Radical

Last month, I finished reading Radical by David Platt.

At the book’s core, Platt writes about and exposes one of most influential enemies of authentic Christianty: the American dream.

While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God. (Radical, David Platt)

As a culture, the relentless pursuit of “more” has gotten us so acclimated to what the world has to offer. Radical is a call to action. In the same vein as Chan’s Crazy Love, Platt encourages the reader to think and live differently.

Rather than living out a superficial faith that focuses on the improvement of self, he urges living an unconventional faith that seeks to serve our Father above all else.

Living to the extreme!

While I had mixed feelings about the book (especially when contrasted with the last book I read, The Ragamuffin Gospel), but ultimately I came away with one, important takeway: it is about God.

So often I make _____ about me, when it should be about God.

That blank can be filled in with whatever…. life, work, family, finances, faith.

Masked behind noble intentions, sometimes those “good things” turn into ways I can make myself look better in the eyes of others. Instead of serving God through those avenues, the people pleaser in me unearths it’s ugly head.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

If you’re looking for a book to challenge the way you’re living, I’d say give it a shot. It absolutely challenged me.

Photo credit: Len Matthews (Creative Commons)

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What’s the last book you read? Your next one?

61 Comments

  • Matthew Snider

    July 18, 2011

    Awesome stuff man.

    The entire plot of the “fall” was that God was displaced by our selfishness. It happens daily, we put our place in the place of God.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Sweet. Thanks for the comment, friend.

      Reply
  • Arny

    July 18, 2011

    Last book I read was the Alchemist (not by choice…part of a book club at church)…a pretty good read…obviously had a whole different take on it then my other non-beliver book club members…lol…

    I haven’t read books much lately…actually been pouring into the old testement books and characters lately…

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Ain’t nothing wrong with a little Bible reading! :)

      The Alchemist…. nice. The author is Brazilian, right?

      Reply
      • Arny

        July 18, 2011

        LOL! It was a book club at WORK! not at church!

        Yeah…he is brazilian…

        It was a really entertaining book…I really took a lot from it but different perspective…then the others who read it…

        It’s one of those…God is in everything kinda thing…God is the sun, the wind, and they each have their personality…it was weird…but entertaining…

        It’s about going after your Dreams…or “Personal Legend” as it’s called in the book…

        Reply
  • Moe

    July 18, 2011

    I just finished reading “Son of Hamas”. Great story, wonderful read. I got it for Kindle for $1.99 (on sale).

    I have a list of 3 books on my queue that I already purchased on my Kindle. Radical is one of them. Have you read Tim Challies’ review. I think He’s right on about these types of books. Check it out:

    http://bit.ly/nrDUUN

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      I did read that last week. Always like what he has to say.

      I bought Son of Hamas when you tweeted out that sale a while back for the Kindle. … haven’t read it yet though. True story, right?

      Reply
      • Moe

        July 18, 2011

        Yes, true story… I read the book. (kidding I know you meant if the book is a true story. Yes it is.).

        Reply
  • jbussell

    July 18, 2011

    The last book I finished was Almost Isn’t Good Enough by Wayne Elsey and I am currently reading Generous Justice by Timothy Keller. In my opinion, Radical gets at what the core of Christianity should look like. The sad thing, again in my opinion, is that being a Christ follower in the sense that Jesus intended has become radical in the eyes of other Christians when it should just be normal.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      I think you’re onto something: you know, making “it” about God is almost like taking the narrow road. Thanks for your thoughts, Jeremy.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    July 18, 2011

    “Rather than living out a superficial faith that focuses on the improvement of self, he urges living an unconventional faith that seeks to serve our Father above all else.”

    To serve God as our Father, we must first become as sons. Unless we start there, at that truth, we are as illegitimate orphans who strain for His Fatherhood through cliches and false church expectations created by men.

    Like you said, are we living to please God or men? Hmm. Are we, indeed?

    Sonship is the crux of The New Covenant. Without it, what do you really have? Belief? Acknowledgment? Realization? Even demons have this. No, we are called to better things in our Father’s Kingdom.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      I agree with you Donald. You live and breath sonship. I’m anxious to read that book… (you know what I mean!)

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    July 18, 2011

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing Dustin. I haven’t read Radical yet, but it’s on my list. I just finished reading The Gospel Commission by Michael Horton – great read on rediscoving God’s plan for discipleship. And i’m currently reading Untamed by Alan Hirsh.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Untamed… I want to say I have a buddy who read that. Have you read much of Hirsch’s stuff?

