My time away for the Reformation 500 Conference also gave me the space to read. I decided to read a couple of popular books, including the two mentioned below.
The first was Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. The purpose of his book is to convince the reader that ‘by surrendering yourself totally to God’s purposes, He will bring you the most pleasure in this life and the next.’ So, rather than being convinced that we have ‘enough God’, we should desire for ‘more God’. This doesn’t mean we end up only knowing lots more about God, but that we would ‘love others so much that we go to extremes to help them…of our time, our money, and our abilities’. To this end, Chan spends the first three chapters laying the Biblical foundation for ‘crazy love’, with the last seven chapters calling us to examine ourselves. He does this by helping us see our significance in the context of God’s holy love, which is the basis for our radical love for God. Our motivation to serve God and obey his commands must therefore not be rooted in fear but in love. Chan shares much of himself throughout, and his testimony is very encouraging to read. He clearly loves Christ and desires to live for God’s glory. It’s therefore an easy read, which will encourage you in your discipleship and challenge you to ponder on the love of God in Christ and how you’re living in response to it.
The second book I read was Kevin de Young’s Taking God at His Word. The purpose of his book is to help the reader not only to believe that the Bible is God’s word, but that we should read, desire, depend and delight in God’s word. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he begins his book with an exposition of Psalm 119. This is because Psalm 119 ‘shows us what to believe about the word of God, and what to do with the word of God’. The book then covers topics such as the sufficiency, finality, clarity, necessity and certainty of Scripture. The book then ends with an encouragement to ‘stick with the scriptures’, just as the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy. Though 2 Timothy 3:14-17 is often the ‘go-to’ passage for us to defend the clarity, sufficiency and necessity of Scripture, de Young concludes with this passage to make the point that (1) what this passage says is no different to what can also be demonstrated in other passages of Scripture; and (2) that we should be left with the encouragement to continue in what we have been taught from Scripture. So, on that note, let me not only encourage you to pick up this book for your own personal encouragement but more importantly, to pick up God’s word and to continue in what you have been taught.