Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bravehearted Gospel

Okay, so remember about a week and a half ago, I did a teaser of sorts on the book, "The Bravehearted Gospel"? Well, here is the rest...or at least part two...I may post more on it later. =) But, without further ado, let me introduce you to...

“Brown is the new black; emergent is the new Reformation - or at least so some would claim. Like it or not, something new is afoot. After decades of defending the status quo, a cry is now being raised from every quarter, from both young and old alike, for a living, breathing, authentic rendition of the Christian faith that will stoke the fires of the soul, bring back the meaning to life, and revive an ailing church to its very foundations…this seemingly ‘new’ thing of ‘emerging’ from the morass of modern, lukewarm religion is in fact as old as the Roman Empire and as venerable as time itself.
The burning heart of the ancient faith must once again come to beat in
the breast of Christ’s followers in the twenty-first century, or all is lost.”

Thus begins “The Bravehearted Gospel; a book written by Eric Ludy.
I was first introduced to the Ludy’s by one of Eric’s videos called “Intercession”.
After some investigation, I found out that he had written a book called “The Bravehearted Gospel”. I received the book as a Christmas gift. To say that I have enjoyed the read would be an understatement. “The Bravehearted Gospel” is a call to action. It’s a call to leave suburbia USA, as Eric terms is, and walk the Bravehearted Path. It’s a call to leave mediocrity behind. It’s a call to full out abandonment to Christ. It’s a call to lay aside telling people what they want to hear and to tell them what they need to hear.
It’s a call to lay aside self, and take up the cross of Christ. It’s a call to lay down your life for the King and for His glory. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone.
The church needs people who are sold out for Christ, no matter the cost.
As Eric’s friend, Ben Davenport, says in the foreword to the book,

“In the early days of the first century A.D., 12 men picked up the gauntlet when thousands of others shook their heads and walked away. They followed their Master fully. They loved the lost with His passion, they spoke the truth with His thunder, and though often persecuted and oppressed, their lives sparkled with His light. Almost every one of them, within a few decades, had followed Jesus to their deaths at the hands of a world that still loved darkness rather than light. But their sacrifice was not in vain, and by the time the last apostle had breathed his final breath, it was commonly said, ‘These (were the men who) turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6). Twelve against the world. Twelve who chose the gritty bravehearted path.
Twelve was enough. May it be so today.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to “turn the world upside down”. I want to love the lost with His passion. I want my life to sparkle with His light. I want to live a Bravehearted Life.

I had the idea to share a small segment of the book on my blog…then, if you want to read more, you’ll just have to go buy the book - and believe me, you’ll want to read more! =) The only problem I had was deciding which segment to share. There are so many excellent chapters. I might share on a later post, but for now, here’s, “The Ground Rules”

The idea of a brave hearted path is like a gentleman’s war. It is made up of battle, blood, guts, courage, frays, and guttural war cries, but it also has the dimension of dignity rolled into the whole affair. For instance, it is marked by valor, allegiance, honor, selfless sacrifice, love, and loyalty to the Commander, and the grace of noblesse oblige. The brave hearted path is all about nobility and honor. In fact, it is the stuff of an entirely different time period. It’s more Sir Walter Scott than John Grisham. It’s more the timeless grandeur of Handel’s Messiah than the hip artistry of Coldplay. It’s the strength and dignity of knighthood woven into the fabric of our modern tapestry. You could almost say that it is kind of like transporting the spirit, grit, passion, and nobility of William Wallace back into our modern age and turning him lose on the streets of New York City. It’s an ancient truth invading the corridors of modern Christianity and turning it inside out. I absolutely love the idea of the brave hearted path. It transforms Christianity from being a social club into a fellowship of the mighty. It turns mere males into men of fire, and mere females into women of valor. It’s strength, dignity, passion, power, love, and truth, all combined into one dynamic lifestyle and worldview. It’s like a bolt of lightning to the soul. And, wow! Is it ever majestic! The life, tradition, and power of the brave hearted path is governed by a sacred code of honor (which is a topic deserving of an entirely different book). It is governed by the life of God’s Spirit, living, moving, and having His being at the very helm of the Christian soul. And it is governed by the single thought, ‘For the kingdom and for the glory of my King!’ in every circumstance, of every minute, of every day. Most of us are used to a rendition of truth that lacks manly stuff in its presentation. We are not familiar with the tone of the Bravehearted Gospel.
So, I must prepare you by saying that when truth is once again
spoken with the masculine emphasis, it causes us to draw back at first.

It’s a stronger voice than we are used to hearing. It is by no means arrogant, but it feels much too confident for a society bred on the etiquette of relativism. It’s a more courageous voice. It will risk the good opinion of an audience in order to secure the good opinion of God. And to a Christian culture crafted after the parameters of social correctness, such a voice feels foreign and even unfeeling. It’s a more convicting voice. It dares to be specific and not general in its application of truth. It knows that people first often squirm before they are saved. It’s a more passionate voice than is typically acceptable. It speaks truth with a volume and energy usually reserved for athletes and fans celebrating during a sporting event. And to a docile society familiar with the truth of Christ being served with tea and crumpets, this is akin to bringing the Texas A&M marching band to a Scrabble competition - it just feels like too much. This short list is merely to prepare you. For it sounds all good and well to bring back the manly stuff to the body of Christ -that is, until you realize what that actually means. If you were to see your right kidney sitting out on the kitchen counter and you thought, That might be a good thing to put back into its rightful place, you would find there is a bit more to it than slapping the thing up against your body, hoping that it would stick. This will involve serious spiritual surgery accompanied by a lot of practical stitching to hold the thing in place. If you are the sort of person who likes a challenge, then you will relish the bravehearted path. If you are the sort of person who feels fragile and constantly vulnerable, then you need the bravehearted path. And if you are the sort of person who is scared of a soul confrontation, then I can think of no greater medicine for your fear than the bravehearted path. Oh, and if you are the sort of person who is predisposed to be against any and all things male,  
I hope and pray that the love, power, and passion enfolded in the
bravehearted path will set you free of those tiresome shackles and allow
you to see masculinity with new eyes and a new heart.

