What's the Greatest Risk You've Ever Taken?


The main problem I confronted in writing One Thousand Risks was the fear of man; otherwise known as the people-pleasing plague. Fear of man is where I've struggled most, and fighting against it has re-wired my life into all kinds of messy extravagance. 

My original goal was to see my Jesus-journey challenged. Possibly even inspiring you in the process? Icing on the cake. Jesus left ninety-nine sheep in relative safety to pursue one which was lost. My hope was, and still is, growth in His footsteps. 

Along the way, I discovered four reasons why risk was the missing ingredient in my pursuit of spiritual significance. 

Reason # 1. Following Jesus has always required risk.

Jesus told them, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29, NLT).

The action to risk always follows a conviction from faith.

Think of the greatest risk you’ve ever taken in life. Where were you? What was it? And would you have taken that risk without confidence––even if minimally present? Would I have asked Beth to marry me had I known she loved someone else? Would I have left my music industry job just to experiment with homelessness?

Reason # 2. Fighting fear is the secret passageway to an awkward, awesome life with Jesus.

One thousand risks took me 740 days, averaging around one risk a day––except when I took 40 risks on my 40th birthday for the sheer fun of only turning 40 once. I encountered the heart of God one person after the next, making notes on my phone after the risk to help me keep track of each experience. Along the way, I discerned markedly more about myself, God, and others.

I witnessed more miracles in two years than in all my previous 38 years combined.

Reason # 3. The temporary downside to risk isn't very grisly in comparison to glory, forever.

Despite the negative connotations that come with risk, I promise you a world will open that is so full and so rich––a well worth treasuring––like living water to those dying of thirst.

Francis Chan, a radical risk-taker who I respect immensely, says it like this:

“I’m not asking you to do something you’re going to hate. Yeah, there will be times when it’s rough and whatever else. But, I’m asking you to do something where at the end of your life, you’ll have a fulfillment that says, ‘I am stoked for all eternity because of what I did on that little planet.’”

Reason # 4. It's hard to live righteous (or like a lion) apart from risk.

I’m inviting you to live courageously.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1).

Following Christ is the most dangerous decision you have––or will––ever make. If no one told you before you began following Jesus this jungle was wild, I am deeply sorry. You must feel caught entirely off guard already by all my outlandish suggestions. 

What could your life with Jesus and neighbors look like if you began developing a super-powered life of risk? 

P.S. Read below for what Matty Mullins, Aaron Weiss, Ray Ortlund, and Mina Whitlock had to say about One Thousand Risks, as well as a brief excerpt from the book. 

Matty Mullins, Singer & Songwriter / Memphis May Fire

"Packed full of breathtaking transparency and earnest truth, it was impossible to put this book down! One Thousand Risks is for anyone (Christian or not) who wants to look inside the life of a man genuinely desiring to see God move."

Aaron Weiss, Lyrical Poet / mewithoutYou

"After many years of not seeing Chad he sent me a book called Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and I thought "Allah is Jesus." What the hell do I know? Later he sent me One Thousand Risks, so I read some, cried a bit, and sent along a few grammar tips. We might not believe all the same things but Chad's got quite an energy about him, I think our ancestors came off the same spaceship."

Ray Ortlund, (My Pastor) / Immanuel Nashville Church

"Jesus is not the chaplain to anyone’s status quo life. He is like the cowboy riding into town on a Saturday night, shooting the place up. Chad Johnson gets that. He took the simple but radical step of opening his life up completely to Jesus. In One Thousand Risks, Chad shows you how you can do the same. You won’t regret it."

Mina Whitlock, Missional Leader / YWAM Kona & The Tribe

"One Thousand Risks encourages me to deliver hope to the hopeless, and the lost to a Father who loves them more than I can fathom. Chad’s story stirs me to see people find their identity as radical world-changers, regardless of age, nationality, gender or gifting. This book is calling you and me, all of us, to invest in restoring a hurting world by becoming who we were always meant to be."

One Thousand Risks / Excerpt # 2:  

Thinking ahead for you, I foresee seven likely scenarios. 

1. Times of rejection, a reaction Jesus promised would find you. 
2. It is entirely possible you might be misunderstood. 
3. Instances where words won’t come out the way you mean them to, either because you are nervous, anxious or not able to process encouraging thoughts quickly enough. 
4. Opportunities to drop risk at the first sight or feeling of impossibility, running instead toward all too familiar unremarkable old comfort. 
5. Hopeful expectation stirring you. 
6. Learning to love others as Jesus loved. And loves. Seeing others the way they were intended to be seen. 
7. Your dependency on the Spirit’s leading will increase. Sizably.