radical response (chapter 3)

This is nuts, I tell you. Nuts.

I’ve read Radical three times, but every Monday night, I do a quick read-through of the next chapter so I can write my post. I shook my head the whole way through Chapter 3 tonight. The way God orchestrates events in our lives and interwines and interposes them is FASCINATING to me. Humor me as I do a quick run-through of the chapter with parallels to my own life at this very moment.

Call it coincidence, but you won’t convince me of that.

1. Platt starts off the chapter with a story about church planters in Indonesia. A story that our friend Rich Johnson briefly shared at a church-planting meeting in Columbus, OH yesterday. For my church friends who don’t know this already, I apologize for the News-Alert-Via-Blog, but Gabe and I are joining our friends Rich and Shalla as they plant a church in the next few months pretty much in our backyard (I’ll share more later).

2. I’m reading through the Bible this year. After a very slow start, I picked up the pace and also decided to read the OT and NT simultaneously. I’m halfway through the Psalms and ready for Acts 19. On page 51 and 52 of the book, Platt gives an overview of the exact chapters in Acts I just read.

3. On the next 2 pages, he talks about George Muller. I “just so happened” to be scouring our bookshelves yesterday (Sunday) for a light, but inspirational, read. A slim biography (yes, about the aforementioned GM) that belonged to my grandma caught my eye. I read it last June in a day. I read it again yesterday. And it renewed my courage to ask God for big, big things.

4. Just like we did on our Zoo Trip. And while some will argue that a zoo trip can hardly be compared to building orphanages, I’ll tell you what. We were “pleading for the power of God,” and we were “confident that we were not going to accomplish anything without his provision” (51). I pulled the old book manuscript back out recently and have been making some big changes (a story for another day) and got reminded all over again of the amazing things God showed us during that year, things that have pruned and prepared our hearts for whatever is next.

5. I loved where he talked about how God gives us the Holy Spirit when we ask for things. That the Holy Spirit is really, truly the answer to our every need. I just finished Forgotten God by Francis Chan, and I just kept nodding and nodding through this whole section.

6. I’ll be honest. A few days ago, I was a mess. I was ready to quit the whole Radical Read-Along thing. “People are sick of it already. They’re going to drop like flies. How in the world can I keep this thing going? It’s going to fail. Blah, blah, blah.”

You’ll never guess what God told me.

Not. About. You. Marla.

Well, that was freeing.

Last thing. I love what he says on the last page of the chapter. “Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in the world.”

Up For Discussion:

1. What parallels did you see from your own life in this chapter?

2. How might we go about making much of our Father in this world?

3. What would it take in your life to get you to a point where you’re really, truly dependent on God?

Just a reminder that I’m “resting” this week, but I’ll still check in here and there. Thank you, friends!

Chapter 1 Responses

Chapter 2 Responses

25 thoughts on “radical response (chapter 3)

  1. Pingback: Radical Tuesday | Robin in v-a

  2. Keri

    What would it take for me to be really and truly dependent on God?
    4 months ago I would have said “Move me far away from everything I know and love”. Well, that happened and I have still found a way to try and rely on myself most of the time. I don’t know what it would take. The “me” part of me gets in the way.

    “His power is so superior to ours. Why do we not desperately seek it?” (Pg 54) An amazing question as the answer speaks so much to where we place our hope. I, for one, need to be doing a lot more seeking.

    I loved everything he said about the Holy Spirit, too. Love, love, loved it.

  3. Amber

    Loving this book. In fact I think I have read each chapter twice so far. SO great. This chapter seemed a little more “background info”, foundation building than some of the other chapters, but I think it has been with very good reason and purpose. We DO need reminding that God is the one in control. So many things in America we CAN do “on our own”. But God is ultimately in charge and we need to give HIM the glory. My life is not in desperation for the power of His Spirit. Definitely during times of trial and suffering, but a true, on my knees continually, growing continually, seeking daily…not so much. He needs to be my all.

