As we begin this Lenten journey, I am reflecting on the message that Nichole Bullock, church planter in residence at Sanctuary and co-planter of Blue Oaks Covenant Church, gave at Sanctuary last Sunday. This reflection begins where Lent ends: at the cross.
Pastor Nichole was preaching on Hebrews 12:1-2, connecting how Advancing the Kingdom of God is deeply connected to suffering and sacrifice. The cross is our reminder that God loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity with us.
When we talk about bearing our crosses, we must remember that Jesus bore His cross for the sake of Advancing the Kingdom. Our "cross to bear" is not an annoying neighbor, a blemish on our face or troubles at work. When Christ calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him, we must remember that the cross is about suffering, sacrifice and even death.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:30-32 that to find our life, we must be first loose it. Just as a seed must die before it can become the plant contained inside (1 Corinthians 15:36).
There is a Kingdom to Advance and God calls us not to be comfortable, but to the cross. The cross is where we find reconciliation and restoration. We come to the cross broken to be transformed and changed. It's easy to get sucked into "the American Dream." But in following Jesus we must be willing to love as He did (dare I use the word sacrificial again?).
Suffering and sacrifice is uncomfortable to think about. It goes deeper than just giving up something for Lent. It brings us into alignment with Jesus.
If you want to find your life--the abundant life that Christ offers--look to the cross.