One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. Where is our joy? Yaconelli writes of curiosity, wonder, abandon, playfulness, quiet listening, passion, terror, and naivete as characteristics to cultivate and not destroy. We are Christians, not Pharisees. I have now read two books by Yaconelli: Dangerous Wonder and Messy Spirituality and I have been deeply moved by both of them.

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He was known to the Christian world primarily for his books, articles, and work with Youth Specialties, an organization that trained thousands of student ministers. They were unfailingly brilliant, funny, and disturbing. One in particular chronicled his week-long encounter with Henri Nouwen , an event that transformed his life. During that retreat, Mike came to realize that Jesus loved him simply because he loved him. Not for anything he had done or not done, not for his reputation in the Christian world or dedication to the church.

Simply because God is love and because the Father loves his children. I needed that message as much as Mike did, and will always be grateful for the impact his transparency made on my soul. Mike was killed in when the truck he was driving struck a light post. His death shocked the evangelical world. In some ways, it still does.

Here was this larger-than-life man of global influence and servant spirit, seemingly with so much more to say and do.

His death at the age of 61 is still an unexplained mystery to me. When I see him in heaven, I plan to tell him so. Today I picked up a book of his I had never read, and was transfixed. So Mike set out to describe all the ways children relate to God, calling us back to who we were when we were children so we can be children of God again. And of our souls. He asks, What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-down?

What happened to the category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered by those in power dangerous? What happened to the kind of Christians whose hearts were on fire, who had no fear, who spoke the truth no matter what the consequence, who made the world uncomfortable, who were willing to follow Jesus wherever he went? What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God?

In essence, we have lost our child-like wonder at the world God made. Creation becomes a means to our work rather than a means to his worship. The Cure What is to be done? Recover mystery. Be still enough to listen. Seek Jesus until he finds you. Not true. What matters is knowing Jesus—deeply, passionately, in ways that transform us. I will use prostitutes to teach others about gratitude. I will use lepers as examples of cleanliness.

I will take men who persecute the church and make them its pillars. I will take the dead and give them life. Pray until the world changes. Our Father is calling us to praying that connects us with God and intercession that connects God with us. Toward the end of his book, Mike tells an amazing story: Billy Graham came to Sacramento, the capital of California, two years ago to hold his crusade at the Arco Arena, just north of downtown. The night before the crusade was to begin, choir rehearsal went late.

One of the members of the choir was driving home through downtown when he noticed a man slumped over on the steps of the capitol building. It was cold outside, almost midnight, and not the safest of places to be. The choir member decided he could not ignore the plight of this poor, homeless man. He was nervous as he approached the man, not knowing what to expect.

The homeless man was crouched almost cocoonlike on the steps, and the choir member reached out and gently touched his shoulder.

It was Billy Graham. He was praying for the city of Sacramento p. Mystery—stillness—passion for Jesus—devotion to prayer: these are simple imperatives. Yet they still change the world.

And I resolved to settle for nothing less than joyous intimacy with my Lord. His prayer for me was answered. Sign up for Dr.


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Dangerous Wonder


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