<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d11370521\x26blogName\x3dlifeawakened\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://lifeawakened.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://lifeawakened.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-9042490887796518309', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

two perspectives...

Just a warning, this post is much more rant than I would like it to be, but if I don't get it out, I won't get it out, and for my own sake I needed to get it out. So be forewarned.

It is rare to get two sermons on the same scripture in the same weekend for me. Especially when the two churches I go to do not follow the Lectionary, so I always think it strange when they intertwine. It is also rare for me to have two teachings based on the same scripture that are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

"For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. - Matthew 16:24-28
I'm a big fan of taking scripture in context. Of understanding the story within the story. You cannot use this scripture out of context. It is so easy to quote this scripture and use it in any way you please, to understand that giving up your life you will gain much is something that is pleasing to Christians who don't look at the entire scripture.

The line before losing your life is what I am seeing as important here. This morning, the pastor leaned heavily on the line "Let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Shane Claiborne, in The Irresistible Revolution made a solid point to this line for me and I just hear it reverberating in my head over and over again... for so long, the church has taught us to lay everything down at the cross, but fails to provide us with anything to take up.

Jesus makes it ever so clear that laying your burdens at the cross isn't enough. It isn't enough to say, "Yes Jesus, I am yours, now my life is going to be awesome." I don't think that's true at all. For most of the people I know who have the most exuberant faith, life isn't easy when you say yes to Jesus. Instead, life becomes pouring yourself out so that others may know life and life to the fullest.

I think this is all part of what I'm working towards. I'm pushing against ministries that are "me" centric, and seeking out how to be in ministries that are "kingdom" centric. I'm working on not thinking about what I can get... and thinking about what I can give. God has not blessed me so that I can be a happy content Christian, God has blessed me because I need to pour out blessings on others. It is not enough to just go to church every week, it is not enough to "live life to the full" so to speak unless I am working towards making the lives of others better.

I guess what I am getting at is something that my friend Tara shared with me last night when I was filtering through how I was feeling, and that is that I cannot be satisfied unless my goal is to make this world a little more heaven and a little less hell. If you ask any of my families what hell is, most will say they've lived through it. If you ask anyone who is living on the street what hell is, most will say that they are living through it. I cannot stand by and be happy and content when I know that the world around me is suffering.

God offers us more. God offers us more than material things, more than being adventurous, more than a perfect life with a perfect family with a perfect job. God presents us with an opportunity to take up our crosses, to live like we mean it, and to open our hearts to others no matter what the cost is to us.

I feel for the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31) who walked away from Jesus because giving up his stuff was too much for him. I fear that too many of us would react the same way to Jesus that he did if Jesus were to ask us what he asked him. John Wesley, one of my heroes, said this.. "[When I die] if I leave behind me ten pounds ... you and all mankind [may] bear witness against me, that i have lived and died a thief and a robber."

Convicting. Am I to this place where I can say the same thing? No. I'm not. And I struggle with it, I think we all do, but one thing that I think is important is that I am aware that it is something I am going to continue to work on.
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

1 Comments:

Terrific post. Sad to say that probably half of all denominational squabbles are born from out-of-context Scripture interpretation.

I'm always amazed at how people can read a novel straight through and not miss a plot point, yet lose all sense of continuity when it comes to the Bible. I wonder if maybe part of the reason is arbitrary numeration of chapters and verses, which might trip people up... though surely a larger reason is just good old-fashioned dogma. If some trusted authority-type tells us what a passage is supposed to mean, we'll defend that interpretation to our dying breath.

By Anonymous Parker, at 8:56 AM  

Post a Comment