Friday, July 28, 2006

My Answer

WOW! I don't know if I am supposed to be encouraged by all the answers to my question pertaining to misused verses, or discouraged. I'm encouraged so many folks participated, but I am somewhat discouraged that SO many verses are perceived to be used wrongly! And let me say right now........I think every person who answered had a verse that for sure has been abused in some way or the other. Isn't that sad? God forgive us!

Ok, I am going to cheat and give two verses. Hey, when I make up the game, I get to make the rules.......or change them! :) The thing is, I really believe these two verses have been the most least in our fellowship.

They both come from my favorite Gospel, John. The first is from John 3: 5. I have talked about this before on this blog. Any serious student of the Bible knows that baptism is part of God's plan for man. Jesus talks about it (which seals it for me), and I believe every convert in the book of Acts has a baptism experience. A person would have to be blind to think that baptism is NOT part of what a believer does. Having said that, I don't believe Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about baptism in John 3. Can we get a baptism lesson out of John 3? I think so.
But FOR YEARS we have preached that Jesus is teaching Nicodemus about baptism here. I think it was motivated by wanting to be able to show other denominations that salvation is not "faith only", so we found a verse that has "born of water and Spirit" to show baptism HAD to be a part of salvation. Why do I think Jesus is NOT talking to Nicodemus about New Testament regenerational baptism? Two reasons: A) Jesus had not even died yet, so how COULD he be encouraging Nicodemus to "contact the blood of Christ" via baptism? In other words, if Nicodemus had said "where is the water, I'm ready right now".......what was Jesus going to say. "Well ole buddy ole pal, you are going to have to wait a while.........I haven't died yet." C'mon. There is a sense of urgency in Jesus's talk with Nicodemus, and it would have been ludicrous for him to have told him he needed to do something.......then to have told him he was going to have to delay that commitment. B) Jesus was the master teacher, and when Nicodemus does not understand what Jesus is saying.............Jesus NEVER talks about baptism in his explanation about what he is teaching. NADA.....ZIP......ZERO. Not even a pitiful teacher would do that......let alone the teacher of ALL teachers. It just doesn't match up with who we know Jesus is. That is not his character. Was he coy at times in his teachings? Sure, but not to the honest seekers like Nicodemus. Jesus was that way to the folks who had wrong motives......aka the Pharisees. Some are saying: "Well David, what WAS Jesus trying to teach Nicodemus then?" I think he was teaching Nicodemus that there was a new game in town, that you weren't a child of God anymore JUST because of your pedigree.........being born a child of Abraham. God now wants people who want Him.............and that doesn't come from a birth-right, it comes from the heart. I believe the "born of water" is a physical birth in verse 5, hence followed up by "flesh gives birth to flesh" in verse 6. I wouldn't argue with anybody about that interpretation of those two verses.........I concede I could be wrong. But I do know this...........Jesus had not died on the cross yet, so THERE IS NO WAY he could have been talking to Nicodemus about needing to be "born of water" in the sense of what we teach happens in baptism. The Romans 6 sense: "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead throught the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." We have enough verses to teach baptism without using one out of context just because it helps us in a debate. God forgive us.

The second verse is John 4:24. "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth". I really believe this one is the MOST misused......the Nicodemus verses would come in second. A VERY DISTANT second. "Truth" has ALWAYS been defined as what position I hold on any particular doctrine. If I don't believe you can have a Family Life Center at your congregation, the scripture I will back that up with is you aren't "worshiping in spirit and truth". If you support orphans out of the budget, and my theology says you can't do are not "worshiping in spirit and truth". And we could go on and on and on and on...................and ON! Right? You name ANY disagreement, and I promise it will eventually fall under the "spirit and truth" category. What was Jesus saying? I love the way "The Message" has this verse: "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself.....Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration". Is that not powerful? And is that not a FAR CRY from the abused way we have used it? Why would we do that? To be RIGHT! Isn't that the bottom line.........we gotta be RIGHT.

So never mind we use a verse out of context, if it helps our argument. Hence the "water and the spirit" usage..........and the "spirit and truth" usage. God forgive us.

Thanks again for ALL of your participation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Most Abused Verse Ever

So..............what verse do you think has been the most misused, abused, misappropriated, wrongly applied, misinterpreted, and any other term you can think of that I am leaving out, but is applicable? I have one picked out, but I want to wait and see what the consensus is. I will give you a hint..........mine is in the New Testament.


