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Sizzle, Pop and Swagger

Posted by Steve Grusendorf , 24 August 2012 · 1665 views

Sometimes I fear that Jesus would have been voted off his own reality television show.

Then again Jesus was never really concerned with popularity.

Am I? Are we?

Jesus did not call His disciples to popularity he called them to die. This is the heart of discipleship. To be a disciple is to be a follower. To follow Jesus means to take the path of suffering and death. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

How do you make the concept of death and suffering pop? How do we make these ideas sizzle? Do inmates on death row have swagger?
We live in a culture that worships success. It is said that if something is to be “successful” it must “sell itself. This idea has even crept into many Christian circles. But death does not sell itself. It cannot. We cannot make the life of Christ into something sexy. Something attractive for attractions sake. No. The first thing the would be follower of Jesus Christ is confronted with is the absolute and total command of Jesus Christ to die to everything but Jesus Himself.

Jesus is not looking for a marketing team, for men and women who can make Christianity sizzle. He is looking for followers who are willing to die in order to experience life to the fullest.

May we be a generation that thinks nothing of copyrights, logos, job titles, newly minted models, branded t-shirts, designer coffee cups, smarmy wristbands, lavish concerts, cute bumper stickers, and posh travel destinations.

Rather let us be people who willingly walk into the forgotten and forbidden places of this world. Places where to share Jesus is to be the very outcast we seek to reach and to be forgotten ourselves by all but Jesus. Let us walk these paths without fanfare, enticement, or recognition save for the gentle voice of the Savior leading us on.

Let’s take up our cross daily and follow him.

Community Questions:

Why is it hard to follow Jesus in walking away from the crowds rather than embracing them?

What does it mean to bear our cross (death) daily in the context and comfort of America? What about abroad?

  • Julie Daube, Jim Hoobler, Ruthie Hankins and 2 others like this

Julie Daube
Aug 28 2012 10:34 AM
Wow! This is a great post!

To me, bearing our cross in the context and comfort of America often means that we will refuse to be "people pleasers." This is a big stumbling block in my own life. I confess that I like to be validated and affirmed by others. In other words, I want everyone to like me. But anyone who is serious about sharing the gospel can never be a people pleaser, because the gospel by its very nature is offensive. Of course, the Bible exhorts us to speak the truth in love, so we should seek to be respectful, civil, and gentle in our gospel presentations. But we should never shrink back from telling the truth about sin and the need for repentence out of fear of offending people. Jesus did not call us to win a popularity contest; He called us to win souls.
    • Steve Grusendorf and elizabethcog like this
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Steve Grusendorf
Aug 29 2012 06:50 AM
Hey Julie,

Thanks for the response. I agree this is a tough area because I like the accolades too! I appreciated your point about truth in love and absolutely agree. Thanks for sharing about dying to people pleasing...that's an area many on which many of us need to work.
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Joan Phillips
Aug 30 2012 08:56 AM
Great post Steve! This is the third time in a week that I have heard a message that calls me to completely die to self, including not fretting over what others may or may not think of me. Think Someone is trying to tell me something??
    • Julie Daube and Steve Grusendorf like this
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Steve Grusendorf
Aug 31 2012 09:29 AM
Hey Joan, a friend of mine once told me that when God is trying to tell you something He usually repeats himself in a variety of ways rather than just opening up the clouds and shouting down at you. Seems that has been true in my life and your life as well. May God give you courage to follow his lead!
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Great Post Steve! I love the way you expressed it in the statement "Jesus is not looking for a marketing team, for men and women who can make Christianity sizzle. He is looking for followers who are willing to die in order to experience life to the fullest."

I am reminded this can only happen in the context of intimacy (In love with the Savior) and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The disciples loved him but were still afraid...empowering of the Holy Spirit and the the intimacy of Love makes us want to give Him all.

Thanks Steve!

    • Steve Grusendorf likes this
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Steve Grusendorf
Sep 05 2012 05:32 AM
Thanks for the thoughts Sam. I agree. We will always be fragile followers in the hands of a mighty God doing the extra ordinary with the help of the Holy Spirit.
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