what i’m reading: Jesus wants to save christians

Category : God, bible, book review, faith, feeding my brain

……….

Reading the Bible is one of the most difficult things for a Christian to do.  It’s challenging because it takes discipline to read it every day.  It’s far too easy to get busy and let it slip.  On top of that, a lot of Christians find it kind of boring.  And lets face it, there are parts that are exactly thrilling.

Of course that doesn’t mean those parts aren’t useful or important.  It’s just that this isn’t exactly the next Harry Potter.  Because of things like this, many Christians never read the Bible.

I personally love reading the Bible.  It has re-shaped my understanding of who God is.  And the more I study it, the more I realize the Bible is real.  I’ve written about my own experience reading the Bible many times.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that I feel myself struggle to stay focused.

There are days when I would like to read the Bible written in a bit more contemporary style (such as The Message).  I’d also like to read a Bible that was chronological, as the Bible skips around a lot (at least if you read it cover to cover.)

That’s where Jesus Wants to Save Christians comes in.

Authors Rob Bell and Don Golden write, in what they call, a New Exodus perspective.  To boil it down, New Exodus refers to the fact that Jesus led a new exodus for Christians in much the same way that Moses led an (old) Exodus for Jews.

Prior to reading Jesus Wants to Save Christians I hadn’t really considered this before.  I knew the details, and I even knew some of the similarities.  But I had never taken the time to really consider what that looks like.  Or what that would mean for my life.

And it’s this life change that we’re most interested in here at R3.  That’s why I was so intrigued by Jesus Wants to Save Christians.  It provides a useful framework for understanding our own journeys, and our own lives.  And it’s built around four major events within Jewish history.

  1. Egypt - Egypt was a place built on the concepts of slavery and oppression.  It was a country that didn’t value people.  That didn’t value God’s creation.  And didn’t value life.  As the book describes it, “Egypt is what happens when sin builds up a head of steam.”
  2. Sinai - Sinai is where God breaks his silence (up to this point he had only spoken to a few people).  Now he’s speaking to everyone.  It’s during this time he truly sets his people free.  It’s about grace, forgiveness, compassion, love, trust, and caring.  It’s about getting a new beginning.  It’s about all the things Egypt wasn’t.
  3. Jerusalem - This was God’s kingdom.  A chance for people of faith to show the world what it means to live a life of faith.  But it all fell apart.  Sin crept back into the story and Solomon, instead of using his wealth and power to advance God’s kingdom, used it to create luxury and palaces for himself.  Or as Bell and Golden say, “in just a few generations, the oppressed have become the oppressors.”
  4. Babylon - Exile.  That’s what happened here.  Israel was destroyed by their enemies and the Jews go back into exile.  Exactly where they started many years before in Egypt.  Exile is all about forgetting your purpose.  It’s about losing sight of why God has given you blessings – not to gain wealth and power, but to use wealth and power to advance the Kingdom.

It’s these four things that stick in my mind.  These events may have happened on a grand scale.  But it also happens on a very individual scale.

How many of us have been rescued from a figurative Egypt?  Maybe we lived in terror from someone who abused us.  Or we lived a life consumed with sin, lust, and temptation that took us to a very lonely place.  Or maybe we were just consumed with greed, and found our lives destroyed by money.  And yet, for some reason, God rescued us from our personal Egypt’s.

The danger in all of our relationships with God is losing sight of that miracle.  It’s forgetting the grace and forgiveness.  The world is crafty, the enemy is smart, and we will get tricked (all too easily) into becoming the oppressors.  Instead of showing the world what it means to live out a life of faith, we show them exactly how not to live.  And so greed, lust, temptation, abuse, anger run rampant in our churches and our lives.

It’s that structure that I take from this book.  It helps me see this pattern in my own life.  And encourages me to stop it at all costs.  I don’t want to go into Exile.  I don’t want to forget the amazing things God has done in my life.

As you can tell the thing I liked most about Jesus Wants to Save Christians is how it provides a new way of looking at the Bible.  The Bible is one of the best ways we can connect with God.  And anything that helps to improve that connection, that relationship, is worth pursuing.

A word of caution though.  I found this book difficult to read.  Not because it was complex or heavy.  But because of the writing style Bell and Golden use.  Let’s just say it’s “choppy.”  Fortunately this isn’t an English class, so we don’t need to grade them on that.  But if you’re going to read it (and it’s worth reading) you should know what you’re getting into, grammatically speaking at least.

what i’m reading: the great divorce

1

Category : CS Lewis, God, book review, feeding my brain, sharing faith, sin

   

“When is this book going to get good?”

