Last night, my wife and I, along with friends from our church went to Crossroads Church in Corona, CA for “An Evening with Francis Chan”. The evening started with great worship led by Rend Collective Experiment, a worship group from Ireland, and Rachel Chan (Francis Chan’s daughter), followed by a message from Francis Chan. As expected, the message was simple, yet incredibly convicting and challenging.
One of the most beautiful elements of Christianity… is that while doctrine and theology can be quite “thick” and there are lot of smart-sounding -ologies, -isms, -ications, etc… the message of the Gospel is elegantly simple. Jesus was God in a human body, who loved and served all of humanity past, present, and future, by sacrificing his perfect life, being brutally murdered on a cross, coming back to life, and going back to God the Father. Through His sacrifice, we get to experience a real relationship with the Creator of the Universe… the one, true, living God. As part of that, Christians are charged with serving humanity as Christ did, for the purpose of professing and multiplying Christ’s name to the nations.
Francis Chan is one of my favorite pastors. I have read all his books: Crazy Love, Forgotten God, and Erasing Hell. He obviously deeply loves Christ and serves him well. He is one of my favorite pastors not just because he is a great and passionate communicator… but because the Holy Spirit and the gift of joy-in-Jesus just exudes from him.
At the beginning of the sermon, he followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting to spend the first 5-10 minutes of the sermon to compliment and hug his daughter, while reminiscing on her childhood, and reflecting / relaying his experiences as a dad with the experiences and position of God the father. He was noticeably excited (he often is) and processing many thoughts / ideas… After speaking for a short while, he paused and prayed for the Holy Spirit to hold captive his racing thoughts and make it clear what he should speak, even if it was not similar to his previous messages as part of this short “An Evening with Francis Chan” tour. He contemplatively paused and then started speaking. He has definitely invested many years into learning, but he consistently shows up to events with an ~idea~ of what to talk about… but really has no agenda other than to submit to and seek the Holy Spirit’s direction on what he should say to the particular gathering of people. He emanates Spirit-led preaching. Praise God for the Holy Spirit and people who submit to him!
Ultimately, Chan’s message was straightforward: GO AND DO the Great Commission with purpose. Go DO the Bible. He basically said “don’t be a Christian hyprocrit” for 30 minutes to a room of ~4000 Christians. As the Holy Spirit speaks through Chan, it’s amazing how confrontational and challenging he is, while still being founded and surrounded in earnest love. It kinda felt like a Dad saying, “It’s time to grow up and be a man… this is what that looks like… go and do it.” That is essentially the message of Hebrews 5:11-6:12.
Notes from “An Evening with Francis Chan”
Below are my notes from the sermon
- Kids’ views of their dad will directly impact their views, understanding, and experiences of God.
- Dads can and should actively show grace their kids and family.
- The world should view Christians and be jealous of the joy and grace we have.
- Other people should observe our joy [in Christ] and think “I wish I had your dad (God)”…
- [In reference to the church in Acts 4] There shouldn’t be a gap between the Bible and the Church… and right now there is a big gap in America
- There should be something different, special, and wonderful that happens as Christians gather.
- We pray and love the same God as all the saints have throughout time and the same God that Christ’s disciples worships.
- We should marvel at God and His power always and everywhere.
- Our prayers are just like Peter’s, Paul,’s John’s, etc… they are to the same God.
- How much do I really believe in the truth of the Bible?
- We usually want to experience the Holy Spirit in the safety of church… but he usually shows himself profoundly when we leave the comfort of church… and seek to meet and serve people outside the church walls.
- We receive the Holy Spirit so we can be His witnesses.
- We experience the Holy Spirit when we are terrified in circumstances… when have I last been in a position where I really needed to solely depend on the Holy Spirit working through me?
- God speaks through the Holy Spirit “in the moment”… not early
- We experience the Holy Spirit as we intentionally make disciples…
- When am I “finally terrified” [as shown time and time again in the Bible by the saints] when serving God?
- When serving in that “finally terrified” place in our serving in the Spirit… we “pop out of the Bible”.
- The church is supposed to prepare us to make disciples… then we are supposed to actually go do it!!!
- We should grow up… into adulthood… in our service, knowledge, and in the grace of God.
- We are scared to disciples others… and scared to even spend the time to get to know our neighbors or co-workers. Those are the very people we should be investing into!
- It’s easiest to have mostly Christian friends.
- Christians should try to SOCIALLY [not morally] “fit in” with the world to win people for Jesus.
- Usually, Christians fit in when we aren’t supposed to, and don’t fit in when we should.
- We are called to speak the word of God with COURAGE.
- In the Bible… God showed up [and the saints experienced him] when they were in CRAZY PLACES… where they could only be truly dependent on God showing up. Reference the stories of Elijah vs. the “prophets” of Baal and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
- We have been COMMISSIONED by God with the objective / purpose of professing the risen Christ.. our life should be intentional in that regard… and it will most likely be incredibly uncomfortable.
- We experience God as we take steps of faith…
- To accomplish our objectives… we need courage. Many of the disciples prayed for courage. What are we doing where we actually need courage?!
Related Books & Media
Francis Chan Books
Rend Collective Experiment
11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings,the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Challenging Questions Recap
- Are you a “baby Christian”? Do you need to “grow up” into Christian adulthood and serve as a true servant solders? What are you afraid of? How much do you really believe in what Christ accomplished on the cross?
- Are you intentionally leading any disciples?
- When do you ever actually “depend” on the Holy Spirit? When have you been “finally terrified” in your Christian life in a manner that more closely matches the lives of the disciples in scripture? How should your life change accordingly?
- Is most of your Christian life… with Christians and/or at church? Does that match the Great Commission?