Back to The Basics

Monday, March 07, 2016

Many years ago my mother-in-law contracted Meningitis. Her case was so severe that upon her recovery, she needed to re-learn many things she had learned as a child. The disease had taken away much of the abilities you and I think to be elementary. Thankfully, God made our brains to be incredibly complex and surprisingly resilient. Over the course of the year following her illness, she re-learned to read, write and calculate math. Then, once the basics were learned, she was inspired and went on to go back to school and accomplish much more than she had previously ever anticipated. If, following the Meningitis, she had jumped straight to higher education or had been distracted by gimmicks without much substance; she would have been lost, confused and discouraged. As with so many things in life, sometimes we need to go back to the basics in order to grow and receive a deeper understanding before we can move on to more advanced things.

I recently had an experience that caused me to take a second look at some of the things being taught in our churches today. I’ve noticed a trend to water down the Gospel or God Himself in order to attract the un-churched. Gimmicks and gadgets are becoming rampant and distracting from the full message of Christ. Now, I’m all for an updated church. Seriously. I love multimedia, modern worship music and speaking in a way that is relatable to people today. I don’t believe church should be boring. However, in our efforts to reach the people of today we must not lose our understanding that God is holy. I’ve got a growing feeling that we need to go back to the basics.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10

On my blog I write a lot about our relationship with Christ and His forgiveness, comfort and love. I share what it means to belong to Him and to experience the joy of being able to approach Him in a comfortable and personal way. That is a gift for which I am eternally grateful! Today, though, it has been impressed upon my heart to share something else. Yes, God is our Abba Father, our Daddy. He longs for a personal relationship with us. That in itself is amazing considering how great He is in comparison to you and me. God is our Comforter, Provider, Redeemer, and Savior. He is our Director, our Leader, our Teacher and our Friend. Ever constant, God is our Continuous Companion, our Shepherd, and the Giver of Life! He is the Creator of all there is! I could list so many names that belong to our Omnipotent God, but above and beyond each of them, He is God, Yahweh -- the Great I Am.

Have we, as a church, lost sight of that? Are we teaching only half of the truth? In an effort to share how God is approachable, have we forgotten to show Him the honor He deserves? To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… In our churches today, do we truly understand that when we come before Him, we stand before a holy God? That is the basic truth that seems to be overlooked recently and it is the question with which I am wrestling. I fear that if God’s holiness is overlooked the rest of the message will not be fully understood. I think it’s time that we, as a church, consider this question. I think it’s time we go back to the basics.

Serving a Holy God,
Joan

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28 comments

  1. I agree that the Gospel message is often watered down, and it saddens me because we will one day be accountable for the things we said in Jesus' name. Thank you for sharing on such an important topic. God bless.

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    1. Hi Abby! I'm sure we are not the only two who have experienced this...I am confident that God is working not only in our hearts but in the hearts of those in churches across the nation. I'm praying for distractions to be set aside so His message will be fully heard.

      Blessings, Joan

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  2. Amen Joan! I am learning to appreciate Almighty God. I truly never understood as a young believer nor took the time to worship Him. Since the stroke, I was humbled and realize my dependence on Him. Every day I am thankful for His love and blessed by His presence in my life. I now truly appreciate a ride to church and the opportunity to worship and learn more about who He is. My quiet times with him are enlightening too. Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post with us. May God continue to bless you and yours . Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thank you, Horace! It is a beautiful thing when learn to fully depend on Him. When we step back it allows the Holy Spirit to enter and do an incredible work in and around us.

      Blessings, Joan

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  3. My heart agrees dear Joan.
    We must NOT water down holy truths to become acceptable.
    I once heard a preacher say that other religions will not do this...their truth is their truth and they totally lose respect for Christians who give up so much of what God teaches to make the gospel seem more attractive. Reminds me of Jesus in the Temple seeing what it had become..... righteous anger ensued !!

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    1. Thanks for your input, Mary. I agree. We need to stay true to Christ's teachings and not follow the latest trend simply to become acceptable. There's nothing wrong with being modern, but not at the expense of the message.

      Blessings, Joan

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  4. Thanks for writing about this.

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    1. Hi Laura! It has been a subject that has been heavy on my heart lately. Praying for our churches today!

