God can't clean the house of you when you're still in it.
--Anne Lamott

The evidence for Jesus' resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.
--Wolfhart Pannenberg

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Jesus doesn’t do moderation very well. The religious leaders of his day accused him of being a drunkard. That’s because he practiced such radical forgiveness, that he was willing to eat with the dregs of society. He didn’t just forgive the morally decent, he forgave the least (worst) of these.

This Wednesday we talked about the bold prayer we get to make as a part of the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” That’s a radical statement to make to Creator of the universe. We come to God and we simply ask him to forgive us. We boldly ask him to forgive us. And he does! Without condition, God forgives us. It is complete, eternal, deep-down forgiveness. Not because we have earned it, but because that is how Jesus works.

Jesus also isn’t moderate in his expectations of us. He tells us stories about “counting the cost” before signing up to follow him. In exchange for his forgiveness, he simply wants everything that we have. He warns us that no one can serve two masters, and anyone who starts plowing a field and looks back might as well not begin in the first place. Here’s what C.S. Lewis says about it in Mere Christianity:

Christ says, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think are innocent as well as the ones you think are wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself: my own will shall become yours."

Today, on Challenge Sunday, we’re going to ask you to do the same. We’re going to challenge you to give more of yourself this year than ever before. And we’ll do so unapologetically. We’re going to challenge you to get back to basics. To build your house on a foundation that will withstand rough times. God goes all out in forgiving us. He asks us to do the same in serving Him.
Robert Lee