Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapter 7 Guest: Sara Frankl

Today's guest blogger is Sara Frankl, also known as "Gitzen Girl." Angie and I LOVE Sara. Though she lives with a debilitating disease and experiences more pain on a daily basis than most of us will ever experience, her positive outlook and genuine love for the Lord never wavers.

You are going to love her thoughts on Chapter 7 - and if you don't read her blog, now is the time to start.

So go check out what she has to say on Your Best Life... Later.

Thank you Sara for your words. They are encouraging and challenging. We are so thankful to call you friend.

Angie and Jess

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chapter 7

We're back!!

After a few week hiatus, Angie and I are back together for this week's discussion of chapter 7. Wasn't it a rich chapter? We loved it.

Crazy Love Chapter 7 from angie smith on Vimeo.

Some thoughts worth discussing:
  • Do you play it safe?
  • Can you answer yes to Chan's questions: Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death?
  • How do you give of your time?
  • Share an example of a time when you gave radically and liberally and you saw God bless that action? How did that help you to grow in your relationship with him?
  • What are you doing right now that requires faith?
  • How are you using the gifts God has blessed you with?
Join us on the ning site to discuss these questions and any thoughts you have, as well.

Angie and Jessica

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chapter 6 Guest: Ann Voskamp

Today we are pleased that Ann Voskamp is joining us with beautiful thoughts and words, as only she can write. Angie and I are blessed to have gotten to know her through (in)courage. If you do not read her blog, you must start. Her passion for the Lord is rich and unlike anything I have ever encountered. Her words make me hungry to know the Lord more. She challenges in such a beautiful way. My words cannot do her justice. Below is the beginning of her post, but I would just go right to the whole thing. It will do your soul good today.

Much love and peace to you today,


Girl, if you say that boy's name one more time, I'm opening this door up and flinging myself out into the deserts of Utah," Grandma slaps her knee and I shrink down, seat belt digging into ribs.
Utah with her rouge painted wrinkles, her blush-brushed crags, blurs by at 60 miles an hour. Another mile marker flashes and I bite my tongue. I won't say it out loud, how many more miles home to that boy and those eyes, but there's no stopping a heart from keeping tally.
"You want me to slow down before you jump or you just leaping without warning?" Dad chuckles, one hand wheeling that wheel.

"I think I'm just leaping, Son." Grandma shakes her head. "Did you ever in your life know a girl so love sick, Lloyd?" Grandma swats Grandpa's shoulder, gets his attention.
"Ten days, thousands of miles criss-crossing the States, hitting every photo op you can imagine, and all she goes on about is The Boy this, and The Boy that. He's all she can think of! I've heard so much of that Boy, I wished we had just packed him!" My cheeks burn redder than Utah's cliffs and Grandpa winks, elbows my snickering kid brother in the ribs and they howl, coyotes on a ridge.

Mile 368. If Grandma but knew how that grin of his could wind a girl in and spin her out, let her go all a dizzy swirl. I'm counting miles back to that smile.

"You sure are in love, girl." She pats my knee.

First love's an immersion and passion shapes all vowels into the kiss of that name.

To continue reading 7 Ways to Do Crazy Love and Fall for God

To discuss Ann's post, visit our Bloom Community

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chapter Six

Let me start by saying I love Clara. Seriously.

Did you all love that story about her bed? Incredible!!! I have to say I was completely humbled by the idea of her in tears over sharing time with the Lord. I can't honestly say I have this emotion, but boy do I want to. Do you know people like this? I would love to hear some of your stories if you do, because I am inspired by such deep affection for God.

Let's jump to page 101, where Francis says, "Personal experience has taught me that actions driven by fear and guilt are not an antidote to lukewarm, selfish, comfortable living. I hope you realize instead that the answer is love."


God doesn't want us to do things because they make us feel better about ourselves. He wants us to be completely motivated by love. And do you think you can love others well without loving Him? I don't. Not the way He desires us to. I bet Clara was great at loving others out of the overflow of love that came from the Lord.

Let's hop to 102, where this question comes up: "Do you feel free in your Christian life?" I think this is an important place to camp out for a bit, because so many of us feel like we need to do, do, do, do in order to be in the grace of God, and that feeling of being chained is not from the Lord. If we love Him, our actions will flow freely from that love. It's a good barometer of our faith, isn't it?

