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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The simple life

I like simple things.   
Watching the sunset on a beach.
Having dinner with friends.
Taking a long walk with Debbie. 
Isn’t it true that it’s in the simple things of life that we find the most joy! 
God is calling us to keep our faith “simple.”  As in not complex, not complicated and not busy. 
God desires that we have time to walk and talk with Him.  To love Him. 
God desires that we have time to walk and talk with others.  To love people. 
God desires that we have time to reach out to others.  To serve others. 
That’s our mission.  That’s our goal. 
We desire to love God thru shared worship and instruction. 
We desire to love others thru involvement in a small group. 
We desire to serve others thru ministry. 
Living the Christian faith is more than “bringing people to church.”  Living the Christian faith is “taking the church to people.”  Being the followers of Christ He has called us to be.  
Howard Hendricks has written, “You can impress people at a distance; you can only impact them up close.  The general principle is this:  the closer the personal relationship, the greater the potential for impact.” 
We come to Christ in relationship.  We grow in Christ in relationship.  I mean, think about it for a second.  Who has had the greatest spiritual impact on your life?  Perhaps it was a college professor, a youth pastor, a friend, your spouse, or your parents.  Regardless of who it was, you had a relationship with that person. 
You knew that they cared about you.  You spent time together.  You gave them permission, formally or informally, to check up on you. 
We really do need each other.  That’s why the small groups shown in this issue are so important.  Where else can we really, truly and ultimately connect with others but in a setting where we consistently slow down and share each other’s burdens and laugh and cry and encourage one another?
Let me ask you a pointed, personal and perhaps irritating question.  Are we spending so much time “doing church” that we forget that we are to “be the church” to those around us? 
Perhaps Christ is calling us to simple Christianity.  Perhaps the “kiss theory” should come into play here (Keep It Simple Stupid).   
Our world and culture is so complex that people are longing, and yes searching for something that is going to simplify their lives.  The last thing they need is one more “busy thing to do.”   
Jesus knew this.  The religious leaders of his day had developed a religious system with 613 laws.  They chose the number 613 because that was how many separate letters were in the text containing the Ten Commandments.  Enter Jesus.  A man comes along and asks, “Which of the commandments is the greatest?”  And Jesus basically responds, “Love God and love people.”  Simple.   
We must continually ask ourselves, “Is what we are doing changing lives?”  While greatly appreciated, a lot of what we label “ministry” in the church is simply “busyness.”   
Is God calling us back to the simplicity of the gospel?  Of serving?  Helping?  Encouraging?  Relating?  Affirming?  Restoring?  Of loving God and loving people? 
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

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