Sunday, December 27, 2009


The Bible is written in ink. Everything else should be in pencil.

I say this because I found out something interesting on the way to the ball. People sometimes like to take what I say as gospel, as if it came off of Mount Sinai. For instance: Deliberate Simplicity. I wrote Deliberate Simplicity because I found the story of CTK to be virtuous and empowering. The priorities of CTK - Worship, Small Groups, Outreach - resonate with Jesus' prioritization: love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. I believe we have found great benefit in "keeping the main thing the main thing." But Deliberate Simplicity is an application of the word of God, not the word of God itself.

Jesus asked us to love each other. The primary way we have applied that principle is to organize into small groups for friendship, growth, encouragement and outreach. But small groups are not the only way in which we can love each other. They are "a" way, and a great way, but not the only way. It would be a mistake for us to make small groups out to be a command of Christ. They are an application of the command. I have a friend who is very well connected to other Christian friends. Her family and two to three other families regularly "hang out." They pray for each other. They encourage each other. They meet each other's needs. It is very practical and profound. They are carrying out the "one-anothers" of Scripture. It would be a mistake for me to require her to "get into a small group." In fact, it would miss the point entirely. The point of small groups is so that we do life together. They are doing that; perhaps so well that we all could learn something from them. Small groups are our primary method, but behind the emphasis on groups is a Biblical principle of relationships. It is the principle that is paramount, not the program.

The word of God is eternal. We run into problems when we try to make things that are not timeless, timeless. We run into problems when we take our program and try to make it the formula. Formulism is fundamentalism applied to practice. Remember, if we wrote it, it's in pencil.

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