Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Back to basics

At the end of each year I go back to basics to make sure I haven't wandered from the truth of what I believe.  Part of the basics for me is reading certain passages of scripture to recalibrate, to focus once more on what is essential.

Years ago Vince Lombardi did the same thing after a bad loss to an opponent.  He began his speech to his team with these famous words, "Gentlemen, this is a football."

We have to constantly revisit basics because, without meaning to do so, we wander from truth and the main messages of scripture. Back to basics for me involve rereading Ecclesiastes, Romans, Philippians, a passage from Mark 12 and a passage in Luke 6.  There is much more that will refocus me, but these are the essentials.

This morning let me focus on the passage in Mark because it is the most important, the essential truth of living in this world.  Here it is,

Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

This is the heart of the Christian life.  If I don't get this right then nothing else will work as it should either.  First, love God.  Next, love others.  If this was all I did (and did it well) I would live out the Christian life well.

There is no other faith on planet earth that has this as its starting place....a God of love inviting that lifestyle as the way to please him.  Imagine that.  Loving God and loving others is the core of the Christian faith.  If you do those well then you have got the basics.

In a world where war, fear, death and anger rage there is a people who live out a message of love.  

Although it isn't flashy or news worthy it is the only thing that will change lives, that will change the world.  

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