A life cycle has some major components – the beginning of life, the middle, and the end.

In Christian theology, we speak about life cycles too – birth, living, death, and resurrection.

We believe that each disciple and follower of Jesus will experience each of these life stages.

And so will the church.  The church in the West appears to be moving towards the death stage – at least organizationally.  But changes are happening – good changes.  In a way, these are changes that are the fulfillment of death and resurrection.

Resurrection can only happen once there is death.  On Sunday, we heard Jesus tell us that if any would be his followers then they must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him.

The question is this – where are we following him to?  To death.  So that resurrection can happen.  New life.  Thriving life.  Life that looks far different from it does now or did before.

The reality is that it is easy to talk about this.  It’s easy to talk about death and resurrection.  But it’s not pleasant for people or churches to actually go through it.  It becomes real all of a sudden.  The talk hits us in the gut and we learn what this really means – significant change for our lives that impacts us directly.  We are creatures of habit.  We prefer the status quo.  It gives us a sense of control over our lives.  And yet, what Jesus offers is not the status quo.  It is a new normal.

That is what following Jesus is about – a new normal.  An uncomfortable newness.  But a newness that is much better.