Monday, December 27, 2010

Prince of Peace


Prince of Peace



For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


I like Isaiah's description of the upcoming Messiah that would be coming. He gives many names, but one stands out to me: Prince of Peace!


Peace is for more than just hippies and anti-war protestors. I would think most people in their sane mind, would like to have peace. There is a peace that only God can bring to our lives. It cannot be found anywhere else. Only God!


The peace of God came in the form of Jesus Christ. The bible describes this as a peace that passes(KJV) or transcends(NIV) all understanding. Peace is one of the fruits of the spirit as well.


Jesus brought peace into the lives off all mankind by becoming our sin and providing a way for us to have HOPE that we can only get through Him. That hope of salvation gives us a peace that only be felt through a relationship with God.


There is nothing in this world, no substance, no relationship, no hobby, form of entertainment, drug, drink, or pleasure that can give you the peace that only comes from the Prince of Peace.


Peace of Mind, Peace of conscience, peace of spirit, peace. God can bring peace to your relationships, your job, your feelings, emotionals, and even your baggage, struggles, and problems.


Would you seek His peace today? Maybe you need to be reminded of it today? You can enjoy His peace everyday. Find rest in Him.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas 2010


Merry Christmas to everyone!

Well a lot has happened in my life since last Christmas. This time last year, I was ending my ministry in Huntingburg, Indiana at Central Christian Church and packing up to move back to West Virginia at the end of 2009. Well I got moved back and here I am a year later.

I left full-time ministry, but never leaving ministry and always open to returning to full-time ministry. I have been able to do some fill-in preaching and youth speaking periodically to keep from being totally rusty. I have been able to speak to a variety of churches in West Virginia.

Ofcourse, I was dating Cheryl last year and we got engaged in April and got married on June 18th. I just passed my 6 month anniversary and she hasn't left me yet, so, so far so good, haha. It has had its challenges for both of us, and we are still in transitation with all the things going on, but there is no doubt God brought us together and has blessed us.

We are still looking for a church home and trying to decide where we want to eventually reside. Please be in prayer for us in that. Currently we are living in Glenwood, in Cheryl's parents old house. The kids are liking their new schools. Lindsey turned 10 this fall and is in 4th grade at Ashton Elementary and is cheering for Ashton in little league basketball.
Josh is 14 and is in 9th grade at Hannan.

Josh was diganosed this summer with Asperger's syndrome ( a high functioning form of Autism) and we are currently looking into resources to best help Josh, because He is also ADHD along with some other issues, so please be in prayer for Josh as we try to best Help him.Josh killed his first "buck" deer this year, a 3 pointer on the first day of deer season, I wasn't as lucky, I harvested a doe, but we are enjoying eating our kill.

Cheryl quit her job at the accounting firm last month in hopes of finding a new job, so currently she is collecting unemployment and job hunting and being full-time mother and housewife until she finds employment. Please pray for her to find a job and if you know of anyone hiring accounting/office manager type people, please let me know. Cheryl also has been going to school online/part-time to try and work toward a CPA. I've been volunteering with the Hannan athletic boosters and doing some announcing for jr high basketball games at Hannan this winter.

This past May Cheryl's dad Johnny lost his 2 year battle with cancer. Also, her grandfather John, Sr. passed away in November, so the Barnett family has experienced alot of loss in 2010. Please continue to pray for their family, as some have had a difficult time dealing with the loss.

I know it seems there has been a lot of bad news this year, but there has been lots of good news. My dad retired the end of July, I got married, and I have been working at Jenkins Fenstermaker Law firm in Huntington, WV as a Courier.
My brother-in-law Tom got back in church. The Reds won their division and made the play-offs, so it's not all been bad, haha.

We are blessed and we are thankful this Christmas! Thank you for being our family and friends. I pray you all have a most blessed Christmas and a Great New Year in 2011.

Love to All,

Jason, Cheryl, Josh, and Lindsey

Agenda


Agenda


Agenda by nature is typically what people use in meeting, as to go over different topics and issues to make sure they are covered. However, agenda is also what some people have which is an underlying plan.


I know it's hard to believe but not ever person out there in this world has pure, honest, and sincere motives, many of them have a hidden, personal, or selfish agenda. And even bigger heartache is that many people in church and church leadership have these hidden agendas.


Let me explain, some are well meaning, but they are still incorrect in their motives or plans. Many preacher's spend have their sermon's complaining about other pastors and churches, yet I'd bet most of them haven't even talked to them or stepped foot in their churches. There agenda is to tear down other churches and pastor's. It's one thing to condemn sin, but it's another to judge another pastor or churches methods because you don't agree with them.


Some churches and it's members spend their entire ministry trying to prove other churches wrong, claiming they are liberal, letting the world in, using instruments, using "rock n roll" music as they call it, or using a different version of the bible, or having programs or things that aren't old fashion enough.


Too many preachers and churches spend way too much time talking about others and not enough time talking about the love of God. Preach Jesus. Jesus confronted sin while He was on earth when it was appropriate, but most of Jesus ministry was healing, helping, and teaching.


We need to put our personal agendas aside. You can believe what you want about worship music, bible versions, church programs, and doctrinal opinions, but more people are known for what they are against than what they stand for.


Some churches or pastor's are only known for their views on homosexuality, government, eternal security, end of times, pre-destination, music, bible translations, and the list is endless of the topics and soap boxes we get on. I would rather be known for just simply preaching Jesus, loving people, and teaching people to know Jesus or grow in their faith.


I am not talking about having no standards, ignoring sin, or anything goes mentality, but I am also saying, we need to chill out and stop being so dogmatic, judgemental, and stop trying to hate, pressure, guilt, and dumb people into Heaven.


There is a reasons churches don't grow and people seem to always have animosity, turmoil, and drama in their ministries or churches, it's because they are focusing on the wrong things and many times with wrong motives.


We need church leaders to step up and stop these members in their churches with hidden agendas. We need our pulpits in our churches to stop beng platforms for our own personal agenda's on our favorite subject we are passionate about. Church members need to be trained, taught, led, and fed. They don't need to hear the same old same old every week about the same old soap box you are harping on because people don't preach and teach and agree with you.


Our agenda should be Jesus. Our goal should be to reach lost people, and disciple and help thosse who become and are christians mature and grow in their faith. We need to build up the church. We need Christians who read and study their bible, who pray daily, and who serve in the church using their gifts.


We cannot agree on every subject or topic. Not everyone is going to agree with our views, and not every church and pastor is going to teach, practice, or be how we think they should be, that doesn't always make them wrong, sinful, or an abomination. We can serve One God and still have one way to God through Jesus, He is the only way, however, our methods, programs, and even preferences and opinions can be different.


I don't always agree with my parents, my wife, or my kids, but they don't stop being my family and I don't stop loving them, and vice versa. I don't agree with many of the things in every church I visit, or every christian I am friends with, or every preacher I hear, but that doesn't keep me from calling them christian, fellowshipping with them, or getting something positive from them.


I know the road to God is narrow, but that doesn't mean our minds and beliefs have to be so narrow, that only people who agree with us can get to heaven. Drop your agenda and start preaching the love of Christ and see how you and your church may change.




All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Change your mind


Change Your Mind


"There is never anything to change but our own perspective." Karen Casey


Karen Casey wrote a great little book called "Change your mind and your life will follow". It was a great read, I read it 3 times, but I really like the title of the book.


Really if you think about it, if you are going to make any change in your life it begins in your mind. You have to have an attitude to change, or you never will change a thing.


If you can't change your attitude, perception, mindset, or viewpoint, it's very difficult to make any changes, whether it's personal, spiritual, relational, or anything for that matter.


It's true, admitting you need to change it's half the battle. We get so stuck in a rut, a mindset, an attitude, that we have a hard time seeing that we need to change or that nothing is going to change until we do.


Churches are dying because people refuse to change. Relationships end because people refuse to change. Businesses close down because they refuse to change. People don't change for many reasons.


First, they don't see they need to change or a need for change? You know the old mentality if it's not broke don't fix it? Secondly, some don't change because they blameshift and say others need to change. Thirdly, some don't change because they are very self-unaware. Fourthly, some don't change out of fear or anxiety. I'm sure their are other reasons, but if we aren't willing to change, we can guarantee ourselves alot of heartache, problems, and unresolved battles and issues.


I think God expects us to change. Maturity is changing, progress is changing, growth is changing, healthy relationships is changing, grace is changing. God wants His church to constantly change in order to reach a rapidly changing world with his unchanging message. God wants His people to change so that we are better children, spouses, siblings, employees, and servants.


