Get back to basics!

Steelers defense

Hello friends,

As I was browsing through my RSS feed this morning and reading all the blogs worthy of my attention, I noticed not one, not two, but three posts that used football and sports as their illustration. I don't want to miss out on that bandwagon!


It was rumored that legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll pulled the team aside after a fairly nasty loss (Thursday night anyone?) and informed them that they were going to spend their practice time in the coming weeks to focus on basics. They would spend time blocking. They would spend time tackling. They would spend time doing that which at this particular point of the season felt silly, but all the same were the building blocks of any kind of success they might come across. WIthout the basics, the more advanced stuff doesn't make any sense at all. 


I'm thinking about this as we're about to ramp up another year of ministry, and wondering what the basic elements of a solid youth ministry are. What are the things that would matter even if you stripped away the fancy programs, well researched curriculums, and beautiful looking powerpoint shows? What are the things without which your whole ministry would collapse? 


What follows seems obvious, which is why it's so very important to give it our full attention: 

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (Matthew 22:34-36)


In other words, "Hey Jesus, what does blocking and tackling look like in a spiritual world?" 


Jesus' answer is astoundingly simple and unrelentingly complex all at the same time: 

"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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)


I'd actually like to spend the better part of this week thinking about this and focusing on this here at the J-Blog, but a few questions jump out at me from the start: 


Before we begin this season of ministry to others, how is your relationship with God? 


How much of your work week is dedicated to improving your relationship with God so that you can improve other's relationship with God? 


How much of your work week is dedicated to prayer, dedicated towards communication with the Father? 


How do we show other people what loving the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind looks like? 


Who is our neighbor? 


Who are our kids neighbors? 


So like I said, I think we're going to spend a good part of this week at the J-Blog looking at this. But before we do, may I encourage you to read over this passage each day? Whether you follow what goes on the Blog this week or not, I think this is a fantastic passage to read before we launch any ministries for the year. And because it seems so obvious to us, because the meaning is already assumed by most people, that's all the more reason to pour over this text and beg it to speak clear and new meaning into our lives. A living and active word will do that to you!


More thoughts later!