The first session was on Thursday night, and led by Francis Chan. If you've ever heard of him, you know what I'm talking about when I say what he's simply amazing. His teaching just blew my mind, and I agreed with what he said. On the flight to Atlanta, where our layover was, I read his book Crazy Love, borrowed from Taylor, a girl in my group. It took all I had not to start highlighting things, and underlining points that Francis made that stuck out. I have to buy it myself and do that, so I didn't mutilate Tay's book. :)
But anyway, Francis Chan was great. The theme for the night was "Love God," hence the title of this post. Francis spoke of being raised in a Christian home, but not living how he should - full out for God. He went through the motions, and prayed at night as he laid in bed, more than often falling asleep.
That's not how we should treat God, though, he said. He's right.
In Revelation 4, John gets to see God. He sees Him on the throne, blindingly bright and surrounded by different beings - including some with different faces like an ox, and covered completely in eyes. Pretty crazy. Day and night these beings cry out without stop, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" Day and night, without fail. Always saying that.
In Jewish culture then, I learned somewhere, something said 3 times meant it was absolutely perfect. In this example, saying that God is holy 3 times meant that He is so completely perfect we can't even wrap our human minds around it.
God is like this, and yet we give Him the scraps of our day? The half-spoken prayers at night as we fall asleep, sometimes not even finishing because we pass out? The half-hearted offering every week, throwing in a dollar or two? How is God, the creator of everything, only worthy of this?
Francis said all this, and then said a quote that stuck with me: Don't have a casual relationship with God. Yes, He's our friend and we can turn to Him anytime we need Him. But at the same time, God is holy, holy, holy. We're not worthy of Him! He wants us, but He wants us to treat Him with the respect He deserves.
It's like your school principal. They always say that they're our "princiPAL!" and we can turn to them for help. That may be so, but at the same time we have to treat them with respect and deference that they deserve. This is a poor example, but you can kind of understand what I'm aiming at: Give God what He deserves.
So this is your NR challenge for this post. Treat God with respect. Don't have a casual relationship with Him, but show Him everything that He wants from us - a full blown loving relationship where we WANT to pray seriously, getting on our knees at a time that we focus intently on only Him. Where we WANT to give what we have for offering with a cheerful and giving heart. That's your challenge.
Are you in?