Keep It Simple

 

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For the past number of years there has been an increasing trend toward minimalism. This has influenced architecture, interior design, wardrobes and even coffee shops. There is an emphasis on quality over quantity. Many are agreeing that simplicity is attractive and that, “less is more”.

I recently heard about a coffee shop that not only prided itself in serving great coffee, but also chose not to make cream and sugar available to customers. After all, why present the option of ruining the perfect cup of coffee? This only makes sense to those deemed, “coffee purists”.

I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t been influenced by the, “less is more” camp. I would rather pay more money for a quality, timeless peace of clothing that I’ll wear for years to come than purchase a whole bunch of cheap pieces that will need to be replaced way too often. When traveling, it feels good to pack light and only take that which is essential. But also, as I’ve thought about the popular movement toward simplicity, I have started to see how this type of thinking parallels that of the Kingdom.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote to them partly in response to false teachers who had tried to dissuade the church from Paul’s pure and simple teaching of Christ’s Gospel. In Paul’s zeal for the simplicity of the good news he wrote, “But I am afraid that , as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

That God the Father sent Jesus the Son to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God is simply the best news that the world could ever hear! The Gospel is so pure, so simple, yet so powerful. It needs nothing added to it, and may we never subtract anything from it. It is, “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” (Colossians 1:26). 

The Gospel doesn’t require our crafted articulation or spectacular presentation. It works by itself. Paul knew this when he wrote, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

We live in a time when insight and revelation is abundant within the church. This is good, and I pray that it only increases. However, let us not allow a pressure to be profound distract us from the simplicity of the Gospel. May we continually fall in love with the best news the world has ever heard. And, may our response be a simple and pure devotion to Christ.

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Be The Answer

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A few months ago my wife Anna and I stopped at Freebirds for lunch on our way home from an appointment. The young man making our burritos seemed friendly, and I asked him if he had pain in his back. He said yes, and I told Him I believed God wanted to heal him. I asked if I could pray for him, and he replied, “what I really need is healing in my heart”. He proceeded to tell me that he’s been going through a difficult season emotionally. I told him that God could heal his back and his heart, and I prayed for him. He seemed to be touched, and asked if he could give me a hug. After giving him a hug, I gave him an info card for our church and invited him to visit us sometime. His name was Evan.

A couple weeks later I was speaking at our Sunday evening service and invited people forward for prayer at the end of the service. One of the first people who came up was a young man in a ball cap who with tears in his eyes said, “do you remember me?”. I said no, and he reminded me of our encounter at Freebirds. It was Evan. He told me that “something” told him he was suppose to visit our church that night, and he rode his bike to our church from the other side of San Antonio… in August! Evan began to tell me that the message spoke directly to him. I asked if he wanted to give his life to Jesus and he did, then and there.

I don’t remember a time when people seemed to be this open to the gospel. Perhaps it’s just a change in my own perspective, but it still stands – the people of our cities long for a relationship with God. Do they want religion? No. But, they do want to know their Creator and the reason why they were created. Jesus is the longing of every human heart, the “Desire of All Nations” (see Haggai 2:7). And I believe if we want to, we can play a part in seeing people find what they may have been searching for their entire lives.

At the end of Matthew 9, Jesus told His disciples to ask the Lord to send laborers into the harvest (see Matt.9:35-38). Matthew 10 then tells us that Jesus sent out His disciples with power to preach the gospel of the Kingdom (see Matt 10:1,7-8). It’s important that we pray for God to send people out to proclaim the good news. But, are we willing to be the answer to our own prayer?

I don’t believe that we’re all called to stand on the stages of the world and preach to thousands at a time. However, I do believe we’re called to represent Jesus to the ones He puts in front of us. Look for opportunities to demonstrate the love of God. Become the answer to someone’s prayer.

Happy Holidays!