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"christianity should not be hard"

"Christianity should not be hard."

My very pregnant self had found a comfy spot on our couch early this morning in an effort to get a couple extra minutes of sleep when I heard these words above. Joyce Meyer was preaching and teaching on living a simple life. Context speaks volumes about what a sentence means so it's not really fair to pull this one sentence out.

But it's so unequivocally false.

Following Christ is difficult. Especially when I'm called to die to my selfish-me-first desires. And not just once in my life, but every moment of every day. Because they have a way of creeping back in. It's difficult when I'd prefer to worship security and safety instead of taking a scary risk to be in relationship with people unlike me. It's difficult when I'd rather lull myself into the wonderful notion that I've got the Christian life figured out instead of letting God into the deepest, darkest places of myself where I still call the shots.

Christianity is hard.

But like most things with Jesus, it holds that difficulty in tension with this profound, amazing and beautiful call to love and serve others. And that's where the real life is. Yes it may be difficult. Other times it's surprisingly easy and simple.

Let us acknowledge our journey with Christ is difficult and one of great joy. Because then we can truly welcome God into our lives in ways that will forever change us.


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By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

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I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

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We can't ignore the numbers. The United Methodist Church is in decline. Many ask, "Why do you stay? Denominations are useless these days."

But I face that reality with overwhelming hope and excitement. I see the Holy Spirit weaving its way through our current & new leadership in ways I've only dreamed of. A couple years ago, I thought about leaving. But I decided to ask some hard questions about why we're in decline. And that journey to the heart of the United Methodist movement has lit a fire in me to see it renewed.

Why I Stay...

1. Our faith is active. We get our hands and hearts dirty in service & relationships.
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