    I loved the part on page 57 where he talks about the Holy Spirit. How he dwells within us as our Comforter when we need comfort. A much needed reminder that God can and will give good spiritual gifts when we ask. Lord, be my Helper.

  4. Rhonda

    I’m still reading and continually challenged by it. Thanks again, Marla. I just haven’t had a lot of time to post comments or read others because we got a newborn baby in our home two weeks ago and things have been very busy!

  5. Joel McLaughlin


    You hit the nail on the head…..it’s not about us, but about how we can glorify him.

    I didn’t say it in my post on my blog, but I will say it now and I may offend someone (guys especially) but what I am about to say is true and I won’t apologize for it.

    Other than Rich, where are the GUYS in this reading?? God wants men to be leaders in the community and in their families. That means we have to step it up gents! We need to serve God and study him every bit as much as the women in this group.

    Unfortunately, this is all to common and something I have been praying about.

    Why is this? It’s because with Men, we will sometimes think that it is all about us. We are the centers of attention in the workplace and we still don’t witness or do what God wants us to do.

    When it comes time for something non man like in the Church, well many men won’t do it.

    I feel God is calling me to help the children’s ministry at Church. Please read my response for more detail, but suffice it to say God also told me….not about you Joel.

  6. Liz

    Okay I am days late in posting and I have no great reason. I had done all the reading just didn’t get to posting.

    I loved the quotes:

    “So the challenge for us to live in such a way that we are radically dependent on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.” Platt
    So true, isn’t that our goal? I know I need Him more than I can image but I also know I am not as dependant on Him as I should be.

    While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God. Platt…..
    Yes Lord Yes

    He intentionally puts his people in situations where they come face to face with their need for him. In the process he powerfully demonstrates his ability to provide everything his people need in ways they could never have mustered up or imagined, And in the end, he makes much of his own name. Platt
    Wow how true. I went through the most difficult season of my life a year and a half ago (my son went to prison). I thought I would die, it hurt so bad (still does) but God carried me through, comforted me, loved me, brought people into my life to be His hands, voice. He provided all that I needed and still does. I relied and now rely on Him in ways I could not have imaged a couple of years ago. I am closer to my husband and family than I could have imagined a couple of year ago and to God be the glory. It is amazing that only He could make so much good come out of such a horrific situation. Wow I love my God. As so many feel God pulling them to other countries I feel God pulling me to the prisoners. Who would of thought I would be saying I love the men in prison, only God knew. I now know there are really good men there, God’s children. I know that is what He has for me, I just don’t know what that looks like yet. He is still strengthening me, equipping me. Wow I love the Lord.

    God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and chose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on him and radically devoted to making much of him. Platt
    That is me, so ordinary and totally at the end of myself and I am choosing to trust Him, over and over again I am choosing Him and trust. I need His power because my is not even close to being enough to bring me through this. To God be the glory.

    I am loving this book and loving reading and discussing it with you. I just wish I had time to read all the posts. Liz

  7. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    Yay for my first comment on the “Radical” posts! I’m still here and still reading! It’s a lot to take in. I love the parallels you wrote about in your life, Marla. It is so cool to see the Lord working in those ways! And they’re definitely things to write down and remember.

    This won’t be the most comprehensive or well-worded comment. These are just some things that have stuck out to me. As someone who has been on missions trips before (mostly to the 3rd world), it strikes me that most of Platt’s examples about living with abandonment to Jesus come from his own experiences overseas. His own interactions with believers across the world have shaped many of his points and I think it’s important to note that. It makes me thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to meet believers across the globe and seeing the way the majority of the world lives. It changes our perspective, doesn’t it!?

    For readers who haven’t had the opportunity, I’m curious to know how they respond to Platt’s many examples of experiences overseas. I’m generalizing here, but I’ve had more than ample situations where American Christians do not understand the need to take the Gospel to the world when we need it desperately here in the U.S. While that is true, their response to some of my trips has shown even a lack of desire or openness to know about and learn from the rest of the world. Thus, I think it’s very significant that the basis of a lot of this book stems from Platt’s own experiences overseas and communicating to us as American believers what we can gleam from the global Church.

