Bringing the Text to Life
There are so many ways we unintentionally invalidate the truth of the gospel. Simply by going through the church calendar, we can see that Christians are asked to "give instead of receive" at Christmas, to "give up" something for Lent, to "take up their cross" at Easter and to "burn with fire" at Pentecost. We can make our faith sound about as appealing as castor oil - strong medicine that we know must be good for us because it tastes so bad.
The truth, of course, is that Christianity is about the good news, that Jesus' message was about life abundant and that spiritual fulfillment will enrich our lives beyond all measure. Yet how many sermons have been preached to a worn and weary congregation about "the cost of discipleship?" We intimate that people must be prepared to give up something of great value in order to "buy into" the Christian system of salvation, as if it were some kind of heavenly time-share condominium.
This whole notion of the "cost of discipleship" needs...