Let me quickly tell you about the writing of a Christian book: When you write a Christian book nowadays, there are two basic guidelines that you must stick by. One, you must sound humble, open-minded, searching, and willing to enter a conversation. And, two, you must make your audience feel good about themselves. After all, what idiotic consumer would actually buy a book that makes them feel uncomfortable? These two guidelines, for the most part, make total sense. If an author sounds pompous, closed-minded, unbending on his views, and unwilling to be questioned on his position, it doesn’t breed much love, or much respect for that matter, between him and his audience. And if people feel all miserable by the time they finish reading a book, well, that doesn’t seem very Christian now, does it? But there is another factor that for some reason has been overlooked as of late in the Christian book-writing world. When truth is spoken with the strength and tone of the bravehearted, there are times that is may not sound soft and gentle. Jesus employed a bravehearted voice and times crowds walked away muttering to themselves about his gall. A bravehearted voice if forthright, bold, daring, and courageous. It is willing to speak the one thing that desperately needs to be spoken, which no one else is willing to say. A bravehearted voice is not devoid of love, it just employs love with both the “hug and the hammer” as it is defined in the Bible and not as it is defined in modern culture. This book will unabashedly hold a bravehearted tone. It will be more confident than maybe you feel it should be and it will place an almost relentless pressure upon you as a reader to not just sit there, but do something. But I plead with you to give this book a shot. Try it. Experience the bravehearted voice. Allow it to make you uncomfortable. Allow it to acquaint you with a version of Christianity that actually triumphs with love and grace, flexing the muscles of God for the entire world to behold and take notice. I honestly believe you will love it, even thought it might take you awhile to acclimate to the different tone. Ironically, the Bible itself is written with a bravehearted voice. Read it afresh, and if you are willing to hear it, there is a relentless pressure that the words of Scripture place upon the soul.

Jesus didn’t just give hugs; He also gave a hammer. Paul didn’t just pass on holy kisses; he also tirelessly dealt out holy kicks to the rear end of the ancient church. The Bible has the manly stuff intact, and that is why it is such a great mystery how it got lost in the modern church. The bravehearted path is all about life - abundant life. But you cannot experience the fullness of abundant life if you’re all hugs and no hammers. There are books that are weighty with high-minded intellectualism that sound impressive but often bring little life to the soul. This book is, I hope, a smart book, but won’t try to sound smart. This book isn’t out to impress you, but rather, press you into the arms of the manly side of Christ’s grace. This book is a shot of adrenaline to the spiritual life- literally. It’s and introduction to the long-forgotten manly side of truth. And trust me, when you see this manly side in action, you will marvel. It is strong, heroic, noble, brave, and ravishingly handsome - it’s the lion-side of Jesus Christ brought back to the center stage of Christianity. And it’s not just for men, it’s for everyone - both young and old, male and female. It’s simply Christ, the way He actually is.

In closing, I have to give just one more small segment of another chapter. Thanks for putting up with all this reading...I hope it has encouraged and challenged you to give up all of yourself for our King and His glory.

(The bravehearted path) begins with brokenness, with desperation, with need, and with hunger. Where does it end? No one knows. Its limits have never been tested, its depths never plumbed, and its boundaries never reached. But it always begins in the same place. The bravehearted path picks up at exactly the same point where all of the best laid plans of flesh and self crash and burn. The bravehearted path is the vision that arisees from the ashes of dreams, it is the life that erupts from the silent tomb of unbelief; it is the faith that rises to walk on the watery grave of doubt; and it is that beginning that begins only after everything else has come to an often bitter end. The road that we walk is long; and when the going gets tough we can either give up, press on, or find a better way. The bravehearted path is the end of our plans and the beginning of God's. The bravehearted path is that more excellent way.
Will we stay where we are, do what we've done, and continue to repeat the
mistakes of our past? Will we emerge, press forward, and invade the
future rejecting the comforting yet lethal embrace of the familiar?
And if we do emerge, will we emerge in rebellion, recklessly abandoning the historic moors of our faith in our obstinate determination to draini freedom's cup to its last?
Or will we emerge from stagnant religious routine to embrace, in living color and vibrant love, the Holy God of Scripture, and His ancient eternal truth?
The church desperately needs the stuff of the Bravehearted Gospel back in
the very marrow of its bones if it even hopes to survive this generation.

A very special thanks to my friend Christina who froze her fingers to be my model. =)

1 comment:

  1. My favorite pictures are #2 and #6. And I can't wait to read the book. :) Good work, Meagan.