Have you ever heard of Imad Mughniyah? If not, you might want to do some research. From what I am reading and hearing, he makes Osama look like a Dollar Store shop-lifter or small town con artist. There are evil people out there, folks. Duh.


Just two more days before the Shepherding Conference at Pleasant Valley. I get the feeling several of the churches here in Searcy did not even promote it to their folks. It would be interesting to find out WHY they didn't do so. My guess is FEAR. There are several congregations around here that operate out of a FEAR mentality. All you can do is pray for them and love them...........and hope the scales fall off of their eyes and hearts some day.


Lynn Anderson is our Sunday morning speaker for Downtown this coming Sunday. Services will be held in the Benson at 9:00. If you are not a regular at DT and want to come hear Lynn, please know that we would LOVE to have you visit!! I can promise that you will be blessed by sitting at his feet. I know the time of praise will be awesome also.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Simply Christian

From N. T. Wright's book "Simply Christian":

The Holy Spirit and the task of the church. The two walk together, hand in hand. We can't talk about them apart. Despite what you might think from some excitement in the previous generation about new spiritual experiences, God doesn't give people the Holy Spirit in order to let them enjoy the equivalent of a day at Disneyland. Of course, if you're downcast and gloomy, the fresh wind of God's Spirit can and often does give you a new perspective on everything, and above all grants a sense of God's presence, love, comfort and even joy. But the point of the Spirit is to enable those who follow Jesus to take into all the world that he is Lord, that he has won the victory over the forces of evil, that a new world has opened up, and that we are to help make it happen.
Equally, the task of the church can't be attempted without the Spirit. I have sometimes heard Christian people talk as though God, having done what he's done in Jesus, now wants us to do our part by getting on with things under our own steam. But that is a tragic misunderstanding. It leads to arrogance, burnout, or both. Without God's Spirit, there is nothing we can do that will count for God's kingdom. Without God's Spirit, the church simply can't be the church.
I use the word "church" here with a somewhat heavy heart. I know that for many of my readers that very word will carry the overtones of large, dark buildings, pompous religious pronouncements, false solemnity, and rank hypocrisy. But there is no easy alternative. I, too, feel the weight of that negative image. I battle with it professionally all the time.
But there is another side to it, a side which shows all the signs of the Spirit bringing new life. For many, "church" means just the opposite of that negative image. It's a place of welcome and laughter, of healing and hope, of friends and family and justice and new life. It's where the homeless drop in for a bowl of soup and the elderly stop by for a chat. It's where one group is working to help drug addicts, and another is campaigning for global justice. It's where you'll find people learning to pray, coming to faith, struggling with temptation, finding new purpose, and getting in touch with a new power to carry that purpose out. It's where people bring their small faith and discover, in getting together with others to worship the one true God, that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. No church is like this all the time. But a remarkable number of churches are partly like that for quite a lot of the time.
The Spirit is given to enable the church to BE the church---in other words, to enable God's people to BE God's people. This has a surprising and dramatic effect. The Spirit is given so that we ordinary mortals can become, in a measure, what Jesus himself was: part of God's future arriving in the present; a place where heaven and earth meet; the mean's of God's kingdom going ahead. The Spirit is given, in fact, so that the church can share in the life and continuing work of Jesus himself, now that he has gone into God's dimension---that is, heaven.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This House Sho Gone Crazy

Those of you who are Stooges fans will recall that line. Curly, Larry, and Moe had just tried to fix a plumbing problem in an expensive mansion, and water was shooting out of EVERYTHING in the house........even the TV. Hence, the comment from the butler of the house.

His words reflect how I am initially responding to what is going on in the Middle East the last couple of days. And to be honest with you, I think things are going to get even crazier. I am not ready yet to jump out there like some will do and declare that this is the beginning of the end..........but some the
eschatological folks will be studying this very closely. We don't seem to be into eschatology very much..........I think because life is too good for most of us. Why think of eternity.......I got it going on down here, dude! I would imagine the folks in Darfur, Somalia, and Iraq are a lot more into it than we are. And probably the folks in S.E. Asia who survived the tsunami also.