      Blessings, Joan

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  5. God is holy. Yes, Joan. So simple and yet complicated at the same time. Thanks for sharing this post at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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    1. I'm focusing on remembering that! Blessings, Kristin! Joan

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  6. I attended and ordination service for a friend recently and the advice he was given was this "Don't be afraid to try new things, but never take away from the gospel. The gospel is the focus but it's ok to use modern technology, etc. to reach people". I love most of the modern things we now do but I too have seen that the preaching of God's Word has been watered down. I agree with you when you say we must realize that when we stand before God, we stand before a holy God. I think holiness and righteousness get pushed to the side sometimes in our churches. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

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    1. Hi Renee! Yes, I don't think we have to avoid technology. I love it. But like the advice that was given to your friend, the Gospel needs to remain the focus. That's perfect! Thanks for stopping by!

      Blessings, Joan

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  7. Joan, thank you for the reminder to honour God's Word and not water down his standards. He is more than able to reach those who are earnestly seeking Him without us trying to make His message more palatable. I pray that your words encourage others as well.

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    1. Hi Marva! I love your perspective! Yes, God can and does do great things as we seek Him! We don't need to alter His message for Him to work. In fact, He works the best when we get out of the way!

      Blessings, Joan

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  8. Joan, I'm with you here, and I think that we as believers have a tendency to think that we've grown "beyond" the basics -- that the message of the gospel is for the unsaved. But we will never exhaust the riches of the mystery of Christ in us or the miracle of forgiveness that comes through His blood. What a sweet message you've given us as we careen into the Easter season!

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    1. You are so right. There is no end to God and His mysteries. I love that He has something new and fresh for us each time we look to Him and the Gospel. Thank you for your encouragement, Michele!

      Blessings, Joan

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  9. You are so right, Joan. We haven't been able to join a church since our move almost four years ago because of the watering down of the Gospel in the local churches here. We were questioned about this and since my husband is ordained and we are in the middle of ministries he can allow himself to put his "stamp of approval" on a church by joining it. We know the Lord moved us here for a reason and it is possible to start a church. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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    1. Hi Lori! I'm so sorry it has taken me a week to respond to your comment. I read it and was then going to reply and I don't know what happened! Yikes!

      How exciting to sense the possibility that you and your husband may be called to start a church! We have good friends who did that 30 years ago and continued until their retirement. They started in their home and then, God blessed the congregation and it has grown into a thriving, vital church body in southern California, bring the Good News to many! Blessings to you as you follow God's guidance!

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  10. Great post, Joan! We do need to be careful about watering down the gospel. We do serve a holy God who deserves our worship. He is also loving, kind and forgiving. May we give Him the praise He deserves and share His love with others. Blessings to you! I'm visiting from the TGI Saturdays Blog Hop.

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    1. Thanks, Gayl! That is my heart - to worship Him and to share His love with others! Blessings to you, Joan

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  11. Love your perspective. Found you at ThoughtfulThursday.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Trena! And, thanks for your encouragement!

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  12. This reminded me of a column I read where it referenced a star referring to God as "the man upstairs". I cringed at the label. It seemed flaky and incredibly disrespectful. I totally agree with you - we must honor God above all else. To truly understand all He has created, and why - these truths should never be watered down.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. Yes, God is so worthy of our honor and praise! I think the more we understand that the more incredible His gift of grace really is!

      Blessings, Joan

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  13. Great post! I'm in the UK and I also see that danger, that God's holiness is neglected. I think people have good intentions and want to let people know of God's love, but we do need to make sure we're not overlooking other things and watering down the gospel. Visiting from Weekend Whispers.

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    1. So true. I think it is a slippery slope - what starts out as good intentions to reach a wide group of people can sometimes slide into overlooking important truths. But, I believe that as we lean into God, He'll direct us as to how to show His love to all.

      Blessings, Joan

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  14. This is so true - and one of its greatest impacts is on the youth. My boys want meaningful truth - not game-filled Wednesday nights with such large crowds that there isn't meaningful connection. Good words, Joan!

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    1. Thanks! I'm finding that the simplest things have been the most meaningful to me. Blessings, Joan

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