This article is based on an address Chris Stefanick gave at the SEEK conference.
Christian Simplicity: Christianity Is Not Complicated
You know what I so love about the Christian life?
Well, one of many things, is there’s a simplicity to it. You don’t have to climb some mountain top somewhere to hum all day to kind of get it. There’s a simplicity.
I mean, God wouldn’t have created us and then say, “I’m calling you to holiness, good luck figuring out how to do that.”
The word disciple and discipline, they have the same root. You just need to be disciplined about a couple of simple things, like with any relationship.
Because like any relationship, the emotional high is not going to carry you through. And a vast majority of people who stopped practicing their faith, they didn’t describe the process, according to one survey, as a decided break, but as a fading away.
Just look at a relationship which you don’t nurture in the simple ways every day.
You have to spend time in prayer. When you mess up, you got to deal with it, go to confession.
And by the way, if stuff happened to you, if you have wounds in your heart, remember scar tissue is the strongest tissue in your body.
The same is true of your soul. Face those wounds and let them heal. Talk to people, go to counseling, do what you got to do to deal with it.
So you got to pray. You got to deal with your sins, and woundedness, and brokenness. You have to have authentic community.
Along those lines, I want you to find somebody who you can consider an accountability partner. I have a small group of guys that I meet with on a regular basis.
We literally go to confession to each other. It’s a painful coffee.
And we say, okay, I’m going to hold you accountable for the thing we just talked about, and how you’re going to improve this month. We need each other to grow strong. That’s why God made so many of us. Amen?
Christian Simplicity: It’s Simple, But Not Small
We have to spend time in prayer. We have to deal with our stuff, our junk. We have to have real accountability with others. We have to be committed to being missionary. To waking up every day, and instead of thinking, how is life going to happen to me today? We get up and say, how is God calling me to happen to life today? Amen.
Enough with this small thinking. Enough, Christians, enough of the smallness. Look, I know some people are kind of afraid to go home.
You remember yesterday. The time in your life before this God experience. My Joey, he’s nine now. When he was seven, he was incessantly asking me questions about when I was his age. He wanted to make sure he was in the right path to become like me when he’s my age, I guess.
He’s like, “Dad when you were seven, was your favorite color blue”? I’m like, “yeah”. He’s like, “yes”. “Did you play Ninjas”? I’m like, “yeah, dude, I am one”. “Awesome”. “Did you kill squirrels when you were seven”? I’m like, “Joey, you killed a squirrel? Never mind”.
One day he looks at me, he’s trying to wrap his head around memory. He’s like, “Dad, how do you remember when you were seven”? I go, “I don’t know, Joey, how do you remember yesterday”? And he goes, “I don’t remember yesterday”.
Christians, you have a right to forget about yesterday. You’re not going home to yesterday. Yesterday’s gone. God is a God of today. God is a God of now.
In the words of Mother Teresa, “yesterday’s gone tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin”.
In the words of St. Paul who used to like to kill Christians, he hunted them down to have them killed. He ended up writing most of the New Testament. You think God was inserting a little message in there for us? Yeah, me too. He said, “anyone in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone”.
The old is gone.
We think too small.
We pray too small.
You are not small, Christian. God, the maker of the universe is within you.
The universe can’t contain God, but he’s made his throne in your heart.
You are not small.
Christian Simplicity: You Aren’t Alone
Elisha the Prophet was surrounded by an army that wanted to kill him, and his assistant came out to him, he’s terrified.
And Elisha prayed, “God, open his eyes.”
And the guy turned around and saw an entire army revealed in the hillside behind him. There’s an invisible army at your side. And you might be going home to dysfunction in your family, or challenges, or temptations, but there’s an invisible army behind you, an army of angels and saints cheering you on.
The living God within you, and the living church around you to build you up. That’s worth cheering for. Fear has no right being in your heart.
God is sending you forth.
But not alone. Check this out.
When he sent forth his apostles, and these words apply to us in a very real way right now. Oh man, we have something so beautiful, too beautiful to keep to ourselves. I love Jesus. When he was talking to his apostles, his eyes must have lit up when he said this.
He said, “eyes have longed to see what you see, and ears have longed to hear what you hear”.
You guys are the recipients of the best news in history.
And these entrusting it to you to share with the world.
From the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus came and said to them, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.
My brothers and sisters, two thirds of God’s name is go.
Y’all might be excited about this, and so am I.
And God is excited about unleashing you on this world.