Dear Siestas, even if you have not gotten the book or don't plan to read it, I would love for each of you to participate! I am trying to word the questions, so that everyone may participate. Feel free to share your thoughts and respond. I have left my responses in purple, after each question.
I'd love to hear about the things you have highlighted that I have not. Please feel free to discuss those in the comments. As I said before, I want this to be as interactive as possible, so comment and respond to others' comments as often as you wish!
Chapter 2 - Discover: The Explorer
Erwin states this question and this possibility as an answer:
"Have you ever been around people who think their contribution to the team is to point out the impossibilities? These people think they are geniuses. You are sitting in the room, and everyone is dreaming, planning, envisioning, imagining; then one of these people points out everything that will go wrong. He assumes no one has seen these problems. His only contribution is to identify everything that isn't working and explaining why nothing can be done about it. In the minds of these people, you are not allowed to dream great dreams, to make the problems seem incidental.
"If the wall is the limitation, how smart do you have to be to realize there's a wall there? Once you run into it two or three times, you might say, 'There's a wall here.' Real genius, real invention, is not about identifying a problem but about solving it.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when we saw a problem, we assumed we were to be part of the solution? Seeing a problem only lets you know where your limits are if you don't solve it. Problems, obstacles and challenges can either become the markers of our limits and limitations, or they can become the springboard into a whole new world."
What obstacles do you face that need a "springboard into a whole new world?"
My biggest obstacles to my dreams are the limitations of my own small thinking, financial distress and even finding security and comfort in doing the same things over and over.
Erwin says, "When you are called out by God, you have to take on a learning mode that recognizes you are called by God to explore unknown territories and go to uncertain environments. To some of you, God is literally saying(as He did to Abraham), You need to leave your country, your relatives, your house and go to a place you've never known if you are going to live the life of your dreams."
Do you feel this is true in your life? What is holding you back? What is spurring you on to explore?
It's hilarious to hear the personal stories of many families in our church. There are so many with stories like mine and Chris', where God called us to leave our homes and families to come to this little Colorado town at the foothills of the Rockies (you can read this portion and this portion from that journey here, if you'd like). It makes me think God is up to something really interesting in this place. My Chris and I are spurred on to follow God here, despite many difficulties and obstacles, especially when it would be so much easier to go back "home," because we know God has a reason for us to be here--and that with the adventure of following Jesus every step of the way!
How does this statement by Erwin challenge or affirm your beliefs about Heaven and eternity?
"I have a friend who once said to me, 'I can't wait until I go to heaven because then I'm going to get all of my questions answered. I just can't wait. I have so many questions to ask God.' Have you ever felt that way?
"I said, 'What in the world made you think you are going to get all the answers?'
"He said, 'Well I am, aren't I?' And he was turning white, very distraught.
"I pointed out that the Bible doesn't say you're going to get all the answers. In fact, it never says you're going to know everything about God. It says you're going to know God. A more likely scenario is you step into eternity, and suddenly all your questions are overwhelmed by new ones. One second in the presence of the Creator of the universe, and you're going to get a truckload of new questions."
Whew! This part really caused me to think and expand my thinking of Heaven and understanding of God. I am actually rather relieved to think that there will still be things to search out and discover in Heaven. God created us to love mystery and adventure--I love both. It makes me even more eager to see Jesus face to face. To know Him and be known by Him--and yet, to still discover more about Him for eternity. I cannot wait!
Chapter 3 - Adapt: The Alchemist
Erwin states, "Life is not a color-within-the-lines project; life is a work of art. You have to keep mixing colors, creating new blends, and seeing them in fresh ways. You must be willing to get paint all over you. Life is about growth. Growth demands change. Change requires humility. Sometimes you need to bring change; sometimes you need to be changed."
What thoughts spring in your heart from what Erwin says?
I guess I'd like to stay within the lines for the most part. I don't like to get dirty. I like safe. But then as I read the whole of these two chapters, I am inspired to let God change and freshen my walk. For I love, above all that I have read so far in this book, Erwin's continual reminder that my living to the fullest extent of God's desire for my life is important so that others can live to the fullest extent of theirs. The fact that others rely on my change causes me to want to get paint on me and get outside my comfort zone. Often I care more deeply about the changes in others than I do for the changes in me--meaning, I'll go the extra mile to help them. Whatever it takes, Lord. Do the thing.
Other inspirational and challenging thoughts by Erwin are these: "The stories of Daniel and Esther remind us that we do not get to choose the context from where we begin our story, where our lives begin. You don't get to choose your parents, your race, or your skin color; you don't get to choose your language or economic condition when you're born into this world. You don't get any say about the beginning of your life journey, but you have a great deal to say about the destination of your journey and how that journey shapes you."
I love when people decide to let the history of their lives shape their present and future in a way that says, 'I am not defined by this, but because of this I am going to make a difference in the lives of others in Jesus' Name and for His Glory.' I so want that to be my epitaph.
Erwin talks a good bit about knowing what our nonnegotiables are in our faith, really the core of who we are and what we believe. He also states that not knowing the nonnegotiables may cause us to be dogmatic and rigid about everything, so that we are unwavering in all things, lest the one thing we let go be really important. Then he states, "Some of us are more like coconuts--hard on the outside and hollow in the center. But we need to be more like peaches--soft and fuzzy on the outside but solid as a rock in the middle. This dramatically changes the way others experience us as well as how we will experience life."
So are you a peach or coconut?
I am definitely a peach, who used to be more of a coconut. I believe that if we Christians are to be a united house of faith, we are going to have to hold fast to and know the "spine" issues, as Beth Moore calls them and let the "rib" issues not divide us, but allow us to be a mosaic of God's heart--a household of faith that is strong and firm in Christ Jesus and loving one another. That is God's heart for us, as believers. I think it is vital that if we are going to be all that God desires for us to be and make a difference in the lives of others, then we are going to have to reach across denominational, economic, political, social and racial differences and be one and love one another.
Finally, I loved what Erwin says here, "Transformation is at the core of our faith. We are called by God to renew our minds for the promise of transformation. In this sense we are all alchemists; or at least we all have the potential to ignite social transformation. When you awaken the hero within you, you find not only the artist and the explorer, but also the alchemist. It is not enough to simply be good; we must also do good."
I love the way Erwin continually compels us to look to others and not just self. We by nature are self-preservationists. We will naturally care about ourselves. But what about someone right now who is waiting for me to effect change in their sphere--be it a Compassion child or even the lonely widow next door? I am called out. We are called out. We must go out and look outside ourselves. We must. It is life for those who have no hope without our obedience and willingness to do good.
Next week, we'll look to chapters 4 and 5. See you in the comments!