I enjoyed the introduction titled "Someone Worth Losing Everything For." The author proposes, "We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central mes- sage of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves" (Platt, 7). I find it so interesting that our youth ministry, while going through the Gospel of Luke - and specifically through the portion of the Sermon on the Plain, keeps on coming back to this idea of a radical faith. It seems to me that the Spirit is saying similar things to several within the church. The author goes on to suggest, "Ultimately, Jesus was calling them to abandon themselves. They were leaving certainty for uncertainty, safety for danger, self-preservation for self-denunciation. In a world that prizes promoting oneself, they were following a teacher who told them to crucify themselves. And history tells us the result. Almost all of them would lose their lives because they responded to his invitation" (12).
I kept on thinking about the words of the bible which read, And [Jesus] said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:23-27, ESV).
There is something in my heart that so resonates with the Simple Church model of focusing on worship, discipleship, and evangelism. I can imagine a church that solely is committed to connecting people to the love of Christ, the life of the church, and the need of the world. I sometimes wonder if we as leadership are guilty of wanting so badly for people to stay true to the church that we inadvertently keep them busy within the confines of our cathedrals. They are so caught up in ministry to the church that they have little time to actually be the church. What if we simply called our people to find one need in the community to meet? Whether it be coaching their child's baseball team, visiting the prison, volunteering at the retirement community, running for office, or praying with those at pregnancy resource centers. What if we spent less time creating outreach opportunities and rather just made our people aware of existing ministries? What if we invested as much time in scattering the church as we do as gathering them together? Our ministries ought to be primarily felt in the marketplace. That is a radical and revolutionary thought.
Official Book Description: It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU? In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus. Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
About the Author: David Platt is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a 4,000-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Widely regarded as an exceptional expositor, David has traveled and taught around the world. He holds two undergraduate and three advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. David and his wife, Heather, are the parents of Caleb and Joshua, and are in the process of adopting a third child.