Old-Man FootBall And The Gospel Of The Kingdom
In September of 2012 The University Of Missouri a.k.a Mizzou, played their first football game as a member of The SEC or Southeastern Conference. Prior to the game one of the Mizzou football players made the comment that he thought Georgia played ‘Old Man Football’. That comment was meant to say that the way Georgia played was ‘old school’ and out-dated. On other words we (Mizzou) is coming to show you how to play young man football. It was a bold statement that in the end after Georgia won 41-20, proved that there are some things you don’t change, and be careful what you say.
We have to be able to back up our words, especially when we are using scripture to defend our stance on an issue. I use football as an example because so many here in America follow it. It is really an American Passion. Coaches and players are always looking for new and more effective ways to score points, defend the run, or defend the pass or just win more football games. At the end of the day there is only so much any team can do. When someone makes a statement like ‘old man football’ it can actually infuriate the opponent.
We are likewise looking to make sure we get the gospel message out more effectively and reach as many people as possible. We pray and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Many people now a days strategize, and study statistics, and do all sorts of creative things with little or no results. Often when there are great results and lives are changed then there is poor discipleship, or now grounding and rooting in the true word.
We hear someone say ‘Old-fashioned preaching’ or ‘old-fashioned gospel’ and we think that sounds outdated. While I agree we sometimes have to gain fresh approaches, we cannot change the fundamental message of the gospel. We first need anointed, Holy Spirit-filled and led preaching, We don’t see altar calls or people crying out because of their sinful nature and God to have mercy. God so wants to love on His people more than they realize. While it is good for fresh ideas, and trying different methods, but make sure it is Holy Spirit inspired and led.
Folks, that is not old man nor old school, that is just plain Biblical truth. If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. The problem really is we try to do something new to appeal to a younger audience because we see that we are losing people. It’s not about numbers, it’s about one life at a time. Part of my heritage is Baptist and part is Pentecostal Holiness. In both of those arenas I grew up remembering how the gospel was presented, It often turned me away because while I understood my sinful ways I wasn’t given a clear picture of the gospel because what was presented was an angry God. Not a loving Father in Heaven who desired a relationship, wanted me to be completely free and healed, and walking in my destiny. For the most part most Sunday sermons were evangelical in nature. While not a bad thing there really was no impartation of how much of the love and delight God has for His people.
Clearly we must preach the full truth of the gospel with a balance that God delights in us. There has to be a balance between repentance and that whole state of sorrowfulness, and the joy at knowing God delights in us. So really the ‘old-time’ religion is not what we experienced in the 60’s and 70’s or other decades for many, but the gospel presented in the Gospels and in The Acts narratives. Jesus came to represent the Father, and The Judge, and He came as a bridegroom seeking a bride.
That presentation of the Gospel of The Kingdom was brought forth in the Apostles in the early chapters of Acts. Peter talked about repenting to experience seasons of refreshing, (Acts 3:19). Even the prophets of the Old Testament understood the purpose of the law and their job was to point the people to God’s heart. But, they always sought an idol here or there, Paul’s writings demonstrate to the various churches how much the Father loved them and why He sent Jesus, so that they could live victorious. Paul never compromised the gospel.
While it’s good and often necessary to change the way we are doing things it must be led by the Holy Spirit and birthed out of prayer. Prayer is that relational aspect. Intimacy with the Father. Son and Holy Spirit will bring forth the plans we need to ‘make disciples, and take new territory.’ Old fashioned preaching that presented the true ‘heart of the Father’, is what worked then. The intimacy and prayer life and time in the word equates with the practice and exercise and diet of the football team.
The final aspect is that it is a team effort, not an individual. We are now moving back into the team ministry platform as was the way the early church practiced ‘old man religion’. The day of the one man show or the platform superstar is waning and thus the team ministry including Biblically ordained and mandated from Heaven five-fold minsters.
So, before we discount things of the past entirely let us be sure we are only throwing out those aspects that did not line up with our Biblical model, and make sure we have sought heaven’s heart on the matter. Let us be led by the Spirit and ask God for wisdom according to James 1:5, “ if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given Him. 6- But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Father I pray you give us each one wisdom in how to present the full gospel with the Your Heart, in Jesus’ name.