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This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Crazy Love Review

Although it’s taken me almost an entire year to blog through the book, I want to finish sharing about each chapter of Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This has been one of the most popular series of posts on my blog, and I know that this book has made a profound difference on many people, myself included.

Do you consider yourself a person obsessed with Christ? The title of chapter eight is “profile of the obsessed” and it deals with the way we live our life for Christ. The dictionary defines obsessed as to have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic. Our culture makes us think that obsessed people are crazy. Words such as fanatic, extremist, weirdo, and worse are thrown at anyone who lives their life preoccupied with Christ.  However, Chan shares that “the idea of holding back certainly didn’t come from Scripture. The Bible teaches us to be consumed with Christ and to faithfully live out His words.”

This is one of the best chapters in the book. One passage that really had an impact on me personally was about the contrast between risk and safety. Chan says, “we’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world. Would you be willing to pray this prayer? God, bring me closer to You … whatever it takes …” When we live in crazy love with Christ, we are not living in safety. We are called to take risks and follow Him no matter what the cost. That is the picture the Bible paints of the disciples, and it is what we are called to do as well.

Let me leave you with several quotes about what an obsessed person looks like. Read over these slowly and apply them to your life.

  • People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly, without censure. Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back.
  • People who are obsessed with Jesus aren’t consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God’s kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.
  • People who are obsessed with Jesus live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another. Obsessed people believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to Him.
  • Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo. A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don’t always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth.
  • A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the sin of pride is always a battle. Obsessed people know that you can never be “humble enough,” and so they seek to make themselves less known and Christ more known.
  • People who are obsessed with Jesus do not consider service a burden. Obsessed people take joy in loving God by loving his people.
  • People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers. Obsessed people genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world.
  • A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is her in front of them.
  • A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being.
  • People who are obsessed are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or their failures. Obsessed people don’t put it on for God; He is their safe place, where they can be at peace.
  • People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God’s Word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for a whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions and alternative messages.
  • A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or the environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God.
  • A person who is obessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying “Thank You!” to God. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to apy God back or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in his role as child and friend of God.

Let me ask you again, are you obsessed with Christ? If you can’t answer that positively, then I urge you to fall crazy in love with Christ. This book is a great way to get started on the journey.

With all the snow and ice we have gotten over the past few weeks, we were expecting a lower than normal turnout this past Sunday. God had other plans, and we had two great services this past Sunday. We did experiment a little by recording our evening service on video, so I uploaded the sermon so it can be viewed online.  If you did miss church Sunday, then here is your second chance to view the sermon. We wrapped up our series on 20/20 Vision by discussing our response to the Gospel.

As always, we will post the audio of the sermon on the church website and on the iTunes podcast. Let me know what you think. Is this something you would like Cornerstone to do each week?

The Gospel Response from Cornerstone on Vimeo.

Are you living your life in response to the Gospel? As Christians we have strong feelings about the gospel. We might not be able to express fully its meaning, but we understand that it is “the power of God for salvation” and that it changes everything. We will learn that the gospel is not just a message to those outside the faith who need Jesus. It also contains the resources we need to make a difference in the world by being different from the world.

This is the sermon from the evening service on February 7th, 2010

We are in the middle of a harsh winter in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Starting the week before Christmas, we have had snow almost every week. This picture is the road that goes by our house. It has stayed covered with snow and ice for most of the past month. The schools have missed days and weeks at a time, and it doesn’t look any better in the foreseeable future.

We are digging out now from about 9 inches of snow with more sleet and freezing rain to come. While I’m happy that I have a 4-wheel drive F-150 pickup, it has still been tough getting around. But the snow definitely can wreak havoc on schedules and church activities. We have already missed two Sundays due to the snow and this week may not be much better.

So here is my question. What does your church do when it snows? I know some churches are adamant that they will be open no matter what. Some close at even a hint of snow in the forecast, but what should be the deciding factor? Anne Jackson had a great post posing a similar question and it really made me think. For me, it is always a tough decision. I have tried to delegate it to others, but it is usually a collective decision. Our decision is usually based entirely on safety. Even if we tell people to be careful and stay home if the roads aren’t safe in their neighborhood, many still feel obligated to come. Especially those who are serving. We don’t want to put them and their families at risk. I would feel terrible if someone was injured because of a decision we make.

Why do we feel pressure to have church every week? I enjoy meeting together and I truly miss having church services, but for many churches, the answer is simply money. If your church is operating week-to-week on a budget, then missing a week can really affect paying the bills. Luckily, Cornerstone has built up a reserve for times like these so we can continue on without ministry being affected. We trust and pray that God’s people will give generously when they get back to church. Here are a few other things to consider:

  • If you have services, then you are responsible to clear walkways, sidewalks, steps, and the parking lot to ensure the safety of those who come. I talked to a pastor this week who had someone fall and break their hip due to ice in the parking lot. The first question the insurance company asked was if they had someone professionally clear the parking lot and sidewalks.
  • If the local police have asked people to not travel due to bad road conditions, then please honor their request
  • If you do have services, why not simplify and meet with children and adults all together. Combine services and don’t try to do everything like it’s always been done.
  • Why not utilize technology and share a video message or audio message with your church online
  • Why not provide resources or encourage people to have church in their homes or communities. Share resources or ideas for children to study as well.

This past week, we tried something a little different. Here is the email we sent out. We pointed people to other churches who had online experiences, and we encouraged them to worship as families. At our house, I got out my guitar and we had church together as a family, and it was an awesome time. What other ideas do you have for when services are cancelled? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Dear Church Family

1. If you have missed any of the past weeks from our current teaching series, we would like to encourage you to go back and listen to them online here.

