I suggest you read the book.

Even as I read I could feel neurons flying, my mind being rewired, reawakening old nerves that had long become numb to anything other than my own comfort and desires. It is easy to superficially love – if I can use such a ridiculous term – but Jesus wants more. He got inside me and wouldn’t let go. I haven’t felt this satisfied and this loved in a long time – and this from reading about my own shortcomings and Jesus’ ability to change me.

I think I am discovering what Jesus really means when he says ‘For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’ Matthew 10:39

Should you read it?
Can I guarantee you will have the same experience from reading this book as I? No – but I can advise you come with an open heart, and a desire to know more. Did I, with my ‘just reading another book’ attitude, deserve to discover an overwhelming love for my saviour and his overwhelming love for me whilst reading it? No. Did that stop him? No.

That’s crazy love.

Click here to go to the Crazy Love Website

Photo: moufle

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