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I was in a program at a church in Pleasant Hill, Ohio -which is (quite conveniently I might add) called Pleasant Hill Church of God- that was designed by the Youth (at the time called R.O.C. –reaching others for Christ) called ROCFest. We played music loudly and all sorts of things that young kids like to do. What really struck me about last years program was the particular verse we chose as “This Year’s Verse” (which in itself makes me a little uncomfortable to call a verse “This Year’s Verse”): Matthew 16:24.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lost it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

I sometimes wonder what it means to me to “save my life by loosing it.” To me, an example of this might be the apostle Paul who says that, for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain [Phil 1:21]. This Paul who was beaten, put in Jail, shipwrecked, and all sorts of other trials says that his life is dedicated to Christ and to die in the pursuit of this is a glorious thing.

Jesus tells us that “not one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” This tells me that if I intend to do something with this Christianity thing and if I want to consider myself worthy to be a kingdom person, I need to keep pushing forward and discontinue looking backwards.

This also tells me that I need to be a little more reckless with my Christianity. Sometimes I worry too much about what my life will bring if I choose to act on my Religion. Of course, Jesus said to not worry about these types of things or anything for that matter [Mat. 6:33,34]. James tells us that “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world [James 1:27].”

The fact is that Christianity has become a spectator sport instead of hands-on work, which, I believe Jesus told us, on many occasions and through His own example, it is not the way that religion works.

So, may we be more active in our belief and push toward a better world and create disciples that will do so as well. May we truly be the “body of Christ” and act as His hands and feet did while He was with us during the whole of His ministry.


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