Lane Mem. UMC Sermon—Conceptual Christianity

Good morning, my name’s Scott Bradford. As many of you may have heard by now, I’m from Bedford—about 30 miles that-a-way (point)—but I attend youth group here at Lane [Memorial United Methodist Church]. It’s a pleasure, as always, to be speaking to you this morning.

Those of you who were here when the Worship Team was performing their service may have heard my testimony about how I was ‘saved’—how, one day, it just really hit me that I needed God to help me. As I put it in that particular speech, “In that moment, everything that had gone on before faded away and I believed in God the father almighty, and I believed in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.”

Well, that’s true. In that moment, I did believe. But that was only the beginning of my faith journey. So, I guess you could call this sermon the sequel to my last one—oh, and those of you who were at Youth Sunday last year can rest assured, I will not be speaking about the Bee Gees this time around.

You see, it’s one thing to believe in God—the concept of him, the idea, the Sunday morning services, and so on—but it’s quite another to really do his will. Being a Conceptual Christian is an easy thing, and in the beginning that’s all I really was because I didn’t know any better. I had fallen into the myth that all it took to earn God’s favor was believing in Jesus.

I think a lot of people are the same way. We all know them—in fact, in all likelihood, we are them! These people live two lives; they have their life in church, which is all good and pure and religious, and then they have their life the rest of the week which is, perhaps, not quite so pure. I have to admit that I find myself at times lapsing in judgment and doing things that maybe God wouldn’t be so happy with.

That’s because I, like most everybody else I know, have a lot of trouble giving up control of my life. In a way, we are all Conceptual Christians.

But what God asks us to do is to be more than just Conceptual Christians; He asks us to be True Christians. He doesn’t want to be an idea in our heads, he wants to be the driving force in our hearts. He wants to be number-one in our very souls at all times, and that’s just where we should want him to be!

But, much like I was at the beginning of my Christianity, many of us don’t even have a clue where to start letting God into our hearts. For me, it started with little things. When my old Youth Group would volunteer at a soup kitchen, some of my fellow members would make fun of the homeless people who came through. Instead of joining in, I’d give those homeless people a smile and say, “Hello.” It’s a tiny gesture, but ones like it were God beginning to creep out of my head and into my heart.

From there, it spread like wildfire, because I had found what it was I needed to do. I figured out how to let God into my heart, and it was easier than I thought it would be.

It’s exactly what the last line of this Youth Sunday’s theme song, “Out Of My Head” by Left Lane Ends, says . . . ”I will my will to be Your will.” That’s what true followers of God should do. They will their will to be God’s will.

Faith isn’t just an idea in our head, and I don’t think we can get away with just believing that God exists. If we have a true faith, we won’t be able to NOT do his will. In the second chapter of James, it says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” The faith of a Conceptual Christian is not a true faith. To have true faith, we must bring God all the way into our hearts, and will our will to be his will.

Will you? Will you throw our everything the world has taught you and become a true follower of God? Will you try to become a True Christian instead of just a Conceptual one?  . . . Will you will your will to be God’s will?


Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.