Sunday, February 15, 2009

Francis Chan, BB Guns and Balloons

My new, most favorite preacher/teacher in the world is Frances Chan. I was able to spend several hours under his teaching this weekend and he told a story which moved me.

He spoke about a "fantastic illustration" at his church during one of his sermons. He then paused and said,.."well,..maybe it wasn't a good one. In fact, it was a really bad illustration and I would never do it again. I got into a lot of trouble for doing it. But it made the point really well!"

Frances taped a balloon onto one of the curtains on the side of the front stage of the church auditorium. He then brought out a BB gun and asked all of his church members to raise their hands if they thought he could pop the balloon from the other side of the stage.
He said about 75% of the congregation raised their hands.

He then asked if they really thought he was that skillful with the BB gun, would they be willing to come onto the stage and hold the balloon at their side while he aimed the gun and shot the balloon.
About 100 people raised their hands.

He then went one step further. He asked those that raised their hands if they would volunteer to come onto the stage, stand sideways with the balloon in their teeth while he aimed the gun and shot the balloon.
3 people raised their hands.

He invited one of the 3 onto the stage and had him sign a legal waiver that he would not sue if anything bad happened. Francis then placed the balloon between the volunteers teeth and wondered when the guy would back out.
Francis said that he had no intention of shooting the BB gun, but was prepared to take the illustration to the last possible moment before letting the brave guy remove the balloon and go back to his seat.

But as he drew out the moment,..he looked down the barrel of the BB gun and thought to himself. "I think I can do this."

The crowd was silent.
They were obviously nervous.

He decided to shoot.

The balloon popped and much to his surprise, his congregation was not impressed. Instead of applause and cheers, there were gasps and audible anger.
They were completely unimpressed with his skill, but were horrified at the risk he took.
He said that after the service, every leader and lawyer in his congregation rushed the stage to fuss at him. His lesson could have put the church in legal jeopardy.

Francis agreed.
His impulsive ending to the illustration could have gone terribly wrong.

The point of it all however, was this:
Lots of people in the room thought Francis could pop the balloon, but few were willing to trust him enough to hold it in their teeth.

Christians all over the world say that they love Jesus, would follow Him anywhere and trust Him with everything.
But I wonder, willing am I to go the distance with ALL that God has for me to do?

I raise my hand in church and say "Yes!",..but if God said "Right now Becky. Do it. Forsake it all and follow me"...would I?

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