One. “Back in my day.” I’m actually living in my day. Today.
This is my day. I am as alive and active as I have ever been. I vote, I read the paper every day, I blog several times a week, and I’m often on Facebook. I still work–traveling to cities far and near to preach and minister.
I married Bertha three years ago. She still teaches English at a community college across town. Much of her day is spent at the laptop grading papers and communicating with students. She is very much in the present; neither of us is living in the past.
Earlier this month I drove to northern Kentucky (495 miles) to minister and drove back the next day, arriving home in time to sketch for two hours at our church’s Christmas program that evening.
I’m still here.
Two. I’m going to ‘unpack’ this message. Ugh!
I grimace every time a speaker/preacher promises to unpack something from Scripture. Explain it, exegete it, expound on it. But don’t ‘unpack’ it. Sheesh.
Three. “In ‘your’ name we pray.” I’ll not be praying that way.
There is no scriptural justification or support for praying to the Father “in His name.” We pray in Jesus’ name.
My suspicion is the “in your name we pray” business was started in order to get out of saying “Jesus” in the presence of those who might be offended. I’ll not be doing that, thank you.
Four. It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere. I do not believe this for a minute.
A variation of this is someone speaking of “your truth” and “my truth.” Both are insults to the intelligence of the hearer. Try that on the astronauts settling in aboard a rocketship destined for outer space. As the flight engineer, you say, “Colonel, for your information, we didn’t follow the guideline in programming the computer for your blastoff. I have my own truth. But don’t tell the Flight Director.”
Yeah right. Not going to happen. And yet, people who believe in a rigid definition of truth in medical science, in nuclear physics, etc., turn to religious matters and try to sell this scam. I’ll not be buying.
Five. Anyone who disagrees with me doctrinally or politically needs a brain transplant. You will not hear me say this. While someone disagreeing with me is often painful, I’ve sometimes noticed that they are correct and I’m in the wrong.
These days it’s the pro-Trump/anti-Trump people who take no prisoners in their arguments. Some of my best friends are dead sure Mr. Trump is God’s man for America and that anyone saying otherwise is a tool of the devil. Others equally serious about following the Man of Galilee believe Mr. Trump is destroying this country and setting us on a course of destruction unless he is removed from the White House.
I’ll not be joining that conversation. This, I can guarantee you, will anger both groups. That is their problem; it’s not mine.
Six. All liberals are unbelievers. You will not hear me say this. It’s up to God to decide who is a believer.
Some Christian people whom I hold dear believe that unless you use the KJV Bible, you are a liberal and a heretic. Some of them believe that anyone wanting to take away their guns or supporting universal health care must be a Communist. Or worse. And I have known a few truly righteous people over the years who love the Lord Jesus and believe the Holy Bible with all their hearts, but interpret it differently from me and probably you. I still respect them.
Seven. I know Donald Trump is a Christian because some preacher said he was. I will not be saying this.
My response: I hope he is. God grant. But let’s hear it from the man himself. Scripture says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” And let the others be quiet.
Eight. I’m not a theologian, but… You’ll not hear me say this.
Mike Miller, my pastor for eight years and my brother forever, has a word on this. “We hear preachers preface their remarks by that statement. I tell them, ‘If you’re not one, then shut up. But if you are a pastor, you should be a theologian!'”
Nine. My wife told me not to tell this, but…. Hey, if my wife counseled me not to tell something, you can bet I’m not going to.
A wife’s instincts are far sharper than her husband’s. Don’t ask me why that’s so. It just is. I have sometimes heard a preacher tell something that had no business being repeated in public. Everything inside me wanted to call out, “Hey buddy! You should have run that by your wife!”
Ten. If you love me, you will forward this to ten other people. I delete it.
Whether you forward anything I write is strictly up to you. My goal, on the other hand, is to write something so helpful, so enlightening, so comforting, that many who read it will want to keep it, reprint it, and pass it along. But doing so should not be a test of anything.
I can think of a dozen other statements you’ll not be hearing from me. But that’s enough for now. You’ll have your own list, I’m betting. .
Great wisdom here. Thanks Pastor Joe!