I had the joy of speaking Friday in chapel for Roxboro Christian Academy. I taught High School Bible there for 2 1/2 years. It was a real joy in my life. I ended my time there a few weeks, at the end of the first semester. It was the best time to leave as our family prepares for the transition to Durham. They asked me to come back and speak for chapel on Friday. It was good to see the students one more time.
I brought a simple message about boasting only in the cross (Gal. 6:14). I talked a lot about how we like to focus on external “results” in ministry. It is in our human (fallen) nature to do so. Paul reminds the Galatians that what counts is a changed life; our only boasting should be in the cross of Christ. After all, anything we have to boast about in our life we owe to Jesus anyway! I am not the person I used to be, thanks to Him. I have not changed because I have such a strong will, or self-discipline. I am different because Jesus is working in me. I have learned that He is very patient!
This type of message was a little different than what these students often hear at home, church, Youth Group, and even a Christian School. I was glad for the opportunity once again to bring them to the Word. This is how I taught them each day, this is how I minister His Word as a Pastor. Perhaps thinking differently, outside the box if you will, is the way my mind works at times. Too often we get into our routines because we find comfort there. We find security in what is familiar to us. Some things in our Christian lives, Christian sub-culture, and our churches are rooted more in tradition than in the Scriptures. We Baptists pride ourselves in being “People of the Book”. Sadly, we tend to stand closer to our traditions than the Book!
It is refreshing to think outside the box sometimes. I didn’t grow up “in church”. I met Jesus when I was 20 years old. So many things cause me to ask “why this?” or “why that?” It is a healthy exercise to go back to the Book and see what is there. In fact, be sure to stay in the Book. We can think outside the box, examine our traditions, and follow Jesus as we study His Word. Whatever we do in this process, we must be sure to stay inside His Word. The way we do some ministry is different today than it was 50 years ago, or a hundred years ago. It is certainly different than it was 2000 years ago. What has not changed is the Word of God. We must stay faithful to it! So as we think outside the box, let’s be sure to stay within the Book.