The title for this article might sound harsh or even downright wrong to you, but I did that on purpose. Let me start by saying this:

Yes, Christianity is all about forgiveness, acceptance, and excitement about Jesus, but that shouldn't cost losing the rest of the Message.

If you're like me and have grown up in church you hear those three things (forgiveness, acceptance, and being "fired up" about the Gospel) preached in every which way imaginable. Just to be clear, I am not calling out any one denomination because I have been to at least four in the last three years that and have heard variations the same feel-good sermon (or should I say pep rally) over and over.

Is that all there is to the Gospel? The short answer is no. It's not that these things are not great or worthy of preaching about, but the fact is that they are "safe" topics that will keep people coming to church and leaving feeling good about themselves.

Our modern Church seems to be more interested in cranking out Christians than cultivating Christ followers.

The term Christian has become more of an identity than a way to live. Christianity would be pretty easy if it were just being nice and accepting and maybe slipping the word Jesus into conversation every now and then, but we are called to do more than this. Christianity shouldn't feel easy because it is an uphill battle against your own sinful nature. Yes, I just called you sinful. It's not "cool" to talk about sin at church, but it's the reason why being a Christian is hard.

Being a Christian means following Jesus. It means being different. It means going against every natural instinct you have and listening to that small voice you could easily ignore. It means being weird, boring, lame, you name it, but guess what? People thought Jesus was weird too. Follow Him and you won't be popular, but if you're a Christian it's not a suggestion; it's required. 1 John 2:6 says:

Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did. (NIV)

Living like Him does not involve being comfortable and passive. If you live like Jesus it won't be easy to be a Christian, but He will pick you up whenever you fall!

The whole Gospel is beautiful, don't settle for the diluted version.