It's hard work, it's difficult to make changes when we are stubborn, set in our ways, narrow-minded, won't listen, live in denial, are comfortable, unaware, angry, scared, or have a bad attitude. But, we can overcome all these things with God's help. And God's help sometimes means asking others for help.


We can make changes, but we first have to change our minds. When we change our minds, our lives will follow.


Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.




Monday, December 06, 2010

Do you Hear what I Hear?


Do you Hear what I Hear?


James 1:22-24 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

We like God to listen to us don't we? We go to God with your complaints, gripes, wants, desires, etc...and of course God's word tells us to ask, seek, and knock(Matt. 7:7-8) and we do. Nothing wrong with asking God for things, but my question is are we doing all the talking?


Do we take time to listen to God speak? Or are we doing all the talking? Do we take time to listen to what God has to say through prayer? His word? Worship? Others? God is constantly speaking to us. We may not hear an audible voice, but God is not always silent. There are times where God is silent, but that doesn't mean He never speaks to us, most cases it's because we fail to listen, or hear Him.


I am guilty of this, obviously, that's why I am writing about this subject today. Learning to listen is a skill we have to learn. Not only do we have to learn it, we have to discipline ourselves to listen, especially when there is distractions, noises etc...like stress, trauma, sin, tragedy, trials, problems, etc...


It's easy to not hear God when we instead listen to things that keep us from hearing God. It's easy to not hear God when we are busy doing all the talking. Take time to reflect, take time to ponder, take time to be quiet, and listen to God. Read His word and listen. Pray for a time and then stop and just listen.


God is speaking all around you and me. God has something to tell us. Maybe He wants to encourage you? Maybe He wants to comfort you? Maybe He wants to discipline you? Maybe He wants to give you some direction? Stop. Listen. Hear.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Takers


Takers


You know these people? They take, take, take, and never give. They are spoiled children who take advantage of grandparents, use parents, and manipulate people to get what they want. They are employees, who dump off their responsiblities on other workers, or who work harder getting out of work than they do actually doing their job. They are spouses who marry people only to use them as a maid, a cook, and to wait on them hand and foot, and never give anything in return.


Takers are not good people. They use people, take advantage of people, manipulate people, and only care about themselves. What they want, how they feel, and what they can get out of it. They have an agenda, and the agenda is ME! They are people who use their kids for pawns in divorce, they fight over dead relatives belongings, and they use people who what they can get from them or what that person can do for them.


Takers are in the church as well. They go to church with the attitutude of getting not giving. They have an agenda, and want things the way they want them. They don't realize church is about GIVING God our worship and our service, not what we can get out of the church. Church is about giving, not getting, and being a christian is about giving, not getting.


We need to treat our spouse with mutual respect, not take, take, take, and never give. We need to teach our children and grandchildren that life is not always about our way, getting what we want, or always getting to do what we want, but that it's about giving as well. Being considerate, thoughtful, sharing, and having balance in our lives.


I'm not saying we should not give people stuff like gifts, or our time, or things, but what I am suggesting is we stop being selfish and stop allowing selfish behavior in others. Set boundaries, with people like this, or better yet, if all possible avoid relationships with people who are takers.


God is a giver, and wants us to be givers. He wants us to appreciate and respect others. Whether it's our parents, grandparents, children, co-workers, spouse, siblings, or friends. We cannot always take, take, take, and never expect to give. It's really about out attitude. We must develop or change our attitude to be more thoughtful of others feelings, resources, and position.


Stop using people, and start thinking about how you make others feel once in awhile. Stop being a taker and start giving something to this world for a change. Set some boundaries in your life with people, and do not enable them to be takers. Most importantly, give something to God. Allow God to work in your life and change your attitude so that you will be more of a giver and less of a taker. Or allow God to work in your life so you don't let people use you or take advantage of you.


Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.(NIV)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Righteousness


Rightouesness



"He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity."(NIV)


The word is interpreted from orignial greek and hebrew words meaning "rightways" or "rightwise". It's a word we don't use alot in today's society, but it's a word that holds great meaning for those of us who are not only believer's, but committed to a relationship with Jesus Christ.


God makes us right with Him. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and only through Jesus' blood are our sins covered, and only through Jesus can we get to God, and only by Jesus are we saved.


There is no other way, no other religion or faith, no other means, for us to ever be right in God's eyes, except through HIS way, and that WAY is JESUS.


Today's world is full of confusion and dilusion. The world says, pick a religion. Any belief in God is safe. The world says I don't need to go to church to be a Christian, or all I have to do is go to church on Sunday mornings. People can say what they want, believe what they want, print what they want, and preach what the went, but the bottom line is it's God's way or No way.


God is RIGHT and He is RIGHTEOUSS and the only way me and you can be right is through Jesus Christ! But, that is a good thing! WE cannot serve enough, give enough, or be good enough to ever deserve God's mercy and grace. We only can receive it because God gives it freely.


Though it cost a greater price than we could ever pay, salvation is a free gift for you and me. You cannot earn you way to Heaven and you certainly can't plead igrnorance. God made a way for you to be right and we must either accept it or reject it.


Don't buy the lies that Satan plants in the world through media, through negative people, through confused or selfish people. You need Jesus! You need to develop and grow a committed relationship with Him. You need His church. You need His blood! You need His forgiveness! You need Him to make you right!


It is my prayer for you and me that we realize the great need we have and that is Jesus! I pray that we realize there is nothing we can do on our own to make us right with God. There is not enough money, not enough talent, and not enough resources for us to think we can make it on our own wisdom, wealth, or power. Do you know Jesus today?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Anger Management


Anger Management


I need it, how about you? It's taken me a long time to realize I have anger issues. I don't hit and throw stuff, so I thought I'm not an angry person, but yet I've realized when you don't have control of your anger or angry emotions and you let it control you or how you talk or behave, then you do have a problem.


I get upset, raise my voice, and "vent" or "gripe", but really I'm taking out my anger vocally instead of hitting or throwing stuff. Everyone gets angry, nothing wrong with getting angry, at times we should be angry or get angry. If someone does you wrong, your children disrespect you, or you see someone mistreated, you should get angry. It's not a sin to get upset. However, the sin comes when the anger turns into something else. When it turns negative, unhealthy, or out of proportion to the cause, you might have a problem and you react in bad ways.


Mine went untreated for years and instead of having balance and dealing with things appropriately I let it continue unchecked and when you leave something unchecked, it doesn't get better or fix itself, it progresses and get's worse. Hence, my denial for so long that I had an anger problem. And because of that, I hurt people, or offend people, and people I care about.

Now, I don't write this blog a cured man today, but I write as someone who finally recognizes an area of my life where I struggle and am weak. I now have taken steps to work on my anger, no matter the cause of the anger. Sometimes I fall into old habits, some days i fall short, some days I battle, but now I am prepared because I first realize and accept I have an issue and secondly, I am reading, studying, and praying through it to help overcome it in my life.


An issue seldom just affects you, it affects everyone around you, spouse, siblings, children, parents, co-workers, church family, etc....no matter whether the issue is anger, lying, gossip, whatever.


Maybe you are like me today, you struggle with those ugly angry emotions. You want to vent, speak your mind, be blunt, maybe you want to cuss, throw things, or hit somebody. It's very easy to lose control, especially if you don't know or won't admit you struggle with it. Maybe today is the day, to admit you have a struggle and start taking steps in the right direction, whether it's anger, greed, dishonesty, worry, or whatever your struggle. Take it to God, get professional help if you need it, search the net, buy a book, or talk to a trusted freind.


Ephesians 4:26“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry"(NIV)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Gung Ho


Gung Ho


Does those words get you excited? Are you pumped? Psyched? We use this term when we or someone is enthusiastic about something. Some people are lame until you mention something they enjoy and then all the sudden they transform and are all "gung ho" about it.


Or maybe you know people who go in phases with something. One week they are "gung ho" about learning to play an instrument and then next week they are "gung ho" about motorcycles.


Enthusiasm is a good thing, but it like anything else must have balance and boundaries or it will be out of control in an unhealthy way. People unfortunately get all "gung ho" about Jesus and the problem with being "gung ho" is it's temporary and doesn't last.


People start out all hot and heavy and want to do and learn and serve as much as they can in as short amount of time as they can, but the christian faith is a marathon not a sprint. When you approach this attitude with God or with anything, it usually leads to burn-out, giving up, or fading out, because things don't happen fast enough for you, or you can't hold your attention long enough and then you are on to your next big fad.


It's ok to be excited and enthusiastic about hobbies and relationships and especially your christian faith, but make sure your enthusiasm and excited is in balance and in check. It's easy to get excited about dating relationship and start off hot and heavy and once the newness wears off, the relationship dissolves because you or they lost their "gung ho", same thing with exercise or dieting, people want to lose weight and try to lose it in a week and they burn themselves out, you got to pace yourself and build up discipline and stamina, that is why so many give up after a few weeks on getting healthy.


