A wise mentor of mine one time totally blew my mind by comparing Christianity to a contagious disease! “Many claim to have the disease we call Christianity, but seem instead to have been exposed only enough to be safely inoculated from the real thing.”
In the concluding session of Christianity Explored, we’ll consider Jesus’ own definition of being a true follower. According to Jesus true followers not only embrace the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and God’s only chosen King. They also follow him as their leader. Following means two further painful things: i) denying self and ii) taking up one’s cross (self denial to the point of dying to self).
The trouble with so many people who claim affiliation with Jesus today is this: they simply don’t fit Jesus’ own definition of a true follower. They associate themselves with Jesus through an extremely shallow understanding of Christianity. Almost like being injected with a dead virus! The immune system recognizes the attack and quickly summons the anti-bodies necessary to fend it off. On the outside, maybe the person’s temperature elevates for a while till the threat has been dealt with. But life as usual resumes now equipped for all future threats of exposure.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34-35 NIV)
Many who call themselves Christians today are like an inoculated patient. Contending with a mild dose of the virus, but not displaying the full symptoms. Perhaps inducted into the culture of Christian surroundings, but not fully convinced of Jesus identity. Not fully prepared to follow his leadership. Come check out the last session of Christianity Explored and wrestle with what getting the real disease involves!
Christianity Explored meets at Christ Community Church, 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126.
One of the most challenging parables Jesus ever told, was perhaps his simplest one. A seed that falls on good soil eventually bears a crop far greater than the size of the seed sown. That’s it. The DNA of the kingdom of God is bound up in the word of God. When it’s spoken, it falls on good soil….or not so good soil. The ironic thing in Jesus’ parable is that here we have a crazy farmer who indiscriminately slings seeds everywhere including unlikely places to sprout. “What a waste” the farmers in Jesus’ audience would have thought. Everyone knows you don’t plant seeds in a patch of weeds, or in crummy, shallow dirt, or on a path.
But the hook in the story is this, reader, you are soil if you’re reading this. Like it or not. You are good soil. Or bad soil. Jesus tells you what good soil does – good soil listens, good soil grows voraciously, good soil produces a crop. But how to become good soil if you’re not? Jesus doesn’t say much about that. And that should unsettle us more than a little!
Path, rocks and weeds have already quit reading this post. If you’ve made it to this sentence, maybe, just maybe you get what Jesus is talking about. And if you’re curious, but still not sure you know what the parable of the soils is about, come on out to Christianity Explored. And keep listening.
Christianity Explored meets at 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126 at Christ Community on Sunday mornings.
Why does God accept us? Because he has to? Because we’re basically good people? This week in Christianity Explored, we’ll meet a successful “good person” no one thought could fail to connect with God. Jesus asks him a question that completely pours cold water on his spiritual motivation.
Sundays at Christ Community Church – D 126 at 9:00 or 10:45
In order to reach God, there is a point at which a person must let go his sense of what is fair. “There are some things we’ll never deserve, we can never earn and should never attempt to pay for.” When Jesus says in order to enter the kingdom of God we must become like children, no one imagines how hard it is to overcome pride and self-sufficiency of adult proportions! It’s excruciating. And only something as incredible as God’s idea of salvation can prove that to us. We’re too proud to just receive it – it can’t be that good!
Christianity Explored installment number 6 happens this weekend at Christ Community Church. Come join us at 9:00 or 10:45 in Room D-126. Bring a friend!