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Radically Real: The Quest for Authenticity by David C. Weiss (Christian Reference: Lifestyle)

Radically Real: The Quest for Authenticity by David C. Weiss (Christian Reference: Lifestyle)
 
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As a person who ministers to young people and works in outreach as much as possible, there is one thing that consistently comes to the fore. People are looking for authenticity and they are not finding it in much of the church. The basic principle behind this book goes back to the old "chestnut": If being a Christian were a crime would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Are we "walking the talk?" Are we living the example? Are we being salt and light? Would a non-believer, looking at our lives, want to have what we have? Radically Real is a wake-up call to the church. It is a call to look at the way we are living our lives. It is a call to return to biblical Christianity.

Is Radically Real a set of legalistic rules? Hardly! Radically Real is more of a call for the church to clean up its act and reach out to the world. It is a call to meet people where they are, just like Jesus did! It is a call to leave judgment on the doorstep and be good "fishers of men". Jesus helps us catch them and then He cleans them.

It is a call to follow Jesus' example, a reminder that God allows U-turns, a call to be a living sacrifice and count the cost as well as a reminder of the high price God paid for us out of His great love. It is a guide to the battle against the dark forces of life. It is a reminder to keep your "sword" sharp through serious time in the Word.

It is a call to leave the middle of the road and make a stand for Christ. It is an audit to your heavenly bank account, a challenge to the church to be on fire and burn bright with the light of Jesus and, most importantly, it is a call for the church to boldly go into all the world with the message of the Gospel.

Mostly, it is the book I wish I had when I first became a Christian. It is the book I wish the Christians had read who made me think that Christianity was a cold and lifeless set of rules that I wanted no part of, rather than the vibrant, exciting fulfilling life I have found it to be.

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Sample Chapter

Introduction

When the Lord put it on my heart to write this book all the usual doubts reared their ugly heads. Who are you to write a book challenging the church? You're not the pastor of some huge church! Hey, come to think of it you're not the pastor of any church! You're not even shining as bright as many of the people around you. You don't have half the alphabet behind your name. You're just an ordinary guy! And the fact of the matter is that all those things are true. I am a person with some baggage, a person with a past and yet, here I am writing this book. Why? Because I feel the Lord tugging at my heart to do this. I feel Him asking me why the church has grown complacent (It's kind of a rhetorical question to get me to think, because I can assure you He needs no knowledge from me). I feel Him asking me why we have lost our first love and are content with the counterfeit things the world has to offer? I feel Him saying that it is time for the church to wake up and get moving.

God has blessed me much more richly than I have ever deserved. I have let Him down countless times and yet He stuck it out and brought me through. I suspect many reading this book will identify with that statement. We have felt the amazing grace of a loving God in our lives. The question is do we live like it? Are we living like we have been saved by the grace of a loving God, or are we acting as if we earned salvation with our own goodness? Do we look at others with the kind of love that God looks at us with, or are we feeling just a little superior to them? If we are standing in a lineup of non-believers, could someone pick us out? Do the choices we make reflect well on our Father in heaven? When we say we are Christians, does our lifestyle make others want Christ?

Let me make one thing clear, this book will be as painful to write as it is to read. It is stepping on my toes even as I begin writing. That's OK. That is its purpose. This book is about seeking the face of God, seeking His will for your life. More specifically, it was written to challenge Christians to take a long, hard look at their lives and make whatever changes are necessary. It was written to challenge Christians to live a life that will help them to make a difference. It was written to help you to shine like a million candle power spotlight in a dark world.

Jesus called us the light of the world. The world around us is full of despair. The things of the world are not filling the void in people's lives anymore. It is dark out there. Where is the light? People will be drawn to the light of Jesus like moths to a flame. People are starting to see that the artificial light that the world has to offer is really a bug zapper that brings destruction. But what is the alternative for them? The church has been so busy squabbling amongst themselves that the light has been growing dim. The church has grown too comfortable, closed itself in and stopped shining. Our light is under the bushel. It is time to shine! It is time to make a difference! It is time to be Radically Real!