      Reply
  • Joseph

    July 18, 2011

    Thanks for the review Dustin. I have heard mixed reviews about the book. Many have recommended it to me but for some reason I just haven’t felt a big draw to read it. I may put it on my list though.

    I just finished reading Chan’s new book “Erasing Hell”… I plan to write a review on it soon.

    Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing them.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      You know- that’s funny because we read this as part of my men’s group and we talked about it last night. It was split. Some didn’t care for it, some loved it.

      I’ll be looking out for your Chan review- Crazy Love is one of those “nightstand books” for me — keep it out because I’m always flipping through it.

      Reply
  • Michael

    July 18, 2011

    Last book I read was Ian Cron’s new book. I finished Radical Together about 3 weeks ago. I enjoyed it more than Radical.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Cool… Yeah I saw that he had a follow up book to Radical. May have to look into that…

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    July 18, 2011

    A particular danger for me is using ministry as a vehicle to pursue my own glory. I can deceive myself into thinking it’s about him, when even my ministry is about making me look good.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      July 18, 2011

      Loren,

      Ouch. But I don’t think anyone can relate to that.

      Kidding!

      That was a very wise confession. I reckon perhaps we need to stop calling it “my ministry”, and say, “The ministry He has entrusted me with as a steward.” A small change in wording, but it makes all the difference in intent and purpose.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      That’s an interesting perspective. In my opinion, being a “steward” is much different than being productive or efficient. I tend to think stewardship as having the perspective that it’s all God’s to begin with…. rather than just “succeeding” with what the world gives us. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
    • Ben

      July 19, 2011

      Interesting Loren, I can totally relate here. Often times I find myself writing, talking, or even just “being” like it’s all about “My” ministry when in fact… well, you know.

      Reply
  • Jon

    July 18, 2011

    Gosh, I’m so terrible with books right now. I’ve been trying to do more Bible reading–so I haven’t finished any of the 5 books that I’m also currently reading. One of them is Screwtape Letters, the other is Donald Miller’s latest, and the other ones are fiction (because I like variety) :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Fiction…. let me guess…. Twilight, part 4? :)

      Reply
      • Jon

        July 18, 2011

        O no no no. I’m insulted…gross. lol. As the quote that’s been flying around states: “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” lol…

        Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    July 18, 2011

    I’ve heard a lot about this one. I think I’m going to have to read it. If nothing else, as a possible different perspective from where I come from. I’m always open to hearing different sides of the coin.

    Right now I’m reading Tribes by Seth Godin. Next up is The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Watchman Nee – nice! I had friends in college who read ALL of his stuff.

      Reply
  • Jon Stolpe

    July 18, 2011

    The last book I read was “Leadership is Dead – How Influence Is Reviving It” by Jeremie Kubicek, and I’m just started to read “The Seed” by Jon Gordon.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 18, 2011

      Thanks, Jon – not familiar with either of those. Will check them out!

      Reply
  • Brandon

    July 18, 2011

    I recently have read (in the last month) “The Little Red Book of Wisdom”, and I am working on John C. Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates Few Connect”.

    I’m actually launching a free book giveaway on my site right now for the wisdom book!

    Be sure to spread the word!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 19, 2011

      Sweet! I’ve always enjoyed John Maxwell’s stuff.

      Reply
  • Mercy

    July 19, 2011

    The last book I read was Philip Yancey’s When Life Hurts and now I’m reading another of his book: Where is God When It Hurts.

    Reply
  • Dustin

    July 19, 2011

    Let us know how you like them. I read “The Bible Jesus Read” in high school and “Whats so amazing about Grace?” and enjoyed both reads.

    Reply
  • John

    July 19, 2011

    I loved Radical. It was a great back and very challenging. He has a curriculum/study to go along with it and I am still considering going through that in my Sunday school class.

    The last book I read just for leisure was Tempted and Tried. And a book by Karen Kingsbury (my wife got me hooked!)

    Now I just read text books but so far I’m loving my Missions book (Intro to World Missions).

    Reply
    • John

      July 19, 2011

      It was a great book not back. My bad.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        July 20, 2011

        One of my favorite books on missions was Let the Nations Be Glad by Piper. Ever read that? Chapter 1 was awesome.

        Reply
  • Michelle

    July 19, 2011

    I have a little book by Platt which I think is just a smaller version of the bigger one called Radical. Its not very big. I wonder if its the same book??

    Anyway, I think we often think we are the center – we look for applause, we make decisions based on how we look, we are performers. Even if we hate the lime light (I do), we still get caught up in what others think of us. It’s a horrible way to live life. Those people do not have the power to send us to hell or grant us eternal life, so why do we care so much?

