Living in Surrender to the Holy Spirit: The example of Francis Chan

Back on April 18, 2010 Francis Chan announced to the congregation of Cornerstone Church where he served as a teaching Pastor that he was resigning to follow God in ways and places not yet known.  Francis Chan has authored two books, Crazy Love and Unforgotten God that really give a sound exploration of worshiping in spirit and truth.  Here with his choice and action He shows he is willing to follow God.  He is engaged in what Mark Batterson has referred to as the Wild Goose Chase, the adventure of walking in the Holy Spirit and surrendering fully to God. Francis could have easily continued what he was doing. He has become a very successful teaching Pastor and has spoken words that have challenged others. This blog  even has some of his video clips posted, one being recent.  But it is worthwhile to see a man following God’s call and answering it.  God tells him to move, and in faith he does.  He could easily have stayed, tried to put his own effort into maintaining what had already been built. Instead, he chose to follow God.   It serves as a challenge to each of us to even daily move in following God’s lead even if we do not understand.  God will always see us through to His promises, for He is faithful. God has things ahead for Francis Chan. But guess what God has things ahead for you and me.  We need to start by simply following God’s lead and walking in obedience.

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Here is the letter he sent Cornerstone Church:

Dear Friends,

For those who have not heard, this past Sunday I announced to Cornerstone Church that I will be transitioning out of my ministry in Simi Valley. It was a rough Sunday as there were many different emotions floating around the room. In short, Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faith. We believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. Every time I fly into a large city, I am struck by the sheer numbers and feel pulled to try ministering in that environment. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past weekend to hear more details. If for no other reason, my wife spoke some very powerful words that every believer needs to hear.

It has been an amazing 16 years as pastor of Cornerstone Church. When we started gathering, I doubt that any of us dared to dream that God would use this church to have such an impact on Simi Valley and the rest of the world. I think most of us were just hoping it would survive. God had bigger plans than we did. The Lord has truly shown us His grace, that we could be used as His instruments to bring glory to the name of Jesus.

The plan is that I would teach at Cornerstone through the end of May. During this time, I will be sharing the lessons most important to me. I have taught thousands of times over these years, and now I hope to re-emphasize what I see as most important. I will also be at our prayer meetings to beg our God to do even greater things in Simi after I leave. For those who have questions or just want to talk, you can catch me at the prayer meetings.

I’ll continue to write and give you more information as the Lord continues to guide the elders and me. Like I said at our services, I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.

Once again, here is my family’s rough plan for our future

April/May = speaking at Cornerstone
June/July = speaking around the U.S.
August/Sept = Praying and walking large cities to seek God’s leading.
Oct-Dec = Serving in a third world country
Jan 2011 = launch a new ministry as an extension of Cornerstone

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this amazing journey in Simi. Thanks for all the love and encouragement my family and I have received over the years.

Francis

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

 

Lessons from a blown car engine: Stop, listen, and surrender

Learning that the engine to your care is beyond repair and needs to be replaced is never news you want to hear. It is even worse when you learn that there was a lack of personal responsibility which in turn invalidated the warranty. This news is new that causes lots of stress and conflict.

Learning that something said or written was hurtful and offensive to a friend is never news you want to hear. It is even worse when you take on a felt responsibility to smooth out a conflict in views and have faulty expectations and hopes. This is something that ends up with lots of hurt and need for relationships to be reconciled.

Both instances certainly did happen and ultimately were a result of being too caught up in my own thoughts and attending to self. God most likely tried to give warnings, even suggesting alternate actions, but when it came down to it, self was listened to over anything else.

When it comes to the car, there were thoughts to get the oil changed. At some point, self-deception came in and convinced self that what had not been done actually had been done. The result was the damaged engine and invalidated warranty.

In writing to my friend, I had a sense that what I had written shouldn’t be sent and wasn’t really what needed to be said nor what I wanted to say. Yet, I wrote what I wrote and sent it anyway and damage was done.

The biggest lesson here is when we don’t take the time to listen, seek God, and listen mistakes can be made that lead to damage. In both these cases, what was best for self, or though best, is what was engaged. Ultimately I reacted out of my own self and not in surrender to Jesus with the result of damage. It is a lesson learned, no matter what felt responsibilities, priorities, or busyness that if you do not stop, pray, listen, and surrender but act out of self-will and selfishness damage will occur.

Granted, not every bad, self-involved choice or decision a person makes results in damage. A lot of bad choices can be made that do not result in bad consequences. This very fact is even what leads us often down the path of acting out of self and taking risks and not listening because we think we know the answer. What God would rather have us do is seek, listen, and surrender. I hope, next time I need to listen I do a better job of setting aside self and walk in steps the God sets before me rather than my own.