Monday, November 18, 2013

From the Bookshelf: RADICAL, by David Platt

We've been reading this book as a church the last month or so. Pastor Dan has been preaching based on the topics/chapters, and different small groups and classes have been independently studying the book.

The subtitle is: Taking back your faith from the American Dream.

Huh? Why would the American Dream imprison or threaten or steal our faith? How?

Essentially, we have so MUCH that it's slowing us down, clogging our minds, making us sleepy, blocking our vision. Do we ever stop to think why God has blessed us in this country with so much? Yes, I do mean the entire country. Because when you look at the statistics, a lot of people in this country who consider themselves living in poverty are rich, living in comfort, compared to most of the people in this world.

Makes you stop and think doesn't it? And that's the purpose of the book. Near the beginning of our study, one of the men in our class at church spoke up and asked, "Why are we reading this book, when we KNOW all this already?" Essentially, he was asking why we had to spend money on the books, and waste our time covering material we already know. Well, I think the answer is that we KNOW it, but we don't ACT on it. We agree, yes, God gave us wealth and abilities and resources to use them for His glory ... but how many of us take what God has entrusted to us, and gone out and USED it? (How many of those glitzy, slick preachers touting a Prosperity Gospel actually TELL their congregations that God wants them to be rich so they can WORK for Him? I'm afraid too many stop at "God wants you rich," but never tell anyone WHY God wants them rich. Yes, God loves us, but He's not the kind of parent who gives His kids anything they want just because they want it. Daddy gives you a car so you can drive others to school. Daddy gives you a toolbox to fix cars to help others, and build furniture for others, etc., etc.)

The book finishes with several challenges to endeavor to meet during the next year -- just a year of living radically, sacrificially, and thinking about others instead of our own wants and dreams. It's easy to finish a book like this and be all fired up to go out there and start living like a servant, a disciple, an apostle -- but how long will the "Yes Lord!" attitude really last? How long can we go before we start losing people from the ranks and commitments are canceled and the burden rests on fewer and fewer, who burn out faster, until nobody is being RADICAL any longer?

How many times will I need to re-read this book before it sticks?
Read it. You'll probably get very uncomfortable -- but maybe guilt is good for the soul. It might actually get you off your chair and out moving and doing ... for a while, anyway.
If you're not uncomfortable after reading this book ... I'd worry, if I were you.

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