"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels'" (Luke 9:23-26, NIV).
"Should the Church in politically or socially trying circumstances remain covert to avoid potential eradication by forces hostile to Christianity? Or would more open confrontation with prevailing spiritual ignorance and deprivation---even if it produced Christian martyrs---be more likely to lead to evangelistic breakthroughs?...Is it conceivable that Christianity's failure to thrive in the Muslim world is due to the notable absence of Christian martyrs? And can the Muslim community take seriously the claims of a Church in hiding?" (George Otis Jr.,The Last of the Giants, quoted by John Piper in Desiring God, p. 273).
Those quotes are haunting. Have we, the American church, become an unloving church? Do we not care about the souls of Muslims, gang members, and other hostile people? Have we become a cowardly church, not willing to take risks to reach such people? Have we become a distracted church, not realizing that we are wasting our efforts on relatively trivial matters?
Those are convicting thoughts, but I must wrestle with them. In order to honor my Savior, I am convinced that I must be a caring, courageous, and focused disciple of Christ. He deserves nothing less.