Adult Education Minister
Tonganoxie Christian Church
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.
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.
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.