2. Take the time to have a family worship service at home. Involve the entire family with singing and devotions and a time of Bible study.

3. Tune in to one of the many online church services from around the country. Some of the ones that we recommend are Lifechurch.tv (9:30 and 11am), Seacoast Church (9:30 and 11:15am), Newspring Church (11:15am and 6pm), and Northpoint Online (6pm). Lifechurch also has an excellent children’s website for activities and lessons to do at home.

4. If you are a regular giver at Cornerstone, we ask that you continue to worship by giving your normal tithes and offerings online. This may be a good week to check out the online giving options at our Cornerstone website. Our expenses don’t go away on snow days. If you are not comfortable with online giving, of course you are welcome to simply catch up next weekend. Our weekly operations budget has been down over the last month or so with the weather, the holidays, and possibly extra giving to AEP :-). We appreciate your generosity in advance as we continue to combine our resources in order to pursue the vision God has given us for reaching the twin counties.

We hope and pray that you and your family stay warm over the next few days and stay safe if you absolutely must head-out. We can’t wait to see you next Sunday!

Enjoy your time in the snow!!

A great use of a church website is for sharing prayer requests. PrayerEngine is a new web service that looks promising. It allows you to embed a prayer wall directly into your existing website. Anyone can submit a prayer request, which is then posted to your website as soon as it is approved. You can share those prayer requests through email, twitter, facebook, and RSS. People visiting your website can click on a counter that shows how many time each request is prayed for. This is such a great use of social media for the church. If you are interested, check out the demo on youtube. I think you will see more services like this in the future that embed directly into your existing website.

The service costs a one-time fee of $99. Since there is no monthly fee, it’s a great bargain. As an added bonus, you can head over to MediaSalt and pickup an additional 15% discount for today only!

Fun in the Snow

February 2, 2010 — Leave a comment

This is what happens when we cancel church services! The youth ended up at our house and had some fun on Sunday. Add in hot chocolate, fresh homemade cookies, and snow cream, and you can tell we had a great time. Thanks to Ben for taping and editing the video.  I didn’t make the video, but when you’re my size, you gain some serious speed and get some serious air over the bumps. I’m still feeling it.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to know Joe Sangl as a friend in ministry. We have a lot in common since we are the same age and we both have degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Joe is really “fired up” about his ministry and he does a great job teaching people how to get out of debt and live sold out for Christ. Joe’s passion is equipping others “to accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances”. He has been to our church a couple of times now to share his Financial Learning Experience and I have seen first hand how he is making a difference.

He recently sent me a copy of his latest book, What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter THE REAL WORLD. It is a great book for youth and college age students. Joe shares about giving, saving, and avoiding debt. He explains in easy to understand terms about student loans, credit scores, and the power of compound interest. And he shares all of it from a Biblical background. This book is short and powerful, and it’s a great gift for young adults. I definitely plan on using it with my own children and I’ll be recommending it for all the youth at church.

We also use Joe’s first book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not, in our financial counseling at church. It’s a good book about how to budget and get out of debt. Joe also has a great website with tons of free financial tools at iwasbrokenowimnot.com.

Disclosure Policy

Have you ever wished that you could access your home computer from work? Have you forgotten a much needed file? Do your parents need help with their computer, but you’re miles away and can’t work on it? Need to print something at church?  I’ve experienced all of these situations many times and I have tried several different solutions. But I have finally found a free software solution that lets you login and work on a computer from anywhere in the world via the internet.  I’ve been using it for a few months and it works great.

LogMeIn Free is a software application that you can install on any PC or Mac computer.  Once installed, you can access that computer from any computer with an internet connection and web browser. I can even use my Window mobile phone or iPod to access and control the computers.  I have installed this on my home computer, the church computer, and my parent’s computer. Now if I need to login and check something or email a file, I can do that quickly and easily. Everything is password protected, so choose a strong password and you’ll be safe. This is much simpler to use than VNC or remote desktop connection, and it’s a lot cheaper than MobileMe’s back to my mac.

Here’s more info from their site.

LogMeIn Free gives you remote control of your PC or Mac from any other computer with an Internet connection.

Simply install LogMeIn on the computer you want to access (it takes about 2 minutes), log into your account from another computer and click the computer you want to control. You’ll see its desktop and be able to use all the applications on your remote computer as if you were sitting in front of it – even if you’re across town, across the country, or across the world.

  • Works with Windows PCs and Mac OS X
  • Two-minute set-up

They do offer a paid version that adds the ability to share files and print, but I can get around needing that by using the free Dropbox utility to move and sync files between computers.

I read a great leadership post by Mac Lake this week and he made the statement:

“Spiritual leadership isn’t just about accomplishing God given results, it’s also about caring for the souls of those we lead along the way.”

And then while reading through John Ortberg’s latest book, The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You, I came across two powerful questions. I think God is trying to tell me something. So listen and think about the well-being of your soul and ask yourselves these questions often. Many times we are so busy doing and serving, that we don’t let God work in us.

I asked a wise man, “How do you assess the well-being of your soul?”

He immediately said, “I ask myself two questions”:

  • Am I growing more easily discouraged these days?
  • Am I growing more easily irritated these days?

At the core of a flourishing soul are the love of God and the peace of God. If peace is growing in me, I am less easily discouraged. If love is  growing, I am less easily irritated. It was a brilliantly helpful diagnostic to assess the health of my soul.

How would you answer those two questions?

For me, the answer is not always good.  When I am stressed, these are my biggest two problems. And if you ask my wife, I’m afraid that she would easily be able to confirm my struggles. So let me ask you, are you becoming the person that God wants you to be?

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