What Does It Mean to be "Saved".

Here are some additional thoughts from yesterday’s message:

This week I shared a message from John 13:34-35. In this passage Jesus gives us a new command to love one another, as He had loved us. If you missed it, you can get the full service video on our media page.

In this message I talked about a story from my childhood. I talked about a church that I was in once where some of the people didn’t treat me very well, because I wasn’t wearing the right clothes. I talked about their lack of concern over whether I was “saved” or not. Later it occurred to me that some people might not know exactly what I meant when I said “saved”.

A familiar term, but slightly different meaning

We are all familiar with the term “saved”. We can freely talk about medical personnel saving a family member from some medical problem. We can talk about emergency personnel saving us after an accident. We can talk about saving money. Heck, dieters can be heard talked about “saving” calories for that sweet treat they are looking for later. When I spoke of being “saved”, it was similar to this, but also a little different.

Saved from something

Being saved often means being saved from something. That is a major part of what Christians mean when they talk about being saved. You see, when God created everything it was perfect. However, that didn’t last. Adam and Eve, the first people God created, had only one rule. They broke this one rule and as a result what the Bible calls “sin” entered the world.

What is “sin”

It would be great if the Bible gave a clear, easy to understand definition of what sin is. Sadly, it does not. However, it does teach us that sin is anything that falls short of God’s glory. Ok, I know that’s king of out there too. How about this: God is perfect and anything that doesn’t measure up to THAT standard is considered sin. WOW! So, basically, I have to be perfect to make God happy? Well, not exactly. Keep reading.

Who has sinned?

Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Well, I guess this means that we ALL have sinned. According to this, we ALL fall short of the perfection of God. Congratulations, you are not perfect.

Many people inside the church like to pretend that they are perfect. They like to pretend that the don’t sin. Some even like to act as if they never have. Clearly Paul says something different. We ALL have sinned, and that’s ok. (Like I said, keep reading.)

Many outside the church also like to pretend that they have not sinned. They think that since they are a “good person”, then they are good to go. Well, again, Paul says that we have all sinned. This includes you… and me.

Saved from what?

Being “saved” is more than simply being saved from sin. You see Paul also wrote, “For the wages of sin is death…” THAT is what we are saved from. This is not to say that our physical body is not, someday, going to die. However, the Bible teaches that, after our physical body dies that our spirit will exist for eternity. Those that are saved, will go on living forever in a heaven, while those that are not will go on forever dying in a place called hell.

It’s more than that

Salvation, being saved, is more than simply a get out of hell free card. You see, within what Christians call “the gospel” is also the opportunity to be saved from things while still in this life. There is the power, within the gospel and through Jesus, to be saved from things like pornography, drug and alcohol abuse, anger, and many more. This is why the gospel is called “the good news”. I’ll share a post specifically about that soon.

So, what do I mean when I say “saved”

Well, I certainly don’t mean that I have been made perfect. I certainly don’t mean that I never sinned, or that I no longer sin. However, I have been saved from the eternal consequences of sin. Through Jesus, I have been forgiven of my sins. I can also say that I have been “saved” from many of the things that people struggle with today. Again, I am not perfect. But, there are some things that God has saved me from, even in this life.

Bad news, good news for me… AND YOU

The bad news is that we have all sinned and we all fall short of God’s perfect standard. However, the good news is that, through Jesus, we can be forgiven from our sin. If you want to know more about how you can be saved, please use the contact link at the top of the page. That sends a message directly to me. I’d love to talk with you some more about this.

Additional Thoughts, February 3, 2019

Here are some additional thoughts that I didn’t take time to share during the message yesterday.

Paraphrase vs Translation

During the message I quoted Matthew 22:39 from The Message paraphrase. “Love others as well as you love yourself.” I wanted to take a moment to make a distinction between a Bible TRANSLATION and A Bible PARAPHRASE.

Bible Paraphrase

Most of us are familiar with what the word “paraphrase” means. It means to say something “in your own words.” We do this when we try to explain to someone what aa given word means. We are not spouting off the actual definition, at least not usually. Rather we are trying to explain what the word means “in our own words.” This is what a Bible paraphrase is. It is scripture, written in the words of the author or authors.

This sort of writing makes for great readability. The Message paraphrase is very easy to read. However it sacrifices a lot in scriptural accuracy. You see, the goal is not to be completely accurate to every word. Rather the goal is to be faithful to the general message of a given passage, while making it easily readable.