I think it's natural to get caught up in what we need to be doing to be right with God, and it seems too easy to just "love" Him. Anyone who has a great relationship with the Lord will tell you that it makes sense when you're in it. He didn't mean for it to be as complicated as we have made it!!! I really believe that we are commanded to help others and to live lives that edify Jesus, but the only way we can do this genuinely is out of true, deep love for the Father we serve.

He alludes to this on page 108, and I thought it was one of the most powerful paragraphs so far. When we look at our relationship with the Lord as a chore, we are getting the glory, not God! Wow. So true. If I am constantly walking around dropping stories about the soup kitchen I volunteer at, how much I have tithed to overseas missions, all the amazing things I have done, do you really think people are going to be convinced that I love God? Or maybe, that I need some credit for all my good deeds. I love when he talked about David Livingston giving the speech at Cambridge and explaining that he had never made a sacrifice.

Un. Real.

Also, if you haven't done the exercise on page 111, you's good.

Okay, over to you all now...thoughts?!?!?!?!

Clara Angie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SOOOO tired....

I am in charge of Chapter Six, and I am sad to say I don't have it finished :( Our flights home from Washington were majorly delayed and I am just now getting settled in. I will have it up by tomorrow, so just check back's a great chapter and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

And if you don't usually comment, I hope you will. We want to hear from you!!!

See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chapter 4 and 5 Video

Hello friends.

Angie and I have been swamped lately. So, we are splitting the video duties. I did this week's video and she is doing next week's. I hope my thoughts are good fuel for conversation this week.

Crazy Love Chapter 4 and 5 from angie smith on Vimeo.

Questions to ponder and discuss on ning.
  • Do you offer leftovers to God? How can you change this?
  • Have you thought about the fact that you are rich? How does this affect your worldview? How does this affect your relationship with Christ?
  • Do you bring the glorious into the mundane?
  • What are ways you enjoy God?
Also, I mentioned the Christy Nockels' videos about bringing the glorious into the mundane. You can view them here. (While the subject matter is motherhood, so much of what she says is applicable to all women - not just mothers.)

Continue reading this week, friends. We only have 4 chapters left! Angie and I praying for you and are grateful for this community.

Jessica and Angie

Chapter 4 and 5 Video Coming Soon

I had some technical difficulty uploading the video this morning and now am at work and won't be home until 9 pm CST... so check later tonight or in the morning!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chapter 5 with Brandi Wilson

Angie and I are both on the road today, so our guest for Chapter 5, Brandi Wilson, is going to start the conversation. We will do our regularly scheduled video on Wednesday, and then be back on our normal schedule next week.

If you don't know Brandi, you are going to love her. Brandi is our pastor Pete Wilson's better half, and Angie and I have the pleasure of calling her friend.She has one of the kindest spirits I have ever encountered, and I know you will be blessed by her words.

I loved what Brandi had to say and think you will too, so hop on over to her blog and spend some time mulling over her thoughts.

Jess and Angie

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chapter 4 Guest:: Blake Bergstrom

We are honored that Cross Point Nashville campus pastor Blake Bergstrom is sharing is thoughts on chapter four today. In addition to being one of our pastors, Blake is a dear friend of my family's and Angie's. He is so incredibly kind and has a big heart for the Lord. (And he lives with five women - his wife and four beautiful daughters, so he gets girls!)

Please head over to his blog. You will be challenged and encouraged to further meditate on Chan's challenge for self inventory in chapter four. Blake has a conversational style that I think many of you will relate to.

Jess and Angie

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chapter 4

Hi all! We don't have a video for this week so we're going to shake it up a little. Jess is running a fever so we're taking the day off.... :)

I don't want to miss any rich discussion with you all, though, because this chapter is POWERFUL. I felt really convicted about my own life as I read, but also really curious how you all were processing it. Because we think some really important questions are buried in the text, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to chat a little with you about what I got out of it and then I'm going to ask you to go to the ning site and look under Forums/Crazy Love Discussion/Chapter 4 Thoughts & Questions. Here, I want you to ask questions that you have about the things Francis wrote about.

