Those who know me know that I have a couple of man-crushes.

It’s so stinking hard to find admirable men in this world that when I do, I usually watch them closely to learn from them. Besides family and personal friends, a couple of my man-crushes are Mark Driscoll, Louie Giglio, and Francis Chan.

I first encountered Francis at Passion ’07 (pics), and ever since then, I’ve been soaking up as much of his teaching as I can get my hands on (you can subscribe to the free podcast here).

Recently, Francis wrote a book called “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God“. I put off buying it just because we didn’t have the extra cash to throw around, but the more I listened to what God is doing in Francis’ heart and life, the more I knew this is something that Steph and I should go through together, so that’s what we’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks.

A couple of nights ago I was talking to my friend Mike, and he asked how the book was coming so far. Up to that point, I had only made it through chapter 3, so I told him that it was good, but nothing new — kind of the same old book but in a new year with a new author…

But man, chapter 4 really changed direction and 5 was even better. So far, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s very, very challenging without being critical or legalistic or self-righteous.

Here are some quotables from chapter 4:

He quotes: “It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the Gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”

My caution to you is this: Do not assume you are good soil. I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.

I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That’s for the ‘radicals’ who are ‘unbalanced’ and who go ‘overboard’