Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where Rubber Meets the Road

It's hard to believe this is the final chapter of Radical.  The Read-Along has gone by so quickly.  I may have to pick another book and post my thoughts every Tuesday just to keep up the discipline!  God has used this book, along with the recent sermon series at my church, to really stretch me.  I've made some changes in my life as I've read through Radical.  I'll be starting to volunteer with the Soup Wagon soon (surprise- I made my choice!) and I've been tweaking my budget, as well as sponsoring a new child through Compassion.  However, David Platt has taken a step to ensure that every reader can commit to making a radical change.  So much for resting on our laurels...

The Radical Experiment will take place over the next year and consists of 5 steps. 

1. Pray for the entire world.
"When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would not come to the Father. Instead his concern was that his followers would not go to the lost....What happens when you and I take these words from Jesus and put them in a world where more than a billion people have still not heard of the gospel? A fundamental reality snaps into focus: we are not praying."  -p. 187
A practical way to pray for the world daily is to use Operation World.  My mom has an old edition and I've flipped through it looking for specific countries.  But to use it to pray for a different country each day?  That seems radical indeed.  How could God use my prayer?  I have no idea. 


I, Leigh, commit to buying Operation World and using it as a daily prayer guide.

2. Read through the entire Word.
"If we want to know the glory of God, if we want to experience the beauty of God, and if we want to be used by the hand of God, then we must live in the Word of God." -p. 192
I've been reading through the Bible a chapter each day for the past several years.  Sometimes I read a few chapters at a time, other times I focus more on a Bible study but there is consistent time in the Bible each night.  I don't feel the need to increase the pace of my Bible reading but it wouldn't hurt to try.

I, Leigh, commit to continue reading at least a chapter of the Bible daily, if not more.

3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
"Sacrifice is giving away what it hurts to give. Sacrifice is not giving according to your ability; it's giving beyond your ability."  -p. 195
I support missionaries, sponsor children through World Vision and Compassion, and give to other good causes.  However, it doesn't hurt me to give.  I haven't had to think twice about buying concert tickets or the book I want. I can give to others and give to myself without much thought. I hope to change that in the coming year.  I think there's a balance to this. I don't think we're to deprive ourselves of any good thing but I do think I can learn to do more without so that I can give more to others who need it.

I, Leigh, commit to tracking my spending and giving habits in order to figure out a lifestyle cap by the end of this year.

4. Spend your time in another context.
"If we are going to accomplish the global purpose of God, it will not be primarily through giving our money, as important as that is. It will happen primarily through giving ourselves. This is what the gospel represents, and it's what the gospel requires."  -p. 198
As I mentioned above, I'm in the process of becoming a volunteer with Salvation Army's Soup Wagon program, which ministers to the homeless.  I've wanted to somehow work with the homeless community for some time so I am excited by this opportunity, although nervous at the same time.  I've never done anything quite like this.  The moment I read about the program, my stomach did a flip and I felt almost certain that this was where I should be serving.  I want to get to know these people...to go from "the homeless" to names and faces. I want to share the hope that I have, as our relationships grow.

Platt has emphasized that serving locally is not enough. The 4th challenge is to spend one week, outside the context of your own city, making the gospel known.  Part of me resists this but I'm not sure why.  I went on a mission trip to Ecuador 5 years ago and it was a powerful time in my life. I thought about being a missionary at one time. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures.  So why not go on another mission trip either domestically or internationally?  Why not see if I can serve alongside one of the missionaries I support?  I have no idea where this commitment will lead- and this scares me too.  Still...

I, Leigh, commit to volunteering with the Soup Wagon and going on a mission trip of some sort.

5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.
"If we are going to live in radical obedience to Christ, we will need the church to do it. We will need to show one another how to give liberally, go urgently, and live dangerously...The global purpose of Christ was never intended to be accomplished by individuals." -p. 206
I was blessed to know which church I wanted to be a part of when I moved so I went through the membership class about 2 weeks after I moved.  I've been in a Monday night Bible study the past few months and have grown to love the women in my small group.  I wasn't certain if I would continue with the winter curriculum because of the subject matter- although they told me I had no choice but to keep coming.  Now as I considered this 5th challenge, I know that I definitely don't have a choice. Winter curriculum it is.

I'm also in a new community group.  We are still getting to know each other and I'm the only single. There are two infants who are often present during our gatherings. I like the people and appreciate their vulnerability and depth.  Yet, it's still awkward at times. I'm not sure that I fit in.  I'm choosing to fight the awkwardness because I feel that this group will be good for me and perhaps I can be good for them.

I, Leigh, commit to purposefully connect with my community group and Bible study small group.

"What happens when radical obedience to Christ becomes the new normal?" -p. 216
I have signed and dated the commitment page in the back of my copy of Radical.  Come November 13, 2011 my life should look different than it does now if I keep to these commitments.  Please hold me accountable!  This is where the rubber meets the road. 

God, let this not be a book that I read, think great thoughts, and then remain the same.  Do a mighty work in my life in the next year and may Your name be glorified through it all!

If  you've read the book, would you consider signing up for the Radical Experiment?  If you haven't read Radical yet, might you consider starting today?

This post is part of the Radical Read-Along hosted by the fantastic Marla Taviano.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site. 

9 comments:

  1. Oh, wow, Leigh. This post gave me CHILLS. Wow, wow, wow and WOW. I think you just made this whole Radical Read-Along worth it for me RIGHT HERE. I am THRILLED for you and looking forward to seeing what God does through you in the coming year! WOOOHOOO!!!

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  2. p.s. There's going to be another read-along come January. Shhhh... it's a secret. :)

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  3. I loved seeing your determination to be a different person in Nov. 2011! We all will be different, won't we? So good to do it with purpose and direction instead of just letting what will happen, happen.

    I connected with the feeling awkward part ... I think whenever we do something out of our nature (ahem, in God's nature) it will feel awkward. So hang in there!

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  4. "God, let this not be a book that I read, think great thoughts, and then remain the same. Do a mighty work in my life in the next year and may Your name be glorified through it all!" This is my prayer also as I am finishing up this book. The commitments both excite me and terrify me. I am starting this by moving back in with my parents for awhile to help pay for a trip to Africa and then who knows what after that...adoption??
    I also really liked that Platt gave us a resource for praying for the world because when I first read that it seemed too vague.
    Great post! Can't wait to see where God leads you.

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  5. I, Leigh, commit to tracking my spending and giving habits in order to figure out a lifestyle cap by the end of this year.

    I love your approach to this. The idea of a lifestyle cap is appealing to me, too. It's been great getting to know you through these posts, Leigh!

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  6. Thanks everyone for all the encouragement! It's been great getting feedback and seeing how everyone else has been impacted chapter-by-chapter. This is only the beginning!

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  7. I love the giving one...we support through Compassion and other things as well but you are right, it's not really a sacrifice. CS Lewis says give until it hurts. Really need to get to this point!

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  8. If you're interested in additional possible action items, check out materials posted on David Platt's publisher's site: www.WaterBrookMultnomah.com/radical

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  9. Simply awesome. I'll be praying for you!

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