In Tony Cochran's Agnes the title character, a precocious grade school girl, is talking to a friend and says, "I think I have discovered the source of all my problems. You see, all my life I have been told to think outside the box. So, just where is this box, and why are they trying so hard to keep us out?" Creativity has its place, but so do the basics. It does no good to be creative if we don't remember to pay attention to issues like purpose and mission.

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.