    Also, one of the things that keeps ringing through my ears while reading this book are the implications of manipulating the Gospel within the realm of parenting. I don’t even know where to go with this thought, but I keep thinking of Brennan as I read this. What are we teaching him that is more bent toward the American dream than the Gospel? How does that affect decisions we make about the busyness of our lives? The activities that he’ll be a part of? Education? Outward appearances vs. the heart? I’m rambling now, but the book has me thinking a lot about how much the American dream gets filtered into what we teach our kids, too. And I have to laugh, being a parent makes me feel like I’ve been the most dependent on God than I ever have been before! At the end of myself and having no idea what I’m doing, it’s got to be all Him!

    Love you, friend!

    1. Amber

      Meghan- Love your last paragraph about parenting and what we are teaching our children. Esp the question about whether we are teaching them more about the Amer Dream than the Gospel…I SO want it to be the Gospel…your words have convicted me!

  8. Susan J.

    So, for what it’s worth, I just finished ch. 3. I didn’t quite make the midnight “cut-off”, but you’ll just have to forgive me. I can’t say I had an excellent excuse for putting it off. In fact, I spent an hour and a half tonight watching the Amazing Race.
    I’m not a writer and I guess I don’t have a lot to say. My husband skim-read the book tonight and said he was “afraid” for me to keep reading it. =) I’ve gone to good, bible-believing churches my whole life, so while a lot of what he is saying is hitting home (I do live in America), there hasn’t been anything shocking/radical to me. Don’t get me wrong. I need to be more radical. No doubt. I guess I really need to get praying that God shows me specific areas in which I can serve and glorify Him as well as changing my focus to be more Christ centered. So that’s my two cents for now. I promise I’ll try to read Ch. 4 in a more timely matter this week. Thanks to everyone who throws theirselves out there with this!

  9. Rich

    1. What parallels did you see from your own life in this chapter?
    Well, our life group for Sanctuary is reading through Acts together and we’re seeing more and more that the emphasis is on God’s work over the work of the apostles. Or more accurately it’s the Spirit working through them. So we’ve been praying for the Holy Spirit to work through us similarly.

    2. How might we go about making much of our Father in this world?
    I’m trying out patience. Particularly as it relates to the dreams I have for God to do something miraculous through Sanctuary. I’ve studied church planting for seven years and I could probably do it with my eyes closed…because David is right, we can do church without the Spirit and still look very successful. So to combat that for Sanctuary I am not following all the church planting rules. I find myself seeking God more and allowing him to bring who he wants to this team.

    3. What would it take in your life to get you to a point where you’re really, truly dependent on God?
    I think we are getting there, but I think family is our biggest “crutch”. We lean on them a lot or take comfort in being able to lean on them because they live just 18min away.

  10. Kathleen-NM

    I would like to begin with question #3 because I think the answer is in accepting and being faithful to glorify Him in WHATEVER path He has called you to. Having an accurate, biblical, God-centered filter for everything in my life helps me to be dependent on Him and to #2 make much of Him and thus #1, I see Him work in my life. He puts me in situations where I have to depend on Him. Now let me explain from 2 parts of my personal experience.

    God has called us to have our kids in public schools and they are have been on various sports teams since they were both 5. Now they are 13 and 16. This has been difficult in so many ways, what they are exposed to, what they see, what they hear and it has been THE greatest opportunity for ministry-sharing the gospel and discipleship. Ministry and “church” are a lifestyle for us, not just a Sunday event. Building relationships is costly in time, effort, emotion and especially prayer. However, it is the foundation for building trust to share and develop in Christ. This is where we have seen God show Himself time and time again and use situations that have been so difficult to give us the privilege of responding differently and causing others to take notice. The conversations we have been privileged to engage in, the situations we have had to maneuver in a Godly manner when others are watching could not have been ordained but by God alone.

