Mike Cope had this to say in his blog (www.preachermike.com):
“Here’s perhaps the biggest change in my understanding of preaching through the years. I used to think that I was supposed to make scripture relevant. It’s an old book speaking to a modern world. Now, however, I see that this is too low a view of scripture and too high a view of our “modern” world. Now I see my job as inviting people to enter into the world of scripture — a world that is hauntingly familiar and yet mysteriously dissimilar. The key is imagination. I think I’m to help people (including, of course, myself) imagine what a truly human life might look like in light of Easter. What might a gospeled life look like? I used to flatten scripture, I think. It became a sermon source of rules and regs. It was full of insightful points waiting to be made. Now as I get to live inside the story world of the Bible, I realize even more why one could say that the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. I cannot agree enough. I too want to live the life imagined in the world of scripture – the life which Jesus perfectly demonstrated. I want to help others learn how to live this life as well.”
But living this life and calling others to do the same is hard. Sometimes it seems almost impossible. I would say it was impossible but I know that Jesus lived this life in the flesh showing the world that it was possible.
The more I learn about this world imagined in scripture, the more I learn about the life which my Lord, Jesus the Messiah lived, the more difficulty I find being comfortable in this world. This must be why the apostle Peter encouraged the Christians of Asia Minor to live out their lives as “foreigners” (1 Pet 1.17).
But the biggest struggle I have is the regret. The more I come to know the life of Jesus and this life called for in the scriptures, the more I realize how counter-culture my living and preaching must become. Sometimes I almost wish I did not know what I do now know (the regret) because then the path of discipleship would be so much easier.
And there it is… The truth comes out. I want salvation, I want hope, I want the comfort of knowing that God’s Spirit dwells within me, and I want it all without the radical cost of discipleship. I want all the perks of being a Christian without the struggle of true discipleship.
“Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8.34, TNIV).