The Insanity Of God

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February 21, 2017  
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The Insanity Of God
The Insanity of God - 8.30.16 - Official Trailer

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Would you follow Jesus, even when it doesn't make sense?

That's the question that is asked of Nik and Ruth Ripken as, out of the pain of losing their only son, they choose to follow Christ into the darkest, most dangerous places on the planet. To the very heart of the persecuted Church.

There they see suffering, pain, and near-hopelessness. They visit Somalia, one of the most troubled Nations on the Planet, and are left wondering if the Gospel can ever prevail there. They see conflicts in the Middle-East, despair in parts of Africa, and are left with the profound doubt of wondering if Christianity is even possible in these neglected nations. How can faith survive in such circumstances?

It seems impossible.

But, through their story, the lives of believers from across the globe prove them wrong. Tales of perseverance, of flourishing faith, and of resilience for Christ prove the Ripken's doubts to wholly wrong, time after time.

They discover a God that will never make sense, that defies odd, and that grows in the places where they thought were barren. Based on their bestselling book of the same name, The Insanity of God doesn't just ask 'Is Jesus Worth It?'

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The Insanity of God

As this DVD starts there is a man wrapping up books, he stops and hugs his wife and child. While walking there are voices and he is surrounded by men with guns, I wondered what this was about, the language wasn't English and I thought I had put the DVD on the wrong language - before realising there was no language setting. This is the opening moment for "The Insanity of God", despite the interesting reconstruction that opens this DVD much of the film is actually an interview with Nik and Ruth Ripken - the majority of the film is Nik. If extended interview / documentaries are not your thing then I would suggest that this is a DVD that you probably won't enjoy.

The Ripken's were a young couple who both felt called to the mission field. For a number of years they served in a church where they learned a lot before eventually being convicted by a visiting missions worker that it was their time and their calling. They left for Malawi and after some language training they found a great openness to the message of the Bible, however they and their two young children kept contracting Malaria with Nik being told that the risk to his life was life-threatening - so they left to live in South Africa. Whilst on the mission-field they suffered the death of their son from a massive asthma attack. This left them with questions - was it worth the sacrifice? Was the message of Jesus worth the cost of their son? Ultimately they decided that yes it was and their mission continued with Nik ministering to Somalia where he ministered to those experiencing extreme persecution - with every person who identified as Christian that he worked with being killed for their faith.

This set Nik on a slightly different journey to investigate what it was costing people to be known as Christians in countries where they suffered persecution. This is what takes up the rest of the film as Nik recounts some of the stories that he has heard in the interviews with people who have suffered badly at the hands of those wanting them to deny Christ, but they refused. The question still being asked is Jesus worth it. One story that resonated with me was that of "Dmitri" who was a guy in Russia who started reading his kids Bible stories, in time neighbours heard and they started asking to come and listen and before he knew it he had a house-group of hundreds. This man of God was arrested by the KGB and sent to a prison with 1500 of the toughest criminals - yet he has a great testimony which Nik explains and is also reenacted in a moving moment. This is a story that was also captured in a song on Todd Smith's recent album "There's A Light". Another story that is told is one that brings us back to the very beginning with the man who left home with the Books before being set upon by men with guns - another fascinating story and a look at the persecution of Christians that in the West we just don't see.

There are a couple of bits quotes from Nik that lodged themselves in my head, these are not word-for-word but convey something of the challenge this DVD brings. "Satan has convinced me that the Bible is an old book, a record of what God used to do. God is doing exactly today what He has always done, what He did before the Bible was put into print. If I am only practising it in past tense what does that say about my country, what does that say about my faith?"

The second quote that got to me was when he was talking to a pastor who had been persecuted he said "There is not a "free church" and a "suffering church" - there is just The Church" and that is definitely food for thought. We are the body together, suffering, persecuted and free and there should at the very least be prayerful support for the members of the body who don't have the same freedoms we have.

This is a challenging DVD based on the book of the same name. While this might not be the most exciting Christian DVD ever released, I am sure that if you get past the documentary style then there are moments here that will move you, challenge you and encourage you. We serve a living God who is active today, just as He was when the Bible was written, He will continue to glorify His name, you can be part of that if you think that Jesus is worth the cost.

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