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Chan at Verge 2013: Love is not Optional

March 13, 2013

The second speaker for Verge 2013 was Frances Chan. Just as David Platt left the stage, on walked Frances Chan. The schedule of when each speaker would speak was not in the program. We knew who would speak over the two days, but we didn’t know when. To have Platt and Chan back to back with little introduction was certainly unexpected. You could almost hear the crowd whisper, “First David Platt, now Frances Chan! Wow!” Of course, both of these men quickly put the focus on where it should be, Jesus.

Frances Chan

Frances Chan

Frances opened up with a prayer. He confessed to God that we trust too little in His Spirit and asked him to restore the joy of our salvation. After Platt reminded us of the cost of following Jesus, Chan reminded us that although it would cost us everything, it would be worth it.

His talk centered on how the love of God should flow so easily through us that when we are gathered together, an outsider could walk in and immediately recognize that the love among us (Christians) was supernatural. They would exclaim, “No way…the only way this is possible is if some supernatural thing happened here.”  He reminded us that as we gave it all to Christ and His mission and His priorities, we should draw strength upon one another and demonstrate sacrificial love for one another. What is mine, is yours. If you need something I have, I give it to you without a thought. If you need a place to stay, I make room for you in my home. If you are hungry, I invite you to dinner. That kind of love is compelling. It is attractive. It provides healing. It is supernatural. It is rare. It is a characteristic of a follower of Christ.

Chan reminded us that sadly, some of us have given up on this dream and have turned to other ways to “fill the room”. Instead of building God’s church His way, by loving others as described above, we try to attract people with programs and church growth strategies that may or may not be biblical. He reminded us of Paul’s exhortation in Philippians:

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27 (NASB)

Chan also impressed upon us that we try too hard to impress others with our intellect. We try to reach others for Him with intellectual arguments. Paul was extremely intelligent. When it was necessary, he used his intelligence to help show the fallacy in other’s logic, but he made it clear in I Corinthians that the simple truth of the cross was enough.

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” I Corinthians 2:2 (NASB)

Paul deliberately chose to know nothing except the cross. He didn’t let his words empty the cross of it’s power. He knew the simple message of the cross was all that was needed to reach others. The message of the cross is used by God to reveal Himself to the lost. It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh (our intellect).

He ended his talk by asking us if we have given up on Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves. He said, “I’m not talking about strategy. There are things that are non-negotiable. When people in a church aren’t loving one another, it is just sin!”

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