    All that to say, I am dependent on Him every single day just to fight the battle. I get weary and ask to have the energy to fight the fight, encourage, pray for and love on so many around us. On any given day I feel like I walk on HOLY GROUND in what He allows me to see. There is no way I can do it on my own. I am empty unless He fills me. So my part is to surrender and to respond to opportunities He places before me and my family. There are so many, I wish I could share.

    Part two of my answer #3, #2, #1 is in what we do for a living. 5 1/2 years ago my husband responded to a call to leave corporate world and after many many months of prayer we started a landscape business. As any small business owner will tell you, there is NO WAY to anticipate all the hardship and trials that come with it. The entire journey has been one of prayer and observing God’s faithfulness. Again story after story after story that I would love to share. In this economy so many businesses have gone under and God has sustained us. We are small and on paper we should not be making it. We literally live by manna and God has always always provided. I am a teacher by training and stayed home to raise kids and now I work in our business. It is not my gifting or my calling, but my husband and his dream are my calling. God has proved so faithful in equipping me to do accounting, bookkeeping etc. (YUK) and FREED me to continue doing ministry. We live and school in the wealthiest part of our city and are surrounded with relationships who have MUCH. He has called us to live a life that is different, simple and He has provided so much opportunity through our business to minister.

    All of this to say our family is dependent on Him and we have witnessed His grace pour upon those around us. Page 60 captures it all. We ask God to do what only He can do; we constantly confess our need for His provision; we trust that Jesus stands ready to five us EVERYTHING we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in this world.

    I love Him, and I love making much of Him. People so desperately need to hear and see the good news. His letter is written on our hearts, and we have the privilege to share with those around us. He is good; He is generous.

    Marla your blog and this Radical challenge is what pg. 51 speaks of. “This is the group that the spread of Christianity depends on. …They are “joined together constantly in prayer.’ …They are pleading for the power of God, and they are confident that they are not going to accomplish anything without his provision.

    Like-hearted, like minded and someone to lead the charge is a good thing. I have recommended this book to so many since I first saw you mention it. It has opened doors for many conversations with people, and put words to a direction God has already taken my heart. In essence the flame was fanned. No need to question–keep the faith, girl.

  11. Rachelle

    1. The parallel that hit me this week was the sermon we had the Sunday prior to us reading the chapter, on, “The Seven Fold Ministry of the Holy Spirit”. Good, good stuff.

    2. This is a tough question: a fine line we walk between making God’s name famous and allowing him to use us while maintaing an identity only found in him. I guess this rules out “HELLO” name tags…

    3. I have to learn to trust God fully, knowing that he is faithful regardless of what happens around me or to me. I will admit I have a hard time not allowing my mind to wander to “what-ifs”.

  12. Leigh

    Those are awesome God moments, Marla! Incidentally, my 8th grade play (seems like eons ago) was The Kids of Bristol Town, all about George Muller. It always warms my heart to hear him mentioned today. And sadly, I still remember most of the songs…

  13. Pingback: P2P » Blog Archive » Radical Chapter 3

  14. Jennifer

    Marla, you’re doing a wonderful thing just by using your space and time to connect people and direct our conversations every week. Few of us have such a large networking group (I sure don’t!), and your willingness to use your network to moderate a discussion about God’s work is a blessing! I’m not sure how else I would have been able to read such a challenging book with others and have such honest, encouraging discussions every week. I hope that you won’t be discouraged if people “drop like flies” because people are people, life gets busy, and you’re only called to do what God has called YOU to do, not to be responsible for everyone else. (And those of us who are still around are LOVING the blogging and interaction! Or at least I am!)

    And I’m super excited to hear more about the church planting!

