Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Francis Chan is a thinker, a dreamer and pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. A frequent speaker at Passion Events, he’s a dynamic communicator committed to making the love of Jesus come alive in people’s hearts. In his writing debut, CRAZY LOVE, Chan challenges readers to fall in love with God in a way that is truly transforming.
Written for those who want more of God yet are frustrated with organized religion, Chan manages to avoid the pitfall of making pot shots at the church. Instead, he challenges followers of God to take risks in their spiritual journeys and consider their understanding of God. At its crux, Chan believes the issue of lukewarmness among Christians is because we have an inaccurate view of God. When we understand God for who He is --- in all of His majesty, holiness, beauty and honor --- then it will naturally transform the way we live and respond to those around us.
On a very practical level, Chan asks what it looks like to be overwhelmed by God. How does passionately pursuing a relationship with God affect and infect us? For instance, he asks what it would look like to do more than just tithe? What does it look like to give God our best rather than just the leftovers? These aren’t just challenges that Chan sets out --- they’re ones he’s trying to live out in his own life and church. Cornerstone Church began 13 years ago and originally gave about four percent of its budget away. Today, the church is committed to giving away 50 percent of their budget under the belief that when Jesus instructed us to love your neighbor as yourself, he wasn’t kidding.
More recently, the church considered a building program that would have cost millions of dollars. Instead of moving forward with the plans, the church has decided to build an outdoor amphitheater that will save the church about $20 million and enable them to give away more. That kind of simple yet radical thinking underlines the book.
In one of his most focused chapters, Chan takes a look at the “Profile of the Lukewarm.” He examines what it means to be lukewarm in a direct way. He writes:
“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry that God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.”
The words sting in the best possible way.
Chan isn’t shy about challenging readers to become all they can for God. While the writing throughout the book is simple and clear, his dynamic communication style does not translate fully to print. The layout and, at times, random placement of stories and text without transitions or fully unpacking the ideas is a sign that Chan has much more to offer. Hopefully, his ghostwriter and editor will pull the very best out of Chan on his next writing project, because this amazing communicator has it in him and needs to be heard.
CRAZY LOVE is definitely worth reading, and Francis Chan is a guy you’re going to want to listen to and learn from every chance you get.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on November 13, 2011