Tag Archives: John 1

No Monkeys at Camp!

monkey 2

I really don’t know at what point in my life I was introduced to the gospel. I was brought up in church from birth, and yet didn’t come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ until the age of 34.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Are those verses not amazing? Theologian Francis Junius told of how as a youth he was “infected with loose notions in religion,” as he puts it. But by the grace of God discovered faith in Christ by “accidently” reading John 1:1-5 which his father had purposefully laid in his way. Loose notions of religion… how appropriately does that describe our world today? Because of the light hand taken with the gospel at many of the churches I grew up in, the light of God did not penetrate my soul and I too had loose notions of religion. Oh, I believed in Christ (as does Satan), but I had no real comprehension of Who it was that Christ was. I believed that God created the universe, but what about those monkey’s people told me about in school? I didn’t really believe it, but it cast enough doubt into my mind that I was confused as to the creation of mankind, after all learned people were telling me these atrocities. Adults wouldn’t lie, right? My idealistic world of two Ozzie and Harriett parents didn’t prepare me for secular teaching and liberal preaching did solidify anything in my mind about Jesus Christ.

Tears well up in my eyes when I think of what children today are being exposed to. At least, Hallelujah and praise His Holy Name, I had a decent foundation. I had good parents. But the world is harsh.

When God gives that final exam in Heaven… “What did you do in your life for me?” There are going to be some educators who are going to stand before Almighty God and give an account for why they preached a monkey religion and cast confusion in the minds of children. “But it was a State Mandate! They’ll cry…” And God’s response… I don’t know. That’s for God to deicide, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be good.

That was a station break, now back to my sin. From the creation God was. Christ was. From 1962 Shari was (in human form anyway). And even as a child, in the pit of my soul I knew there was a Creator. God revealed that to me, but I was in darkness and I comprehended it not. I didn’t understand until I heard the Word of God preached in 1996 and it was literally as if God flipped a switch in my soul and I said, “Oh Jesus! Thank You for causing the darkness to flee, I’ve been scared and alone for 34 years.”

This morning I woke up in teen camp 2014. I fear that the switch has not been turned on in all of my campers, I’m pretty sure of it. They won’t get any monkey religion from me or any other leader of Victory Baptist Church this week; they’ll get the gospel. Please pray for our youth and our leaders. I hope to have some awesome stories of salvation this week!

Repeat after me… I’m not God

I really shouldn’t be trusted with scripture. I can be somewhat of a smart aleck, so as I read John 1:47 this morning I had to back up and go off on a short (very short) study of what Jesus said. Because when I read it, I read it with attitude (surprising right?)  as if Jesus were poking fun at Nathanel. Because that would have likely been my response to Nathanael when he made fun of my hometown.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

But Jesus wasn’t poking fun of Nathanael. Nathanael could have meant, that according to what he had been taught, Moses said that He should come out of Judah and the prophets had assigned the city of Bethlehem as the place of his nativity. Jesus knew that Nathanael was sincere in his comment, not degrading. No guile, meaning there was no pretense but rather sincerity in his comment.

 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart and Nathanael knew Jesus. We’re not afforded the luxury of knowing another man (or woman’s heart) yet so often we assume we do. Color me guilty. As a baby Christian I was taught to take nothing as the gospel, except the gospel, to try everything I heard and read by the Holy Scripture and see if it lined up. What I often discovered is not even the good guys always line up with scripture. Well intentioned Christians, without guile, meaning they’re sincere in what they believe, often make assumptions about another person’s heart by how they speak, dress or behave. We label people as we see them approach, we hear them speak and red flags go up with warning signs “They don’t believe like you!” And so we turn them off.

What we should be saying is “I’m not God, I don’t know their heart.” And then we should spend time getting to know it. But we’re denominationally taught that our way is the right way and their way is wrong and we should tell them.

What if that had been Jesus’ response to Nathanael? What if He had said, “Nathanael you’re an idiot, I know what Moses said, and it’s true, but there’s more to the story.” If that had been His response, Nathanael would have turned Jesus off the way people turn off self-righteous Christians that think they’re right and in them there is no guile… which is usually not the case, because they usually have pride bubbling up and that’s full of guile. Just sayin’.

For the record, I know what I believe, and why I believe it; but I pray that when I meet folks that don’t believe exactly the way I do, that I won’t assume I know their heart. I pray I’ll take time to get to know them, and just maybe we can have sincere fellowship. If somebody new comes in to your midst today. Just shake their hand and say to yourself… I’m not God.