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Friday, October 19, 2007
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"New Testament Comes Up Short"
"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
Many of you have seen lists of "Bulletin Bloopers"; actual typos or unintended humorous wording from announcements in church bulletins. (There's a link to a list I've compiled in the footers of this devotional.) I find these bloopers amusing and have observed a few in my own publications that we caught before they were printed. I asked Brooksyne if she could recall any from our 25 years of pastoral ministry. She thought for a minute and then smiled with a twinkle in her eye as she reminded me, "You always had good secretaries!" Well, You might have already guessed by the complimentary answer she gave that Brooksyne was my secretary for many years. Veda Shibilo, a former secretary from New England, also a Daily Encouragement reader, is probably smiling as she reads this intro. She was an excellent proof reader (and still is as she continues to be secretary of the church there.)
When we lived in New England our local newspaper had an interesting headline on the sport's page, "New Testament Comes Up Short." A local Christian school in the area called "New Testament Christian" and their basketball team had lost! The sports writer most certainly did not intend the double-entendre and I really doubt if too many readers noticed any irony in the headline, but it caught my attention immediately.
National magazines and news shows regularly convey the message that the New Testament and the rest of the Bible comes up short. Even to the secular mind Jesus Christ remains a compelling figure and these articles and documentary shows typically quote "scholars" who claim they have rediscovered the "real" Jesus who is entirely different than the Jesus of the New Testament or otherwise cast doubt on the traditional understanding of Scriptures. They fulfill a prophecy in the Bible that states "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (2 Peter 3:3).
One of the most frequently cited "scholarship" circles is the "Jesus Seminar", a group of radical deconstructionists who are farther out than even the theological liberal mainstream. Suffice it to say they do not "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
One of my favorite professors in Bible College was Dr. Charles Harris who stressed the need for sound Biblical exposition and drilled it into his students. He was a real contender for the faith and remains so to this day. I still recall one of his sermons he preached over thirty years ago from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
The ongoing mission for the earnest believer in every age is to wholeheartedly "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." This is especially true for ministers of the Gospel, but is also incumbent upon each lay person as well. An interesting Greek word found only once in the entire New Testament translates "contend" in this passage. "Epagonizomai" literally means, "to struggle for." Do you see our English word "agonize" in it?
Today we all will have opportunities to "contend" for the faith. Let us be faithful to this call no matter the cost!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, help us to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. What a tremendous power packed, life changing gift You have entrusted to these human vessels. Help us to live virtuous lives as we live out our faith in a world of cynicism and unbelief. May the light of Your Holy Spirit shine forth in our conversation and demeanor as we interact with those who are not yet of the faith. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Watch out about letting the term "scholar" deceive you.
1) These articles essentially only quote the ungodly as "scholars". (Or at least give the greatest amount of attention to them.) However notice how frequently we hear the term "Islamic scholar", I suppose it's an attempt by the secular media to show respect for them (or is it fear?)
2) There are many devout, deeply knowledgeable followers of Christ who hold to a traditional Biblical outlook who are not sought after in these articles such as Dr. Charles Harris, whom most of you have never heard of.
Here are a couple of online articles about the "Jesus Seminar"
Unmasking the Jesus Seminar
Here are some bulletin bloopers I've collected through the years.
Today's suggested music:
"Find Us Faithful" (Audio)
I have an article (it's satire) on my humor/satire blog illustrating the foolishness of the world, a spoof concerning the inventor of **** email winning a Nobel Prize. Go here to read the article. Note: A few readers don't really get satire or may not think it's really all that funny (like my wife). It's not for everybody and please don't confuse it with our serious work here on Daily Encouragement Net! But I enjoy reading and at times writing satire and other forms of humor. Here's a site that in part prompted my blog of this nature.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"
This photo is the back of a Transport for Christ chapel from Lancaster County headed for Quebec Canada. I suppose most readers know what the verse is (in French). Photo by Doris High, a friend of ours who works with TFC, a ministry that places these chapels at truck stops, along with a chaplain.