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Monday, January 17, 2011

Livin' the Dream!

"I have a dream... that one day, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

I am so thankful for Dr. King and his willingness to step out in "radical" faith and obedience. Those acts of obedience changed the entire landscape of this country forever. Here's what "the dream" looks like today in my house:

Yes, we got into the dress up clothes today.

Speaking of "radical obedience," and on a completely different note... This is our crazy small group.

Seriously, these people are crazy in a really good way. And Dan and I love them for it. This year our group is all committing to some form of David Platt's "Radical Experiment" as outlined in his best selling book, "Radical."

There are five components to Platt's experiment:

1. Pray for the entire world
2. Read through the entire Word
3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
4. Spend your time in another context
5. Commit your life to a multiplying community

Now honestly, the second one struck me as a little out of place. I don't know... sitting down for a one-year "power-read" through the New and Old Testaments just didn't seem all that radical to me. And anyways I've already done that... the last time was about 8 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. But I love me some David Platt so I decided just to go with it and attempt the assignment anyways.

Dan and I are up to chapter 46 in Genesis and chapter 13 in Matthew and over the last few weeks, the reality of what Platt was asking his readers to do... the "radical" part of reading the entire Bible in one year, hit me right between the eyes. Platt says Christians need to read the Bible and KNOW the Bible... because "we desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical." Yikes.

Pushing through the Bible in one year may not leave much time to meditate on individual verses or to contemplate everything you've read every day... but this "power read" will give you an overall picture of God and His character. It will help you to see Him and know Him better. And boy, oh boy, it will help you discern which parts of our faith are purely American and which parts are truly biblical.

Here's a truth that REALLY struck me this week... the whole idea of being "called" to do something is not really biblical. It's American. The idea of needing to feel great peace and ease before we're willing to act for God... well, that's nice. But that's not biblical.

Because here's what I've learned this week... The Bible is CHOCK FULL of people who did things they didn't want to do, did not desire to do, things they didn't feel peaceful about -- but they did them anyways, out of pure obedience.

When Abraham walked up the mountain to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son for whom he'd waited 100 years, he did not have a warm fuzzy feeling. He did not feel happy and "called" to do this thing. He was acting on obedience. In the New Testament, when Joseph agreed to take a pregnant woman for his wife and to be a father to a child (to adopt a child!) who was not his biological son, he was probaby not joyful or excited about this. It was an act of obedience.

MLK's story may not be one in the Bible, but he was certainly inspired by it. Dr. King was willing to stand for freedom and justice in the face of persecution, imprisonment and police brutality. Taking that stand was not easy or comfortable. I doubt MLK was joyful about going to prison for protesting -- but he acted on obedience.

May our warm, fuzzy, peaceful, happy, comfortable feelings NOT dicate the way we live our lives and be the baramometer for what God is or is not calling us to do. Sorry friends, but that's just not biblical.

But don't take my word for it. If you want to read along with our small group, we're following Ligonier's Tabletalk reading plan for 2010. I'm going to try and do a post every other week or so with some thoughts on what I've read. Dan and I would love to hear your thoughts too so please send them our way. You're also welcome to read along with us on Radical. This week we're doing chapter 3 and we will cover approximately one chapter per week over the next 6 weeks. Come on, just look at these faces... yes, we may have a few issues but don't we look like a fun group to hang out with? Read with us and email me or send us your comments!


the monkeys' mama said...

I was nodding my head in agreement and in inspiration throughout this whole post. When do you guys meet, btw?

Jane said...

I read Radical a few weeks ago and now Chap is reading it in his Bible study. Our sr. pastor at church as asked the entire church body to read it. I can't wait to see how God moves in our church body.

Kim said...

We met with small groups in our home last year and went through Radical...well the sermon series. It was the best thing I've ever done!

Emily said...

Linked to your blog though a friend's fb update. Although, when I looked at your photo, I realized we must have some mutual friends because I think I recognized the Adams in your small group? Our children go to school together.
I love what you're doing. My husband and I have considered many of these same things and have recently hosted a Ukrainian orphan for 5 weeks. Adopting is something we are thinking of doing as well.

Wild Olive said...

Good words, sister! I haven't read Radical yet, but I need/want to. Lucas and I are doing the Bible-in-a-year, and we're on the exact same chapters as you guys! It never occurred to me that our need for peace before action, and being 'called' are American concepts. Although I think I know the truths of the Bible pretty well, I'm amazed at how easily culture can just slip in there and purport to be truth. Yuck!
Looking forward to hearing more of what you're learning!

Tracy B said...

Hey Shelly,
I am so enjoying hearing about your sweet family through this blog! "Fun, Fun, Fun... All the Time?" was a very compelling, convicting read! I've been thinking on that since. So thank you.

This post was another very compelling read. I first watched David Platt's Radical sermon series online last year and then read the book. Life changing for me, some blindspots falling away?? I'm praying God will continue to change me more.

My path to your blog started when I read Radical. A couple of months later we attended the premier of Bereaved (friends with David and Charity) and heard about 60 Feet. Then I met you at ChristChurch in early December and was blessed to pray for your family as you guys traveled back and forth to get Hannah and Joseph. So neat to see God’s hand orchestrating events and connections.

Anyway, I am reading through the Bible using a chronological reading plan that I think I printed from the Radical website. I'm halfway through and am enjoying it so much.

I look forward to reading more about your
journey. And I hope our paths cross again sometime soon so I can meet the rest of your beautiful family. Meanwhile, I will continue to pray for you guys!
Tracy Bunch

Wild Olive said...

PS - love me some RC Sproul!

Anonymous said...

Shelly, Hi. Wow, this is a great blog! I am loving reading all about the journey the Lord has you all on. As I read about your meal choices I got to thinking that you might like Dr. McDougall's menus! Check it out. I love his plan for eating . When I saw the beans and rice it just struck me how that could have come straight from one of his family menus.
See you at church!
Darden Straus