Have you heard of Francis Chan? There is something special about this man of God. Where does his deep desire and hunger for the Word of God and his deep desire to help children come from?
Francis Chan Beginnings
Have you heard of Francis Chan? Who is this guy who is making such a Christian wave that one can not help but notice his wake? He was born in Hong Kong in 1967 and has a Master’s in Divinity. This man has been anointed by God to be a Bible teacher, pastor, author, and now a church planter. He also has a deep desire and passion for inner-city children. He presently lives in Northern California with his wife, Lisa, and their five children. He had a difficult childhood as his mother died while giving birth to him. Not long after this his father remarried but his stepmother died in a car accident when he was only 9 years old. Once again his father remarried when, at the age of 12, his father died of cancer. Something in him was restless after all this and no wonder after facing so much death as a child. It was soon after all of these tragedies that he came to saving faith as a teenager in Hong Kong.
In 1994 he founded the Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California and was the church’s first Pastor. Chan also founded and is now chancellor of Eternity Bible College. He is an author of several books, including best sellers Crazy Love, Forgotten God, and Erasing Hell. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. The more you know Francis Chan, the more you will understand why he is so energetic about doing God’s work and not letting obstacles get in the way.
Chan on a Mission
Francis Chan has more energy than some churches have collectively. He is passionate about planting a church in San Francisco in the inner city while at the same time launching a discipleship movement in a nationwide effort to bring authentic Christian principles to believers. If you have never heard Francis Chan speak, then you are in for an amazing experience. I have heard this man speak with such passion and purpose. He boils down the Christian walk into such a way that he is comparable to another voice crying out in the wilderness. He focuses on the power that is available through the Holy Spirit and yet the vast majority of Christians are not tapping that power. It is like he has found a key to unleashing the same power, the resurrection power, of the Holy Spirit, that Paul writes about in the New Testament.
In his powerful book, Crazy Love, he asks the reader if there is something deep inside your heart that longs to break free from the status quo? He isn’t saying that he is the reason for that change but that we are not accessing what the Holy Spirit can do – a real Change-Agent. If you are hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of your world, this man can create a deep hunger inside of you for that change. His teachings give the believer real, tangible, and even radical solutions to what we can do in this present church age. Chan tells us, if only we will listen, that God is calling us to a passionate love relationship with Himself. What he writes and teaches about is the answer to what most Christians want to address in their life; religious complacency. Much of what a believer does in their lives doesn’t seem to make any impact on this world. He says that working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts is doomed to fail. He like‘s John Piper‘s teachings of Christian Hedonism…that is, we most glorify God when we are most pleased with Him. It’s not working at it, but a falling in love with God. He believes it is like when you first fall in love…it changes everything! Remember how blue the sky was, how red the roses were? That is what this diving into love with God can be like. It is an effectual change and one that will ensure you will never be the same.
If you’ve had the pleasure of reading any of his books or listening to any of his teachings, it’s easy to see that he teaches expositionally right out of the Word of God and you almost feel like the Apostle Paul is there! He speaks with such authority because he is so “in-love” with what God wants to do through us…and is doing in him. You can sense that what is breaking the heart of God is breaking his heart too. This is why he serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Hunger Fund. The Children’s Hunger Fund is an international humanitarian aid foundation that is dedicated to assisting the poor. He also sits on the board for World Impact which is an inner city mission’s organization dedicated to planting churches among the urban poor in America. Francis Chan is practicing pure religion as described by James (1:27), “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Francis Chan Quotes
Francis Chan sees the need for authentic Christianity to impact the world and he is walking the walk like few others that I have ever seen. He has given me new hope and inspired me that our God can do all things through us so long as we are glorifying Him. Chan doesn’t even flinch when doing what seems impossible. For Francis Chan, it is “Mission Possible.” If you have never heard him teach or you have never read any of his books, then you are missing out on something very special that will light a fire under you. Listen to some of his thoughts from the book Forgotten God. He states that there are 2 obstacles to connecting with the Holy Spirit. One is comfort. Chan believes that maybe our safe, little haven is due to our addiction to comfort. He says, “I have felt closest to God when nearness to Him was a necessity“ (p. 106). Another hindrance to connecting with the Holy Spirit is volume. What he means by this is that maybe our lives are a little too loud and much too busy. Noise and busyness are drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit’s and His ability to work in us. For example he says, “It takes tremendous effort to find a quiet place. It takes time to quiet your mind and your heart before the Lord. It means turning off the music, the television, or your cell phone. It might mean going outside to your favorite spot. …it is a spiritual discipline to be still, to listen, and to cut out the distraction and din of our world” (p. 109)
I love the story of Elijah in the Old Testament and so does Francis Chan. Why? “My favorite part of that story comes when it is all over and the prophets of Baal are saying, The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God! They didn’t say, “Elijah is a great speaker” or “Elijah sure knows how to connect with God!” They were stunned by God. They were in awe of His power. They knew that what they experienced could not have been manipulated by Elijah. They experienced the power of God“ (p. 144). It’s like okay, we give up! You win…no, no, God’ wins. In James 5:17 Chan says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently so let’s stop looking at the godly men and women in Scripture as though their prayer lives are unattainable“ (p. 144)! He makes you really believe that the Bible is not just a historical record of some men and women of God who did some amazing things. No! He sees that we have that potential and haven’t tapped it yet. Whatever you do, try to read or listen to Francis Chan. He makes the Bible leap right off the page and makes you believe, and rightly so, that you too can bring down fire from heaven and tap the Spirit’s power that most believe is not accessible to them. He will say to your face, you could not be more wrong.
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.
Resources: The Holy Bible, Francis Chan “Forgotten God” “Crazy Love”