Anyway, let's pray for peace and forgiveness.........and love.
Remember Rick's challenge......"What are you praying for that is SO big that only GOD can do it?" I think this falls into that category.


Walling was Walling, which means UNBELIEVABLE! If you get a chance to purchase the DVD of his one man play where he plays the part of Levi the tax collector, buy it. Whatever it costs, you will be ripping him off. We could have sat there for several more hours at his feet. What an amazing talent!
I applaud the leadership at Pleasant Valley for having the wisdom to bring Jeff in. He blessed a lot of people Wednesday, and I am honored that I was one of them.


Mike the Eyeguy came to visit me this week! What a GREAT guy! Mike's son, David, has been here participating in our Honors Symposium. I hope he enjoyed his time here, and decides to attend Harding like his dad and mom. We need all the students like David we can get! Mike, it was great to finally meet you in person and come back more often to see us. Maybe Dutro will even be in the next time you come. :)
Thanks for sharing David with us for a couple of weeks! For those of you who have not been to Mike's blog, here is his link. It is one of those that I check daily.


Another walk-off home run for Sir Albert last night! I'm telling you, the guy is going to be the MVP again. And from all indications, he is a better man, father and husband than he is a ball-player. That is a mouthful, huh?

Everybody have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

'Scuse me while I kiss the sky

First person who tells me what song those lyrics are from wins.........something.
I haven't decided WHAT yet. :) Anyway, that is how high I feel after coming off a weekend with Matt in St. Louis, several visits with my brother at his house, time with my parents in Alabama, and time with Luke in Memphis and Searcy also. It just don't get any better than being with family, does it? I have a "Max Lucado 2006 Calendar" with excerpts from his books for each month.
Each excerpt also has a beautiful picture with it. For July, there is a flock of ducks over a body of water with the sunset in the back, and the excerpt is "We love to be with the ones we love. So does God." That is taken from Max's "Next Door Savior". I wonder how many people Max Lucado has impacted for the Lord? I know one thing, I love him.........and count it a blessing to be able to call him my brother!

Just know that I love being with my family.........and I have been blessed to be able to do that the last couple of weeks or so.


Yes, I watched the finals of the World Cup. I was for Italy, because Luke was. He is crazy about ANYTHING Italian after having spent a semester over there.
That one French player kinda lost it, to say the least. Maybe he should take up hockey now. Congrats to the Italians!


I am currently reading "Simply Christian" by N.T. Wright. It is really really rich, and he is the closest thing to C.S. Lewis that I have read in a long time.
Pick it up at Amazon if you get a chance. Thanks Luke, for that GREAT Father's Day gift!


Another reason I am pumped is that I am going down to Pleasant Valley in Little Rock tomorrow night to hear Jeff Walling. He is going to do some drama where he plays the part of Matthew. I CAN'T WAIT! In just a few weeks, I get to return to PV for the "Arkansas Shepherding Conference". If you haven't signed up, do so soon! It is going to be a TREMENDOUS blessing to all that attend. They have an all-star cast of leaders coming.......Monte Cox, Randy Harris, Lynn Anderson, Evertt Huffard, and Rhonda Lowry. I wouldn't miss it for the world. PV is taking some shots from some of the extreme institutional folks in the Little Rock area. One group called it the work of Satan. No, I am not kidding. All you can do is forgive them and pray for them. Oh, and feel sorry for them. A sorrow that is brought on by love......wishing they wouldn't be that way.


I will miss watching the MLB All-Star game tonight with Craig Jones who is in Europe. Craig, I hope you get to watch it with all those soccer folks! :)

Albert Pujols is THE man, if there ever was one. GO CARDS!!! :)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Unbelievable Posts

I just got back from vacation (which I will blog about later) and I am trying to catch up on reading all the posts on blogs that I missed. I have several that I try and read every day, and I had about a week's worth to catch up on.

I have been reading blogs for over two years now, and I have been blessed daily by them. In that time, I have read some powerful posts.........some of them life changing. But I want to say this..........I don't know if I have ever read any MORE powerful posts than the last 3 that Patrick Mead has just written. If you haven't read them yet, drop what you are doing and get to his blog. If they don't impact you, let me know, because we need to talk if that is the case. I hope they bless you as much as they blessed and challenged me!

Patrick, you have a gift...........PLEASE keep using it for His glory!

P.S. It's good to be home! :)