by J. Gerald Harris

The Cost of Discipleship
Gerald J. Harris
Luke 9:23

Perhaps you heard about this elderly woman who lived way back in the hills of North Carolina, and she operated a little old country store. This store had everything from feather pillows to horse collars, and everything from Cloverene salve to lye soap. It just so happened that this old store had a creek that ran behind it. It was just a tiny creek, and there were not fish in it.

But one day an old farmer came by and saw the dear old woman sitting at the back of the store with a fishing pole in her hand, and the cork was floating on top of that little creek. The old farmer said, ''Aunt Lizzie, what do you think you're doing? There are no fish in that creek.''

She said, ''I know better than anybody that there are no fish in that creek, but it's just so convenient.''

I tell you, we have played the devil by stressing the wrong thing in the church. We have stressed convenience over commitment. We have emphasized comfort over Calvary, and desire over discipline, ease over enthusiasm, fellowship over faithfulness; and seeker sensitivity over surrender.

A cartoon showed a church building with a large billboard In front that proclaimed: ''The Lite Church: 24% fewer commitments, home of the 7.5% tithes, 15 minutes sermons, 45 minute worship services; we have only 8 commandments - your choice. We use just 3 spiritual laws and have an 800-year millennium. Everything you've wanted in a church… and less.''

Sadly, there is more truth than fiction in that cartoon! Many churches are lowering the commitment level to attract attenders. In an effort to make Christianity palatable to our soft, self-centered generation, many have preached a diluted message that sidesteps the issue of sin, eliminates the demands of the cross, and overlooks the need for conviction and repentance.

In an effort to make our message ''relevant,'' we have ended up preaching ''another gospel'' that is no gospel at all. We have preached ...

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