All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. –  2 Tim. 3:16-17

I went to Texas A&M as a freshman in 1987. That was completely my choice. My dad went to u.t., my mom went to Sam Houston, my older brother was at Texas Tech – I had no ties to A&M when I chose to go there and really not a lot of knowledge about the traditions of the school. But I found out really quick. It was kind of weird for me at first, because I had never used the word, “Howdy” before, and every person who passed me on campus as I walked to class greeted me that way, with conviction. And it wasn’t just that. Everyone wore maroon all the time, and there are all these rules, like, don’t walk on the grass around the student center, stand up throughout the entire football game, and at those games, there are yell leaders instead of cheerleaders. There are different hand motions to signal different “yells” and all 80,000 people in the stands know them. Students at Texas A&M are indoctrinated early to know, love, and participate in the many traditions of the school. Aggies are uniquely spirited and unified. Aggie spirit is so distinct that some who didn’t go to school there think it’s sort of like a cult. Aggies who don’t say, “Howdy,” have a closet full of maroon, or know the words of the yells at football games are what we call, “2-percenters.” They are 2-percenters because, as tradition goes, only about 2% of the 45,000+ member student body doesn’t embrace all things Aggie. They don’t fit the mold. They are kind of like quiet rebels on that campus. They appreciate their school and education, but, to be an Aggie, they don’t find it necessary to blindly follow the intensely-spirited crowd.

I loved being a student at Texas A&M University. I went to midnight yell practice, stood up throughout every football game, bought some maroon shirts, and even said, “Howdy” a couple of times.  I love the traditions. I also like 2-percenters.

We live in a culture of spiritual fandom. We are super fans of super Christians. Give us a good sermon. Give us a great worship band. Give us a good-looking, well-dressed person who is funny and who loves Jesus. GIve us a best-seller by the latest best-selling Christian author. We want to know what the people who we admire and who spend time in God’s Word say about things, but few want to take time getting to know God on our own. We’ll retweet those Christians we admire and who are vocal about God, but many of us find it difficult to say who God is and what He’s doing in our lives without their help. Many people struggle to express who God is to them, personally, because they don’t experience Him personally all that much.

Your faith can’t go very deep if you don’t let God teach you without the middle-man. Does God use books written by His people to grow us? Yes! Does He use the gifts of men and women today to challenge the church and to cause us to think more deeply? I sure hope so! There is no doubt that there is value in learning from others what God has taught them, but there simply is just no substitute for personal encounters with Christ. How do you have personal encounters with Christ? Where do you find the answers you need?  Read God’s Word. Will that make you a 2-percenter in your church and among your friends? Maybe. But it will also make you complete, and equipped for every good work.

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