What about church? What about your faith? People get saved and get all on fire for God, but they get frustrated because they seldom realize becoming a christian is only the beginning and it takes time to overcome bad habits, old lifestyles, and form new habits and adapt to a new lifestyle. It also takes a life time of commitment to learn and grow in God's Word and in your service to Him through the local church. People get frustrated or confused when the "warm and fuzzy" wears off and they are tempted or sin or fall short, and they start missing church and stop praying and stop reading the bible.


Check your enthusiasm at the door. Maintain balance and realistic perspective in all areas, especially your faith. Don't try to become Jesus in a day. One day at a time, one moment at a time. Learn, grow, mature, overcome, and endure.


I'll leave you with the words of Paul to the chruch in Corinth about fellow preacher Titus who was coming soon to visit them and take up a collection. He was excited about His work for God and for the church in Corinth. I hope you'll be "gung ho" about your faith, but make it last.



For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative

Monday, November 01, 2010

Opinins, Opinions


Opinions


I don't have to repeat the saying about opinions for us all to know that we all have opinions. However, some of us are more opinionated than others, and yet even a few more are opinionated when not even asked for their opionion or advice.


I have to admit I am an opinionated person (i know your surprised!) and people are opinionated and like to give their advice on all sorts of things: religion, relationships, politics, jobs, life, etc....As human beings, we all have a right to our opinions, however opinions must not replace common sense, overstep boundaries, or become gospel truth if not backed by realistic facts.


The dictionary defines Opinion as a personal view, attitude, or apprasial. Or also, a belief or judgement that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. Opinions can be good. There are people I go to for their opinion and there are people who come to me for my opinion, but we must be careful that we don't push our advice on people, and I am guilty of that.


Opinions should be take them or leave them. Whether it is advice about dating, marriage, career, faith, hobbies, or anything, we must give our opinion and leave it up to the person to do with it as they please. We can't get upset or offended if someone doesn't agree with our opinion or see it our way. I've been guilty of this. (I know another shock!)


Honestly, sometimes the other person will need to learn the hard way if our opinions are correct, and then again sometimes they are better off not to take our advice because our opinion is wrong or tainted by our own bad experience. Think about it, most of our opinions we have in life are based on our past experiences.


For example, if someone in a church hurt you, then it's more than likely you are going to have a bad opinion or all churches and christians. If you were hurt by an ex-lover, you may think all men or women are evil. If you were raised a democrat, you will think all republicans are bad.


However, on the flip side of it, there is great joy in being able to have an opinion. If feels good to contribute something to a discussion if it's positive, or help someone who is need. The key to opinions just like anything is balance. We must maintain a healthy balance and perspective in our lives, or our opinions will be overbearing, unrealistic, false, or even can put a strain on our relationships with others.


I've learned this from personal experience. I'm striving to learn and grow and work on myself so that my opinions are realistic, healthy, and I'm not trying to push them on other people. We all have to learn to agree to disagree at some points in our lives, and also realize our opinions aren't always accurate, realistic, or true, they are simply just our view of things, sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad.


I also want to strive to base my opinions from a Godly perspective and have my feelings and advice reflect that of God. I also want to be able to repent when I over-step boundaries or cross the line with my opinions with other people. Saying your wrong, or sorry, or admitting fault goes along way for people to respect you and your opinions. I hope it's a lesson we all can learn, and that's just my opinion.



"Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions." (NIV)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eternal Security?


Eternal Security?



You've heard the saying from certain christians "once saved, always saved", it's a term many people use who believe in eternal security, which means once I "get saved" there is nothing I can do lose my "saved".


However, there are those on the other side of the spectrum who believe in "conditional security", not sure they have a slogan, but basically this group believe "salvation" is a gift from God and people can choose to fall away, walk away, or lose their salvation if they aren't faithful.


I am not trying to argue either side, though my belief is on the side of conditional security. I believe Christians and churches as a whole spend way too much time arguing, debating, and pushing topics or issues they are passionate about while missing the most imporant issue, which is reaching lost people, and discipling new christians into mature christians who grow and serve in their faith.


Nothing wrong with having convictions and being passionate about certain subjects, but we must be careful to ask ourselves, Is this a salvation issue? Which means, does this have to do with my salvation? (i'm talking about does this make me lose my salvation or not have it) other than that, I believe we have freedom in Christ and His Word.


There are many things people love to debate and even claim it is essential to salvation. Churches split, people become enemies, and many people avoid church or leave the faith because of these things. People argue over bible versions, type of music, the rapture, the book of revelation, denominations, church traditions, change, etc..including eternal security.


Look around why do you think they are so many different types of churches and denominations, people can't get along, that's why we have 30 different types of baptist, 20 different types of methodist, the churches of christ have half a dozen fractions, not to mention other denominations that have splintered off of others.


Now I am just giving my opinion based on my own study and learning, but feel my eternal security is based on my faith in Jesus Christ and the grace He showed me through salvation. He saved me and I was obedient and repented and showed my display through being baptized(my expression to God and the world) of my choosing to live for Christ.


I also feel that anytime I would choose to walk away, give up, or turn away from God I would be lost and wold go to Hell. Just like we quit jobs, quit marriages, and change hobbies, I think many people choose God and then chooose the world. There was a time in my past, I feel I walked away from God for a time and I felt lost and until I repented and recommitted did I sense God's presence again in my life.


If you believe in the eternal security doctrine that is your right and choice , but personally I'm not willing to gamble with my faith and eternity with that belief.. My salvation is from God and God alone through Jesus Christ. The good news for you is it's not up to me whether you are saved or not and the good news for me is it's not up to you whether I am saved or not.


Just like many of the issues we debate and disagree over, many of them are God's place to decide not ours. That doesnt' mean we shouldn't study, learn, and grow in our knowledge and faith in God's word. However, our goal should be to be faithful, remain faithful, and continue being faithful until God calls us home.


I've read lots of articles for and against eternal security and they both make good arguments and use scriptures (though well meaning sometimes out of context). My point today is we need to stop focusing so much on whether we have eternal security or not and realize our eternal security is secure in God as long as we are faithful and accept His free gift of salvation. (if you want scriptures on issue let me know, or better yet research yourself or google articles on the subject). If you are faithful in your walk, you won't have to worry about eternal security.


It's just like someone asked me my views on the end of times recently. I said, I'm not planning on being around to worry about it. I'm not trying to skate around the issue, it just shouldn't be that important to people if they are already saved. That's God's business to determine not ours, and I'm pretty sure He's already got it figured out and doesn't need our imput.


If you want to be secure in your eternity, then remain faithful, grow in your faith, serve the Lord, and don't take advantage of God's grace by using it as a license to sin or live how you want. If you are a christian, don't worry evertyime you fall short or sin, you are saved. If you are living a willful life of disobedience and a lifestyle of sin not honoring God, then you should be concerned about. It's really about our day to day lifestyle choices. There are people who never attend church, read their bible, or serve God who think they are saved, and then there are those who attend church regularly, serve, and study God's word and worry whether they are saved or not, it shouldn't be that way. If you have been saved and are serving be secure, if you aren't, then worry.


Also, don't get caught up on all these religous and spiritual debates and arguments, because then you miss God working around you and through you.


Romans 6:1
" 1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flooded


Flooded


"1 Save me, O God,for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me."
Psalm 69:1-2


Life can feel that way can't it? You ever feel in over your head? sinking? overwhelmed? Recently, my wife and I finally got to go on our overdue honeymoon after being married a few months.


We went to TopSail Island, NC and hoped to enjoy a week at the beach. Well we did enjoy our time together, but it rained almost everday we were there, but it just didn't rain, it monsooned. We only had about 2 days of sun, and there was so much rain that there was flooding all over eastern North Carolina. Flash flooding, rivers and creeks over flowing their banks, and then on the island of Top Sail just a lot of standing water on roads and parking lots due to either the lack of drainage systems on the island, or too much rain too fast.


Either way, it was alot of rain, i was told we had 22 inches of rain that week. The kicker was the parking lot flooded where we were staying and we had to drive through standing water to get to and from our condo. The water was about 1 1/2 foot deep and while driving through that, our car stalled, wouldn't start back, and as I write our vehicle is still in NC getting a new engine. Now, that's a honeymoon memory for you.


My point is, life is like that, it comes along sometimes unexpectedly and disables us. Sometimes life can take us by surprise with a tragedy, an accident, illness, unexpected setback, or sometimes our life will be flooded with problems because of our own doing. We refuse to get help, be honest, or deal with issues, and pretty soon we are up to our eyeballs in flooding hotwater.


