Archive for ‘April, 2010

Never, Ever Read a Bible Verse

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Remember that line in Matthew 18 where Jesus says if two or three come together in his name…? You know that is a promise from Jesus about church discipline and not small-group prayer, right? (Insert lame joke about Wonder Twins here.)

Proof-texting is the stuff cults are made of. There are two basic approaches to reading Scripture: eisegesis, which is reading into the text what is not there (like opinions, traditions, agendas) and exegesis, which is reading out of the text what was intended by the author. (Perhaps this should go without saying, but I am an exegetical teacher.)

Gregory Kouki writes an excellent post on why you should never, ever read a Bible verse.

If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be? What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian?

Here it is: Never read a Bible verse. That’s right, never read a Bible verse. Instead, always read a paragraph at least.

The article goes on to give several illustrations of how scriptures have been twisted to say things they don’t mean. Here are some examples of commonly misappropriated statements:

I have a “peace” about it…
“If I be lifted up…”
“My sheep hear my voice…”

Read the article to get at the biblical meaning of these statements, and learn how to read the Bible for yourself and understand the Holy Spirit’s intended meaning in each passage.

According to Psalm 138, God has exalted above all things his name and his word. Shouldn’t we do the same?

Epic: Episode 3, The Flood

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Bathed in Grace

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What does it look like to be bathed in grace?

1 Thessalonians 4 (NIV)
1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

EPIC: Episode 2, Fracture

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Answers the question of what went wrong with the world.

On Grace and Godliness

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What does salvation by grace teach us about godliness?

Titus 2:11-15 (NIV)
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

EPIC: Episode 1

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Episode 1 of my new series, “Epic.”

Don’t Be a Stoopid Sheep: The Problem with Bad Leadership

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In July 2005, the Associated Press reported that nearly 1,500 sheep jumped from a cliff in eastern Turkey, killing approximately 450 animals. (The rest were saved from death “as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned.”) God only knows what caused that first sheep to go rogue and take up cliff diving, but the whole herd followed lockstep, leaping to their doom. What a parable for our lives!

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. We need to be very careful who we allow to influence our lives. Often, it is those who have the loudest megaphones who gather the largest audiences, but real leadership, good leadership is far more than being able to convince a herd of sheep to jump to their deaths.

Never forget the serpent was clever, articulate and convincing. He will give you an ocean of truth to conceal a teaspoon of lies.

Think of the men you allow to influence your life. Are they lip servants or servant leaders? Do they pastor and provide for their families well? Do they honor authority and model respect? Do they reason from the Scriptures or from their opinions?

What about the women to whom you lend your ears? Are they gracious and godly or prideful and petty? Do they build bridges or set snares? Do they spread gossip or gospel?

Careful who you follow. You just might find yourself at the bottom of a dumb, dead flock.

“My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6