So…I took one whale of an emotional and spiritual whupping this week.
One of those roundhouse blows from the pit that leaves you dazed and confused for a couple of days and depressed for much longer.
These can only be delivered by someone you’re invested in…someone close enough to know where the blow will do the most damage.
Once I got my bearings back, I began to think not of how to proceed with grace, but how to return the blow.
Coincidentally, I had been pontificating here on how grace and the law of love are the ways to settle disputes.
Funny how that happens…
I was thinking about this yesterday morning (after wrestling with it all night) and wrote these two thoughts;
Like a dam stopping a great river, so is a person who receives much grace but refuses to share it. The boundaries of the kingdom stop at their feet.
The degree to which you will freely share what you have been freely given will determine the degree that the kingdom will be manifested in your sphere of influence.
Naturally, I was only applying these pithy sayings to the person who hurt me.
As usual, God told me to try to “make my own application”again…
Now I have two more pithy sayings to share.
Responding without grace to those who have been graceless to you, makes you equally ungracious.
Grace is not free, it requires a wealth of humility.
Both of these take us back to the first two.
They all apply to me.
Make your own application…
“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.”
― Francis Chan
A friend of mine shared this on FB, and this kind of rubs me wrong. My first thought was to call out FC as a Pharisee and a then a judger of mens motives. And by implication, by sharing this post, my friend as well.
Been thinking that perhaps thats not the best way to deal with this. Perhaps I need to have some time with God first, then think about my response(if any).
Definitley thinking that I need to pray for my friend, not that he would change, but just to pray that God would do His work in his life.
Pap, why does that quote bother you? And why am I noticing a swing of momentum against guys like Chan and David Platt? Seem to be good guys.
And Michael, sorry to hear you had a bad week. Not knowing your situation, I just saw your two posts on FB and thought they were very inspirational…so there’s that. Once again, others gaining from your pain.
Josh – Who is lukewarm? To FC, maybe I am, and to me, maybe others are? Seems kinda harsh to call people lukewarm because – whats the yardstick?
Who is FC to judge the hearts of others? How does he determine who is and who is not lukewarm?
To me, it smacks of Phariseeism.
Just from the quote, it didn’t seem that he was calling any individual lukewarm, only describing lukewarm individuals. Perhaps he was trying to explain what the word meant when used in the book of Revelation?
Josh – Its from “Crazy Love”.
I was not crazy about it, I will admit. Just seemed like alot of “We outta be crazy in love with God, and if we aren’t, there’s something wrong with us.”
Profile of the Lukewarm, from ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan
PROFILE OF THE LUKEWARM
Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe ‘good Christians’ do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)
Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church… as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chron 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)
Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26, Rev 3:1, Matt 23:5-7)
Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (John 10:10, Rom 6:1-2)
Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for ‘extreme’ Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call ‘radical’ what Jesus expected of all his followers. (James 1:22, James 4:17, Matt 21:28-31)
Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbours, co-workers or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Matt 10:32-33)
Lukewarm people gauge their morality or ‘goodness’ by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (Luke 18:11-12)
Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (Luke 9:57-62)
Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors, missionaries and radicals. (Matt 22:37-38)
Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focussed on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (Matt 5:43-47, Luke 14:13-14)
Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go, or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give. (Luke 18:21-25)
Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focussed on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they consider the life to come. Regarding this, C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.’ (Phil 3:18-20, Col 3:2)
Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, ‘Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only the love of money is.’ Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel ‘called’ to minister to the rich; very few feel ‘called’ to minister to the poor. (Matt 25: 34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7)
Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the base minimum, to be ‘good enough’ without it requiring too much of them. They ask, ‘How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?’ instead of ‘How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?’ They ask,….’ (1 Chron 29:14, Matt 13:44-46)
Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and taking risks for God. (1 Tim 6:17-18, Matt 10:28)
Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their saving account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21, Amos 6:1)
Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitised lives with holiness, but that couldn’t be more wrong. (Matt 23:25-28, Matt 7:21)
I think everyone, if they are honest, including Chan, can find much of their selves in that list.
Looks like there might be 5 people in heaven.
Even Chan isn’t sure he is going to make it (I’ve heard him on Youtube state this many times).