We need to be like David in the Psalm above and cry out to God. God is the only one who can rescue us from sin, struggles, problems, issues, and the only one who can deliver us from the pain of divorce, death, betrayal, abuse, and other problems we face or will face. Sometimes we can't avoid the flood waters, and sometimes we can and we don't, but either way we need to always strive to seek God, in the sunny days, the rainy days, the storms, and the perfect weather days. No matter the weather or season. We need to seek and rely on God.


If we stay in relationship with God, then we are going to be flooded with His spirit, grace, mercy, and love. No matter how good our relationship with God, we all are going to have periods of mistakes, doubts, sin, struggle, and sometimes we are all going to face floods that are out of our control and either type of flood we can rest in the promises and protection of God.
Seek God this morning. He promised Noah He'd never destroy the earth again with a flood, and He's not going to allow you to be destroyed by a flood. So seek Refuge in Him today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can of Worms


Can of Worms


Have you ever opened one of those? It's an expression we used to talk about something we said or did that got us a little more attention than we intended. We can open a can of worms by accident or intentionally, but either way it always takes on a life of it's own and gets away from the original intent.


Try and talk about religion with non-religous people or people who've got a grudge against God or the church. Try and talk about politics with people who don't agree with your politics. Talk about a senstive subject with someone who happens to be the sensitive one?


Sometimes we can open a can of worms and not even mean to. We may say something without realizing it, or we may say or do something and it is taken wrong, misunderstood, or out of context. Especially in the world of texting, facebook, email, twitter, and instant messages, it's very easy to misunderstand or be confused about someones intent because we can't see their facial expression, or voice tone, or look at them and understand correctly what they meant. Sometimes we think they mean one thing and they mean another. Many times we can think they are serious and they could be joking.


How many times have you gotten in a disagreement with a friend or loved one over something they said or something you said and you or they never meant for it to happen, it was simply a misunderstanding? It happens. It happens more than we'd like to admit. Especially when you are a forward, direct, not afraid to speak your mind person like I am, you have to be more careful what you say, and how you say it.


People are passionate about things. People are opinionated about things. People are emotional about things. Each of us are individuals with different feelings, emotions, temperments, personalities, etc...and because of that we are different, view things different, look at things different, and unfortuantely sometimes hear things different. Sometimes we can be quick to respond defensively or in anger to something we thought someone said about us or something we are senstive or passionate about, only to realize we blew it out of proportion or over-reacted. I can be very guilty of this. That's why James in the Bible said we must be "quick to listen and slow to speak."

I learned this lesson this past week. We must be careful what we say, because it's very easy for our words to be misunderstood, taken out of context, or sometimes to take a life of their own.

Now, sometimes a can or worms needs to be open. Nothing wrong with standing up for injustices, our faith, our beliefs, our convictions, within reason, but we must be very cautious that we got our facts straight, we are responding in love, not reacting in anger, and that we don't defeat ourselves by being negative. We must pick and choose our battles and choose wisely.


All of us have been on both sides of the issue. We have said things that stirred the pot and we've been stirred by something someone else has said or we thought they said. I've been there, I'm sure you have. So, we must be careful what we say, we must be careful to listen, ask questions, and make sure we have clarity and we give clarity, and also realize no matter what we say even if it is clear, people aren't always going to like or agree with what we say.


Either way, it's a great lesson for us all, becareful what you say,it could open a can of worms you don't want to open, and be careful how you react/respond because you could be doing so in misunderstanding. No matter what side you are on, I pray we all can honor God with our words, and show grace to others when their words hurt us or when ours hurts them.



My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

Psalm 25:28(NIV)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Well isn't that special


"Well Isn't that Special!"


I'm not gonna lie, I love the Church lady from Saturday Night Live. As a matter of fact, I used to do a pretty good impersonation of her (I'm no Dana Carvey though). If you are not familiar with the character, it was a skit on SNL where the "Church Lady" had a talk show and would interview people and would always condemn them and use her famous catch phrases, "Well, isn't that special!" and "Could it be Satan?". Even though these sketches were humorous, what goes on in many churches isn't so funny or humorous.


There are real life "church ladies and church gents" out there who aren't judging and condemning to be funny, they are doing it because they believe in their heart they are doing people a favor and they do this blindly, in ignorance, and though some with good intent, they are really doing more damage than they are good all in the name of God.


Jesus reminds us that He didn't come to condemn(John 3:16-17) but to save. Jesus never backed away from truth or watered down sin, but He confronted and taught in Love and also with wisdom and knowledge. Many people in our worlds, simply teach what they've been raised or taught. Many people teach things out of their own opinions, belief systems, or ways they were raised, not because it's biblical or accurate.


For instance my step-son recently asked me after visiting a church why the preacher yells and hacks and carries on when He preaches? People are taught that style, so they think that is the only way you can preach. I'm not knocking people who preach that way, but it comes across to many as angry, you can't understand what they are saying, or it's distracting. I'm just using this as an example,but my point is people are taught a certain way and many think that is the only way or you're not really preaching if you ain't "yelling, spitting, hollering, or red faced."


But, it goes just beyond preaching styles, it's in certain things we believe, about wearing hats in the church building, or having food/drinks in the church building, or music we sing, or the order of service, or things we do for the children/youth in the church, or really any subject or topic for that matter.


I would just like to see the church and christians get back to the basics of faith. Love God, Love others. Enjoy the love and grace we have through Jesus Christ and share it with others. Do not condemn, judge, criticize. We spend way too much time doing the wrong things the wrong way and the Main thing isn't the main thing. We don't need "church lady" mentality where we spend all our time focusing and judging things we think are wrong because it's not how we believe or were raised.


We need to get back to the simplicity and truth of the Gospel. God loves us unconditionally. He wants to save us, He wants us to grow in our faith, and He wants us to serve Him and share our faith with others. We need to focus on the goodness of God and not the badness of people. We need to express and show the love of God through our actions toward others so they may be attracted to God. I love the words of Paul to the church at Colosse that I will close with reminding them to not be deceived by people's foolish arguments, but be encouraged in the lve of Christ! I think that's truly Special!


"2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Colossians 2:2-4(NIV)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hannan Pride


Where does your pride come from? Are you proud of where you are from? Are you proud of the accomplishments you've had or things you've been privileged to be a part of? I know that I am.

I grew up in Glenwood, West Virginia in Mason County. I attended and graduated from Hannan High School in Ashton, WV. Hannan is located out in the hills and valley's of southern mason county and is a small rural school made up of jr/sr high students with an enrollment of around 250 7th-12th grades.

Hannan is sometimes forgotten maybe due to it's location or size. Many people living in nearby counties have never even heard of Hannan or where it's located. Even in our own county, sometimes Hannan is treated like the red-headed step-child often in the shadows of other county schools. However, I am not complaining and we are not victims, it's just reality, it happens in life.

Hannan has often struggled in sports because they simply do not have the numbers and resources to compete. In 90 years of existence, there probably have been few winning seasons and the football team has never went to the playoffs and the basketball team has made the state tournament only once in 2001 for the first time, with 7 players mind you.

Yet, despite the lack of success on the court or field, many students have excelled in the classroom. I remember not always having the chance to take all the classes i wanted, when your school is small they can't offer too many special elective classes, or the same class multiple times. I remember not being able to take driver's ed because I went to vocational school and it was only offered in the morning while I was at Vo-tech.

However, I do remember my 9th grade year we had a winning record in jr. high football, we were 5-1-1 i believe. I can remember getting in the game for 3 plays and making 3 tackles and I got to start the next week because of that. I also remember my Sr. year we were 1-9 and we got blown out by teams much better than us, I bet 6 of our 10 games were against teams rated in the top 10 in WV and Ohio. We did play the #2 team and #4 team in the state. No one likes to lose, or lose handily, but I will also say I love the memories i have of that experience.

My senior year in basketball though I did not play, our team broke the school record for wins and won the sectional tournament for the first time in school history. That was fun to cheer them on. The girls team also won the sectional that year. We have had some good athletes at Hannan. We have also had some Hannan alums go on to do great things beyond college and become successful people. In my class alone it seems we have many successful business owners, salesman, and a lawyer to name a few. Success is not just defined in degrees, titles, and money. It's also defined in character, attitude, and heart. How successful you are as a human being, a parent, and a spouse.

I may have not gotten to take all the classes I wanted, but at Hannan I got an education(to be honest I didn't apply myself like I should have), and any troubles I had in college was my own fault for lack of discipline and effort(I got that in the military). I may not be a great athlete and there were times I sat the bench at Hannan if that tells you what a great athelete I was, but I made friendships, and have fond memories, and was able to be a part of something special.

