OSAGE BEACH—Jim Shaddix notices that Jesus Christ employed an unusual tactic in his ministry.
“Jesus was always weeding people out of the crowd. I spend most of my ministry trying to encourage the crowd and getting the crowd to be larger,” said Shaddix, senior pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, Colo.
In his sermon to messengers at the annual meeting on Nov. 1, he noted that when Jesus told early believers to take up their cross, it was not a metaphor. They were well aware of painful death by crucifixion.
“What it means to have the gospel infiltrate your life is that you once and for all deny yourself and take up a life that is described as having no future in and of yourself, no future defined by your agenda, no future with your wants and desires,” he said.
A former professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Shaddix said he formed a Dead Preachers Society to help students understand that the most powerful preaching happens when a man is crucified to self. For most Americans, however, there is no real risk to being a Christian. He urged Missouri messengers to “reclaim the value of the gospel.”
“No more namby-pamby Christianity,” he said. “It must be that which defines our lives and defines our churches.”
Shaddix shared about a recent trip to minister at a prison. One of the inmates told Shaddix he enjoyed reading his book “The Passion Driven Sermon.” Shocked that a prisoner had read the book, Shaddix listened to the man’s testimony of how he was saved in jail, then because of his faith, confessed to committing murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He’s now leading a Bible study among inmates.
“He understood that the gospel demanded denying everything, whatever it cost,” Shaddix said. “I hope we don’t miss the willingness to say that nothing else matters when the gospel gets in my life. There is no comfort zone that I require, there is no plan I have, no agenda that is not defined by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Getting it right on what it means to die to self and live for Christ is essential for the next generation to have a chance, Shaddix said.
“The stakes are high, they are huge. Everything must be sacrificed on the altar for this gospel’s sake.”
SUSAN MIRES/contributing writer