Bible Translation

With Bible translation great care is made to be as faithful to the original writings as possible. There are different types of translations, word for word, and idea for idea.

For some translators the goal is to translate word for word, as much as possible. This makes for extremely accurate translation, but can sacrifice greatly in readability. Even with modern languages, translating word for word can communicate the idea, but it often doesn’t flow smoothly. It often simply doesn’t sound good. With word for word translation this is sometimes the case.

For others the goal is to translate idea for idea. In other words, to use whatever modern words best translate the IDEA. This can sacrifice a little in word for word accuracy. In some cases, the literal translation of a given word may not communicate the same thing to modern readers as it did to the original audience. Consider popular words from recent generations. “Awesome” literally means something that is very large. However, when I was a kid this meant something that was very exciting. “Cool” literally refers to temperature, but when I was a kid, it was used as a term of appreciation for an object, or someone’s actions. Idea for idea translation take such changes in language into account.

How translation doesn’t work

I once sat in a meeting with a man who said he only used the King James Version. He went on to say, “Because everything else is just a copy of the KJV. It’s like a copy of a copy. Each time you lose a little something.” While I don’t fault anyone for having a preference for a given translation, this gentleman’s understanding of Bible translation was faulty. Newer translations are not simply “copies of copies”. They are not translated from the KJV. They are translated from the oldest manuscripts we have. In fact modern translations are translated from older manuscripts than the KJV was. This explains some of the differences between the KJV and new translations.

Why does it matter?

Some may look at the distinction between paraphrase vs translation, or between different methods of translation and wonder why it even matters. First, if matters because it explains why one can walk into a Christian book store and see so many different “versions” of the Bible. They are not, in fact, different “versions”. Rather they simply represent different ways of saying the same things. Understanding the difference is important because it effects which one you choose.

Which one SHOULD I choose?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. But, I would give some advice. If you are looking for a version that is easy to read, then a paraphrase like The Message is great. This is great for daily reading, or for getting a general idea of what a passage says. However, if your goal is to STUDY the Bible, then you need to stick with an actual translation, not a paraphrase. My recommendation would be to try some different translations and see which one speaks to your spirit more. At Bible.com you can do exactly that. They have a huge variety of translation, paraphrases, and more languages than you can imagine… and it’s COMPLETELY FREE! You can also find hundreds of daily devotionals and other materials there. I’d also recommend downloading the app to your smart device. Then you can literally NEVER be without your Bible.

Additional Verse

Here is a list of all the verses that I shared in the message.

  • Matthew 22:37-39

  • Matthew 4:6

  • Mark 1:44

  • Genesis 1:27

  • Lamentations 3:22-23

  • John 1:12

  • John 3:16

  • Psalm 103:12

  • Micah 7:19

Questions?

If you ever have comments or questions related to the message I shared, feel free to share them with me. Even better, share them in our public Facebook Group. I don’t claim to have all the answers, so let’s discuss it. Plus, if you have a question, I promise you there is someone else who had the same, or a similar question.

Friday is For Family

Technology has nearly overtaken our lives. Between that and our overstuffed schedules, family time has nearly become a thing of the past. Most families don’t eat dinner together, as a family, around the dinner table, with phones off or out of reach. Even if they do sit together and eat together, they often each have a device that they are focusing on and not on the family. Friday is a great opportunity to break that cycle and spend time together as a family.

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Turn it off

Start with turning off the devices. My family likes to have some background music. That’s probably ok, but turn the TV off. While it can also serve as background noice, it is much greater a distraction than music. We want to be focused on each other, not on whatever is going on on the TV.

Set it aside

Digital devices are a real and very useful part of our lives. We may often feel as if we can’t live without them. BUT, truth is, we can indeed live without them. Set them aside. This removes the temptation to check social media in the middle of the game, or meal. Trust me, Facebook will be ok for a little while without you. I actually recommend putting the devices in another room. However, if you feel the need to have them close in cast they ring then set them on an empty chair a few feet away from the table. Maybe place them in a bowl somewhere on the table, where they can be reached, but are out of sight.

Make it a priority

Our children will not remember every detail of the time we spend together. But, they will remember if you made it a priority. Our lives are very busy. Perhaps busier now than at any point in our history. This makes it really easy to let important things slide for the sake of things that seem more urgent. The unfortunate truth is that you only have one chance to be parent to your kids. The relationship you build with them while they are with you will have a HUGE impact on the relationship you have with them for years after they are out of your home. Family time matters. Make it a priority.