Hannan is like any other school it is not perfect, it has a few negative parents, students, and problems. Sometimes Hannan gets a bad stereotype and I'll be honest I've sat and listened to people at ball games and things over the years and been frustrated with some of the ignorance, but you have that everywhere, Hannan doesn't have the market on ignorant or uneducated people. However, there are also some of the most loyal, giving, and caring people in that community.

I am proud of Hannan High School. I am proud to be an alumni of Hannan High school. I am proud that my stepson goes to Hannan and that I'm volunteering to help with the athletic boosters. I want to be a positive part of the community and school. The more positive influences we have, the more positive people we have involved, the less of a voice the negative people have. The more we educate people and support our school and students, the better the environment and culture becomes.

I would not trade my education and experience at Hannan High school for anything. I also will not stand by and allow people to trash my school or stereotype it unfairly. We need pride. We need to support our teachers, our school, our community, and most of all our kids. They deserve to have the best in education, athletics, and support. I expect other schools to get more because they are bigger and have more students, but Hannan also deserves to have quality and the best as well for the amount of students they have.

They also deserve our support and commitment as parents, fans, alumni, and members of the community. Our kids need to feel a sense of pride and they also need to be taught by example from us adults how to be committed and not to blame everyone and everything for losing, or mistakes, or failures. To accept responsiblity for our actions and to stay committed even when the road gets rough.

I think the most important thing we want is a place where I kids can learn, grow, mature, and build healthy relationships. A place where they can get an education and play athletics and I think the more Hannan gets and the more people support and help the more competive we can become, but it takes time, commitment, loyalty, and honesty.

I am proud of Hannan and I hope you will share in that pride with me and if you're not from Hannan, whatever school you are from or your kids go to, I pray you will be supportive and take pride in your school, community, and students.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Desperate?


Desperate?

Check out the words to this worship song:
Breathe
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your Holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very Word spoken to me

And I'm desperate for You
And I'm lost without You This is the air I breathe
(Words & Lyrics by Marie Barnett)

Most of the time when you think of word "Desperate" it means someone who is really reaching. We've used that word to describe
someone who dates or marries someone cause they are lonely. We use that term to describe someone who is in over their head and
has no where else to go. Desperate is usually not used in a positive light.

However, as this song describes, we should be Deperate for God. Whether we realize it or not, we need God. God=life. Just as we need water, food, and shelter to survive, we also need God in order to survive.

God should be looked at as our life line our life support and our air to breathe. We cannot survive eternally without God. This life we currently live, was also not meant to be lived without God. Many people live and die everyday without giving God one minute, but regardless of whether people choose God or not, that doesn't mean they don't or didn't need Him.

We need God. We need to have a desire, a thirst, and a hunger for a relationship with God. We need more churches that are desperate for God, many are just desperate because they refuse to change or do what it takes to reach lost people and be obedient to God. Many Churches are desperate because they are dwindling and dying and/or dysfunctional or fighting and not desperate for God.
We need more Christ followers who are desperate for God,, and not just desperate because they refuse to be obedient to God, admit sin, repent of wrongs, or because they want to follow their own will and not the perfect will of God.

There is a difference between a Holy desperation for God that we desperately need Him in our lives and just being desperate because we are ignorant, selfish, disobedient, or prideful. Desperate is good if/when we realize we need God and want Him to be a part of every aspect of our lives. Our relationships, our jobs, our friends, our tongue, our thoughts, and our hobbies.

God will meet all our needs. He will provide, supply, and care for all our needs. Sometimes our wants if they fit into His will, but always our needs. God is faithful. God is Just. God is Consistent. I think when me and you become more desperate for Him like we would be breath if we couldn't breath, then we are starting to get it.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19(NIV)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Debate over the King James Version

