Go Deeper with Andy B, as he talks about going back to basics.
Andy mentions supermarkets’ basic items ranges as he looks at how the word ‘basic’ means different things to different people.
He refers to the life of a character in the film called The 100-foot Journey, as a means of demonstrating how important it is to go back to basics at times.
He looks at John 3:16, default positions, roots, and more…
And, here we are, with another GoDeeper, as we look at Back to Basics.
Now basics can mean all sorts of things. If you are of a certain age, like me, and mid 40s, and you grew up in England, in the United Kingdom, the basics range might give you a bit of a weird twitch, as you remember a particular supermarket who had their basics range. It was, I'm not gonna say what it was, but it was very basics range in white boxes, and white packets, and white cartons. And it was very, very basic. And I had a friend in Manchester who worked their way through this particular supermarket chains range of these particular basic foods. And most of them were pretty much inedible. But, there are some real gems in there as well.
So, the word basics can mean different things. There's supermarket chains today, different ones, that have a basics range. And the basic principle, of a basic range, is it's cheaper, it's simpler.
Interestingly, through COVID, it's been observed, by those that watch these things, that the basic ranges of most of the main British supermarkets have gone up in price. So, the stuff that people would buy, for the, for a real, a bit of a generalisation here. But, generally speaking, the people who buy the basics ranges are people who have less money. And, what was observed is the basic ranges of foods have gone up in value. Whereas their exact equivalent, with the same ingredients, same everything else, have stayed the same. And sometimes the basics can get very confused. And we've seen the basics ranges of foodstuffs, in all the different supermarket chains in the UK, pretty much, going up in price when everything else hasn't.
So, basics can mean different things. And when we're talking about going Back to Basics, we're talking about going back to your roots.
Now, if we think about roots, it means different things as well. For me, personally, I grew up in a part of the West Midland conurbation, in the United Kingdom. It was called the Black Country because originally there was lots of coal mining, and heavy industry with soot and all sorts. That was where I grew up. That's my roots. But I don't go back to there to get back to my basics. Because the basics, that we're talking about, is about being a Christian. Basics can mean supermarket foods. And it can get very confused as we've seen with prices rising. But,we're talking about going Back to Basics.
What is your first love as a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Let me read a bit of Scripture. 1 Peter, chapter 3, verse 18. And I'm gonna jump backwards to verse 15.
"But Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit."
Now, John 3,16, is a very well known piece of scripture. But, that one I just read out from 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 18, is also similar. It is something of the gospel in a nutshell. And when we become a Christian, when we become a follower of Christ, a disciple of Jesus, things change. But, at that moment of deciding to make that decision to follow Jesus Christ, that's the, us, at the basic point. Everything's new. We don't know how to do this whole Christian thing. It's all new. So we're at the basics stage, of really simple stuff.
And, actually looking in scripture, this is mirrored, because new Christians, ii's great to have simple teaching. It's good to get your teeth stuck into stuff, too. But, it's also really good and, depending on who you speak to, someone will lead somebody into Salvation with Jesus Christ, and they'll have their particular book. It might be go and read the book of John. Or go an read this Psalm. Or go and read the book of Matthew. Or go and read Romans. And there are things that we point to. And the reason we point to them, is less about what's there, but I think more to do with what it means to us. Because, it helps us go back to our roots.
Now, verse 15, same chapter,
"But in your hearts, honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason, for the hope that is in you. Yet do it with gentleness and respect."
And part of being saved is about having to, it's that memory, it's remembering what it was to be first in love with Jesus Christ. So by getting back to our roots, by going back to basics, we can remember, and recall who we were and what changed for us. What was the contrast, the difference, when we first met Jesus Christ.
