Monday, April 14, 2008

Mastering The Basics

Committed to the Basics: Part 1

Everything in our lives begins with basics. Basics are those fundamentals that we must learn and master before we can grow and have success. School children in kindergarten learn the basics of the Alphabet and Numbers because reading and math are dependent on them. Without mastering of the basics the ABC’s and the 123’s there is no hope that the child will learn to read and write or add and subtract.

The same is true for us as we follow Jesus. If we want to be the type of people, and and thus the Church, that God wants us to be, then we have to commit ourselves to the basics of what it means to follow Jesus. I want you to think about this question: What are the basics you are committed to?

There is a legend about the great football coach Vince Lombardi that dates back to the early sixties when he took over the reigns of the Green Bay Packers. The Packer franchise was struggling—the team had been losing for almost ten straight years. They were on the bottom of the league standings, and team morale was sagging.

Into this dismal situation comes Vince Lombardi, the new coach. He had been given the challenge of turning the franchise around. He was all pumped up and excited about turning the team around, so he began meeting with the team, leading practices, training, motivating, and doing all he could to inspire his players. At one point during a practice he got so frustrated with the players that he blew his whistle and said, “Everybody stop and gather round.” He said, “This isn’t working, either I’m not training you right or you’re not getting it. IN either case, what we’re doing is not working.” Then he knelt down, picked up the pigskin, and said, “Let’s start at the beginning. This is a football.” One guy said, “Slow down, coach, you’re losing me,” But Lombardi persisted with his course of action, saying, “This is a football, and these are yard markers, and that's the goal post, and I’m the coach, and you’re the players.” He went on in the most elementary of ways to explain the basics of football. History tells us that from that point in time the whole direction of the Green Bay Packers turned around.

The moral of the story is that when we are struggling, in whatever area of life it might be, we need to return to the basics to make sure we have those down. We cannot have success in life, and that includes following Jesus, if are not doing the basics.

It is no secret that the Church in the United States is struggling. This struggle can be seen in the decline of weekly church attendance as well as a decline in giving. Most of all It is seen the diminishing impact the Church has on the culture. The Church no longer has a respected place in the hearts and minds of the people of the United States (really the western world).

So what are the basics that we should be focused on? What should our church families look like and what disciplines should define our lives? We find four basic actions in Acts 2:42 that we should expect and be committed to if we are going to live out the potential God has blessed us with. 42 They continually devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer (ISV).

If we are going to influence the culture in which we live and make a difference for the Kingdom of God it is going to start by adding these for elementary principles to our lives and church families. WIthout a return to the basic we will continue to struggle as our influence in the culture diminishes.

  • Point to Ponder: We cannot have success in life, and that includes following Jesus, if are not doing the basics.
  • Passage to Remember: Acts 2:42
  • Question to Consider: What are the basics that you are committed to?

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