Radically Real

Take my whole life
take all that I am
show me how I fit into
your marvelous plan.
Take the way that I look
and the way that I feel
turn me around.
Make me radically real.

Take all that you've given
and all that I've done
and make them shine bright
on my Savior, your Son
Use all of my talents
His truth to reveal
that you've changed my life
and made me radically real.

Take the good and the bad
take my whole life story
turn it around
to give you all the glory.
My sins you've forgiven,
my heart you have healed to tell of your love.
Make me radically real.
No pretense, no lies,
no ego, no pride
just a longing to share
what I'm feeling inside.
Not perfect, not holy,
not great, I'm assured,
just knowing there's heaven
with you as my Lord.
So take all I give
for as long as I live.
Your love that I feel
makes me radically real.
So take my whole life,
take all that I am
show me how I fit into
your marvelous plan
take the way that I look
and the way that I feel
turn me around,
make me radically real.


Chapter 1
What is Radically Real?

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand. And it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
--Matthew 5: 13-16

There's an old saying. "If being a Christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" It's a question we must all ask ourselves. Are we living as Jesus would have us live? Are we being that salt and light that he called us to be or are we under the bushel, about to be trampled under foot. Being Radically Real is being unquestionably Christian. It is the effort to be all you can be in Christ. It is living a life consistent with the teachings of Christ. It is about living a confident life full of the knowledge of Christ as your Savior. A Radically Real life is a life that brings honor and glory to God.

In the Bible, Christians are referred to as the children of God. The question is what kind of children are we? Are we the kind of children that our Father is proud to claim? Are we on the honor roll in the lessons of life or would we be the type that cause a long stream of stress and living lives that bring shame to our heavenly Father? Most of us, I believe live somewhere between the two points. At our best, people see our good works and praise our father in heaven and at our worst, people look at us in disgust and say, "And he calls himself a Christian." A Radically Real Christian is one who may struggle sometimes but is constantly striving to bring glory to his or her heavenly Father.

A WORD OF CAUTION...

We refer to God as our heavenly father for a reason. He is our father! Radically Real is not a prescription for perfection. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even the best of us fall short frequently. Radically Real Christians realize this and know that at times they too will fall short. The question is, "What do we do about it when we fail?" Radically Real Christians fall on their faces and repent, asking God for forgiveness. They realize that they should not as Paul says, "sin so that grace may increase". But rather they seek to please God and bring him glory.

Some readers may look at this description and think that they are in no way shape or form good enough to be Radically Real. Congratulations, you are beginning to catch on. God's standard is perfection and we are all far from it. That is why we need Jesus, and salvation through His blood. If you are a parent, you will understand this more clearly. Do you love your children? (If you are not a parent, please bear with me for a moment, I think you will see where I am going with this.)

Do you love them when the do good? Do you love them when they make a mistake? Do you love them when they drive you crazy? Is there anything that could make you stop loving them? In most cases the answer is yes I love them and nothing they could do will make me stop loving them. That is called unconditional love. If you, as an imperfect person, could feel that kind of love, imagine how the perfect creator of the universe must love you. It doesn't matter what you do God will forgive you, if you repent of it and ask him to. His love is complete and the blood of Jesus is enough to cover it all. Whatever you have done in your life, and no matter how long you have done it. No matter who you are and what you have and whatever other factors you can dream up, there is one thing you should never ignore and never forget. God loves you and He desperately wants to save you. Jesus traded the throne of heaven for a barren cross because He wants to save you. He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. He wants you to be Radically Real!

The world out there is looking for answers. The world is out there looking for people who know a better way. The world is doing everything it can to fill a hole that can only be filled by God. Drugs, alcohol, STD's, crime, immorality and a host of other social ills are not the disease, they are the symptoms of a society that has turned its back on God. The only cure for these symptoms is to return to God. Widespread revival brought on by the Holy Spirit working through Christians serious about the Gospel and salvation through Jesus Christ is what is needed. The world is groping in darkness for the light of Jesus Christ. They will examine Christians closely so we have got to be ready. We have got to be Radically Real! Are you up to the challenge?

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