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 Francis Chan: Christians Getting Too Fat on the Word

"We've created a church culture in America where we assume we do nothing until we hear a voice from Heaven. And so if I go to church on Sunday, the pastor's going to preach a sermon [and] we pretty much assume we're not going to do anything radical in response to it unless he gives a really great sermon and gives us steps right afterwards, or this or that or really, really, think that we hear a voice from the Lord."

As a result many Christ followers live selfishly while listening to Bible teachings every Sunday, said the Crazy Love author.

He writes that these Christians remind him of "the fattest people on earth" who have consumed so much food that they can no longer walk. "They are fed more and more knowledge every week. They attend church services, join small group Bible Studies, read Christian books, listen to podcasts and are convinced they still need more knowledge."

Chan explained that continually listening to the Word without applying it has made Christians' ears dull to God's call.

"That's the first thing I was taught in seminary before we even started classes: the president of the seminary said, 'look be careful because once you can hear the word of God and do nothing in response then the next time you hear it, it'll get easier, and the next time and pretty soon it becomes a habit and a pattern of you're able to hear the Word of God without a practical response,'" said Chan.

"That's a very dangerous place to be and yet, man, that's happening. Every church across this nation, we've fallen into that pattern."

The solution, Chan stated, is to act. "Why not assume action? Why do you hear a verse and assume I shouldn't do something in response to that unless the Lord is stopping you?"

Chan acknowledges in You and Me Together that some Christians "are paralyzed by a fear of failure." Others, he shared, are afraid that living out God's word means depriving themselves from happiness.

"Scripture says that [God's] commands led to life and I think everyone's so afraid to obey His commands because they're scared that if we obey this, this is going to make us miserable and there's no reward it in it," said Chan.

Christians, he said, need to tap into their faith.

"That's what faith is, you know. Without it, it is impossible to please God and anyone who comes to Him has to believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

Chan summed, "True faith is when we believe He's going to reward us whether it be in life now or the life to come. We know there's a reward coming and God wants us to have that kind of faith."

from: http://www.christianpost.com/news/francis-chan-church-wastes-too-much-time-waiting-on-gods-voice-christians-getting-too-fat-on-the-word-134883/


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2015/3/1 12:11Profile
hulsey
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 Re: Francis Chan: Christians Getting Too Fat on the Word

I don't know if I completely agree with Chan's assumption that the vast majority of Western Christians are hearing the Word. I do agree that to hear the Word of God without mixing it with faith is of no value, but I don't think that we even rise to that level.


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 2015/3/1 15:51Profile
yuehan
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 Re: Francis Chan: Christians Getting Too Fat on the Word

There have been other preachers who have rebuked "spiritually overfed, apathetic Christians", but I do not believe that such notions are Scriptural. On the contrary, I see a lot of starving Christians around.

Nonetheless, God extends the same invitation to everyone (regardless of our circumstances, or quality of church preaching) to come to Him and eat freely, drink freely (Isaiah 55:1-2). Those verses are echoed in John 7:37-38, which emphasize that our words and actions would reflect the abundance of our heart when we drink from the Fount of Life.

 2015/3/1 16:20Profile
dolfan
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 Re:

Yeah, I love Francis Chan.

This is a common refrain of his that we ought to do until we are told by God not to do as opposed to waiting on direction from Him. Chan says the Word tells us what to do sufficiently that we ought to err, if at all, on the side of action instead of inaction. He argues that the passive, let's-wait-and-see-what-God-tells-us-to-do-before-we-do-anything is not the way of Jesus and not the apostolic way. His points have merit.

He would say that we bog down in paralysis by analysis, that we mysticize what it means to hear from God when the NT picture is go/do/obey and as we do that, God is with us and we hear from Him as we live obediently in real time. Paul is certainly arguably the epitome of living out that way.

I disagree as to the cause. I am with Yuehan, and believe the inaction to be lack of biblical food, so to speak, instead of overfed. Spoon fed? Yes, I would grant that. Overfed? Not so much.


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 2015/3/1 18:23Profile
Jeremy221
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 Re: Francis Chan: Christians Getting Too Fat on the Word

I think it's important to see Chan's comments in their full context. Does anyone have a link to a sermon or full interview where this view was expressed?

