Christianity 201

April 1, 2013

When Panic Strikes

I have always been a very nervous person. I worry, and I worry that I worry. It seems inconsistent with the life of abiding in Christ we should be living. But sometimes the circumstances of life seem overwhelming. So when Pete Wilson spoke on this verse yesterday, I was all ears. (I watch Pete at 7:00 PM EST Sundays at this link.)

Sometimes in Bible translation, there is consistency from version to version as to a particular passage, and at other times there are a wider variety of terms at the translators disposal.  This is one of those.  This appeared earlier today at Thinking Out Loud.

Last night I was watching the online version of Cross Point Church’s Sunday service; the one where Pete Wilson takes live questions after he preaches.  He mentioned that he reads a chapter of scripture a day and is always amazed at how timely it is to whatever circumstance he is facing. Then he told a story of how God used a scripture reference in an unlikely place to meet a need in his own life.

But Pete’s sermon also had something I needed — and still need — to hear. One of those verses that arrests you in your tracks. It’s the rendering of Isaiah 28:16 in the updated NIV:

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic.

It’s that last phrase, which I underlined, that really got me.

The Message makes a rare use of capital letters here:

And this is the meaning of the stone:
A TRUSTING LIFE WON’T TOPPLE.

The ESV has:

‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

The CEB:

…the one who trusts won’t tremble

The Amplified:

..he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic].

The NLT:

It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.

Finally, the NASB:

A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

Part of life in the modern world is the potential for fear and anxiety.  The translators use: disturbed, panic, shaken, trembling… This is a verse to claim for those who know what it means to panic.  Am I trusting in the cornerstone? Positionally, generally yes, but we live in two worlds and there are times I don’t allow my faith to permeate or penetrate my circumstances.

Blog Update:

While Thinking Out Loud continues to be my most visible blog project, Christianity 201 is fast becoming the more active franchise. Each day more people sign on for this potpourri of Bible study discussion and devotional thoughts culled from the widest variety of the Christian blogosphere.

At the same time, going on a daily “hunting and gathering” routine can be exhausting, so I’m looking for someone who is already familiar with the WordPress platform who might want to eventually have editing privileges here. To start, needed is someone who has been blogging regularly for at least a year themselves, so I can see where they are coming from, and then they need to be able to source out material suitable for C201 subject to the guidelines posted in the sidebar.You also need to be able to generate appropriate post tags; and need to work with HTML in terms of setting blockquotes within quotes and adding color to scripture passages and subheadings and adding to superscripts on Bible references. (Note: This particular theme is not H1, H2 responsive so you have to change font sizes.) Initially, submissions would be emailed in coded text.

A needle in a haystack person, basically; but if you feel that’s you, start by contacting me at the address on the “Submissions” page. Anyone who does not feel up to this task, but wants to send a particularly strong C201 guest post is welcomed to do that anytime by email.
 

Scripture portions from various translations quoted at Christianity 201 are always in green to remind us that the Scriptures have LIFE!

June 28, 2010

What it Looks Like From Their Perspective

My wife and I met at a medium-sized Christian camp.

Camp life — especially in summer — is like a city in miniature.   We’re no longer part of the action, but when we drop our guys off (one serving on staff for ten weeks, the other taking a 4-week leadership program) we probably see the place a little differently than some.

There were little conversations going on between camp people doing camp things.   Conversations that a few years ago we would have been part of.   (Maybe we tune-in more than others.)  Details that must be firmed up.   Things coming together at the last minute.   All good, all necessary, but all of it very internal.

I wondered this time if that’s how outsiders see us when (and if) they visit our churches.   Conversations about upcoming programs.   Discussions about people best suited to fill particular needs.   In-joking about something that happened in the previous worship service.

In other words, church people doing church things and talking about church activities.   All good, all necessary, but all of it very internal.   And all of it about the maintenance and operation of the institution.

I’m a rebel.  I just want to walk up to those people (the church people, not the camp people, who are younger, and given more grace) and even though they don’t me, just cut right into the conversation and say, “Hey, so what’s God been showing you this week?”

I think this is the ultimate conversation starter (and stopper) in any church lobby.     But it’s the question we need to keep coming back to.

What’s God been showing me today?   That we need to be a little more external in our conversations… because we never know who is listening.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.   (Col 4:6 NIV)

Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation. (Col 4:5-6a The Message)

Digging Deeper:  The passage from the Message discusses “living and working with outsiders” which may seem diametrically opposed to what we do in church.   But a recent sermon by Bruxy Cavey reminded me that many times non-believers and even people from other faiths attend our churches to check out how we fare at “doing life together.”

If our preoccupation is the next bake sale or the youth car wash, (or worse, the price of dog food at Wal-Mart) then they will pick up on this, and question the authenticity of our faith.   I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you can guage the spiritual tone of a church by its lobby conversations.

So what’s God been showing you this week?

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