A prominent American pastor tells the story of his life-changing moment on a train in New York. While having a conversation with 2 of his Christian friends, a stranger who heard that they were talking about church, approached him with a question: “Why are you a Christian?” After ten minutes of theological jargon, it was time for the stranger to leave the train. His response was simply, “Thanks for trying anyway.”
When it comes to being a Christian, we need to always go back to the basics. The more quick-fix books we read about church and Christianity, the more we are influenced by the opinions and approaches of specific people. Attending seminars that tell us what we should be doing to develop a healthy church or Christian lifestyle, side-tracks us. We then face the real danger of following the suggestions of people, rather than what God’s Word is saying.
Now don’t get me wrong! There are some amazing books, videos and seminars out there that are extremely helpful, but we need to be careful not to pay more homage to the messenger, than the One who sent him or her. And when we focus more on God, we will always approach anything from the perspective of the Cross. It all begins there! I cannot be arrogant, because I have been saved by grace. I cannot live in hate, because I serve a God who loves me so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross. I cannot look for answers about anything in life, without going back to basics – The Cross!
That is also the lesson that the pastor learnt from His experience on the train. Instead of trying to make himself look clever with His theological answers, he simply should have gone back to basics. Whether you are thinking of planting a church, writing that book, leading a life group, or being a witness to those around you, the only way that it will produce real fruit, is when you are authentic. And to do that, it all needs to begin at the foot of the Cross. Real growth can never be achieved with funky church buildings, contemporary worship songs, rock star preachers, or the best coffee experiences in the foyer. It cannot be replaced by a watered down message that people want to hear. Those things might attract the crowd, but it won’t produce any fruit if the foundation isn’t found at the foot of the Cross. Christ has to be the Cornerstone of everything!
It’s time for the world to see authenticity in the church. That is how we will move away from being a comfort-driven church, to becoming a Christ-driven church.
Have an amazing day!