Wednesday, April 6, 2011

FHCO: Your Future in the Bible (Part 8)

Future Hope Conference Online
Your Future in the:
Bible - Tribulation - Rapture - Millennial Kingdom - Heaven - Q&A


Steve Howell
Steve Howell
Adult Education Minister
Tonganoxie Christian Church


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There is third test of truth to determine if a truth is relevant for today that I would like to consider, and that is, "Does it match real life?"

This might not seem much different from the previous test, "Is the info functional?" But, there is a key difference here, and I want to explain.


Real Life


Test #6: Does it match real life?
A) My Story

If you listen to country music at all, you may have heard a fairly recent song by the artist Kenny Chesney entitled, "The Boys of Fall." That song presents a really great picture of small town football teams with vivid descriptions of the experience of being on the field and the camaraderie of being part of a team. From a functional standpoint I say that it works. It describes a lot of towns, like where I grew up in northwest Kansas, small towns that had football teams.

The song went a little deeper for me. One of the verses says the following:

"In little towns like mine, that's all they've got.
Newspaper clippings fill the coffee shops.
The old men will always think they know it all.
Young girls dream of the boys of fall."

As I listened to that verse it was like a time warp. I was back there in high school, and I'm thinking about the experience and I'm smelling the smells of the field and hearing the sounds of the cheers.

I'm thinking about my Dad sitting at our local drugstore which had an old fashioned soda fountain. He used to go to sit at the old shop there with his buddies from town, drinking his black coffee, talking about what was going on, complaining about the coach and the decisions he's making and saying how they could have done it better if we'd just run a single wing formation, that would have worked out better.

While Chesney is singing about this, I go back in time and it is such a vivid glimpse into my own past. I broke down in tears in the parking lot because my Dad passed away about five years ago. My Dad passed away in 2005 and that song all of a sudden brought this flood of memories back. I got to think about my Dad and I got to hear him in my mind's ear along the way. It wasn't just a functional description of life in a small town with small town football, it was my life. It was mine!

I believe some things because I have lived them. Forget about anything else, this is part of real life. This is my life. What happens when I apply this test to the Bible? You get my story because this is what happened. I don't have a super dramatic conversion experience. I grew up in a church going family. I was baptized at age 10. I went to church camp. I walked the straight and narrow. I went to Bible College. I worked at churches and I end up here at this conference.

But, the words of this book — the Bible — have become part of who I am. I can testify to the things that it says. I have lived the results of obedience. I have felt the consequences of sin. I have been able to worship God in the way that it says. I have been on my knees in worship. I have spent time in awe of God, I have felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. This is my story. It's me! I know what the Bible has done for me. It has become personal.


Test #6: Does it match real life?
B) Your Story

There are some things in life that are just the way it is. You only know it is true by experiencing it. If you have never been a parent, you will never fully understand what it is like to love your kid until you have them yourself. You won't. You can try to tell people, you can explain all you want, but you will never know it until you live it.

It is the same thing with the Bible. You will never know the full truth of the Bible until you've live it. It's your story. I don't know your experience. Only you can speak about your experience.

Think about what you know from trying to live the Bible, if you've done it. Think about if the failures or faults in your life are your own, or are they the Bible's? You know what helped you to succeed. I can't share anything about what you have gone through. Only you can do that. Your experience can help confirm that the Bible matches real life. You will just have to take my word for it, or take your own.


Does it match real life?

The Bible passes this test. It matches real life. So, in matters of present truth then, the Bible works.

The Bible is functional. It's unexpected. It's true for the present.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The article said "If you have never been a parent, you will never fully understand what it is like to love your kid until you have them yourself. You won't. You can try to tell people, you can explain all you want, but you will never know it until you live it."
Guess I’ll ask Julie S. of Florida, Nancy H. in Dallas, Christian L. in Madison, Theresa K. in Sacramento, Susan S. of S. Carolina, Brian P. in Washington…oh wait…these are all names of people I found at an internet site listing parents who killed their children (and the list went on and on)…
Guess having kids doesn’t guarantee you fully understand, does it? So much for that theory.

Nathan Jones said...

No, the theory's sound. When I was single, I could imagine loving a wife or child, but when I actually got a wife and children the fiction began being separated from reality. To truly love a self-centered and difficult little one, you have to learn to love them with agape love, that unconditional love. Enduring the challenges and triumphs of having a child teaches one how to love more unconditionally, as Christ loves us.

As for those who don't learn the lesson and kill their own children, whether born or still in the womb, they've succumbed to the end time sign of Matthew 24:12, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold."

Anonymous said...

I stand by my comment. I've known of so many parents that are so mentally abusive and sometimes physically abusive. I've seen so many self-centered parents get divorced and then dump their kids off on grandma to take care of. I heard parents screaming at the top of their lungs very vile things around and at their kids. Or parents who expose their kids to inappropriate movies and games.

No, there is no special understanding given to someone just because they have children. Either you're a good person who will do right by your kids or you're not and will do harm.

There's not a little lightbulb that magically pops on and suddenly gives every parent some special understanding that someone without kids couldn't "get". If you think I'm wrong ask the woman who dumps her baby in a trash can. I would never do that! Oh, but wait, she is a parent so I couldn't possibly understand.

Gimmie a break!

Sal said...

Anon sounds like more abut you than bad parents. Sorry ure single. I know of bad parants but thats not normal.

Anonymous said...

Sal,

Keep your personal attacks to yourself please.

Steve Howell said...

Anonymous,

My point is not that all parents are good or that all parents are loving. Agree that there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. However, most parents will agree that they love their kids a lot. And most will say that the level of love they expected to feel for their child was exceeded by the actual experience (and the level of commitment was far exceeded by the actual experience, too!).

This is not a comment on parents vs. non-parents; it is a comment on perception vs. reality. I could make a similar point by saying I will never know what it feels like to run a marathon until I cross the finish line after 26 miles... or that I will never understand the rush of skydiving until I jump out of a plane. Imagination can take me part of the way, but I must participate before I fully understand.

So it is with the claims of Scripture. I can imagine what a relationship with God is like after reading the Bible; I can KNOW what it like only after participating in that relationship. You have to live it out. And when you do, you find that the Bible matches real life - it's claims are true.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Howell,

Look, I was mentally and physically abused (knocked over a chair and head slammed into a wall). So I know first hand that many parents don't have this "understanding" that you claim! So stop your blanket statements that all parents experience something wonderful that we non-parents wouldn't understand. There are millions of rotten parents out there. MILLIONS!

I know I would never mentally or physically abuse a child if I were a parent. So who has a better understanding? Me or one of these millions abusive parents?

Though non-parents may not have the actual experience we CAN have a better understanding than actual parents of a what a loving parent-child relationship should be like. Than's MY point.

Anonymous said...

Sal,

I guess you were right. I'm letting my personal experience project itself into my comments. I guess that's why I get defensive on this subject. I hope this explains where I'm coming from.

Steve Howell said...

Anonymous,

This entire discussion just serves to illustrate the point I was making in the article. We believe some things are true based on our personal experience! While this cannot be the only test of truth we use, it is something we rely on every day.

Once we experience the results of following Jesus ourselves, we use those experiences as a testimony to the truth of God's word.

Anonymous said...

Moving on.

Anonymous said...

To clarify...moving on means I can see your point even if you can't see mine (agreeing with it or not). So there's no more to say.

I will say thank you and GOD BLESS you for all you do. Any Christian that really lives a good solid Christian life is the true example of being a Christian. If that is you then you are blessed. Unfortunately, I still stumble too often but I do try.