To be honest, I thought CS Lewis was more brilliant than this.  “Am I going to get something that changes the way I think?”

Those were the thoughts running through my head as I read The Great Divorce by CS Lewis.  I kept waiting to find something that would make the effort of reading the book worthwhile.  And the more pages I read the more I began to wonder if I’d ever find anything.

It seemed like the more meaning I struggled to get out of the book, the less I actually found.  But I wasn’t about to be disappointed.  Because a few pages later I found myself shocked and a little bit shamed.  You see The Great Divorce is a story of people who have died and now have one last chance to seek God.  Yet we find almost all of them choosing to hold onto their old lives at the expense of building a relationship with God

Little did I realize that CS Lewis was describing my own condition.

But the more I read, the more I realized that over the last few months I’ve been looking at God more as work and less as my savior.  As much as I love writing, as much as I love reading about him – when you do it full time, it can become work and not joy.  No matter how pure something starts in this world, sin always has the chance to corrupt it.

It’s this theme we see time and again in The Great Divorce.  One exchange involving the Ghost of a mother who had lost her son showed us just how far something pure (like love) can fall.  She was furious that she couldn’t immediately see her son.  And in her fury she couldn’t see that it was her own rage that separated them.  Or as one Angel put it, ”You’re treating God as only a means to [your son]“.

Ouch.

How long have I been using God as a means to my writing?  Do I spend more time writing because I love to write?  Or because I love God?

Of course those are questions that apply to us all.  Do we volunteer because we really want to serve?  Or because we like how it looks on our resume?  Do we help the homeless because we love like God?  Or because we feel guilty?  Do we tell people we don’t believe in God because we really think God doesn’t exist?  Or because it’s easier than saying we love to sin?

When I first became a Christian I couldn’t get enough information about God.  I read my Bible constantly, I surfed blogs, read books, listened to podcasts.  Even my conversations with friend would turn to God.  No matter how much I learned, I wanted to know more.

Somewhere along the way that enthusiasm started to fade, however.

I started to look at learning about God as “studying about God,” a subtle but important shift.  I found myself being less excited and feeling more obligated.  That’s not to say my passion disappeared.  I still spend hours reading and learning about God, but I wasn’t bringing the same excitement to it all.

It’s that contrast that seemed so stark as I was reading The Great Divorce.

I don’t think I am special, unique, odd, or even unusual.  We would all rather be kings in Hell than servants in Heaven.  We are all like the Ghosts in The Great Divorce.  It’s hard to let go of the things that we think make us who we are.  And if we’re not careful, everything we love can be perverted and twisted into something evil.  Just like the mother Ghost.

CS Lewis puts it this way, “every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they have to say about him.”

As you become familiar with the stories of each of the Ghosts you realize that we all have another chance.  No matter what arguments we have, for or against God, we can always ask for another chance.  There is never a moment that lacks hope.  We just have to be willing to give up our throne in Hell.

That’s the cool thing about God.  There’s always a chance to start over.


the power of words

Category : God, book review

   

R3 has a regular feature called “what i’m reading”.  It’s a way to share the things that are influencing me and my journey with God.  Not everything I read makes it into this spot – just the things that make me think about how I should live out a life of faith. 

Wide Awake falls into this category. 

As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about dreams.  Not the kind where you fall asleep, but the kinds that make you live “wide awake”. 

Erwin McManus is a brilliant speaker, and a gifted thinker.  But where he truly excels is giving you a framework to understand yourself, the world, and God.  And somehow he does this in two word phrases. 

The Barbarian Way (which is technically three words) showed me that God wasn’t a wimp, and even better, he doesn’t want us to be wimps!  A Barbarian wouldn’t shy away from helping someone just because it was difficult – he (or she) would charge right in and do it.  Because that’s what Barbarians do.  Now, whenever I am afraid of taking action, I think about being a Barbarian.  And it encourages me to act.

Chasing Daylight was just as influential.  If being a Barbarian was about going to places others wouldn’t, Chasing Daylight was about seizing a moment in time when no one else could.  It made me realize that some opportunities only come once, and if we don’t act, no one will.

