When i got saved back in the early 80's a lot was made of the cost of following Jesus. Words like discipleship, carrying your cross, die to self and my selfish aims, forsaking all things for the kingdom. heck within the first year of being a Christian i had read the bible front to back, started preaching and was seeing God move in my life radically. My influences were from evangelical circles, with a couple of Catholics and a travelling Monk. Some were household names within Christendom others were just brilliant at giving me a chance to see God move in my life, they took a risk got into trouble for it (Bob Hyde) They have gone on to have a ministry in God that is amazing ( Steve Parsons) and still people see me as a risk but are prepared to back me up and support me in what i do for as we call it the God thing (Mark Gilborson and Pete Pillinger) who from a Methodist view have really taken a risk with their support of me. Some of these people are new to my life others are old friends. Then there are those outside of the kingdom, those friends of mine who profess a different path, those who profess no faith at all, but support me with love and tolerance (Ian Norton, Carla shosoni, Phillip salisbury) to name a fewEach and every one of them and a shed load of unnamed people make my life what it is.
So why the title and why now? well it's Easter soon and at this time of year a great deal of my time is taken up with the cross, and the resurrection of Jesus something i'm so in love with, something that impacts on my life daily i need to shout it out in some way. For me Easter is the most important party of the Christian calendar, it's the part that when i look at it, makes more sense than anything else to me with regards to my faith. So i'm going to use and say over the next week or two words which will offend, words which will bring hope, words that will make us think.
I'm not ashamed of the gospel or the cross of Christ, i have a cross inked onto my chest, just above my heart, it's always there always a reminder. In this day and age a number of Christians try to play down the significance of the cross, they say it's not the central point of the faith we possess as Christians, and in part that is true. If we only focus on the cross we miss the part about the resurrection, we miss the new life that comes with the new day. But before we get to that we have to have the cross, we have to have it's brutality, we have to have it's ugliness, we have to have it's wonder. We cannot merrily skip by what happened on the cross like we are playing hopscotch in the playground, we cannot deny it in anyway, if we are going to be professing Christians, we may not like it, but we cannot ignore it.
Unashamedly i'm evangelical, never really been anything else and never will be, my thoughts and faith have changed over the years. But i hold to those core values that were instilled in me in the early days of my faith. We are coming to Easter, a time for celebration, chocolate eggs, families and for reflection. My hope is that over this time we reflect on what it all means to us as individuals, that we look at the cross and resurrection, we gain some sense of what it cost to bring us back to God, and to do that we do need to look at the cross.
The good book tells us" to pick up our Cross daily, and to carry it" not to worship it, but to carry it, at times it can be heavy, at times it's going to be a painful process. But through it all God is with us, helping us, holding us and most importantly loving us.
This is the start of my Easter blog and over the next few weeks i hope to change, my hope is that we all change, even just a little. For those of you who make my life what it is i thank you from the bottom of my heart, and in some way you all help me understand God a little better
God bless ya