The Debate Over the King James Version
Rick Wade

Introduction: What the Debate is About

Have you ever been in a Bible study where everyone in the group reads a verse . . . and there are two or three Bible versions being used? Following the train of thought can be difficult when a verse in one version clashes with the next verse in another version.
Since the 1940s, many new Bible versions have appeared on the market: the Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the Living Bible, the Contemporary English Version, The Message, and many more. When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, the King James was still the dominant version. Today the New International Version leads sales followed by the KJV.(1)
For some people, the multiplicity of versions is a nuisance, but they accept it, believing that it is all a matter of personal preference. For others, however, this is a serious issue; not because of the inconvenience of multiple versions, but because they believe the King James Version is the only correct version for the church.
These new versions came about because of the publication of a new Greek New Testament about a century ago. Defenders of the primacy of the KJV were very vocal in their opposition to the new Greek text and the new English versions which followed its publication. This issue is not as big today, but it remains problematic for some Christians. Thus, a discussion of the King James/modern version debate is useful with a focus on the New Testament, for that is where the main concerns lie.
This debate is argued on two levels. On one level, the focus is on the King James itself (remember that our English versions are translated from Greek texts). Some simply believe that this particular translation is the best one. They see a certain majesty in its language, and they appreciate its important role in the history of the church. It has served the church well, so there is no need to begin confusing things by bringing in all those other versions, they believe.
There are some Christians, however, who go further than that. They believe that the KJV is not only the best version; they insist that it is the only valid English version. Newer translations of Scripture do not reliably convey God's truth. Some arguments for this side are little more than angry diatribes which are often circular. For example, some say that since the new versions differ from the King James, they are bad versions. The supremacy of the KJV is simply assumed.(2)
Although arguments from tradition and style can be powerful, there might be other considerations which outweigh them. A significant problem with the KJV, of course, is the language. People who did not grow up using the KJV have a hard time understanding it. Some of its words are no longer in use, and the antiquated forms of many words impede the understanding of the text. Over time they can learn to understand it, but without any more compelling reasons than tradition and style, it is hard to see why they should bother.
On another level, this debate focuses on the Greek manuscripts from which the English versions are translated. Some "King James only" proponents believe that the Greek text underlying most of the newer versions is corrupt. As we will see, they present some good arguments for their position.
Because the Greek text is the critical issue in this debate, it will be the focus of our examination of the debate (we will not get too technical!). To set the stage, we will begin with a brief history of the King James Version.
A Brief History of the King James VersionMany of us have heard the joke about the King James Version: "If it was good enough for the apostle Paul, it is good enough for me!" Paul, of course, was fifteen and a half centuries too early for the KJV. The New Testament writers wrote in Koine Greek, the language of the common man in the first century A.D. The first complete English Bible was not produced until John Wycliffe produced his in the fourteenth century. He translated from the Latin Vulgate which was the most widely used version at that time.
The next major step in the development of the English Bible was Tyndale's translation of the New Testament published in 1526 and portions of the Old Testament published later. Tyndale's version was significant because it was translated from a newly published Greek New Testament rather than from the Vulgate.
After Tyndale's, a number of other versions were produced. Among them were the Coverdale Bible, the Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishops' Bible. In 1611 the King James Version was published to provide a Bible which could be used by both Anglicans and Puritans. Marginal notes reflecting any particular theological bias were removed, and the language used was that of the people.
I noted earlier that Tyndale used a Greek text for his translation. The first published Greek New Testament appeared in the year 1516. It was edited by Erasmus, a Dutch scholar. Erasmus had at his disposal no more than six Greek manuscripts (we have thousands at our disposal today). These manuscripts were part of what is called the Byzantine text family.
Although Erasmus' edition provided a great boost to the study of the New Testament, it had a number of problems. For one thing, none of his sources had the last six verses of the book of Revelation, so Erasmus translated from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek! Thus, in his text "several words and phrases may be found that are attested in no Greek manuscript whatsoever."(3) In the first two editions of his New Testament, Erasmus left out I John 5:7 because it did not appear in any of his Greek manuscripts. That verse reads: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." This omission created a furor, so he promised to include the verse in a later edition if it could be found in any Greek manuscript. One was brought forward, and, although Erasmus did not think the text was genuine, he kept his promise and included the verse. It is now believed to have been a very late and unreliable manuscript, and some think it was forged to include the verse.(4)
Erasmus' Greek text was reworked and reprinted by others including Robert Estienne who divided the text into verses. Theodore Beza then built upon Estienne's work, and his Greek text provided one of the major foundations for the King James Bible. The term Textus Receptus, or Received Text, came from a blurb in another Greek text produced in the early seventeenth century by the Elzevir brothers. This title is still used in connection with the King James, and it is one you will see again in this article.
Westcott and HortI noted earlier that the more substantial arguments for the "King James only" position focus on the Greek texts underlying the different versions. There are four significant issues in the debate involving these texts which I will develop: the science of textual criticism, the number of Greek manuscripts available, the history of the Greek texts, and the dates of the manuscripts.
Before getting into the debate itself, it will be helpful to mention the historical event which brought the debate to a head, and to introduce a central element in New Testament textual studies.
Between the thousands of Greek manuscripts available there are differences of one kind or another (although there are not any which effect doctrinal matters). Certain Greek manuscripts share enough similarities that they are believed to have come from the same source. Each of these groups is called a text family or a text-type. There are four text families which are generally agreed upon by scholars. The manuscripts which were used to produce the Textus Receptus (and later the King James Version) were of the Byzantine family. The other three text families generally agreed upon by scholars are the Alexandrian, the Caesarean, and the Western.(5)
The fundamental debate between scholars in the King James/modern version controversy is over the question of the most accurate Greek text family or families. Which of the four families, if any, most accurately represents what the New Testament authors wrote? The Byzantine text was the dominant Greek text from about the eighth century until the end of the nineteenth century.(6) In 1881, however, two scholars named Westcott and Hort published a new Greek New Testament which relied more on other text families than on the Byzantine family. Their Greek text became the basis of the New Testament portion of modern Bible translations.
Westcott and Hort evaluated the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament according to the principles of textual criticism. This is the science of the study of ancient texts, the originals of which are lost. Based upon their studies, they argued that the Byzantine text was not the closest to the original writings as the King James advocates claimed. It seemed to have combined readings from other text families, and some readings appeared to have been modified for greater clarity and understanding. Thus, they believed it was at least two steps removed from the original writings. Also, they found no clear evidence of its existence in the writings of the early church fathers, and there are no copies older than the fourth century. Those who agree with Westcott and Hort believe that the Byzantine text was produced in the fourth century probably in an attempt to give the church one New Testament (there were a number of different Greek texts being used at the time). Other text families, on the other hand, appear to have more original readings and are quoted by the early church fathers, and are thus closer to the originals. So, the conclusions drawn from the application of textual criticism along with the ages of the manuscripts led them to believe that the most accurate Greek text is to be found by drawing from all the Greek text families, especially the Alexandrian family.(7)
Supporters of the Byzantine or Received Text responded that it was inappropriate to use naturalistic methods of study such as textual criticism on Scripture. They said that this amounts to elevating man over God in determining what the Bible says.(8) They also argued that the vast numbers of Byzantine manuscripts along with the centuries of history behind this text family should not be set aside on the basis of a few manuscripts discovered relatively recently. They insisted that the Spirit of God would not allow His true word to lie dormant so long while the church was being guided by inferior texts.
Textual CriticismAs I noted above, those who argue for the Byzantine or Received Text say that it is improper to subject the Bible to the scrutiny of textual criticism. The Bible, being the inspired Word of God, is unique. One begins with it as inspired and then accepts what it says.
But those in the Westcott-Hort tradition note that we cannot simply shut our eyes to the fact that there are differences between the various Greek manuscripts, even those in the Byzantine family. Even those who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture recognize that the original writings of the New Testament were inerrant, not the copies. It is our responsibility to apply the most sound principles we know of to determine what the original manuscripts said. This is the aim of textual criticism.
So, how does textual criticism work? Differences between Greek manuscripts are called variants. There are several causes of variants. Some are accidental, such as misspelled words or repeated or reversed words. Some resulted from a scribe not hearing a dictation correctly. Also, deliberate changes seem to have been made to bring passages in different Gospels into harmony or to make a doctrinal point clearer.
What are some examples of differences between the Greek texts which show up in our English Bibles? One example is the Lord's Prayer as it is recorded in Matthew and in Luke. In the KJV the two versions are almost identical, while in the NIV the prayer in Luke 11 is significantly shorter than that in Matthew 6. Most scholars believe that, at some point in history, a scribe added to the text in Luke to make it agree more with Matthew.
The last half of Mark 16 is a lengthy section which is disputed. The KJV retains verses 9 through 20 while the NIV includes the passage with a note saying it is not found in the most reliable early manuscripts. Scholars who believe it should be excluded also note that the style and vocabulary are very different from the rest of Mark.(9)
To add one more, in the KJV, three verses in Mark 9 (44 ,46, and 48) are identical: "Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched." The NIV puts verses 44 and 46 in footnotes and notes that some manuscripts include the phrase. Since each verse follows a reference to hell, it is very possible that a scribe simply repeated the warning to strengthen the message.
If all this makes you nervous about the accuracy of your Bible, it is important to note that textual criticism is used on all documents for which the originals no longer exist. New Testament scholar J. Harold Greenlee noted that, with respect to the Bible, "No Christian doctrine . . . hangs upon a debatable text."(10) This conflict provides no fodder for critics of Christianity who might ask how we can know what the Bible really says. We can be confident that we have a highly accurate text, especially given the number of New Testament manuscripts available and the antiquity of some of them.(11) As one writer has said, "It is well to remember that the main body of the text and its general sense are left untouched . . . textual criticism engages in turning a magnifying glass upon some of the details."(12)
Other Issues in the DebateIn addition to the question of textual criticism, questions regarding the number of manuscripts, the historical dominance of the Byzantine text, and the dates of the manuscripts still need to be considered.
First is the matter of the number of manuscripts. Between eighty and ninety percent of existing manuscripts are of the Byzantine family and are in remarkable agreement. This fact is not in dispute. King James supporters say that the few manuscripts to which Westcott and Hort gave preference cannot override the witness of the vast majority of manuscripts in existence which are of the Byzantine tradition. It is normal to expect that the oldest manuscript will have the most copies.(13) In response, those who follow Westcott and Hort point out that hundreds of copies could have been made from one defective text while a better text was not copied as often. The copying of New Testament texts was not as carefully monitored as the copying of the Old Testament text by Jewish scholars. As we have seen, errors were made and changes were deliberately introduced. Simply finding a lot of manuscripts which are in agreement is not enough. To illustrate their point, they ask whether one would rather have one real $100 bill or five counterfeits.
A second issue is the preservation of the text through history. Supporters of the Received Text ask why God's Spirit would allow the church to be under the authority of a defective text for almost 1500 years. Textual critics respond that this argument exaggerates the issue. They do not consider the Byzantine text to be a "'bad' or heretical text; it presents the same Christian message as the critical [or Westcott-Hort] text."(14) Again, there are no doctrinal differences between the Greek texts. Members of the Byzantine family are used along with members of other text families to determine what the true reading of a passage should be. The major text families are neither absolutely corrupt nor absolutely perfect. Text critics must use all the available resources to determine what the original documents said.
Finally, the dates of the manuscripts are important in this debate. Textual critics point out that church fathers before the fourth century "unambiguously cited every text-type except the Byzantine."(15) If the Byzantine text-type comes directly from the original writings, one would expect unambiguous quotations of it from the beginning. They also point out that there are no Byzantine manuscripts older than the fourth century, whereas there are copies of other text families older than that.
In response to this, King James supporters note that the New Testament manuscripts began to be altered very soon after they were written. Eusebius, the ancient church historian, reported that heresies sprang up early after the turn of the second century, and proponents of these heresies sometimes altered Scripture to accord with their beliefs.(16) Thus, antiquity is not the crucial test. That there are no copies older than the fourth century can be explained by the fact that the material manuscripts were written on was fragile; it's reasonable to conclude that the early copies probably wore out through frequent handling.
Summary and Concluding ThoughtsTo summarize, those who support the King James/Received Text tradition emphasize the number of manuscripts, the church's history with the Byzantine text, and God's interest in preserving His Word, whereas those following Westcott and Hort say that the variants in the manuscripts - even between those in the Byzantine family - prove the need for the textual criticism of the New Testament. The results of their analysis along with the ages of the manuscripts leads them to believe that the Byzantine family is just one text family that can lead us back to the originals - or close to it - but it is not the one best text family.
So, which way should you go on this debate? If you are concerned about the issue, I suggest that you study it more. The texts cited in the notes will give you a place to start. If not, I would recommend using a version that is as close to the Greek text as possible while being understandable to you. But whichever version you choose, be very sure of your arguments before insisting that others use it, too. It seems to me that, with all the difficulties we face in our often hostile culture, we should not erect walls between Christians on the basis of Bible versions. We are not taking God's Word lightly here. We are simply calling for a more well-reasoned discussion and for the rule of love to govern the debate.
Notes
1. Marketplace, Christian Booksellers Association, May, 1998.
2. An example is the pamphlet by J. J. Ray, The Eye Opener (Junction City, Oregon, 1953).
3. D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 34.
4. Ibid., 35.
5. F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments 3d ed., (Westwood, NJ: Revell, 1963), 185.
6. J. Harold Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 61-62.
7. To be more precise, while Westcott and Hort gave the greater weight to the Alexandrian text over the Byzan- tine, they gave even greater weight to the manuscripts Vaticanus and Sinaiticus which they considered to be "neutral texts." Later, sympathetic scholars grouped these two with the Alexandrian family. See Carson, 41.
8. Edward F. Hills, "The Magnificent Burgon," in Which Bible?, 5th ed., David Otis Fuller, ed. (Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids International Publications, 1975), 101-105.
9. Greenlee, 133.
10. Ibid., 68.
11. In addition to the Greek manuscripts, also available for study are ancient lectionaries, various translations into other languages, and the writings of the early church fathers. See Greenlee, pp. 44-58.
12. Ibid., 17.
13. Zane C. Hodges, "The Greek Text of the King James Version," in Which Bible?, 37.
14. Greenlee, 81.
15. Carson, 47.
16. Eusebius Pamphilus, Ecclesiastical History (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1971), 215-216. See also Benjamin G. Wilkinson, "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated," in Which Bible?, 190-193.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International
About the Author
Rick Wade graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a B.A. in Communications (radio broadcasting) in 1986. He graduated cum laude in 1990 from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with an M.A. in Christian Thought (theology/philosophy of religion) where his studies culminated in a thesis on the apologetics of Carl F. H. Henry. Rick and his family make their home in Garland, Texas.

