Here in the 30 Hour Famine office, we’ve been reading Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, written by Francis Chan. As the founder and teaching pastor of California’s Cornerstone Church, Chan has led his church to some pretty crazy decisions—some of which have turned heads around the world. However, to Chan, these decisions weren’t shocking nor extravagant, they were simply a mark of obedience to God. More on that later, but first, a brief glimpse into Crazy Love.
Have you ever been wildly in love? How did you feel? Was there anything you wouldn’t have done for that person? Was there any act of love too big?
Crazy Love begins by explaining that this emotion, this ‘crazy in love’ sentiment is exactly how God feels about us. Chan writes, “The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love.” In the beginning chapters, Chan unpacks how radical God’s love is; making the case that if we truly believed it, our motivation to live for Him would change from guilt…to love.
The book then challenges believers to take inventory of their hearts, lives, and actions—or in some cases—the lack thereof. He confesses that as a church, we are guilty of serving our “leftovers” to God. “We go to church, sing songs and try not to cuss.” We try to be good enough, we compare ourselves to those worse off than we are, and then give God the remainder. But Francis Chan writes with conviction about Jesus, telling us that having a lukewarm faith simply isn’t an option. He encourages us to examine our hearts for the areas we need to change, all the while, pointing us back to our love for God as our motivator.
Chan reminds us that God never calls us to live safe, comfortable lives. God calls us to live lives of risk and dependence on Him; Lives of radical love for Him and for others; Lives of sacrifice; Lives committed to caring for the poor and vulnerable—those Jesus himself spoke most often of. Lives where our own time, money and talents are best spent on others; Lives characterized by a committed and passionate love for God; Lives that don’t make sense apart from a crazy love relationship with our Heavenly Father.
It’s impossible to read Crazy Love and not feel both convicted and inspired. Francis challenges the church to make radical changes, yet he communicates in a way that is inviting to his reader, rather than overwhelming.
Before writing Crazy Love, Chan was living as a gifted speaker, teacher and pastor who loved God and loved his church. His authentic passion was contagious. As his church grew exponentially, they raised money for a new building. In fact, they raised $20 million. But, instead of building a shiny extravagant church, Chan led his congregation to do something different. They used a small portion to fund an outdoor amphitheatre, and gave the rest away. Chan explains that meeting in an outdoor setting—no matter what the weather conditions are—would be a reminder of the millions of people around the world without a roof over their head each and every day.
What’s so refreshing about Francis Chan is that he doesn’t merely talk about God loving us like crazy, he lives it. He takes chances and makes drastic decisions because he knows that God is with him every step of the way. Imagine if we all truly believed God loves us like crazy—and if we really loved Him back with the same passion. Imagine all the “big deal” things each of us would do for God, without ever thinking of them as a “big deal” again. Crazy Love will help us get there.
Melody has worked with World Vision for the past few years, traveling the country, sharing sponsorship at concerts, speaking at youth groups about the 30 Hour Famine, and sharing her love for the poor with everyone she meets. Melody is an aspiring singer/songwriter and is currently mid air somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on her way to a few weeks in Europe.