Now, personally, if I want to go back to basics, I go into the Bible, and I go to the very first verse, of the very first chapter, of the very first book, which says this.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
If you're getting confused with theology, and all this stuff that can go around . Eschatology and end time theology, and you're thinking what's that got to do with it, it can be good to reset. And, sometimes, that reset is as simple as going back, for me personally, anyway, to Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 1,
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
If life has thrown you some curveballs, and you're very confused by what is life right now, just remember that God made the heavens and the earth.
Now, I've lost my notes here. This is well scripted, isn't it? When am I going? Default positions!
One of the things that's interesting when you come to a hard time, is, we often default. We go to this original setting, almost. it's a bit like when you reboot your computer, because it's not working, or even your car. You can reset the computer, and it's not very good for a while, but it's gone Back to Basics to relearn, to re-remember, so to speak, what it's supposed to be doing. With a car, it's the Engine Control Unit. And it, sometimes, we can mess with things and it you can get confused. And, by resetting it, we're going Back to Basics and helping the car remember what it's supposed to do, and it can improve itself.
And as Christians, we can get so confused with all this theological stuff, we forget our first love. And our first love is that Jesus Christ died for you, and died for me, and He loves us. And the reason that's important is so that we can remember how to talk about our faith to the people that we meet.
Now, I've mentioned this before. Dr. Michael Brown, who's a brilliant preacher, and theologian, in the in the United States, he talks about his coming to faith journey. And how, when he came to faith, he had a friend. They came to faith at the same time, and they would read the Bible for hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours a day until they'd fall asleep. And he talks about the excitement of reading the scripture for the first time. 'Cos it was giving him life, and it was alive, and it was amazing. But he also talks about the fact that that isn't something you can sustain. It's good to keep onreading your Bible. But if you've got a family and you're reading your Bible 18 hours a day, yeah, that's great for your Bible knowledge. But, now, you're upsetting God because you're neglecting your family. So we need to hold these things in balance, and part of that is remembering where we came from, in Christ, remembering that Jesus loves us, which is why we can love others. If we don't forgive others, He won't forgive us. There's a direct correlation, a direct relationship between us, and God, us and Jesus, and how that affects who we are, what we are, where we going.
There's a film I personally, particularly, enjoy. It's called the 100 foot journey. It's based on a book and it's about the idea of these 2 opposing restaurants on different sides of the road. One is a very upmarket, classical, perfectly prepared, Michelin star restaurant. And across the road is, is a, is a family that have come in. Their heritage is Indian, so they prepare Indian food. And you've got this tension between classic French dishes, and Indian food. There's a great line where there's, it's said, "But we can't do French, we're not French, we're Indian." And they're remembering their roots.
But, in in the film, there's this one particular character who is this amazing chef, wonderfully gifted. He, he finds an opportunity. He goes off to Paris, and he learns how to be a chef. And he is at the top of his game. He's risen to the top. He's lonely, and he's sad, and he's depressed quite evidently.
And there's somebody in the food preparation area, long after everybody's gone home. I guess probably one of the cleaners you'd imagine at that time of night. And he's eating his food out of his little tub. And the smell grabs this Top Chef. And there's this lovely little dialogue, and 'Well my, my wife makes this' and 'it reminds you of home, doesn't it?' And as this Top Chef starts eating this really super simple food, all the basic flavours are there, and he's taken back home.
It's a very emotional moment of the film. And he comes back and it's all good at the end. But he's drawn back to basics. Yes, I can do all these amazing things, but what's my heritage? What's my culture, and that's really important.
And as Christians, what is our culture and our heritage? It's what Jesus did for us.
Let me flick to Matthew 28.
I've got a really good friend. His name's Andy Brown. He has a fantastic blog, Andy brown.org, which we'll link to for you. And he has done a wonderful series on the Great Commission, which it just opens up this piece of scripture really simply over 6 days of posts that he's been putting out. Blog posts.
But what's the Great Commission mean for us? Well, the great commission is part of our heritage. It's going back to basics. Why are we Christians? How do we be Christian? Well, you go back to your roots, and part of that is in here, Matthew chapter 28, verses 16 through 20.