Soul Cravings showed me just how much we need relationships and our dreams.  It isn’t that we just want these things in our lives; it’s that we crave them.

Wide Awake is no exception to this rule.  But instead of receiving the benefits for myself, it’s shaping the way I see other people.  It’s given me a framework to help other people live out their dreams. 

Each of those phrases has a deep meaning for me.  They allow me to sum up hundreds of pages of thoughts and examples, and boil it down into something that prods action.  I might not be able to think of a 10 point argument as to why I should act, but I can remember a phrase.

They also serve as a reminder of how God works.

For instance, my dream is to help people develop a relationship with God.  I want people to connect the dots of their faith, with the lines of their lives.  By writing R3 I am able to live out that dream.  But without The Barbarian Way to help me become a Christian, and without Chasing Daylight to prompt me to start this site, I never would have been in position to be asked to review Wide Awake.

Funny how acting in faith works out like that.

what i’m reading: Wide Awake

6

Category : God, book review, feeding my brain, hope

   

If you’ve been reading R3 for any length of time knows that I’m a huge fan of Erwin McManus.  So when I was approached by his publicist about reading an advance copy of his latest book, I was thrilled.  But I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive.  What if I didn’t like the book?  What if I had to say a bunch of bad things about it?  What if I had to come up with a third question that started with the phrase ‘what if’?!

That concern only grew as I had a hard time figuring out what to say about this book.  So much of it seemed familiar: the influence of The Barbarian Way, Chasing Daylight, and Soul Cravings is obvious.  But I’ve already read those books.  I already get that way of thinking.  I’m already on board. 

There’s no question Erwin’s writings have had a profound impact on my life.  The Barbarian Way helped bring me into a relationship with God.  While Chasing Daylight forced me to be bold, and was a  major reason this site was launched.   But when I read Wide Awake nothing immediately jumped out at me.

“Sure it was good.  But it wasn’t brilliant.” I told myself.  “What am I getting out of it?”

But that view changed when I was, of all places, at the gym.  I have no idea what caused the light bulb to go on.  Maybe it was sheer exhaustion.  Or maybe I just was looking for an excuse to stop exercising.  But in one moment everything crystallized.

Wide Awake isn’t so much about me and my dreams, but about other people and their dreams.

As I mentioned, I already get Erwin McManus.  And for the last few years I’ve been doing much of what he talks about in Wide Awake.  But what I hadn’t been doing is helping other people live out their dreams.  I had no framework for even recognizing that people were searching for their dreams.

Wide Awake changes that.

It gives me a way to relate and communicate with people about their dreams. 

At it’s core Wide Awake is about identifying the dreams God has for us, and then learning to live a life that makes those dreams a reality.  Considering most of us probably can’t even identify a dream we want to live, that’s no small task.

Since that moment at the gym, I see just how many people are sleep walking through their lives (myself included).  When I hear people talk about their unfulfilling jobs I no longer think in terms of job satisfaction, pay raises or a career change.  What I realize people are saying is that they long to live a different life.  They want to wake up, but they don’t know how.  And so they feel trapped.

When I hear that story of loneliness, I no longer have to say, “gee, I’m sorry to hear that,” because I have nothing else to offer.  Now I can offer them some hope.  I can talk about the potential in their lives, and the dreams that God has created them to live.

No matter how spiritual we are, it’s funny how we still take a consumerist attitude toward God.  I wanted Wide Awake to benefit me.  I wanted a blueprint of how to live the life of my dreams.  What I got was a road map of how to help other’s achieve their’s.

And you know what?

That’s letting me live out my dreams.

what i’m reading: Orthodoxy

1

Category : barbarian, book review, different, feeding my brain

  

Orthodoxy.

What a strange title for a book.

I mean, it doesn’t sound very revolutionary.  It doesn’t sound very radical.  I’ll admit, it does sound different.  But probably not in a good way.  So what made GK Chesterton call his “autobiography” of faith “Orthodoxy“?

The answer is the same as why R3 focuses on God’s revolutionary, radical, and different nature.  In short, orthodoxy is the most radical thing we can experience – if it’s from God.  Or as Chesterton says, “the orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable.” (Orthodoxy, p. 93)

I bet you didn’t expect that when you saw the word “orthodoxy”!  That’s okay.  Neither did I.

