Simple Faith

Stmarkdepere   -  

By Family Minister Brandon Steenbock

When I was about 18 or 19, I got frustrated with the complexity of life. I know. A young single guy really gets it, right? But work, relationships, and questions about where my life was going had me exhausted. And my room was a mess. Literally, I just had stuff everywhere. One day, I looked around and imagined that life would be better if I would throw everything away – rip the posters off the wall, give away the game systems, burn the books – and just have a mattress on the floor, a Bible, a notebook, and a pen. 

I tried it for a few weeks, throwing things away, putting stuff in boxes. Eventually, my room was clean and I felt better. I didn’t need a bare room, I just needed some simplicity. 

Maybe I was onto something. Not the idea of a bare room, but of simplifying. When life feels complex, take a step back, clean your room, and keep it simple. And your faith life is a great place to start. Obviously, to be a Christian is as simple as to trust in Jesus for salvation. Nothing more. But when it comes to what to “do,” I think there really are just three simple things: Read your Bible, go to worship, and be part of your community. 

Read Your Bible (at Home)

Did you know that if you read at an average speed, with about 15-20 minutes a day you can read the whole Bible in a year? Do you have 15 minutes? I usually add “at home” when I talk about this because I want the Bible to be the foundation of your home. If God’s Word is the foundation and the center even when it’s just you, or just you and your family, then it will guide everything else that happens outside the home. And it will make your home a spiritual fortress. But you can also read your Bible at work, at church, at Bible study, or at the coffee shop. But let it start at home. 

If you’re not sure where to start, I always encourage people to start with the Gospel of Mark. That’s a great place to get to know Jesus and his power. From there, here’s my suggested order:

  • Luke
  • Acts
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Matthew
  • Romans
  • John
  • Ephesians
  • Colossians

From there, you can go anywhere! Make sure to keep a highlighter and pen handy – make lots of notes as you read!

Worship with Other Believers

At the risk of saying, “Go to church!” I’m saying… Go to church. Attend worship. If you’re going to be part of a faith community – and you should be – then you need to be there when the community gathers. Worship is when the church gathers the most people the most often, so make it a priority. It’s where God speaks out of his Word and gives you gifts in the Sacraments. Making worship a regular rhythm is so important to finding the strength, joy, and peace God gives. 

Sometimes church can be hard. You might be uncomfortable or unsure of what to wear or what to do or afraid of what someone might do or say. Or maybe you just get too cold, too hot, or just plain uncomfortable with an hour of sitting. But If you’re willing to take a chance on that one hour a week, it will ground you, and will help you see that you are part of something bigger than yourself. 

So if this isn’t part of your rhythm already, give it a try. Dress comfortably. Take a notebook with you and take notes to help you focus and process. Plan to give it several weeks in a row to get into the habit. Let it become part of a new normal.

Engage with Your Community

Do you know which of your neighbors knows Jesus and which don’t? Do you know which of your neighbors could use a helping hand in their house or yard? Do you know which of your neighbors is single and lonely? 

One of the best things about Christians is that when they know these things, they naturally try to help. They lend a hand, they reach out with a plate of cookies, they invite their neighbors to church. But if you don’t know your neighbors, it’s hard to do those things. 

So, if you don’t know your neighbors, make a goal of it this spring and summer. Sit outside more, and put out a couple extra chairs. Invite your neighbors to come sit as they walk by. Bake cookies or pies and deliver them. Plan enough time to sit down in their home if they invite you in. Have a backyard fire and invite everyone over. Send your kids out with the lawnmower to offer to mow everyone’s yard.

Then look for opportunities to share the love of Jesus. They’ll be there. 

Keep it simple. Read your Bible. Go to worship. Love your neighbors.