Read an Excerpt
It’s Only Crazy Until It Happens
Today’s Normal Was Yesterday’s Crazy
Imagine with me that the year is 1979. I walk up to you, brimming with excitement, and announce that I have in my possession an electronic device that fits in the palm of your hand, with no cord or long antenna attached, that you can use to communicate with another person on the other side of the world. “I call it [pause for effect] . . . a cell phone!” You would probably think I need to be locked in a cell somewhere because clearly I am crazy.
Or let’s say it’s 1955, and racial tensions between Black and white people in America are sky high. In some parts of the country, they’re not even legally permitted to drink from the same water fountain. Imagine a young Black man walking up to a crowd of white people and declaring that his children and theirs will one day go into business together, attend the same church, and “maybe even [pause for effect] . . . marry each other!” That crowd wouldn’t just think he was crazy but would probably go crazy on him, yelling racial slurs and possibly attempting to end his life.
How about we take it back a little further, to 1899. You’re planning to visit relatives across the country for the holidays. As you approach the train station for your weeklong journey, I show up and confidently inform you that in just four years, someone will create a prototype for air transportation. “It will be something like a giant metal bird that will take people wherever they want to go in a fraction of the time! And it will be called [pause for effect] . . . an airplane!” You would probably dismiss me as a nutcase before boarding your reliable and time-tested train, because you know such an idea is just plain crazy.
What if I told you that these little stories are based on actual events? There was a time when no one had ever imagined a cellular phone or racial integration or an airplane. A parking lot full of cars, the app you use to order your lunch delivery, women voting in elections, the chair you’re sitting in, social media—all of these were once considered crazy . . . until they actually happened.
So many things that seem normal today were crazy five minutes ago. (Okay, sometimes more than five minutes. But a lot can change in a very short amount of time.) Once we recognize that, it’s reasonable to acknowledge that many things that seem crazy to us right now could be normal in the future. Your student loan debt erased or your six-figure mortgage paid off seems crazy. Doctors going up to the ICU to tell the uncle you’ve been praying for that he’s cancer free and can go home seems crazy. The thought of your entire family accepting salvation and living for Christ sounds crazy. Getting your ten-year sobriety chip after abusing substances for decades sounds crazy. Leaving an inheritance of wealth for your great-grandchildren after you grew up in poverty seems crazy. Recovering from what seems like an unending downward spiral of depression to wake up with real joy sounds crazy. Finding out your wife is twelve-weeks pregnant after a diagnosis of infertility seems crazy. Being the first in your family to graduate college when you’re a single mom who barely finished high school seems crazy. Being truly loved in a healthy marriage after suffering years of verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse sounds crazy. Forgiving your absent father sounds crazy. Leading a thriving megachurch with only six months of junior-college education sounds just plain crazy.
But it’s only crazy until it happens.
You’re reading this book because there is something in you that believes the impossible, that knows greater is inevitable, that trusts destiny is unavoidable, and that is intrigued by the possibility of a miracle. This is my life message because this is the life I’m living: one of Crazy Faith. God has asked me to do some crazy things, and I’ve seen crazy results because of faith. Through this book, I want to be your coach, your guide on this faith journey, by sharing spiritual truth and practical wisdom to help you gain new perspective on God’s plans for you: a future you’ve barely dared to imagine.
Now, don’t get it twisted; I haven’t done everything perfectly. The Bible says the steps of a good man or woman are directed by the Lord (Psalm 37:23)—and let’s just say, I’ve missed some steps. But I’ve also learned a lot in the process. I wholeheartedly believe that life is more about progression than perfection, so let’s be H.O.T. (humble, open, and transparent) with each other and discover more of the great plan God has for us as we walk by faith.
But first, let’s back up a little bit and get to know each other.
Foundation of Faith
Hi! My name is Michael. I’m a devoted husband to Natalie Todd, my relationship goal, my baby mama, my boo, my good thang, the apple of my eye, the water to my thirst, the wife of my youth, the sweet to my sour that I need every hour . . . whew! Sorry, y’all, I got a little lost thinking about how fine she is. As a blessing of our love, we have four beautiful kids: Isabella Monet, who is her mother’s little twin; MJ, whom I call my fearless hero; Ava Rae, who is a sassy thirty-year-old in a three-year-old’s body; and our grand finale (fingers crossed), the newest addition to the #ToddSquad, Gia Simone. I’m an active father; lead pastor of Transformation Church, a ministry that impacts millions of people around the world (shout-out to TC Nation!); a CEO; a music producer; a designer; and—I don’t know how this happened—a #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Wow. Writing all that feels crazy because at certain points in my life none of it seemed achievable.
Let me explain.
I grew up as one of five brothers in a strong faith-filled family. My parents are ministers who have always modeled a life of extreme faith for me. In moments when most parents would have said, “I’m sorry, we can’t afford that right now,” my mom told me to pray and believe God for what I wanted. She and my dad told me Bible stories of extraordinary faith all the time, and I would imagine myself as one of the characters. It built in me much more than a good imagination; it built a solid faith foundation.
I’m fully aware that not all kids grow up like that, but the beautiful thing about faith is that it’s never too late to build it. Sure, the best time to start laying that foundation may have been twenty years ago, but the next-best time is right now. In many translations, Hebrews 11:1 starts off with these two words: “Now faith.” So I’m encouraging you now, at this moment, that now is not too late. As a matter of fact, now is the perfect time. Right where you are, you can begin tearing down the walls of doubt, pulling out the lies of pessimism, and removing the framework of fear so that God can pour a new faith foundation deep within you.
We each have beliefs, standards, philosophies, and habits, and these are all built on some sort of foundation, whether from family, friends, education, religion, or culture—or a combination of all of the above. I wrote this book to help you build a healthy, purpose-revealing, God-honoring life of faith, but before we start building anything, we need to establish some things on a ground level. Even the most glorious building can be reduced to a pile of rubble without a sure and solid foundation.
A foundation is essential to hold a structure in place, but it does so much more than that. A well-built foundation keeps out moisture, insulates against the cold, and resists shifting with the earth around it. It is strong, deep, and dense enough to last the lifetime of the building sitting on top of it. In the words of This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, “Without a good one, you’re sunk.”
Over the past year, my wife and I have embarked on the relationship-testing journey of building a house, and we’ve learned a whole lot about construction and a whole lot about each other. (Y’all keep us in your prayers.) One of the things that has surprised us is how much intentionality goes into the planning, preparation, and configuration of the foundation: digging, measuring, steel reinforcing, cement mixing, leveling, and more. When I asked the foundation contractor why it was taking so long (because, honestly, I was ready to see some progress above ground), he reiterated that the foundation is the most important phase of construction. They never rush this part of the process because, as he put it in a very matter-of-fact tone, “We can fix a wall and we can repair a window, but once this house is up, the foundation is set forever—that is, unless we tear it down or do major reconstruction.”
I couldn’t help but wonder, What areas of my life have I built on a faulty foundation? Where do I need some major reconstruction?