But that’s how God works.  He does the unexpected.  Sometimes he works in ways that at first don’t seem oblivious.  And yet when we look back we realize everything made perfect sense.  That’s where I found myself when reading Orthodoxy.  There were just certain things that didn’t make sense about Christianity.

On the one hand the Bible says that we should love our neighbors and be willing to give up our lives for them.  But at the same time we’re told that the world is broken and defective.  That it’s not how it should be.  So why, as Christians, should we work so hard to fix something which can never be fixed?  Wouldn’t it be better to just pick one philosophy and hold to it?

Life would be so much easier if we could just love people without working to fix problems.  And it would be easier still if we could just give up on the world and say, “I don’t care.”  But that’s not where God asks us to be.

So how do you find a balance?

The world’s answer is that we need to find a balance between the two.  That the solution is somewhere in the middle.  That we should love some people, but not everyone.  And that while the world isn’t perfect, it’s not really that bad.

Let’s face it, that doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea.  Isn’t compromise a good thing?

But compromise is not the answer Christianity offers.  It says the tension itself is what’s important.  That when you try to create balance what you’re really doing is losing something important.     

That’s why Christianity can say radical things like “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”  On the surface it sounds crazy.  How can you separate the two?  Shouldn’t we have some sins that are “bad, but acceptable” (e.g., stealing food because you’re starving), and other sins that are “beyond redemption” (e.g., murder, rape)?

“Christianity came in here as before.  It came in startlingly with a sword, and clove one thing from another.  It divided the crime from the criminal.” (Orthodoxy, p. 87)

Orthodoxy, when it’s about God, is startlingly revolutionary. 

“The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven.  The crime we must not forgive at all…We must be more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before.”  (Orthodoxy, p. 87)  It’s out of this answer that we find how we’re supposed to live our lives.  And it’s out of this answer I began to understand how Christians can say things that seem so obviously contradictory.

Now when I look back at my questions, I see they aren’t contradictory at all.  I see that we really can hate the sin, but love the sinner because I don’t need to somehow balance them.  Instead they are two things that are fundamentally separate.  And it’s in that “separateness” that we find our answers. 

This is an idea that applies across Christianity and applies to courage, sacrifice, life.  It’s no wonder that an orthodox church doesn’t take a tame course. 

Sometimes we need to know “not only that the earth is round, but [know] exactly where it is flat.” (Orthodoxy, p. 90)

what I’m reading: unChristian

5

Category : book review, choice, faith, feeding my brain

         

Gabe Lyons came up with a crazy idea to actually study people’s opinion of Christianity.  He wanted more than anecdotal stories, he wanted some evidence.  To do this he enlisted the help of David Kinnaman of the Barna Group.  Their research led to a book entitled unChristian.     

But if you’ve been reading this blog for the last few days, you’re not surprised that unChristian is my “book review” this week!

unChristian has had a profound impact on me in a short period of time.  It’s really shaped the way I look at interacting with the world. It’s made me more sensitive to how I talk about God, and how I interact with people who don’t share my faith. 

Some people are looking for an excuse not to believe in God, and when we set a poor example, we’re only supplying that excuse.  But I’m not sure there’s much we could do about that.  If you’re motivated to reject God, you’ll find a reason.

What’s concerns me more are the people who are open to God, but because of our arrogance, pride, and general unpleasantness, we push them away.  And this is the thrust of unChristian.  The book shows just how strong of an impact we have on “outsiders” (their term for people “outside” of the church).  It’s filled with information, statistics (mostly percentages), and a ton of ‘hard truth’.

As I was reading it I couldn’t help but relate this back to my own life.  The book lays out six areas where Christianity is seen as unfavorable to the world.

We’re…

1.  hypocritical
2.  too “salvation” oriented
3.  antihomosexual
4.  sheltered
5.  too political
6.  judgmental

Too many of those areas touch close to home.  I’m often too quick to judge, and too slow to listen.  I’m quick to criticize, and slow to act.  I’m quick to point out flaws in others, and ignore my own mistakes.

And each time I do that, I run the risk of pushing someone away.  That’s the message I take away from this book.  That’s what I want to remember as I go into the world. 

One of the things that drives me (and therefore R3) is my own faith journey.  I had to learn who God was the hard, lonely, and painful way.  And  once I did, I found myself asking, why no one told me who Jesus really was.  Not the hippy version.  Not the wimpy version.  But the bold, dangerous, courageous, loving, and forgiving Jesus. 