 2015/3/2 2:47Profile
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Brother,

I believe all these quotes from him are from his new book on marriage:

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity
http://www.youandmeforever.org


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 2015/3/2 10:52Profile
Jeremy221
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 Re: On "Joy in God"

Thanks Greg. I tried contact his crazylove.org website to see if they can cite it for me. While I was looking around, I came across a podcast connected to the promotion of the book you mentioned in association with John Piper's podcast "Ask Pastor John." I believe that it can be useful in understanding where Francis Chan is coming from in his comments on the subject of "overfed Christians."

After you read this transcript of the audio clip, I encourage you to look up the clip and listen it. There is a lot more information in his use of intonation and stress. He talks about building a literal prayer closet in his garage and suspect he may have benefited from some quality time with Leonard Ravenhill if he were ministering during the same time as Ravenhill.

Here's the transcript:

My Daily Fight for Joy [Francis Chan]
"Ask Pastor John [Piper]" podcast
January 5, 2015
03'57"
Episode 503

[host] We are blessed to be joined this week on this "Ask Pastor John" podcast by a guest and our friend Francis Chan, who joins us from San Francisco. Francis and his wife, Lisa, are authors of the new book "You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity." And we will get to marriage questions soon enough.

But first, I want to ask you Francis about your fight for joy in Christ every day. Is this a struggle for you? Does Francis Chan fight for joy in Christ?

[Chan] (chuckles) Yes, absolutely. I have to fight for joy every day. For me it is a real fight for my mind.

Lately the battle has been [against] multitasking. OK? Because I love to accomplish, I love to get a lot of things done in one day. And I'm like, "Man, why do one thing when you can do three?" You know, so, you're just going, and it's all for the Kingdom and everything [else] but then it comes time to pray.

And this is where multitasking can kill you. [Because] your mind is used to doing several things at once. And if you're trying to do three things at once, you really can't worship Him wholeheartedly.

And you know 1 Peter 4:7 talks about being clear minded for the purpose of prayer and to be self-controlled, and to be sober minded, clear minded. And my fight is those times where I just want to get away from everything and to rejoice in the LORD. I mean generally, just a "come into the presence of God and not have my mind wander." So sometimes I'm pacing. Sometimes I'm praying out loud. Sometimes I'm singing out loud. Sometimes I'm on my knees. Sometimes doing all three or four of those things, just so that my mind doesn't switch to something else. I'm just 100% focused on God, thanking Him for everything I have in Christ. I mean, life is good! Our existence is good. We're so blessed but to focus on that and really rejoice in that, gosh, it's a real fight. To the point where I'm, just...[had to do something about it.]

A few weeks ago, because we've got like a dozen people living in our house, and it's not a big house, so the noise factor alone, with technology, [and] everything else, I just end up building a little room in my garage, tiny room. It's more like a closet or something, just so that I can escape, and get alone, and worship Him, and thank Him, and tell Him how great it is to know Him and restore that joy in my life.

I don't know how other people get charged up but for me, its really coming into the presence of God and enjoying Him. That's a type of joy that lasts. If I can get that time and really be focused in the morning, it really does just go throughout the whole day.

[host] That's very good and comforting for us in the battle for joy in God. That's Francis Chan, co-author of a new book with his wife Lisa, titled, "You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity".

And tomorrow, I want to ask you about a few lines from your book, especially this one, quote, "If you'd rather watch your kids grow up than see the face of your Savior today, you don't grasp the beauty of God." End quote. Wow. That's got some Philippians 1:21 punch to it.

I'm your host [...]. We'll be back tomorrow.

 2015/3/2 12:24Profile









 Re:

I love Francis Chan.

His main point I agree with.

If you look at the surface of most of the protestant churches, they have a lot of 'meetings' but most are based around reading the bible or doing some kind of intensive study.

I was going to repent by trying to make right, what I see wrong in the church by leading outreaches within my local church but it's just too time consuming. So, instead, I now volunteer fairly regularly with an orphanage (twice a week).

I encourage others that hear Chan and/or read this thread, to be the 'hands and feet of Jesus'. You don't need permission because you already have it. GO into all the world. Go and do likewise. :)

 2015/3/2 14:36
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Francis Chan,

Is practicing what he preaches. He is discipling and involved in encouraging believers to obey the Bible and meet in small groups: http://wearechurch.com

We are also encouraging a very similar way forward for believers: http://gfel.org


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