Focus on fun

If family time is not fun, then it can end up feeling like a chore for you and your kids. Let’s face it, scrubbing the baseboards together, as a family, is not fun. While there is great value in doing work together, as a family, there also needs to be times when we have fun just for fun’s sake.

If you have not spent a lot of time focusing on fun, then it might be hard to find some things that your entire family can enjoy. But, even the time spent trying different things will be of value. AND when you find an activity that you all enjoy, then you are set up for many fun times in the future.

Just do it

This whole “family time” thing can seem like just another thing on the schedule. When viewed as another obligation it can be overwhelming. But, it’s worth it. Just do it. If you start doing it and stick to it, then it will become a part of the rhythm of your family’s life and will no longer require a ton of thought or work.

Am I DISPLAYIN' What I'm SAYIN'?

This week I shared the second message in our series, Vision for the Journey. In it we looked at the first half of what has come to be known as The Great Commandment:

“Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...”

So, what does this verse have to do with the vision for Journey Church?

When we talk about the word “church”, there are actually a number of things that it means. I gave definitions and explanations for all or them in a blog post last week. Among those definitions are the individual people that are part of a local church. This week’s message spoke to how this verse serves as a guide to the people who are part of Journey Church.

Do you love God?

Most people in any local church, and a great many people not part of a local church, if asked, would say that they love God. That’s great! But, are they living lives that SHOW that they love God? In order to live this out, we have to ask ourselves, “Is my life DISPLAYING what I’m SAYING about my love for God?” That’s a tough question, if we are honest. Here are some areas where this can be played out in our daily lives.

  • Regular Church attendance - I’ll be sharing more about why I believe this matters in a few days.

  • Lifestyle choices

  • Career Choices

  • Financial Choices

  • Location

  • Relationship Choices

  • Word Choices

  • Social Media

  • Many more

Are you displayin’ what your sayin’

When you look at the list about, could you honestly say that you are honoring God in all of these areas? Truth is none of could say that we do it perfectly. Nor are we ever going to. We are human and we fail. Paul wrote, “For all have failed, and fall short of the glory of God.” For most of my life I thought is said FALLEN short, indicating that it was something we had done in the past. However, it’s not past tense, it’s in the present. We STILL fall short. So, I’m not asking you to be perfect.

Imperfect love is still love

Since there is no way for us to perfectly live out our love for God, should we ever try. YES!! In fact, it is in the effort that our love is truly displayed. People around you will have much more respect for you if you try to live a life that honors God, but stumble; than if you pretend to be perfect.

Truth is an imperfect love, lived out imperfectly is still better than a spoken love that is not lived out at all. So, when you stumble, don’t give up, but ask yourself often, “Is my life DISPLAYIN’ what I’m SAYIN’ about my love for God?”

Turning Back To God

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Yesterday I shared week  two of our series, Vision for the Journey. In this series I’m sharing some of the passages that God lead me to as I was preparing to start this church and what they have to say about the future of Journey Church. Check out the Journey Church Facebook page for the full service video. Here are some additional thoughts I didn’t share during that service.

God’s people turned from God

Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, the people of Israel had a habit of turning from God. Actually, I guess it would be more accurate to say they drifted from God. In shared two verses from the book of Jeremiah. In the time those verses were written the Israelites had, once again, drifted away from God. This verse shows that, even though the Israelites had turned from God and done many things wrong, God still loved them and desired a restoration of their relationship with Him.

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Lord. They will be my people,

and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

Jeremiah 24:7

Why does this matter to us?

If we are completely honest, many Christians would have to admit that we have drifted from God at some point in our lives. I certainly did. During that time, God’s love for us never changed. He continues to desire a relationship with us. He continues to desire a relationship with YOU.

It’s not too late and you aren’t too far

If you find yourself having drifted away from God, it’s not too late. You can, right now, return to God. It also doesn’t matter how far you’ve drifted, you’re still not too far away. You see, no matter how long or how far you have walked away from God, it only takes one step to return to him.

Pray this verse, as a prayer

Recently I read an article where the author said he prayed this verse, and another one, as a prayer that changed his life. If you’ve drifted from God, and are ready to return, praying this verse as a prayer could be a great first step. Not sure what that might look like. Try this:

“Dear Jesus, give me a heart to know you, that you are Lord. Let me be your people,

and you my God. Today I return to you. Help me to do so with all my heart.”

There is no magic in this prayer. I will not promise you that your life will instantly get better when you pray this prayer. I will, however, promise you that you will get closer to God. You may not feel it right away, but you will be closer to God.