Leonard Ravenhill, the author of "Why Revival Tarries", once said, "The church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic and is more superficial than supernatural" and that was in 1959. There are good people in every church, good programs in every ministry and good churches on every corner but I don't think the Son of God died for "good." When I think of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, giving his life for me, and then I look at my own life and the church, I often think, He had to die for more than what I am seeing and experiencing. He died out of love but surely that love demands or deserves more than what casual Christianity is offering in this day and time.
I can almost remember the day I told my young son to do something and he looked at me and said, "Why?" As a parent, his response felt like an affront to my authority yet in his youthfulness he just wanted clarity. After 40 years of local church ministry, I am convinced that there have been moments and ministries where I have been guilty of clouding the essentials with non-essentials, clarity with creativity, and purpose with programs. There has to be a new day where we get back to the two primary principles of Jesus' ministry: Casting Seed and Training the next Seed Caster.
Luke 9:23 is pretty clear, "If anyone wants to follow me, he must first deny himself, take up his cross and then follow me." From the beginning of the ages, mankind as continued to struggle with personal entitlement. Without any instruction at all, humanity battles with themselves, with each other and with God as to who is right and who is in charge. Too many come to Jesus with one foot in their world and one foot in His, striving to figure out how to surrender without it costing too much. We want the same freedom to do whatever we want that nearly every church in the New Testament struggled with. Jesus never mixed words...you want to experience abundant life then you have to lose the one you own for a new one that is freely given.