K I S S

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Before preaching his first sermon a young preacher sought advice. A veteran preacher told him to always use the KISS principle. When asked to explain he said, “Keep It Simple Son.”

I think we make most things in life too complicated. I am learning that simplicity in a lot of cases become far more productive and enjoyable.

One suggestion being offered by some congressmen is that we need to simplify our income tax forms. It has become so complicated that most people now have to hire someone to fill out their tax forms. I like the idea of just a flat rate. I would suggest 10%!!

Even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has had some difficulties with his tax forms. He now has to amend twenty years of financial disclosure forms because he did not include some payments made to his wife, Virginia. The issue here was that Federal Judges are required to file forms that list the employees of their spouses. His explanation was that it resulted from a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.

When a Supreme Court Justice has a misunderstanding about instructions, it makes me feel a little better. To simplify the instructions and forms would be a great move forward.

Have you ever tried to call the listed telephone number on the IRS correspondence and go through what seems an endless series of prompts? Then you come to a question you can’t answer quickly and the call reverts to a busy signal and you have to start over. That tests a preacher’s patience!

I think we make church too complicated. A simple Biblical mission statement for a local church can be the guide to determine how resources are used, how the church is organized, and which ministries are legitimate for engagement. Complicated organizational charts, marketing strategies, accountability systems, etc. can easily be a waste of time.

After writing these thoughts I read an interview with Chris Hodges, Senior Pastor of Church of the Highlands, the fastest growing church in the nation. The church is 10 years old and has 13,500 worshippers each Sunday! When asked about the secret of the growth, Hodges answered “Keep it simple!”

Foot ball coaches work at keeping the schemes simple. Teachers work to make lessons simple enough for students to get. CEOs want business plans to be simple enough for employees to execute. Congregations want sermons that they can understand and put into practice.

One day Jesus was confronted by a person who thought he was asking a question that would require a very complicated answer. He wanted to know Jesus’ position on keeping the laws. (and there were hundreds of them) Jesus gave a simple answer by saying that if you keep two laws, you will be keeping all the laws. The first law is that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and the second law is to love your neighbor as yourself. Read Matthew 22:36-40. Its simple – not easy to do – but it is simple!

K I S S

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