Friday, May 30, 2008

"Be Real"- Insights

Sports wouldn't be sports without the risk of losing; gambling wouldn't be exciting and addicting if there wasn't a risk-reward factor involved; extreme sports wouldn't be extreme without danger; and Memorial Days wouldn't be significant if no one died in wars. So why should it be anything different with REAL Christianity? Like the prison chaplain, Jesus' words never held back any punch; never sugar-coated the raw truth of the Gospel; and what he said, even if it hurt or made the listener uncomfortable, he said it all out of compassion.

If we look at Luke 9, Jesus spells out what Christianity should be like. He asks the disciples who He is. The answer is a confession of Jesus being the Christ, and immediately Jesus follows that up with the fact that He is going to die, and "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?" (v23-25). Basically He is saying, if you are going to call yourself a Christian, then be prepared to live a dangerous life. Brent you are right in saying that Jesus and the rafting guides have the same message and approach.

I do not think we are hearing this Biblical message in the American church. From what I can see from Christian reports from all over the world, I would easily conclude that if we preached to our teens and young adults in America that Christianity is dangerous and extreme, I think we would have an incredible revival here in the States. Time and time again, we here that the postmodern generation is looking for authentic Christianity, church leadership that is Real, looking for someone or something to believe in. Meanwhile in persecuted countries across the globe the church is flourishing where Christianity is dangerous and/or life threatening. As I sit here and write these last thoughts I am asking myself what is different in my ideals than that of the rhetoric we here from fundamental terrorists? Compassion, love for God and every human being. Crusades and terror threats are an attack on flesh and blood, but as we know from Ephesians 6 are fight is against "spiritual forces of evil...".

As a side note, not only is the prep speech by the rafting guide there to provide essential safety rules to ensure survival, but I think it is also used to heighten the extreme sporters awareness of risk to make the ride more exciting and abundant. Two people can be on the same raft with two totally different perspectives. I think the one that is aware of the risk will enjoy the experience more because he is aware of the danger.

Isn't it time we preach a more dangerous gospel?

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