[ Reading :: Mark 8:34-38 ]

“whoever wants to lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the good news, will save it.”

Early in my life and calling to travel and preach i traveled with a name by the name of Stephen Manley. Stephen, or Dr. Manley as some call him. He is an amazing man of God and was in the Word, soaking up the scripture more than any person i have ever encountered, and you could tell. The name of his ministry was Cross Style Ministries.

Stephen’s observation was that that cross was not an event in the life of Jesus. But rather the cross was the way Jesus lived his life, his style if you will. The cross / the crucifixion was simply the culmination of the enter life and ministry of Jesus. You see Jesus was constantly thinking of others before he thought of himself, he was always looking out for the poor and needy before he was concerned about himself and his reputation, he was always laying his life down for the sake of the other. Each act of self-giving and sacrifice was Jesus living a particular style of life, a crossed style of life. When Jesus died on the cross it was simply the culmination of how he had been living all along, giving himself away, dying so that other could live, caring first for the needs of sicks and possessed and lastly about himself.

And in the midst of this life “style” Jesus was living he stands up and says, “pick up your cross and carry it daily.” At first thought this is a peculiar invitation or command (depending on how you look at it), especially since this is pre-crucifixion for Jesus. But when you think about how Jesus has been and is living his life it makes total sense.

Jesus was inviting this followers to live the same style of life he was living, a cross style kinda of life.

I think it’s in the desert where we choose contemplate how we have lived and examine our hearts and motives that we once again hear this invitation to die to ourselves and come alive through the power of the Holy Spirit. An invitation to let Jesus live his life through us, a crucified people, following a crucified God, showing the world how to live in crucified communities.

“Come, follow me.” Jesus invites. “And take up your crosses.”

? Are you living a cross style kind of life ?