It is fun to try and simplify down to the bare essentials. The last post raised 3 essential questions: “Am I a good person? Am I living a good life? How can I know?” This week I take up the challenge of providing Christian answers as succinctly as possible. I am trying to end up with a differentiation of what is essential to the Christian faith vs. what is important within the Christian faith. Confusing what is important with what is essential is a substantial reason that Jesus followers dishonor their Lord’s prayer for unity while claiming they are just being faithful.
My latest draft of what is essential for a Christian faith to be lived and reproduced by urban professionals here in Houston. My challenge is to connect concepts with an actual community. Here goes!
3 Truth claims about life’s problem, provision and promise:
- What is wrong? Creation is at odds with Creator.
- What is the solution? Creator reconciled with creation by Jesus.
- What difference will it make? Creation will be renewed by Creator.
2 Identity markers for beginning and continuing as a Christian:
- Baptism declares our initial faith that Jesus is worthy of allegiance as Sovereign.
- Communion declares our continuing faith that Jesus is worthy of allegiance as Sovereign.
4 Step productivity cycle for Christ’s people:
- Treasure Christ as Life.
- Put Off anti-Christ ways of life among ourselves.
- Put On Christ-like ways of life among ourselves.
- Live Out Christ-like ways throughout the world
So what we are essentially telling people is:
- Own the problem: You are alienated from God and it matters.
- Trust the provision: Identify with Jesus through baptism and communion (and all that means).
- Live the Promise: Gather with others to intentionally grow in Christ-like living including sacrificial service and joyful hope.
That is enough tinkering for this week. I’ll be meeting with some locals tonight to keep honing the essentials of the Christian message to live and invite others to live. From that I will post an updated version, as well as some explanation about what is embedded in the super simplified phrases in this version.