I am currently on a journey that is questioning the American culture in which I live against its obvious contraindications to Scripture. Over the past 30 years, from time to time a light would breakthrough the darkness of my daily existence. I would hear once again the opening lines of a song I first heard during my early Christian life.
Lyrics: RUN TO THE BATTLE by Steve Camp (first two stanzas)
"Some people want to live
Within the sound of chapel bells
But I want to run a mission
A yard from the gates of hell"
"And with everyone you meet
I'll take them the gospel and share it well
And look around you as you hesitate
For another soul just fell, let's run to the battle
Run to the battle"
Once again I would lament on how my Christian life was not everything I had hoped it would be. I was not running to the battle. And I had a deep burning desire to do just that. But I was too busy excelling at my career, keeping my lawn perfectly manicured, and living my life in order to make other people happy. All the while, "another soul just fell" because my first priority was NOT being a Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Seeking the kingdom of God first, dying to self, and surrendering all. These burn a hole through my soul. It's all I want out of life.
Then several years ago, I read a book entitled Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt, who is now the President of the International Missions Board for the Southern Baptist Convention. The book confirmed some of what I had felt for years and convicted me of my life choice. I was learning this difference between Cultural Christianity and True Christianity. And then, life happened. A cancer diagnosis.
I would be challenged as never before with my own mortality knocking at the door ... a rare stage 4 terminal cancer with as little as 12 months to live. The silver lining was that my relationship with God deepened in ways I never could have imagined. Fast forwarding to today, only by the grace of God am I now 4.5 years post-op after a "Hail Mary" life extending "Mother of all surgeries".
How much extra time? I have gone from 12 months and "we'll keep you comfortable" to a strong possibility of 8-10 yrs in remission. After that ... well, me and the surgeon just took a "don't ask, don't tell" approach. But I keep up with the most recent clinical research data and I have a very good shot at 5 more years of life .... and maybe more if things are treatable again.
That said, reaching the half way milestone of disease free survival has given me pause. It is time to seriously consider how I want to use what may be the final years of my life on earth. While I would have preferred to never have cancer, I have chosen to look at it as a gift from God.
My life was going through the motions and now it is far more intentional. I have experienced more from life in the past 4 years than I had from the prior 48 years combined. I have now made a second choice. I choose to spend these final years of my life living as a Disciple of Jesus Christ, no matter the cost. I want to experience everything the Bible describes the Christian life should be! To do this, seeking the kingdom of God first, dying to self, and surrendering all has to move to the top of my To Do List.
This website and blog are part of this new season in my life. I will not be perfect at living out my new choice. I will make mistakes. I will get distracted. I will stumble. I will fall. But just like the Apostle Peter, the focus does not need to be on the momentary sinking into the water ... because Jesus is right there. My focus must be on having the faith to get out of the boat in the first place!
I have no idea of what God has lying ahead for me. I do know it will not be easy. I do know the enemy will object and toss obstacles into my path. I do not care. I have faced my mortality and am preparing to do so again. There is really not much down side for me. Not much to lose. Tossing caution to the wind, putting aside temporal common sense, and rejecting as much of the "American Dream" as I can muster, I am stepping out of the boat.
I welcome you to come along on what is sure to be a life changing journey. Just as I did in my 2013 Cancer Journal on Care Pages, I will do my best to be honest about the ups and downs and what God is teaching me.
What is cultural Christianity?