The Way of the Cross

Renegade-Gospel-Main

“The Way of the Cross”
# 5 in Series: Renegade Gospel
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Lent

Luke 9:23-25, CEB

Today’s video takes us to the cross and challenges us to understand what it means to be a living sacrifice.  It is a message that will challenge us to be better than we have been in almost every area of our lives.  Following Jesus is a very costly proposition.

  • “To make the declaration ‘Jesus is Lord’ means an all-in, whole life commitment to follow Jesus in an alternative, sacrificial way of life, fully pledging one’s allegiance to the rebel Jesus in faithfully serving the renegade gospel.”
  • That means that we pledge our undivided allegiance to Jesus above all else – above family, above job, above country – there is no other way to truly follow Christ.
  • Let’s watch.

[VIDEO: #5 – “The Way of the Cross”]

Our Conversation:
The first question in the video is about what it means to take up your cross daily and how we do that in our daily lives.  Mike says that the cross represents “death”…What does he mean?

  • How can we live this out daily?
  • “Die” to our selfish desires and passions
  • Let go of what we want in favor of what God wants for us
  • Following Jesus demands sacrificial action
  • What does this have to do with Baptism?

Mike tells us what “Lent” means and how it helps us do the hard work of preparing to serve God.

  • How does Lent help us in our transformation as disciples?
  • “Following Jesus is so hard.” What is our hope? What allows us to keep going? Grace
  • In his book, Pastor Mike says that they intentionally avoid the term “volunteer” at Ginghamsburg UMC; rather, they use the word “servant”.
    • What is the difference between a volunteer at church and a servant?
      • Volunteers serve out of the convenience of their calendars, controlling when, where, and how they participate.
      • “I’ll be there as long as I have time, if it’s not too inconvenient, and it doesn’t conflict with more pressing priorities.” (like soccer practice, golf, the beauty shop, and so forth)
      • Volunteers follow Jesus up to a point – the point at which it interferes with their lifestyle.
    • What does this suggest about the way in which you offer your talents and gifts within the faith community?
    • What does it mean to say: “Use your affluence for the purpose of influence, as an aid to those who have neither”?
    • “It is so easy to seek the gifts of God rather than the God who gives.”

 

We have long been taught the biblical principle of tithing, giving 10% of our income to serve God’s kingdom; yet we trend with the rest of the American public, giving about 2.2% of our personal, disposable income to charity.  We avoid the biblical demand that we give of ourselves sacrificially in service to God’s kingdom and choose to use God to serve our  interests…“Thy will be done” has become “My will be done” for many of us.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King said:
    “If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club…”

    • How is Dr. King’s comment prophetic for the church today?
    • Where do you believe the church struggles with prejudice or self-serving agendas?

HOMEWORK:  Prayerfully consider the following questions:

  1. Am I putting off until tomorrow what God is calling me to do today?
  2. Am I offering myself to Jesus as a volunteer who serves when convenient or a servant who acts sacrificially?

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Advertisements