What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at Probe.org
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by writing to:
Probe Ministries2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000Plano, TX 75075(972) 941-4565info@probe.orghttp://www.probe.org/


Which Bible version is best? My take


My Take:
Just like most of you, i have opinions, preferences, and personal feelings and thoughts. This issue seems to be a hot button, but it is also one I have become passionate about.

Let me clarify some things:
1. I am not against the KJV, I don't use it anymore, I do use a NKJV and most of my use is in the NIV.
2. What I am against is someone telling me that the KJV is the only bible, the only "authorized" bible, or that any other version or translation is wrong, a sin, or not inspired. These statements are unfounded, ignorant, not biblical, and not accurate. This is not just my opinion. It's truth. My opinion is I prefer the NIV. It would be just as wrong for me to say NIV is only Bible and KJV irrelevant.

In order for the KJV to the the "ONLY" authorized, inspired, correct, or holy version. God is the ONLY one who has the authority to command us to ONLY use the KJV and it's the ONLY version we humans or churches can use, study, teach, or share.

I'm tired of christians, preachers, and chruches preaching and teaching this "Hate" gospel. We need to teach Love, truth, accuracy, grace, and gospel. People are dying and going to hell unsaved, and we are not discipling or helping our members mature. Too many churches and Christians are KNOWN for what they ARE AGAINST and NOT what THEY ARE FOR.

I agree, not all translations of the bible are accurate and one must be weary of certain paraphrased versions of the bible, because these are simpley wrote from english translations and not from the original manuscripts.

I am not going to pretend to be a Theologin or an expert on ancient texts or a Bible College Professor. But, at the same time, I am not going to breed ignorance, arrogance, legalism, or judgment in my life simply based on "that was the way I was taught", "that was the way I was raised", or "that is what I'm comfortable with so everything else is wrong".

I got some news for us all. God doesn't care what our opinions are. God has never asked not one single persons input on putting together His word. Most of the things we do in our churches today are simply based on traditions or teachings past down and not on His truth.

God is the only one with AUTHORITY to say which Version of the Bible we should use and He is the only one AUTHORIZED to make such statements about faith and it's practices and He is silent.

Let me explain it this way. There are several things in our history and life that have evolved because of time, education, and the world progressing and changing. Take the Television for example. Are you still watching a TV from the early 1900's? Black and White? A gigantic floor model that looks like something from outer space? If you are like me I have a flat panel HD TV and thank God for technology and advancements in it. Let me give you some quick history of the TV.

TV can't be contributed to any one person, but a progression of ideas, contributions, etc. As early at 1876, people had ideas and experiments with television. As years passed into the early 1900's the idea of Television evolved. 1901 was first mechanical TV. 1907 tv with the cathode ray tube. In 1923 there were 2 televisions. By 1936 200 tv's existed. 1941 all tv's black and white. By 1948 100 million us homes had b&w tv's. By 1950 we started having color tv and by 1967 most shows were broadcast in color. By 1972 half of TV's in use were color tv's. I could go on, most homes have multiple tv's now. We have 4 in our home. Most people have cable, dish, direct tv, or something. Most homes have DVD players, VCRs, and BluRay's.

My point is. What if back in the early 1900's people said, the first type of TV is the only TV. Any other TV is wrong. No doing research, or advancing the TV. The creator's of the TV set only want theres and theres only. What about other things like Electricty, telephones, computers, or automobiles? Are you still calling an operator to make a call for you in 2010? Or do you like me have a cell phone that I can call, text, email, and surf the internet? What about your car? You still driving a model T? Actually the first car design was steam propelled in 1769 and then a guy made an electric automobile in the 1830's and then Karl Frederich Benz had first gas powered automobile in 1885-86 and that's was before Ford's Model-T. Are we to go back in time and say we can only have steam powered cars? Any thing new, better, or improved is wrong? I doubt it. Then why do we try to limit God, put Him in a box, or spread legalism in our churches?

In our life we have allowed advancements and progression as technology and wisdom of experts has grown. Are we so narrow-minded and ignorant to think that scholars in the 20th Century couldn't look at more manuscripts of the original texts of biblical scriptures(The Bible) and not learn from scholar's and translations of the past, the 1611 King James version to be exact, and not better translate the Bible into a better language or translation the would better help people KNOW GOD and HIS WORD better?

People who are on this kick of ONLY the KJV act like people are trying to take the Bible and turn people away from God or take Jesus off the Cross or God out of Heaven. What makes God's word HOLY is God. Not King James.

I've tried to explain that people even mis-use the word "Authorized" on many King James Bibles. King James back in 1611 did not want anyone using any other Bible besides His translation, so that is the only one the King authorized. Not God, a man!

I drove past a church recently who had on their church sign "we only used the authorized King James Bible" do you really think a lost, un-churched person knows what that means or even cares? I heard a preacher recently in a church I was visiting refer to using "the bible" the KJV, and last night I visited a church and in the pew was a paper a preacher had passed out to people as to why the KJV was only AUTHORIZED Version and only REAL bible. I read it and it was garbage. It was inaccurate, unfounded, and even went as far to say it was wrong for preacher's to quote other versions or that even quoting the originial greek was wrong?

Truth and un-truth are the same way. Both can be passed and spread and believed. I could preach at a church long enough and start pushing my feelings onto people based on my opinions and not truth and eventually many people would or could start following my opinions and take them for truth. Preachers and Pastor's do it all the time, they may not intentionally do it, but it doesn't change the fact, that many of our churches are breeding ignorance or misinformation to truth.

If God's WORD speaks clearly and truly about a subject, we have authority from God to share it and preach it. If God's word isn't precise on a subject, then we DO NOT have authority from God to preach it or teach it. God's word leaves lots of room for our spiritual freedom. The thing is God's word is truth and if you think it has one lie in it, then the whole book has to be wrong, But if you believe it's the truth, you also have to learn that there are reasons God doesn't get specific about certain details. I believe God has the exact details in black and white He intended for us, and the rest He left up to our spiritual freedom.

Do people misquote and misuse God's word alot? Yes! That is why we have cults and people doing things in God's name. That is why we have so many denominations and it may even be why we have more tranlastions of the Bible than we need.

But, for us to not think God gifted men and women to take His word and improve on its translation over the years so that His people could use it, share it, learn from it, preach it, teach it, and mature in it is wrong and sinful. God wants us to be students of His Word, rely on His Word, and live by His Word. He wants the church to progress and evolve and change it's methods and ways with the times so that we can continue to reach lost people and make disciples and mature followers.

I encourage you, I beg you, and I ask you to go to your churches and start studying God's word more and better. Do some research for yourself. I have spent much time looking at this issue of bible translations on both sides of the issue. I have tried to read as much as I can both in God's word and i encourage you to do the same.

Not just about this issue but any issue. Before you become "Set in Your Ways" or draw a line in the sand, or spread negativity study, learn, grow, ask questions, get in discussions, and challenge those who might be teaching in ignorance or error. I know that over the years, I've been wrong about issues or change my mind on issues as I matured in my faith and studied.

My goal is not to divide churches or christians, but to bring them together. To have unity. Sometimes it means to agree to disagree, sometimes it means taking a stand for what you believe. My passion and goal is to help the church grow and to reach lost people and I want God to use me. I'm not trying to prove people wrong, stir up trouble, or upset anyone. I'm just tired of people dying and going to hell everyday while our churches keep doing things the same ways and expecting different results. I do not want our churches dying or missing chances to help people change their lives because we are arguing or fighting over stuff that doesn't matter or is not biblical.

