This summer while our family was on vacation I finally got to read the book Radical- by David Platt. The book was great. I am often disgusted by the American norm and want so badly to rebel against it. This book is a great invitation to do so in a way that brings glory to God's name- and make Him more known in your immediate and not so immediate context.
At the end of the book he challenges the read to do a radical experiment over the next 365 days. To put into practice some of the things he addressed in the book. Some of them are things that I already do- and others are ones that I want to work on. The 5 pieces of the experiement are:
1. To pray for the entire world.
2. To read through the entire Bible.
3. To sacrafice my money for a specific kingdom purpose.
4. To spend time in another context besides my normal.
5. To commit my life to a multiplying community.
Adam and I are members at Christian Family Chapel and love their commitment to multiply disciples. We sacrifice our money to support missionaries from our church. We have spent a lot of our time outside of our normal context in our life times- but I personally have not been able to do this from a few years because of being pregnant- and then having a little baby.
So the areas I decided I needed to work on were #1, 2, and 4. This past week I worked on a plan to read through the Bible chronologically over the next year. I also am using a wonderful resource- Operation World to pray for a different country of the world each day. I really hope to participate in one of the short term trips our church will offer next summer. I also want to find a place outside of my comfort zone to serve here in my own town.
I am slightly overwhelmed by the huge amount of commitment that each of these steps take. The discipline that I will hopefully develop over the next 365 days is exciting to me. I want reading the Bible, praying for the world, and giving freely of my time to be things that end up coming naturally to me- rather than being overwhelming to me. I'm excited about how my heart, mind, and soul will be shaped through out this process. I thought about not writing this on here- but I figured accountability would be great. I hope that if someone runs into me at Publix, or at church they can ask me what I read that day and what country I am praying for that day and I will be able to tell them because those things will always be on my mind.
I just wanted to share a few of the things I have been thinking about over the past few days from my reading. So far I have read Genesis 1-11. I am finding it difficult to read with freshness because these are things I have read many many times before. It takes a lot of mind control to read slowly and deliberately instead of just rushing through stories I think I already know. So here are some of my highlights:
Genesis 4:7b: God tells Cain, "But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." The continual struggle to master sin instead of letting it master me is sometimes tiring. It was refreshing to hear these words straight from God's mouth as an encouragement and warning.
Genesis 4:13-14: Cain is being punished and driven out of the land by the Lord. He says, "My punishment is more than I can bear...I will be hidden from your presence." I want so badly for me to find it unbearable to be out of communion with God. That I would truly understand that my worst punishment would be separation from Him. It is hard for my to get my mind around.
Genesis 6:6: God sees the sin on the earth and it says that "The Lord was grieved that he has made man on the earth and his heart was filled with pain." I have experienced quite a few things lately with people I care for that fill my heart with pain- that I am grieved over the circumstances of life. I know that God can relate to each feeling of mine- so it was nice to see that even in mans earliest days God knew the feeling of pain in His heart- and I can know that He knows what I am feeling.
Genesis 6:22: After God gives Noah commands to build an ark- which had never been done before. And commands to make it HUGE in preparation for an event that had never occurred before- "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." It never says anything about questioning or delaying his response. I want my obedience to be immediate and just as God commanded- without me trying to cut corners for my own comfort. I guess Evan Almighty is not a very accurate portrayal of Noah's response. :)
Genesis 8:21: OH BOY! This is something that I have been realizing multiple times a day recently. God is making a covenant with Noah to never flood the earth again. and God makes this statement, "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done." Having a 17 month old is teaching me about how EVERY inclination of our hearts are evil from childhood. I pray with so much more urgency and frequency these days for Matthew's salvation. I want him to know his sin- and to know Jesus' salvation.
I prayed today for Italy. My Aunt and Uncle used to be missionaries in Italy. It is a dark place. One thing that surprised me was this- "More than 70% of Italy's 8,101 communities (small villages to big cities) are without an established Bible-believing congregation." Wow. Don't take your Bible-believing church for granted. It is not meant to be a ritual or a something done when it is convenient- it is a blessing- and a chance to have fellowship with other believers while we worship God.
I'm excited and nervous about what this next year holds. I want my thoughts to be taken captive by God honoring things and not insignificant things of this world. I hope the things I shared have encouraged you- or given you things to think about.
Happy Friday! My husband is on his way home from being gone for a week and I'm so excited. Just 30 more minutes until he's here! :)