Sometimes I send an unChristian message without realizing it.  And that’s something I need to find a way to change.  I can come up with a lot of excuses why – I’m tired, I’m lazy, it’s too hard, it’s too dangerous.  But are those really good enough?  Are those excuses Jesus would have used? 

I can’t always control what another person hears when I speak.  But I can be more aware of the message I send.  And how I act. 

As a Christian I should run to someone who is suffering, not holding back because they don’t believe what I do. 

what i’m reading: Purpose Driven Life

Category : book review, feeding my brain

       

By my unofficial, and highly unscientific estimation the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is a hugely popular book.  I believe the exact number of people who have read it is, a lot.

But not me.  I avoided it.

I saw how many people have read it, and I’ve heard people talk about it so often I thought it would be best to steer clear.  Don’t ask why, it doesn’t really make any sense to me either.  But all that came to an end when I found a copy for $4 at a used book sale.

What I read makes me understand why it’s such a popular book.  Purpose Driven Life sets you on a 40 day journey to better understand yourself, and you’re relationship with God.  While I disagree with some of the first few chapters, I was blown away by two major themes I saw in this book: 

1.  We are all called to change the world, even if that’s only one person or one city.  God expects great things from us.  Not because he’s a task master or over bearing, but because he knows just how amazing we can be.  No one knows our potential like God.  He also knows exactly what we can handle.  And because of that he has big plans for us.

2.  We should focus on the eternal.  No one denies that life gets busy and hectic.  It’s easy to misplace our priorities and start chasing after things that don’t matter.  Sometimes we even intentionally choose to go after a career or family instead of God.  While a lot of the things we emphasize in our life are good, they all fall short of the importance of how we spend eternity.

Purpose Driven Life really highlighted the fact that living with the future in mind changes how you see the present.  If the only thing we’re living for is a new job, a new car, or the perfect family we will be devastated when we don’t get promoted, can’t afford an upgrade, or our family has problems. 

When you live your life thinking about the impact you can make for all time, a lot of our fears seem pretty insignificant.  After all, what’s a little criticism or rejection when you can impact someone forever?

God created us for a reason, and while we can certainly go through life without living out our purpose, it seems like we’d be missing out on something. 

Just because life is short, doesn’t mean we can’t change eternity.  And I find that exciting.

what i’m reading: Mere Christianity

Category : CS Lewis, book review, feeding my brain

   

“Why didn’t anyone tell me CS Lewis was brilliant?!”

That’s pretty much what I think when I pick up one of his books.  I’ve gone my entire life not understanding what people saw in this CS Lewis guy.  I had read the Chronicles of Narnia and enjoyed them.  But even as a kid I knew they were “simplistic.”  I could never quite figure out why he held such appeal for Christians. To be honest I thought they were latching onto the guy because he was famous.  Little did I know how wrong I was!

Mere Christianity is my second book by Lewis.  And I now fully understand why he’s been important to so many Christians.  Lewis is a master of words, and is able to explain complex Christian theology in a simple and relate-able way.  Every sentence in this book is packed with importance and significance. 

The title of the book is a bit confusing to the modern ear.  And until I started to read the book, I didn’t fully understand what that title was trying to convey.  In essence he really wrote a book that could be called ’simple’ or ‘basic’ Christianity.  In a way this is God 101.  But don’t let that fool you, there is more information packed into this book than most dense academic works.

Mere Christianity is broken into 4 sections.  Each dealing with an aspect of what it means to come into a relationship with God.  In section one he outlines some clues to the existence of God.  Section two discusses what Christians really believe.  Followed by how Christians should behave, and what it means to be a Christian.  The fourth section, which is probably his most ambitious, is an attempt to explain who God is – namely the Trinity (Jesus, God, the Holy Ghost).

Very few writers are more quotable than Lewis.  But that’s not the most striking part of Mere Christianity.  Lewis is a master at using examples to explain his points.  He has a way of taking a complex concept (e.g., the Trinity) and giving simple explanations that really crystallize the concepts for the reader.

