5 Takeaways from Watching The Insanity of God

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by Carrie Blackaby


In case you missed the buzz, The Insanity of God is a powerful new documentary about modern-day persecution of the Church.

The story follows a missionary couple from Kentucky, Nik and Ruth Ripken, who came face-to-face with the reality of persecution as missionaries in Africa. Witnessing violent persecution in Somalia led the Ripkens on a journey to interview believers in places around the globe where Christians are regularly imprisoned, beaten, and even killed for their faith.

I watched the movie last week at my church and it profoundly impacted me. Here are five of my takeaways from watching The Insanity of God:

  1. Persecution is not a thing of the past. As an American, I have a tendency to read stories about the early martyrs and to think of persecution as something that mainly happened in Biblical times. But widespread persecution still exists. It is often cited that there are more Christian martyrs today than at any other point in human history. 
  1. Do I, as a Western believer, truly have a concept of persecution? Though many Christians believe the United States is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian practices and values, the reality is that our problems here in North America are miniscule compared to what believers in other parts of the world experience. And though we may not be able to fully understand their difficulties, I believe we owe it to them to at least listen to their stories. 
  1. God can be glorified through adversity. Scripture is filled with examples of God using for good what man meant for evil. The story of Joseph and his brothers is a prime example (Gen. 50:20). The same is true in many of the stories the Ripkens tell about persecuted believers today, especially in Asia. The reality is that it is often in the face of great adversity that Christianity flourishes. 
  1. We are part of ONE Church. As believers, we are all part of the body of Christ, whether we are living comfortably in North America or suffering in a dimly-lit prison in Asia. 1 Cor. 12:26 states: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” But am I truly suffering with persecuted Christians? The Insanity of God challenged me not only to remember those suffering, but to lift them up in fervent prayer as my brothers and sisters in Christ.
  1. Do I really believe Jesus is worth it? The main message of the movie boiled down to one question: Is Jesus worth it? Would following Christ still be worth it if it cost me everything else I know and love?

The Insanity of God is a difficult movie to watch. At intervals it will sicken you, challenge you, inspire you, and it will ultimately lead you to answer one question: Is Jesus worth it?

 

 

 

Podcast: Better Together with Mike Blackaby

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These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: Re-Think Rebellion with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video clip before listening to the podcast.*


These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: Are Science and Religion in Conflict? with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video before listening to the podcast.*


Podcast: Identity Crisis with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video above before listening to the podcast.*

These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: A Fresh Vision of Jesus with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video above before listening to the podcast.*


These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: No Passing Fad with Mike Blackaby

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mike_blackaby_author_thumb (No video accompanied this podcast.) 

These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: Four Soils with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video before listening to the podcast.*


These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

Podcast: The Devil Made Me Do It with Mike Blackaby

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*Please watch the video before listening to the podcast.*



 

These podcast are recorded every Thursday night at Mike Blackaby’s Cafe on Main. This is an open venue for First Baptist Jonesboro’s College and Young Adult Ministry. To find out more go to their website: cafeonmain.org

On Medals, IV Drips, and the Apostle Paul: A Lesson in Perseverance

164262_599645136724539_970989253_nBy Carrie Blackaby Camp 

The crowd lining the street would roar as I crossed the finish line…I would smile and wave at the adoring fans, a few glistening droplets of sweat on my brow. Then that climactic moment…the moment that make up runners’ most sacred dreams…the pinnacle of achievement…I would be awarded my enormous, shiny finishers medal—a permanent reminder of a job well done.

At least that’s what I pictured when my husband, Sam, and I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville half marathon last winter, and I embarked on my 12 week training plan enthusiastically

Immediately after registering I laid the groundwork. I created a “Running Motivation” board on Pinterest where I pinned recipes incorporating as many energy-filled “superfoods” as possible. I bought running shoes, carefully tailored to match my gait. I subscribed to Runner’s World magazine, researched Italian restaurants in Nashville best-suited for a pre-race carb load, and began crafting the “humble-brag” Facebook status I would post with the picture of me wearing my (hopefully gigantic) medal

When Monday rolled around, we knew we—unfortunately—had to begin the physical portion of our training. My husband’s alarm woke us up at 5:45am. The temperature was hovering around freezing and the sun wouldn’t be up for another few hours. Even the bravest of early birds had not left the warmth of their nests. We rolled out of bed and stumbled out onto the pavement. Gritting my teeth, I forced my body to move forward.

By week three, every inch of my feet were so blistered it looked like I’d tap danced through a pit of hot coals. By week five my blisters had developed blisters. By week ten four of my blackened toenails had abandoned ship. I guess I won’t be wearing sandals this summer…

As the weeks went by, getting up in the morning became harder. To make matters worse, our wake-up times kept getting earlier to account for our ever-increasing mileage. Rather than enjoying lazy Saturday mornings binge-watching Downton Abbey in my pajamas, Sam and I would be out pounding the pavement.

Then, only a few days before the race, our training took another unexpected hit: Sam and I both woke up with the worst head colds we’d ever had. I knew the training might be difficult. But I hadn’t expected this.

Our luck continued, and we woke up on race morning to torrential rainstorms—eerily foreshadowing what we were about to experience. Our colds still hadn’t subsided, but we’d trained too hard and for too long to give up at that point. So we took an assortment of cold medicines and made our way shivering and drenched to the starting line.

The horn sounded and we took off. Within a few miles I started feeling the effects of the cold (and perhaps the carb loading I embraced too enthusiastically the night before…). Each mile was more difficult than the last. By mile 11 tears welled in my eyes as my legs burned. My head was spinning.Running

Why hadn’t anyone told me it would be so hard?!!

As Christians, we often approach God’s assignments the way I approached training for the half marathon. We might start out excited about the vision God has for us, only to become sidetracked and disheartened by the struggles we inevitably encounter before reaching our goal.

But a look at scripture shows that God’s plans often—if not always—involve persevering through trials. God told David he was going to be King. What David didn’t know was that he would end up having to flee for his life and survive various murder plots. Joseph was given a vision that he would rule over his brothers. But first he was sold into slavery and falsely accused. Jesus was sent to be the savior of the world. Yet to accomplish His mission He had to suffer great pain and death.

The reality is that most of the greatest feats ever accomplished in history were a result of steady perseverance in the face of trials. The difference between people who succeeded and those who didn’t was that some people, keeping their eyes on their goal, continued to persevere despite the obstacles.

The Apostle Paul wrote this encouragement in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I eventually did manage to drag my bruised and battered carcass across the finish line. I then hobbled as quickly as I could to the medical tent where I was placed on an IV drip and had my heart rate monitored for the next hour. But I got that medal! I have it hanging up in my office as a reminder that, though it may involve struggles, reaching the end goal is always worth the effort.

 

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