Advancing Back To The Basics

WORDS FROM W.W. August 30, 2010
In different venues and in different ways God has been hammering me- okay, how about “vividly teaching me”- about the ongoing need to return to the basics. I teach my basketball players that principle all the time. No matter what level of basketball you are playing at- junior high, high school, college, professional- there is always a need to work on the basics.”
When God reminds me of that in my personal life, my devotional life, my prayer life, and my life as a pastor it is a mixture of “stinging news” and “A…ha” moments. We tend to think we can say farewell to the basics, because we’ve matured and grown.
It seems that the bible is filled with examples of people who had to advance back to the basics. The Israelites had to learn some basic lessons over and over and over again. They seemed to be habitual forgetters about the basic truth that God is the Provider. When they whined about not having meat in their 40 year journey, God radared a flock of quail upon them. God reminded them so much of the fact that he provides that he told them that the quail would start coming out of their nostrils and thay they would loathe it (Numbers 12:20). The journey to the Promised Land was filled with getting back to the basics.
And Jesus’ disciples often had those “children’s story” moments as well. I love the story of the disciple’s discussion about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and Jesus takes them back to “Dick, Jane, and Sally’s primer lesson” on “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first…” (Mark 9:35)
Yesterday I was invited to attend an assembly at the middle school I’ve coached at for the past 8 years. The assembly was a presentation of “Rachel’s Challenge”, originating out of the shooting death of Rachel Scott at Columbine High 11 years ago. The students were attentive and engaged in the presentation, and I walked away realizing that “Rachel’s Challenge” is built upon five very basic principles that everyone knows, but forget to follow. Here they are:
• Look for the best in others- Eliminate prejudice.
• Dare to dream- Set goals
• Choose positive influences- Input determines output.
• Kind words and actions= huge results
• Start a chain reaction with family and friends.
Basic principles. They were presented with video and in a variety of ways, but they still came back to basic foundational truths. Not one of us would look at any one of those principles and disagree with any of them, but we are negligent quite often in living by them…even though we know how they important they are.
The people of God have a way of getting so ahead of themselves that we resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa- always in danger of tipping over.
Moving forward always requires that there is firm footing on the foundation. We never grow past that, and, in fact, growth and health is intimately connected to it.

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