Lewis holds a special place for me, because he’s one of those writers that disproves the idea that to believe in God you need to turn off your brain.  As I explore his writings I continue to realize that God wants us to use our brains as much as our hearts. 

what i’m reading: Jesus Among Other Gods

1

Category : Bible reliability, Jesus, bible, book review, feeding my brain

   

I think it’s safe to say that we live in a very pluralistic world, where ideas from a wide variety of cultures are shared and believed.  Who among us doesn’t know someone of a different faith or philosophical background?  But that pluralism isn’t limited to just religion or politics.  Choice is everywhere, including our toothpaste aisles!  Because there are so many options out there, sometimes it’s difficult to define our reality, and so we’ve all heard someone ask, “what is truth?”  

Of course it may not matter with toothpaste.  I suppose they may even all be the same.  But is religion?  Do all religions somehow end up at the same place?

That’s the question Ravi Zacharias takes in Jesus Among Other Gods.  Zacharias tackles some of the biggest questions facing religions (Is there a God?  Does God cause suffering?  Is God knowable?) and shows just how Christianity differs from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Atheism.  In each chapter he discusses the Christian view and then compares it to one (or more) of the other major religions.  By showing that the religions believe very different things on these topics he argues that it is impossible for all religions to be the same.  Either God exists or he does not.  Either God sent his son Jesus or he did not.  If God exists Atheism can not be true.  If Jesus is not God, then Christianity can not be true.

Christianity is often presented as a religion based purely on faith.  But that’s not true.  There is certainly something to be said for “divine revelation” and “understanding through faith.”  Those things help Christians better understand the world.  But God didn’t leave us with only those tools.  He also gives us historical evidence and eye witness testimony. 

I don’t know about you, but I am very much concerned about the truthfulness of Christianity.  I want to know if Jesus was real, or if it is a hoax.  Frankly I have no desire to live my life believing in something that’s a sham.  And that’s what I enjoy about Zacharias’ approach.  He uses logic and reason to make the case for Christianity.  He puts together compelling arguments that answer tough questions.  And in my mind this book definitely proves that all religions are not the same. 

what i’m reading: Chasing Daylight

1

Category : book review, feeding my brain, revolutionary

   

Erwin McManus’s first book, The Barbarian Way, is the most important book I’ve ever read.  I know it’s considered “bad” to say this, but it has been more important to me than reading the Bible.  Without The Barbarian Way I never would have read the Bible, let alone seen the beauty of it.  McManus has a way of presenting an idea that fundamentally alters the way you view the world and God.  As I’ve often said on this site, I grew up believing God was this safe, quiet, wimpy thing.  I thought that to be a Christian you had to be a push-over.  The Barbarian Way shattered that view and showed me that being a Christian is this radical, dangerous thing.

In a similar way Chasing Daylight (formerly known as Seizing Your Divine Moment), has completely reshaped the way I “listen” for God to answer my prayers.  In the past I always thought I had to get a specific “yes” from God before I could act on anything.  Instead McManus argues that God has already given us a “yes” on a lot of things.  We have been told to spread the message of Jesus.  We’ve been told to love our enemies and care for the hurting.  We’re already supposed to help one another and support those in need.  We don’t need to wait for a “yes” when we want to do these things – we already have it.

To illustrate this point, McManus uses the story of Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14.  Jonathan was bold and aggressive when it came to pursuing God’s will.  You kind of have to be when you decide to charge an army with just two people.  But he also recognized that God’s will often takes us to dangerous places that may cost us everything we have.  Jonathan knew full well God may not save him saying, “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.”  Perhaps?!  Perhaps?!  If I was about to engage in a life threatening endeavor, I’d want a bit of a stronger word than “perhaps!”

But Jonathan represents a model of action.  He worked under the assumption that God had already said “yes” and promised victory to Israel.  He wasn’t waiting for a reconfirmation of God’s word, Israel already had it.  Jonathan knew that victory was just waiting to be grasped.  When we choose to take action McManus calls this “seizing your divine moment.” 

This is such a foreign idea to me that it was hard to accept at first.  But I quickly realized just how revolutionary it was.  We need to flip our usual way of listening for God.  Instead of waiting for “go” we need to assume we have permission to act.  What we really need to listen for is God to say “no.” 

I’m not sure exactly how this idea will shape my life or R3.  But I do know it is going to fundamentally alter how I respond to people as a Christian.  In fact, even before I finished reading Chasing Daylight I knew God was asking me to seize my first divine moment by giving the book away

Chasing Daylight is an amazing book that really challenges us to change our lives.  I don’t usually recommend books to people – I think they should choose to read them (or not) on their own.  But this is a book that I believe everyone should read.