Well, it's March Madness time and to get me in the mood for some basketball I may just watch one of my all-time favorite movies this week. If you like sports movies at all you can probably guess which one I'd watch during March Madness. That's right. Hoosiers. If you don't already know, the story of Hoosiers is about a small-town high-school basketball team that overcomes some big odds to win the state basketball championship (sorry for the spoiler). They are coached by Norman Dale, a character played by Gene Hackman, who himself has to overcome some past demons to lead the boys to high-school basketball's promised land.
There are many wonderful and inspiring scenes in Hoosiers and one of my favorites is the one where Gene Hackman's character takes the team to the big indoor arena where the championship game is to be played. The team had never played in anything bigger than small high-school gymnasiums before, so as the boys enter the cavernous facility they are understandably in awe. Seeing the impact that such a new experience is having on the boys, coach Dale takes them on to the court and has them take a couple of measurements—the distance from the free-throw line and the height of the basket—and predictably the measurements are exactly the same as those from their relatively tiny, home-town gym. If you have time watch the scene below:
The point that Hackman's character was making is crystal clear. The team shouldn't let the size of the facility, or the bigness of the moment, cause them to forget that they were going to be playing the same game they had always played, on the same sized court they had always played on, with the same fundamental rules they had always had to follow.
I was thinking about that scene last night when I considered what makes all of our churches in the CBBA the same: the gospel. No matter if your church looks like this...
...the gospel message is the same. And each church should be loudly and clearly proclaiming that same message, for the gospel is not only our message that saves us, but it is also the message that sustains us.
I'm currently teaching a nine-week series on the marks of a healthy church in one of our churches on Sunday nights, and the first three weeks we've focused on 1) the importance of text-based preaching, 2) the importance of preaching the whole counsel of God, and 3) the importance of being gospel-centered. They are all tied together, for the only way to be gospel-centered is to preach from the text of the Scriptures, and indeed all the Scripture (the whole counsel of God) points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't buy into some who tell you to unhitch from the Old Testament for doing so would be like trying to win a basketball championship while only staying in one half of the court.
So no matter what circumstances and changes our churches face, we must preach the same message we've always preached, from the same Book we've always preached from, about the same Savior we've always proclaimed because He is the only hope for mankind.
As always let me know if there is any way that I can serve you and your churches as you carry out the Great Commission.