  15. LaRonda

    “Beginning at the End of Ourselves” As hard as it is to accept the title of this chapter, it is true. I am reminded of the verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you , for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In my weakness Jesus is glorified. Why is it so hard for me to feel weak, especially when Jesus is glorified? I admit, I want CONTROL! I don’t like the feeling of being out of control and not knowing what my future holds or where He might lead me.

    Over the past year God has been stripping me of my control and I didn’t even realize it. If you would have asked me if I have a control issue I would have said,”No, I don’t think so, I am pretty laid back and just go with the flow.” I was WRONG! That is how I felt when life was going good, but when things started to crumble I started grasping for control. I realized that if I didn’t have control then I was going to have to trust Jesus. Trusting Jesus isn’t always easy for me. I don’t like when He only gives me what I need for one day not for the whole month. Thankfully, He has been patient with me and hasn’t given up on me. He is so faithful!!!

    In this chapter it became clear to me that God has orchastrated the pain in my life to bring glory to Him. David says it so well, “He intentionally puts his people in situations where they come face to face with their need for him. In the process he powerfully demonstrates his ability to provide everything his people need in ways they could never have imagined. And in the end, he makes much of his own name.”

    It is so hard to see my pain as a good thing, but I am realizing that when I walk into that pain that is where I see my weaknesses. Doesn’t is say that is where Jesus becomes glorified? So, what am I going to do? Am I going to allow Jesus to be glorified in my weekness or am I going to choose to become bitter and angry at God?

    Remember… His GRACE is sufficient!!!

  16. Amanda

    Can I just say I have so much to work on before I’m totally dependant on God? With technology these days I can pretty much ALWAYS talk to someone. Whether it’s facebook, a text, a phone call or in person I can 99% of the time go to SOMEONE ELSE for advice, support etc. This is something that I have been praying that God would change in me. I want to want Him above anything else. That’s a struggle when hugs are like my favorite thing ever. I need to be in the Word and in Prayer-that’s what i need.

  17. Tracie

    I love how all these things happened for you. That’s how things happen with me too, like when I came across Radical in the first place. I’m also reading Bible in 90 days with a few friends, and just this morning in an email, talked about how often scripture says “and this was done so that everyone would know He is God” in so many words. Not about us or the miracle or the person performing the miracle, but making God known. Then I read your post. Love when God echoes like that.

  18. Sharon

    Marla, you are such an encouragement. Your hard work and support is amazing to me. I needed chapter 3. As you probably know, I am a control freak. I like control. It makes me feel comfortable and good. But….God has the control and I need that reminder daily, if not hourly. I like things in my time but I know it will happen in His time. This chapter helped reinforce that the things I pray for will be answered and all taken care of, in His perfect time. If the things happened in my control and timing, it would be a mess!!! ps – loved my oma card!

  19. alittlebitograce

    thank you for not giving up. God is using this book and this read-along in my life. writing is a key component of developing my relationship with God and as i write these posts He scours, reveals and encourages my heart. so thank you. i am praying that you get the rest you need this week.

  20. Natalie

    Thank you for sharing how He is working personally in your life! It’s an encouragement. I also read about George Muller in another study I am working through the same day I read about him in Radical 🙂

    I’m so glad you’re not giving up on this read-along. I know God is using it to change me!

  21. Denise

    God’s very good at what he does! I want you to know that I am learning a lot from this read-along… I think satan is sensing that and therefore is doing what he can to tear you and others down. I wish I had re-written my post from last week (explanation in post from this week!) because I think someone would have really gotten it and it could have reached others, but I just got so angry that my blog made it disappear that I didn’t even try.

    God will use this even if it ends up only being 5 or 20, 0r 50 people still doing it at the end. I heart you and I can’t wait to read responses…but I need to go night night…my post will be up in the morning!

  22. Jen Hanson

    Your post was very encouraging. Like VERY encouraging because I really didn’t like this chapter and didn’t know what to make of it. I wrote a post on it, but now I am debating whether or not I should publish it. I’ll get back to you…

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