Ask yourself these questions about anything, whether it's the KJV issue or something else. Is this a command or a preference? Is this my personal opinion or based on what God says? Am I being faithful to God or doing my own thing? Am I binding my beliefs on other people or am I open to God teaching, maturing, and changing my heart so i can grow in my faith?

Just alot of things for us all to think about . Use your KJV if you like, if it's easier for your church to use one translation because of teaching, that is great. But do not bind or command anything on anyone based on anything other that God's authority directly from His Word. When we do this we will change, our churches will change, and more people will be saved.

Which Bible Version is Best?


Found this article on http://www.christianbiblereference.org/
I think this is a challenging read and I hope to write another article about it. I would love other website or resources on this issue. Seems to be a hot issue where I live. Most churches are KJV only and I want to educate and be educated. We can't base our beliefs on opinions, or way we are raised, we need to base it on educated truth from God. I'd love to hear thoughts, opions, and want this to be positive discussion. pass it along to others. Best way to learn is to learn from others, pray for wisdom, and seek to grow and mature in our faith, which means moving out of our comfort zones and trying to be open minded with what God might be trying teach us.
Jason

Which Bible Version is Best?
The Old Testament (OT) of the Bible was originally written in the Hebrew language with a few sections written in the Aramaic language. The OT contains the sacred writings of the Hebrews and contains books of the Law, history of Israel, wisdom, and prophecy. The events of the OT (excluding Genesis 1-11) occurred roughly between 1800 B.C. and 400 B.C. A Greek translation of the OT, called the Septuagint, was produced between 200 and 100 B.C. for the benefit of Greek-speaking Jews in Alexandria, Egypt.

The Apocrypha, a group of fifteen late OT books, was written during the period 170 B.C. to 70 A.D. These Jewish books were included in many versions of the Septuagint in circulation as the New Testament (NT) was being formed, but they were excluded from the official canon of Judaism, established about 100 A.D. Today, the books of the Apocrypha are included in Catholic versions of the OT, but not in most Protestant versions. These books are also known as thedeuterocanonical books.

The people of first century Palestine, including Jesus, spoke the Aramaic language. However, early Christian writings were written entirely in Greek, the universal language of the Roman Empire at that time. The early church leaders gradually assembled these writings into what is now known as the New Testament. They included books they believed were written by eyewitnesses to the events narrated, while rejecting many other early Christian writings. Eventually, the 27 books which form the present New Testament, along with the OT books, became the Christian Bible as we know it today. The New Testament canon was formally adopted by the Synod of Carthage in 397 A.D.

During the early centuries A.D., Latin replaced Greek as the language of the Roman Empire. In 405, a Latin translation of the Old and New Testaments was completed. This version, known as the Vulgate, became the standard Bible of Christianity for many centuries. None of the original manuscripts of the OT or NT still exist. Until the 15th century, when printing was invented, Bible copies were made entirely by hand. As a result, many small variations are found among the many ancient Bible manuscripts still in existence.

The King James Version
The first English language version of the full Bible was John Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate in 1384. Several other English versions followed, and the beloved King James version was published in 1611. The King James Version, itself, has been updated several times: in 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769.

The team of 47 scholars who translated the KJV version did an excellent job. However, the English language has changed a lot in the nearly 400 years since it was published. Many KJV words and phrases, such as: Lord of hosts, sabaoth, emerods and, concupiscence, would not be meaningful to to most people today. Worse, many other KJV words, such as charity, trespass, profit,cousin, and remission, have different primary meanings today than they did in 1611 and could mislead the reader. As a result, many English-speaking people find the KJV is quite difficult to read and understand.

Some people believe the KJV is the most accurate or only authentic version of the Bible. Some believe the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts the KJV translators worked from were faithfully preserved by God or are the most accurate for some other reason. Others say the translators of all later versions were biased or incompetent in one way or another. Still others say the KJV is a literal and accurate translation while later versions were rewritten to suit the biases of the publishers. However, the vast majority of Bible scholars and Christians reject all these objections as being based on faulty facts and reasoning, and they do not consider the KJV to be more accurate or more sacred than other translations.

Modern Bible Version
Recent developments in archaeology and Biblical scholarship have made possible a number of modern, more accurate English translations of the scriptures. These newer versions are translated from the best available ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, rather than from the King James version or the Latin Vulgate.

Although the newer translations are believed to be more accurate than the KJV, the differences are minor. No significant changes of belief or interpretation would result from the many minor corrections. The main advantage of the modern translations is that they are written in modern English so the reader will not be mystified or misled by the archaic English of the KJV. The mainstream modern Bible versions have been translated by teams of devout Bible scholars who have prayerfully done their very best to convey the true meaning of the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts to the modern reader. These modern translations have been adopted by many churches, both Protestant and Catholic, for use in worship.

It is often pointed out that modern translations omit a few of the verses found in the KJV, and this is sometimes believed to be an attempt to distort the Bible's teachings. However, the reason is that certain verses are not found in the oldest and best Bible manuscripts. Thus, they are omitted to accurately preserve the original Bible text. (The chapter and verse numbers were added to the Bible in the Middle Ages; they were not part of the original Bible manuscripts. Thus, an omitted verse does not mean that something was omitted from the original texts.)

Some of these extra verses were added to certain manuscript copies as margin notes or as prayers for use in public worship. Those manuscripts were then copied and recopied without making it clear that the extra verses were later additions. The most famous example is the doxology, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." that the KJV adds to the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:13. That phrase is not found is any of the oldest manuscripts of Matthew.

Another objection to some modern versions, such as the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and Today's New International Version(TNIV), is the use of gender-inclusive language. The issue arises because English lacks a common gender third person singular pronoun. Language that applies equally to men and women in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts has traditionally been translated as "he" or "him" in English Bibles. However, that can leave the mistaken impression that a verse applies only to men. Such verses have been phrased in some modern translations to accurately convey the gender-inclusive sense of the original manuscripts. The KJV translates John 13:20 as, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." The NRSV changes the "he" to "whoever" to show that the original text applied equally to men and women, but the "him" that applies to God is left as masculine: "Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me."

It is also traditional in English to use masculine gender as a generic form to include both sexes. So, Romans 3:28 has traditionally been translated into English as "a man is justified by faith." However, the original Greek word, anthropos means "human being" and applies equally to both sexes. So, the NRSV and TNIV have translated this verse as "a person is justified by faith" to accurately reflect the inclusive nature of the original Greek word.

Publishers of gender-inclusive Bibles are quick to point out that these are not "politically correct" or "feminist" Bibles. They have used gender-inclusive language only where it would have been understood that way in the original Hebrew and Greek languages.

Bible Translations. Here is a list of some excellent modern translations, in alphabetical order:
The New American Bible (NAB) is the official Catholic version of the Bible in the United States, and it is written in very modern English. The books of the Apocrypha are incorporated into the Old Testament of Catholic Bibles. Otherwise, this translation does not differ significantly from modern Protestant Bibles.

The New American Standard Bible , published in 1971, is a scholarly update of the 1901 American Standard Version. Sponsored by the Lockman Foundation, the translators used the best available Greek and Hebrew texts as a guide.
The New International Version of the Bible, a completely new translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew texts sponsored by the New York International Bible Society, was published in 1978. Its clear, direct modern English makes it easy to read and understand
The New Revised Standard Version Bible(NRSV), published by The National Council of Churches in 1989, is an update of the highly regarded Revised Standard Version of 1952. The language is very modern, but the style is more traditional than the NIV. The NRSV uses gender-inclusive language in places where it would have been understood that way in the original language.The NRSV is also available in Catholic editions and Anglicized Editions.
The Revised English Bible(REB) is a British edition published by Oxford University Press in 1989. The translators have written in a style suitable for use in worship, while maintaining intelligibility for people of a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Today's New International Version of the Bible(TNIV), is an update of the NIV. Unlike the NIV, it uses gender-inclusive language in places where it would have been understood that way in the original language.
Paraphrased Versions.
In addition to the translations above, there are a number of paraphrased Bible versions which were translated "thought-by-thought" instead of word-by-word. The translators have written in a style that is thoroughly modern and these Bibles are suitable for all ages and very easy to understand. By nature, though, these paraphrased versions involve some interpretation that is subject to debate:
The Living Bible(TLB), published in 1971, is a popular paraphrased version written by Kenneth N. Taylor, who began this version to help his own children understand the New Testament Letters of Paul.
New Living Translation (NLT), published in 1996, is a thought-by-thought translation by 90 Bible scholars from various theological backgrounds and denominations. It is similar toThe Living Bible, but the language is more traditional.