the radical experiment

It’s not very often that a book I’ve read has a profound and immediately visible impact on my life. I’ve read many different books by many different authors suggesting we do this or that to better follow Christ, and rarely do I follow their advice.

by David Platt

Radical by David Platt is another story. This book not only convicted me greatly, enough to move me out of complacency, but also gave clear and concrete ways in which to move forward.  This is the Radical Experiment. The challenge is to focus on one year of your life to live radically through five components.  These challenges are to…

  1. pray for the entire world
  2. read through the entire Word
  3. sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
  4. spend your time in another context
  5. commit your life to a multiplying community

These challenges may not sound very radical, which is a thought Platt responds to in his book.

In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I’m proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with an extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history. (p. 193)

The idea here is to commit one year of extraordinary commitment, and see how it transforms your life. This is what I will be doing this year to the best of my ability. If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, or learn more about, I urge you to pick up the book and read it.

My main focus on the blog will be the first two points of the experiment.  The bible:365 project, as the second challenge in the experiment, makes a lot of sense for us and seems accomplishable.  The first challenge, to pray for the entire world, seems impossibly big, not to mention being uncertain what exactly that means.  Jesus has an answer for us in Matthew 9.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  – Matthew 9:36-38

As Platt points out in his book, Jesus does not immediately give marching orders to take care of the lost sheep, nor does he tell them to pray for the lost sheep.  Rather, he starts by having the disciples pray that God would mobilize his Church into the field.  This is what we will be doing in 2011: spending each day praying for a different country, that God would be at work in those nations, but most of all, that he would “send out workers” in and to those nations.

For those wishing to join me in praying for the world during 2011, a great resource is Operation World, a book with information on every nation in the world, including a prayer guide to take you through the year praying for every nation. The same resources can be found for free on their website, www.operationworld.org, where you can sign up (with me!) to join the prayer movement, thereby receiving a different country to pray for each day conveniently in your email inbox!

Radical is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who feels like there is something more to life with Christ than what they have been experiencing.  For more information, check out the book’s website or the Radical Experiment facebook page.

You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us.  Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him. (p. 3)