Jess and I spoke briefly this afternoon and felt like there was a lot of room for personal interpretation in this chapter.

We are planning on doing a combined video for this chapter and chapter 5 next week, and we would like to incorporate your thoughts into it.

What stood out? What did you struggle the most with? Was there anything that confused you or brought up more questions?

For me, I realized that in a lot of areas of life, I am a lukewarm Christian. Specifically, the ones that struck me the most were:

1. I spend a lot more time thinking about this world than the next. That has changed somewhat since Audrey died, but I would still say I think about this life more. I want to long for eternity, and feel so securely that this is what awaits me. To be honest, this is one of the hardest things for me to believe. I find that it's really hard to put your full weight into something that seems so intangible. And of course, eternity isn't really able to be grasped. I love to ask other Christians what they struggle with the most about their faith, because it makes me realize that I'm not alone. People are often afraid to say "I struggle in believing this the way I want to..." because they think it will make them seem less spiritual. I long to believe it more, and I tell the Lord so. But for me, thinking about my eternity does not take the place it should in my life.

2. Another phrase that stuck with me was, "Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the God of control."


Yes, I know that a few of you are picturing me conquering some of my fears in these past few years, and I do think I have had moments where I have done this. It is not, however, the predominant stance I take with my faith. I am one to balance. Weigh it out. Make sure I think the end result is worth it. And many times (many, many times), I choose the option that makes me feel safe.

And that is the option that glorifies the Lord the most, right? The one where I'm snuggled under the covers with a candle burning while reading about refugees? Yikes.

I do want to live my life purposefully, with God as my driving motivation, and not fear.

But I'm not there.

There were others that resonated with me, as I'm sure they did with you as well, but I want to make a statement about the chapter as a whole.

We will never achieve perfection as Christians in this life.


Can you breathe a little better now?

It's a lot to swallow. A lot to read and find failure in. It's a heck of a measuring stick he's laying out, and while I am ALL FOR personal inventory, we need to do it in a spirit of earnest desire and seeking. We do not need to come away from reading this kind of thing and spend the next several hours (days, weeks, years...) in a funk because we are so far from the mark. That isn't what it's about.

So if you are one of those people (*hand raised*) that felt like you needed to jump the next plane to Africa or sell every possession you had in order to feel better about your faith walk, this is for you. And it is the most beautiful, powerful word ever. Take some time to bathe in it...


Aahhhh. That's better.

Friends, we can't do it perfectly, and we all know it. What I think Francis wants us to gain from this chapter is the ability and desire to ruthlessly assess ourselves and be honest about our shortcomings. The Lord wants us to be living fully in Him, and wherever there are gaps (Do you struggle with tithing? Do you feel like you're a good person because you're not as rotten as your neighbors? Do you think about the poor at all?), we need to pray and seek His will.

We need to be on our faces, asking God to help us long for what He longs for. I love the bridge in the song Hosanna...

Heal my heart and make it clean.
Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
and show me how to love like you
have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours,
everything I am for your kingdom's cause
as I pass from earth into eternity

That's what I desire-to have my heart broken for the things that break the Lord's heart. I want to be stirred by what stirs Him. I know it isn't humanly possible to do it perfectly, but I want to do it the best I can.

I am going to say this because I think it's important for you to understand, and as you get into chapter 5, you may wonder about it.

It is our personal belief that you will not be kept out of heaven because you failed to do all of these things. If you have accepted the Lord as your personal Savior, your eternity with Him is secure. Do works matter? Yes, they do. Scripture says that our works will be examined. But your works do not get you into heaven. Through the grace of a merciful God, our faith alone ensures our salvation.

You can't work your way there.

What is important to note, however, is whether or not the fruit of your life is showing the world that you are a believer. After you find areas of your life that aren't glorifying, work on them. Offer them to the Lord. Make conscious decisions to do things differently, whether it's giving to the poor, sharing your faith with others, or just DOING something instead of reading about doing it.

That's what makes us "radical" Christians, and truth be told, we should want nothing less.

So, hear this as an encouragement more than judgment. Let's spur each other on and help make Him famous together :)

It's your turn...what do YOU think? Let us know on Ning.

We're so glad you're here...

Ang and Jess