"Now the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age".
As a Christian. As a follower of Christ, as a disciple of Jesus, this Great Commission is so important because it's the heritage of how, and who, and where, and what we do as Christians. Everything gets tied into this. Our reason for doing anything, why have we got a church service at 1030 in the morning? It's the Great Commission. Does it fit the Great Commission? No, dump it! Start again! This is the source. This is the basics. This is the root. This is the thing from which everything should feed. The whole of Scripture is important, but this is the start of it.
This is the point from which the church is sent out around the world. If you're not sure how to evangelise your friends. Or whether you should. Or maybe there's this theological pattern. Or you've read this book. Or that person says, 'you must follow this person', go Back to Basics and read Matthew 28.
You don't need any theological position. You don't need a book. And you don't need advice. You need to follow what Jesus said in Matthew 28, and share the gospel with the people that you meet.
Going Back to Basics, is remembering, is all about remembering why we are who we are. Jesus often, ofte, Jesus often referred to the church as being a bit like a marriage. So, He is the groom. We are the bride of Christ. That's a really good illustration, that's what Jesus used it. But, the point of this is, when we're thinking about falling in love, or any relationship to some degree, but certainly much more within the intimacy of a marriage. Jo, and I have been married for 25 years. The excitement, and the passion, and the zeal, and all that stuff. The kind of the bouncing up and down because I'm going to go and see my bride to be. That's really important, because if I didn't feel that way to her, why would I want to get married to somebody I don't like! But, actually, you can't sustain that level of excitement either.
So many years into marriage, so many marriages fail because they think, well, we don't love each other like we used to anymore and it's, it's died, and it's gone. No, it hasn't died and it hasn't gone! It's adapted. It's changed. It's evolved at some level. Because, you can't sustain that high level of energy, and passion, and zeal for 50 years. That is absolutely not the same as 'it gets dull and boring.
I can say at 25 years, I am more in love with Jo, and I am more in love with being married with Jo, than I was 25 years ago. It gets better, and better, and better. But, I'm also really glad that we haven't got that same level, of the kind of intensity of, we want to see each other and it's really amazing, and important. Because, it's quite tiring! It's important at the start. And one of the reasons why having a regular time with each other, is to remind each other of those early times. Because? You're going back to your roots. Going back to basics.
Why are we married? Well, we've got 3children, and Jo's got a job, and we've got a car to look after, and we've got to fill the log burner. And yeah. That's all part of life. But why do any of those things exist? Well they exist because Jo and I first, 25 years ago, got married. That's where it comes from. That's the source for our marriage. Well, as a Christian, it's Matthew 28, the Great Commission.
If as Christians, as leaders as churches, we're doing things, that have got nothing to do with drawing people to Christ, we need to stop them, get rid of them, and move on! Because anything we do as a Christian, should be, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That isn't the same as dumping your church service, because it's a bit tired. Sometimes, a little refresh can be all you need.
Interestingly, with COVID, what we saw was churches, for the most part in the UK, which is what I'm more able to talk about, do nothing, apart from 'When are we going to get back to normal?' And 'Oh, we don't like this!'. And 'We want to get back into the church.' And 'We want to get things the way they were'. And that's not going back to basics, that's clinging on to the past. That's very different!
Going back to basics is a very refreshing, liberating thing to do. To say, 'why are we doing this?' 'What is the real heart and passion and core of what we're doing?'
So, I'd encourage you go Back to Basics. Remember why you decided to follow Jesus. We've all got a story. There's always a point for some of us, we chose to follow Jesus. For me, I was 7. Jo was in her early 20s. My 3 sons were all 4, apart from Peter who was 3. There's a point at which that journey begins. And that's really important! Because when we're getting a bit tired, and life has given us a curveball, or lemons, or we're really struggling, go Back to Basics and remember why you followed Jesus, all those weeks, months or years ago, and it refreshes our soul.
Written by Andy B