Crazy Love

February 8, 2011

Ok so when I was attending Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California, they always had Francis Chan for a chapel speaker.  Over the three and a half years I attended, I LOVED hearing his lectures.  Quick background on him, he is a former-pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA.  For more about what he has done click this link: http://element26youth.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/crazy-love-francis-chan/

In this phase of my life, my parents would “force” me to go to church on Sunday whether I worked saturday night having gotten home at 3am or not.  Well at least thats how i saw it anyways.  I’d drag my half asleep (and im sure looking horrible) body out of bed, got dressed and sat through the church services, really not hearing any of the sermon.  But on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, if Francis was the speaker, you can bet I was all ears.  He not only had a great way of speaking that made it applicable to life, but a beautiful love for God that made you excited and looking forward to what was next to come.  Not to forget, he always had embarrasingly funny stories that kept your attention. Nevertheless, Francis had a way of speaking to me in a way that no one else seemed to be able to get through.

I was walking through Target one night and I happened to look through the book section as I always do and what do I see…  Francis Chan’s bald head on the back of a book!  I picked it up right away, noticed it was written by him, and headed to the checkout.  I didn’t even look to see what the book was about, but knew if he wrote it, it was going to be AWESOME! Now it’s been awhile since i’ve picked up a book and read. I used to be a huge reader and lately excuses have been given too often as to why i don’t have the time. For this book, I made the time.  Every chance I had to read, I took it.

My favorite sermons of Francis’ were about lukewarm christians, about placing God in your life now and not waiting till when it best suited you later, and helping those poor and needy outside of you.  At this time, I had been going through some things personally: was Hawaii the right thing for me at the time or no?, how had i gone from a person who loved life to a person that is just going through the motions?, and where was my life going, what direction am i heading, and how do I get to where I want to be?–which is helping others.   Throughout the book, I saw page after page words that I needed to hear.  Stories that challenged me and really made me think about how I have failed to continue any relationship with God.  A qoute that stuck out to me was:

 “Most of our thoughts are centered on the money we want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have, the spouse we want to marry, the kind of person we want to become… But the fact is that nothing should concern us more than our relationship with God; it’s about eternity, and nothing compares with that. God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives” (pg. 96).

The first few chapters of the book touched on how “most people waste their lives” on minut and irrelevant things, and miss the whole purpose of their life.  So here I am sitting at home reading this quote, and every word of it described me to a T. I’ve always prayed when I remembered to, or read my bible when I saw it sitting on my dresser and had enough energy to get out of bed to grab it, but i’ve not put forth the effort to make my relationship with God any stronger. I’ve been a lukewarm christian–if that.  Francis tells of a story about a pastor who was speaking at a funeral, he concluded his sermon with “You never know when God is going to take your life.  At that moment, theres nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?” (pg. 46). After saying those last words, the pastor sat down, fell over and died. That story hit like a ton of bricks. I’ve lived my life with the attitude that I’m gonna be around forever, I have lots of time to get it all sorted out. But in reality, I don’t. It’s now or never.  With that, I made a lot of decisions that were best for me.  I was hesitant on Hawaii for alot of reasons, and right then and there decided right now it was not a good time and gave up my position for the OB/GYN course.  I can say for the past week since I finished the book, I’ve been a more positive person, I’ve tried to see the good in situations, and I’ve been grateful for the things I do have rather than be annoyed and frustrated with the things I don’t have. Also, I’ve put all my faith back in my relationship with God. Im not saying I am perfect or that I don’t struggle, because there are some days that I want to throw my hands in the air and call it quits.  But the essay from a 12 year old girl is inspiration enough for me to continue with my head up and towards whatever direction God leads my life in…

                           Since I Have My Life Before Me
By: Brooke Bronkowski

I’ll live my life to the fullest.  I’ll be happy.  I’ll brighten up.  I will be more joyful than I have ever been.  I will be kind to others. I will loosen up. I will tell others about Christ. I will go on adventures and change the world.  I will be bold and not change who I really am.  I will have no troubles but instead help others with their troubles.
You see, I’ll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age. Oh, I’ll have moments, good and bad, but I will wipe away the bad and only remember the good.  In fact that’s all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest.  I’ll be one of those people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan, a world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back.  I’ll set an example for others, I will pray for direction.
I have my life before me.  I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy. I will do everything God tells me to do. I will follow the footsteps of God.  I will do my best!!! (pg. 48)

So… are you ready?!

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3 Responses to “Crazy Love”

  1. lorinda symens said

    I haven’t read to many blogs lately, sitting here at office, I am in tears reading how your transforming your perspective on many things, God being first not last… and yes, I am thankful you came across the book Crazy Love, I read it on my iPad… and I’m also glad, we “drug” you to church every Sunday.. and I look forward to when you drag my grandkids to church as well…
    I love you so very much, mom

  2. Kimm said

    Ashley Nicole – I love you so much and I LOVE reading your blog – it is so totally cool how God keeps tapping you on the shoulder telling you he’s there for you! OK so now I’ve got to read this book too…have no clue when I’ll get to the bookstore but I’ll try! I am so proud of you in so many ways – I love you my beautiful sweet niece!!

  3. Loree said

    I love reading your blogs Ashley (yes there are people out there reading & enjoying it). I’d heard of Francis Chan & his books & have been meaning to buy one & now I will have to make a effort to look for & read it. Thanks honey!

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