Sunday, January 8, 2017

Back to the Basics

My favorite place is in a church. I anxiously await each church visit longing for the security, warmth and peace that envelops me like a warm blanket on a cold day.  Could certainly use that today with the temps at 14 degrees feeling like 7! My home church, First Baptist Chatsworth, is a beautiful building full of beautiful people who love on me and my family as if we are precious jewels. It is no wonder I started my 2017 at Sunday Worship. Will Linginfelter didn't disappoint. He inspired me through God's Word to get back to the basics. The following is my interpretation of his message: 

What do you think of when you hear "Back to the Basics"?

Do you think of a basic wardrobe? I would say basic clothes include black pants or skirt, khaki pants, something navy, a must-have white shirt and who doesn't own a pair of black shoes that goes with everything (I own four basic pairs of white Pumas with different colored stripes that I wear with just about everything). The key to making a basic wardrobe work for your style is the ability to mix and match.

The best basic biscuit recipe I've ever eaten or cooked was given to me by my friend Tony. The recipe has three basic ingredients; flour, butter and buttermilk. He says to knead and roll the dough precisely six times for the best biscuit. The other day I had an idea to knead the dough only once and see what happens. The biscuits didn't rise as high or taste as good. For best results, follow the recipe!

If asked what pops into your head when you hear the word basic, you might say reading, writing and arithmetic or the abc's. Army Basic Training is what I see in my mind. Everyone knows before you become a soldier, you must complete ten weeks of grueling combat and mental training. Many enlistees do not complete the course while others finish and exemplify the branch's slogan "Be All You Can Be!"

Our world accepts and encourages a lot of basics. Some basics are good, some bad, some are forgotten or worse, never known. The Bible explains the basic gospel in John 3:16. What Christian cannot recite the verse by heart? God's Word will never allow us to forget his gift to humanity for everlasting life. God's love for us is the basis for his gift. Jesus is the foundation of Christianity. The basic fact is you must believe in him.

After you become a Christian, what ARE the basics? The Bible has 66 books with 1189 chapters. So how you pick out the simple basics? Matthew 22:37-39 states Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' Two basic commandments that encompasses the entire gospel.

The basic wardrobe of Christianity is love. Can others see you have it on? Do you wear it? The gospel doesn't require a mix and match ability but a daily putting on of the body of Christ. The basic recipe of Christianity is love. Do you prepare it, eat it and serve it to others? For best results, you'll need three ingredients; The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The basic training of Christianity is love. Are you trained? Staying the course as a soldier in God's army takes more than ten weeks, it requires a lifetime of devotion and spiritual acuteness. There are enemies on every hand. Loving your neighbor as yourself WILL BE GRUELING at times. But, don't you want to be all you can be, all that Christ wants you to be? Our slogan - "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"!

Sometimes we have to look at where we came from to get to where we're going. This new year, let's all get back to the basics that rewarded us salvation and freedom. Get back to our first love, Jesus.

Determined to return,
The Happy Handicap