I’ve only been a Christ-follower for 6 years so I realize in the grand scheme of things my perspective on “what things shape my walk with Christ” can be naïve and presumptuous at times. Yet, I truly believe that as I look back on my life “Radical” by Dr. David Platt will be one of the defining books that shaped my walk with Christ. Much like “Choosing to Cheat” by Andy Stanley has shaped the way I approach work/life balance that is honoring to God (and a book I usually read over again once a year if not twice a year), Radical is going to be another “shot in the arm” book I read whenever I feel my faith journey has hit a plateau.
And if that is not enough of an enticement to run out and read this book, here’s another. I rarely buy books…I don’t care for clutter…therefore I am a huge fan of the local library. The first time I read this book it was the local library copy. Immediately upon completion of the book I went to my local Christian book store and purchased my own copy and reread the whole thing again – this time highlighting all the things I didn’t want to forget or wanted to reference quickly down the road. 1) I purchased my own copy and 2) I read the book twice in 2 weeks. Not very common occurrences for this book reader!
During 2010 Platt has lead his church on a journey aptly called “The Radical Experiment” in which he challenged the members of his church to:
- Pray for the entire world
- Read through the entire Word
- Sacrifice their money for a specific purpose
- Spend time in another context
- Commit their life to a multiplying community
Radical: Taking back your life from the American Dream serves as a thesis for proving out why American Christians need to begin making radical changes in their lives in order that we fulfill the Great Commission. Platt states that “somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable.” He further says “…the cost of discipleship is great. But I wonder if the cost of nondiscipleship is even greater.”
What resonated with me most about this book is pondering the gravidity of not obeying God’s will for my life. That the cost of nondiscipleship is a grave and serious trend in American churches that is propelled by a body of believers paralyzed by the comforts and luxuries that the American Dream offers. The majority of American Christ-followers see discipleship making as a role only church leaders or long-term missionaries can fill when in reality all Christ-followers are commanded (not suggested) to go to all nations and make disciples. Platt summarizes this point poignantly when he says “…we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all.”
I am looking forward to letting the lessons learned in the book permeate through me over the next several weeks, months and years. I truly want to take on the Radical Experiment for a year and be intentional about praying for the world and getting into the Word daily. For the first time in several years I actually considered what other context God may be calling me to in 2011 to spend a week of my time. The past several years I’ve been very lukewarm about joining an E3 Partners mission trip (Adam has been on two the past year and half – 2009: Ecuador; 2010: Russia.) This past Monday I signed up for an E3 Partners short-term mission trip to Kursk, Russia in August. I am so nervous about this, but excited for what God will do through and in me during that week.
If you are feeling stalled in your walk or apathetic about the way church is done in the US, I highly encourage you to read this book. You will be encouraged and able to pick yourself up, dust off your discouragements and start biblically living God’s will for your life.
Worth Reading? YES! YES! YES!
Recommend to a Friend? Yes...I'm apologize now to all my friends who will get sick of me talking about this book
Worth Buying My Own Copy? ABSOLUTELY!!! I wish I could buy 10 and give them away.