When a referee blows his whistle in a game it signals a stoppage in play (another basketball analogy?). In a basketball game, often it means that some violation has occurred, such as a foul or travelling with the ball, or ball went out of bounds and so on. Like a good referee in a game, he must make a judgment call based on what he sees and knows of the rules. From a coach’s perspective, sometimes he gets it right, and other times he missed the call.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to make judgments. That is different than being judgmental and feeling empowered to referee everyone else’s life. But we are to discern between truth and error. And as D.L Moody put it, “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it.” Our straight stick is the Word of God.
This past week, I had to make a judgment call around a Bible Study video series that I was excited about. When the study was sent to me from the Adult Discipleship team, I loved the subject matter and I personally have listened to and appreciated the ministry of Andy Stanley going as far back as 30 years ago when I served as youth pastor. There is a great need today to have guardrails in our lives so that we don’t fall off the edge morally, financially, physically, and spiritually.
That was one reason my decision to replace this study with another study was so challenging. But church, when I laid the straight stick of the Word of God alongside of some other words spoken by the respected Andy Stanley, a judgment had to be made. I understand Pastor Stanley had his reasons for saying what he did around the virgin birth and the Old Testament (you can research it yourself), yet in the essentials of the faith in particular we must be precise. In my judgment, he wasn’t precise and for the collective good of the church, I did blow the whistle.
Let me be clear, there is not a writer or preacher out there, or right here at EBC, that has it all correct. You have heard me say often while it is my responsibility to handle the Word of God as accurately as I can, it is your responsibility to make sure what I and anyone else says lines up to what Scripture says. Be Bereans, who “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). Wow! Every day?
Also, I want to be clear in saying that it is not my responsibility to find something wrong with everyone. In other words, there is no perfect teacher so there is no perfect teaching. We won’t agree with every teaching, in every message or every book. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from what that teacher says. Nor does it mean we can’t use the material for personal study or to teach others. We are back to our word, “discernment.” Please use discernment! Please examine the Scriptures. Don’t accept everything you hear or read. Lay the straight stick of the Word of God alongside of it.
As we have held up these last two weeks through our two messages on the Word of God, I do not want anything to undermine our belief in the Scriptures. In my judgment, this was at risk, so a decision had to be made. I do hope you will attend the timely study on “Kingdom Agenda” by Tony Evans, that begins on Sunday, February 6 from 9:00-10:00.
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian
From Ruins To Rescue
Genesis 3:1-13; Romans 5:12-21
Link to This Sunday Worship Service
On February 6th the adult discipleship team will be leading a 6-week Bible study for men and women entitled Kingdom Agenda by Tony Evans. This will be in the Fellowship Hall downstairs from 9:00 – 10:00.
Community Groups and Adult Breakfast Sign-ups
All New Lady’s Community Group
Cindy Adkins will host a new community group just for the ladies. The group, starting in February, will meet on Friday nights from 6:30-8:30 PM. There are currently seven spots available—signup at the coffee counter this Sunday.
The sign-up sheet for other groups is also available.
Sign-up sheet for Adult Breakfast
Also, there is a signup sheet for the Adult Breakfast (men and women) taking place on Saturday, February 19th at 8am.
Aspire Women’s Center
Aspire blesses each positive test patient who has an ultrasound with a gift bag. They are in desperate need of 0-3 month outfits, onesies, t-shirts & sleepers as well as bath items, toiletries & bibs. (NEUTRAL colors – no blue or pink) You can drop them off at Aspire or the church office.
Network spiritual gifts workshop at EBC March 19 & 26 from 9:00-noon
Discovery Class: 4-week class to learn more about who we are as a church Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:00 (3/20-4/10)