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20

The Confession of a Sensible Christian.
Posted by Clare

If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, this one may not make much sense, but if you did here’s the rest of my story from my book, The 10 Second Rule:

“A crisis of faith triggered by cancer forced me to take a second look at Jesus, trying to figure out what I’d missed. And as I began rereading the Gospels, here’s what started to trip me up:

Do good to those who hate you.
Deny yourself daily.
I came not to be served, but to serve.
But I say forgive seventy times seven.
Whoever wants to be first…must become last.
No man can serve two masters.
Give to the one who asks you.
Give no thought for tomorrow.

This Jesus who said these things appeared to be anything but sensible! Here was God himself in Jesus Christ inviting all who would enter his kingdom to abandon comfortable Christianity – to abandon the common sense I prized so highly, the very thing that governed my life. Leave it at the door, he was saying. I’ll meet you at the foot of the cross, where your old life will end and the new life I’ll give you will begin. I’ll issue you new instructions from there. Trust me – and come follow me.

I found nothing in the Gospels that sounded even remotely like the church-on-Sundays-and-Wednesdays, believe-in-the-Bible, serve-on-some-committees plan. The beige plan.

My plan.

What the Jesus of the Gospels seemed to be calling me to frightened and confused me, partly because it threatened the very survival of every aspect of my carefully planned life. Besides, I knew very few Christians who actually lived like that. I had always admired the few I did know in my church – the really gung-ho types. You know the ones I mean. The ones always more than willing to serve anyone anytime, the first to sign up for a month-long missions trip to Mexico in the sweltering heat of summer. I cheered them on from the sidelines. I just didn’t see the point, for myself, of being overly obedient or spiritual. I didn’t need box seats in heaven – after all, how bad could the bleachers be? I was in.

Was I? The more I read the Bible, the only plan Jesus ever seemed to offer was: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Deny yourself Take up your cross daily and follow me. Imitate me. Love others more than yourself. Apparently the gold plan.

And, it was slowly dawning on me, sitting in church every Sunday, I was theologically certain but an obedience coward – no better than Peter. I could almost hear the cock crowing – this time for me!

It wasn’t until I was thirty-one, the proverbial rich young ruler – husband, father of three, Sunday school teacher, deacon, a twice-on-Sunday Christian – that a bonfire of true faith was lit inside me. To this day, I’m not sure if God simply fanned into flames the pilot light of faith I received as a child or if I was truly born again.

This much is certain: I fell in love with Jesus and repented of both my stubborn, sinful heart and most of my cultural Christianity. This time, I gladly and unashamedly pledged my eternal allegiance to him and to his kingdom agenda.

It felt like I had been born again! I felt like a boy on the first day of spring – so happy I couldn’t take it all in. People thought I’d “gone religious.” Just the opposite – I was in love with God, not religion. But that’s another story for another day, which he’s still writing for me.”

Quoted from the opening pages of The 10 Second Rule

My second question for you: If you’re still stuck in the gerbil-like routine of beige Christianity, what really keeps you from “going for it?”

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Comments (20)
Comments
  1. Rick De Graaf said...

    Sounds like a good rule. Can I get two cases of books sent to South Korea?

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Hi, Rick! By the way, for the rest of you, this is my younger brother Rick. I’ll have to check to see what’s involved in sending books to Korea. I understand it’s fairly easy to Canada and EU countries, but there’s tons of complicated export forms required for most other countries. I’ll get back to you. Thanks!

      Reply
  2. David Petersen said...

    Clair
    I am excited to discuss faith issues as they apply to daily living.
    Dave

    Reply
  3. Jake said...

    Clare…Great stuff so far; your thoughts ring true with me. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    Reply
  4. David Nemmers said...

    Great insights on the beige plan and the gold plan. Intriging to me that for many of us (me included) it takes a crisis of some magnitude to move us to the gold plan. Great blog and I look forward to the next one.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Dave, isn’t it odd that the question most us are always sub-consciously asking ourselves is this, ” How obedient do I need to be to keep God happy?” ( Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks this way.) Do that enough and gold will turn to beige.

      Reply
  5. Bill Heneveld said...

    Clare, what a great initiative! I am thankful to have benefited from your obedience to share your story and God’s truths about how He would have us live to realize the blessings He has waiting for us. I will be praying that you will reach and positively impact multitudes, just like you have done in your small groups and one-on-one conversations!!! Wishing you great blessings! Blog on!

    Reply
  6. sheila rettig said...

    This connection to someone who virtually lives next door in business proves that God has a plan. Everyday I am inspired by the work of God’s hand. Clare this is very exciting and you have my prayers and support. Absolutely want to be at the book signing and get a copy. Sheila

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      I’m honored that you’d come but it may be just you and my family to keep me company.

      Reply
  7. Jeff said...

    What keeps me from “going for it” is much of what you expressed – fear! Fear of what I would have to give up, fear of failure. Your words cut right to the heart of where most Christian live. Looking forward to taking this journey with you.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Thanks for your transparency! I hope we can turn transparency into an art form on this site. Some time in the future I hope to do several blogs on why Christians, even reasonably mature Christians still have fears. I still haven’t fully trained my heart to listen to my head, but, by the grace of God I and others have made progress and I’d like to share our “fear journey” with you.

      Reply
  8. Duane said...

    Clare
    Good to see your site. I miss the meetings we have had in the past. I can honestly say God used you to challenge me in my walk. I didn’t always like what you had to say but those were usually the times I knew God was using your candid biblical view to break through my own comfort zones.
    I look forward to reading your book and staying in touch through your site. I’m thankful you kept the promise you made to God so many years ago.
    Duane

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Duane, that’s one of the major problems with men in general and leadership men in particular, we don’t take advice well. I know God’s Plan “A” backwards and forwards, but far too often I’m still trying to buy obedience at a discount, that’s why I have my wife and my accountability partners. I rarely like what they have to say, but they’re usually right.

      Reply
  9. Justin said...

    Another great post Clare. I’m glad I had a chance to work on this site with you.

    Reply
  10. Brent Enders said...

    So excited to see this Clare! The opportunity to discuss “10 Second Rule” came up at church small-group last night. Very helpful. Praying God continues to bless you & your work for his kingdom! Also looking forward to more words of “Clare-ity”.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Brent, thank you for your comments. I’ve already had people emailing me asking about a possible Study Guide, so I wrote one this week. It’s being edited and I hope to have it available next week on my website, free as a download. Stay tuned.

      Reply
  11. Jeff said...

    My wife sent this to me, thought it was insightful.
    “As I was reading these verses I thought of the 10 second rule. In verse 10 it says “while we have opportunity” indicating that the opportunity passes! And, maybe “losing heart” could also mean losing the will, passion or even the guts to do it!”

    Galatians 6:9-10
    “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      You have an insightful wife. We Christians say confidently that we trust in Christ, but we’re constantly “sniffing around the trap” wondering if obedience is going to hurt, don’t we?

      Reply
  12. Dee Besteman said...

    Read the newspaper article yesterday. Loved it.
    I believe in doing gift cards. I did three in
    August. One for school clothes for someone, one
    for a hair color and cut for friend in need, and
    one to a butcher shop so a family can ‘upgrade’
    their grilling event tomorrow. I will get thanked
    for maybe one of them. That is OK, it’s the kids
    who will gain from this. I also believe in keeping
    McDonalds’s gift cards with me, $5 ones. Can’t wait
    to read your book! Dee

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      That’s a great idea. A friend of mine calls that “making a pre-decision and I’ve been trying to teach it and live it ever since I heard it. I devoted a whole chapter to pre-decisions. Now I wish I had talked to you first!

      Reply
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