It really is all about what you should be doing for God and not resting in what God has done for us.
Heap on the guilt, guilt guilt…. so sad.
I read Crazy Love and it reminded me a lot of Keith Green’s writings of 30 + years ago.
Papias, from your response it seems as though you feel that some one is accusing you of being “luke warm”. To me it just looks like someone is passing on a quote from FC.
2 years ago when I bought my ipad, I was downloading books like crazy. I kept resisting purchasing Crazy Love as it just sort of seemed more of a fad than real theology. After continually rejecting the idea, I finally gave in and bought it. When I downloaded it, it came to me in French! Now I can say I have it… Maybe I’m luke warm?
Ok, I understand. I liked Crazy Love, but didn’t read it through the same lens as some of you. But that’s cool, thanks for the explanations.
living in grace under pain and attack, builds strength and perspective – huge heartache, yes, but the strength to endure in Christ – our reason for living, our Reality and our Hope
James 5:10-11 … IMNSHO
and then there’s that occasional, unanticipated miracle 😐
post script … Bob Bennet is singing his heart out on my sound system this morning as i sort and plan my packing boxes – i told the buyer of my house that i’d include the electronic gear in the sale (going to leave this disk in it)
First of all, it was not my intent to turn the thread into any kind of FC bash fest, merely to point out that I need to extend the grace that I want to forcefully defend.
ABeliever – thanks for the list, but especially your number 7. Guilt heaped on guilt is what I hear from FC.
Covered – Its not that I think he’s directing it at me per se. I think my friend attends a church that seems to elevate a uber-Christian mindset, an exclusivity to the the extreme. While I think my church is better than some and maybe not as good as others… his church seems to to be pretty “special”. SO I have concerns for him…
IMO, the best cure for lukewarm is to turn up the heat – some evaporate, but others catch fire …. sorry, but i don’t think lukewarm is always a terminal condition
A good review of Crazy Love by a respected theologian. He goes chapter by chapter.
I think he hit the nail on the head with many of the problematic issues in the book.
apparently we learn best not from great teaching, but great testing; best not from success, but setback; and best not from words we’ve spoken, but those we’ve eaten.
Great post and very true.
filbertz, to carry your thought one step further … IMX … we learn best when the two are combined; great teaching applied in the testings and proved …
eating words? another definition for ‘diet of worms’ perhaps? 😀
I would agree with your both/and comment.
Diet of worms = early bird. 😉
I would be impressed with Francis Chan if, instead of his beginning each description with, lukewarm people…” he merely replaced it with his own name.
It would become an instant hit with those who appreciate Dennis Miller’s confessional booth at his local university.
Admission one has a problem is the first step in solving said problem.
Hey Michael….sorry to hear of the tough week, but those midnight musings and revelations are definitely worthy of writing and contemplation.
Francis Chan & Keith Green == I’m not good enough, definitely not one of the 5 folks in heaven.
GRACE GRACE GRACE….. I’ve spent the week listening to many sermons on The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll….. a hurricane of fresh air….so needed. Grace brings hope and joy and peace….. and Paul constantly spoke ‘grace and peace be multiplied”…
I am weary, weary, weary of having guilt, guilt, guilt and works, works, works heaped on me from so many voices as if I could possibly earn or buy redemption. Ludicrous. Repulsive. The focus and spotlight and glory goes to Jesus Christ only and forever.
Filbertz…… if we are what we eat, a diet of worms…… well…… and that’s ok. I am a worm.
ouch…that hurt…and so sorry you had that kind of week. It always happens that way, doesn’t it? The very things we profess come back and slap us in the face and force us to look in the mirror yet again. We either run screaming into the darkness from what we see, or fall back on His grace …again. Glad you an honest man…they make the best pastors.
Re my number 8. If I remember correctly, shortly before his death, Keith Green apologised, and said something to the effect that he realised God wasn’t calling him to judge others’ walk with Christ, but to proclaim the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
“…as if I could possibly earn or buy redemption. Ludicrous. Repulsive. The focus and spotlight and glory goes to Jesus Christ only and forever.”