    Anyway, great points Dustin. Sorry I haven’t wandered over here more often :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      It’s all good, Michelle. When you do stop by, I always appreciate what you have to say! :)

      Reply
  • Luther Wesley

    July 19, 2011

    Slave by John McArthur

    Helps put in perspective who we are in Christ.

    We to often do things because of our pride. Didn’t Jesus say something like, ” those who do their good deeds before men and receive praise have their reward. “.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      Absolutely, thanks for sharing Luther. Top 3 book for me was “The Love of God” by MacArthur. Read it in college and simply loved it.

      Reply
  • rachelle

    July 19, 2011

    I just finished Pete Wilson’s Plan B and I have this one on my Amazon wishlist… I’ll need to bump it up a few spots. Thanks for the review!

    I had to read Crazy Love several times. It was that good and gave me that much to think about. I wrote different reflections for each chapter every read.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      Yeah Crazy Love was one of those books for me. I can totally relate.

      Reply
  • Rob Shepherd

    July 19, 2011

    I am reading The Grace of God by Andy Stanley. So far so good. I read Radical and then after that Love Wins…don’t judge me. Next up is Quitter.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      What did you think of Love Wins? Bump Radical…. that one was more divided. :)

      Reply
  • Daniel

    July 19, 2011

    A close friend just finished reading Radical, and highly recommends it. I really like the concept he lays out of the gospel being enough. I’ll have to consider it.

    Your post made me think of one of my favorite quotes from Tozer.

    “…let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, ‘Hosanna in the highest.'”

    Even when we are engaged in ministry, so often we make it about us. We want to see ourselves glorified as Christ’s ambassadors. We want to be spiritual superheroes who save the day. The truth is that Jesus is the hero. We are the donkey that gets to carry Him.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      The Pursuit of God – read that last year and enjoyed it. Great comment, thanks Daniel.

      Reply
  • Keri @ Pop Parables

    July 19, 2011

    I’ve heard very mixed reviews about this book, so I’m really not so sure I want to read it. But, the things you shared are an intrinsic to ways I’ve been growing in my faith & gaining a new perspective on what being a Christ follower looks like. I’m actually not the biggest fan of non-fiction because a lot of authors take what could be said in a few sentences and make it into a 200 page book that’s redundant and full of fluff. That may sound super negative, but it’s been my experience. However, I am ready a rather meaty non-fic book called The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight. I won it on a blog! It’s about how we remove or distance ourselves from parts of the Bible that we don’t like or understand. So far, I’m convicted. I also just finished reading The House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard-all about how a man’s journey as a writer led him to his faith in God. Hoping to blog about it soon.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      I know what you mean (about some books being 200 pages, where it could be condensed to like 50 :)). My 2 cents, but I don’t think Radical is like that. Flows really well. Alot of personal experiences/stories…. and really felt like it was centered around the gospel.

      Looking forward to your reviews!

      Reply
  • Jim F

    July 20, 2011

    Just finished Radical on vacation – started Radical Together and also Weird by Groeschel.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 20, 2011

      Sweet. Haven’t read anything from Groeschel. I’m sure it’s good.

      Reply
  • Alex Humphrey

    July 20, 2011

    Interesting idea. I’ve got some mixed feelings about the book. I haven’t had the chance to do more than flip through it and hear many (many many many) people talk about it.

    I like the general message and his theology seems solid, but as most of these books do it seems to take things too far.

    That being said, I really like what you got from it: This life is about God.

    In the end, that’s all anything really is about.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 21, 2011

      Cool. I appreciate your thoughts, Alex. Thanks!

      Reply
  • mo

    July 21, 2011

    I just finished Torn, by Jud Wilhite. A lot of of it was gold, especially the seconds about community and trust. I’ve been thinking a lot about how trust influences so much … from someone showing up to a small group, to us being willing to reach out to a stranger with a kind word.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 21, 2011

      that’s true, mo. thanks for the comment. have you read any of his other stuff? i think i have Uncensored Truth, but haven’t read it…

      Reply
  • Jk Allen

    July 21, 2011

    I love getting book recommendations from trustworthy sources. So, I’ll take this post as gold and make grab the next time I’m at the book store.

    I’m always up for a challenge – even the hard ones when it comes to challenging the way I’m living.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      July 22, 2011

      Sweet man, you’re welcome.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    July 23, 2011

    Dustin,

    Glen and I are one. I’m sorry I deceived you and everyone else and now I’m looking for help! Help me!!

    Reply
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