Michael, you’re an inspiration. Thank you. Sorry you are experiencing that trouble, yet it produces such a good example of Godliness. I’m sure you get sick of that at times, but folks like me and others are watching and I know you’re not perfect, but you sure are a good man (as good as a depraved man can be IMO, and I know it’s God’s grace working through you, and I don’t put you on a pedestal, I just like you and admire your example).
What AB said in #7
If Chan=Keith Green, then, well, how do I say it.
Seems like every generation spawns a Francis Chan or a Keith Green, someone who insists on speaking the most impossible idealologies. Then well meaning dupes like me latch onto their stuff, we ruin our lives, and then, at some point they get an epiphany that they were being over the top, they publish their epiphany and after they go on to balance I
face palm at missing the predictable swing to balance and face palm for not paying attention that moderation was always the better way.
:: Face Palm ::
People without pain are bad theologians and worse philosophers. So keep talking.
People who hurt others without regard to what the other feels are their own reward. Their island drifts further from the mainland. Their isolation is their prison.
People who appear to get away with it… cry sound that will not be heard.
right now with very little functioning grey matter or anything else for that matter … reduced to random ponders at i sit here in recuperation from organizing stuff … strange thing stuff; we think it is us for some reason …
right now i’m reading BD wisdom again (#27) and thinking what a shame it is that he and his wife didn’t produce a dozen sons and daughters … i hope there’s lots of young lives in that church being mentored by a pastor who, as an old radio preacher used to say, gets the truth to where the rubber meets the road or was it keeping the cookie jar where the kiddies could get to it ?… dunno …
hmmm, did my #28 sound like i think BD is childish? hope not … lots of good thots for me to read, even if my processor isn’t processing
Thankful for these musings, but grieve for the vehicle on which they arrive. Praying for you, Michael! Oh, and FTC, the sons and daughters of BD and his beautiful best girl are too many to count.
If you are bent toward substance abuse, you can’t enjoy the beauty of an occasional glass of fine wine. If you are bent toward legalism, or have been personally harmed by it, writings on holiness become a thorn. Many a dead old white theologian have lifechanging truths woven throughout their writings of damnation…
Pulling the precious from the vile.
Most things are redeemable for the eyes that seek out redemption.
Guitar Man, who is one who redeems!!! 😀
nomanspologist (just realized that i’m not sure that is a contraction of no man’s apologist ? or ? ), thanks for enlightening me on the BD family – there should be far more satisfaction (certainly more glory) in being the father and mother not to children, that you gave birth to, but children who simply need you – works for our Father, eh? 😀
Yes, that’s right about my name 🙂
I agree with you wholeheartedly.
The spirit of adoption os one of the Kingdoms most beautiful.
“They all apply to me.”
When people speak about “Lukewarm people”, they once again make the fatal mistake of making the Bible about the Christian and not about the Christ.
Publishers are not very careful about protecting the word.
Christ died for “Lukewarm people” – and Francis Chan talking about it is not going to add a single degree of heat to any of us.
I think I prefer the words of wisdom from Charlie Chan rather than Francis Chan.
lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – and spit out … one of those exploited and abused teachings, eh?
Thoughts on being labeled “lukewarm”…
“Never ever good enough!”
Who wants a spouse that thinks of you in that way?
Who wants to be the child of such a parent?
Who wants to think of one’s child in such a way that cannot see any good?
Who wants a boss that secretly rolls his eyes his or her eyes when asked of you?
Who wants a god that cannot say, “It is good,” who refuses to make provision and stand in the gap?
Thankfully we do not have such a God in Jesus.
Thanks Michael I do appreciate this blog, I wish I could add some better content. I have deleted so many of my posts before posting. Because I just dont want to hurt peoples feelings. If it means anything I wish I could pray all the abuse people like Alex and the SGM and CC people have suffered. I have suffered hurt from the faith community but I have brought much of it on myself. I know that, which is one reason I do not mention names or groups. I also do not have full confidence in my recollections of past events even when supported by other sources. Also it would just hurt people I care about and would not change the fact that I blanked up my life in many ways. I find joy in the many simple things of life but have not reflected that here. I am sorry about that. Take care. Brian