Backwards Bible Verse: Are You Blind?

Backwards Verse of the Day #15: John 9:39-41 The state of unbelief in Christ is not a matter of whether or not one chooses to believe in Christ, but rather it is a much more profound condition. Throughout the Scriptures God calls this, in one form or another, “Spiritual Blindness.” The biggest problem with spiritual blindness is that those who are blind don’t know they are blind. Here are a couple of examples. 1. Isaiah’s call to ministry in Isaiah 6 is to preach to people who “keep on seeing but do not perceive.” 2. When the ministry of the Messiah is summarized in Matthew 11, it includes this: “the blind receive their sight…” 3. Paul explains the power of the gospel by calling it a shining of the gospel’s light into spiritual darkness. God says “Let there be light!” to the spiritually blind person and “creates” light and sight…

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Noisy Worship Music

When your church gathers for worship, what are you really doing? If you truly want to worship, then you should be giving ascent to the things God says are important. What, then, are the things God really wants to see from you when you gather for worship? Does he want to see good musicians and a talented vocalists? Does he want to hear skillful arrangements and prayers laced with tender piano music, led by an up and coming worship leader with diving board hair? If you have a kick-butt worship band, and everybody comes and raises their hands and sings out really loud, and the offering plate is overflowing, and everybody is having a great time… if you have all of this but your church does not have any sort of outreach to the poor, needy, broken, psychologically troubled, physically handicapped, or the otherwise down-and-out, and your church favors the…

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Jesus Made Me Puke

Yeah, you read that title correctly. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine published an article called Jesus Made Me Puke where he goes undercover to a church retreat in Texas to get a look under the hood of evangelical Christianity. Here’s the accompanying photo. Of course, while we are told to respect all religions and are spoon fed this “all paths lead to God” nonsense, Christianity is routinely treated with ridicule and contempt. Taibbi could have gone to a church with some intellectual credibility, but he rather chose to go to the Christian circus that epitomizes evangelical cheese just to watch the Charismatic chaos. He wasn’t disappointed. Stay with me, I’ll get to the puke part in a minute. Here’s the drill: he pretends to be a seeker and attends Cornerstone Church’s Encounter Weekend. That’s John Hagee’s church, and he is a Christian Zionist who wants to fast-track Armageddon so…

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BVOTD (#13): Worship God Like a Baby

Backwards Verse of the Day #13: Luke 10:21. I believe that the Bible teaches that God equips infants to glorify God in their own unique way. We adults are conditioned with certain beliefs and assumptions in our day to day lives that we use to filter out certain possibilities when we observe things. When something strange or unusual occurs, we are much more likely to find a plausible, even scientific explanation for it than to explain it in terms of spirits or supernatural phenomena. Children don’t have these filters. They passively make millions of observations every day which go unexplained until they build up a reservoir of explanations that they build into their psyche. I was thinking of this while reading through Luke, where Jesus makes this cryptic statement: I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and…

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Backward verse of the day (#13): Stop Surviving!

The human body and brain is instinctively wired for survival. God has even equipped us with powerful brain functions that tell our heart to pump blood and our lungs to breath air. You don’t even have to think about it. And we can’t do anything to stop it either. Have you tried telling your heart to stop pumping blood? Even if you tried to consciously hold your breath until you died, you would faint so that your brain’s subconscious survival instinct would take over to resume breathing. You can’t stop it. Our entire bodies are living machines that cannot stop trying to survive. As sinful human beings, we are also wired for what we think is survival: trust our own religious efforts to attain the good life. In Buddhism, you must follow the 8-fold path to achieve enlightenment. For Jews, the 10 Commandments. In Islam, you have the 4 Pillars.…

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Backward verse of the day (#12)

I just finished reading through the book of Luke and I’ve made a note of many backwards verses. The beatitudes in Luke are direct and hard hitting. These six verses are the mea culpa of the Bible’s backwards theology. Jesus announces that the kingdom is near, and then proceeds to describe it for us. All of the characteristics that are considered blessed are things that we do not value on earth: poverty, hunger, weeping, persecution. The things that we enjoy and prize on earth are disdained in Jesus’ values: wealth, being “full”, laughter, being honored by others. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and…

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Backward verse of the day (#11)

In the book of Luke, Jesus says very little in the first few chapters. The first recorded words of Jesus is in chapter 2 where the boy Jesus found in the temple and his parents were looking for him. Jesus says nothing in chapter 3. He responds to Satan’s temptations with one sentence quotes from Deuteronomy. The first time Jesus speaks on his own accord and asserting something about his own ministry, he quotes Isaiah. Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus is saying here that he has come to make everything backwards; he is going to reverse again the effects…

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Backward verse of the day (#10)

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 Jesus Christ reverses the relationship we had to life and death. In the past, sin was our lover and death our destiny. But Christ absorbed the abuse we deserved for sin and he became one with sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus actually became sin. For our sake he [the Father] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. This is the great exchange that we call “salvation.” Jesus Christ became sin for us, we become righteous to God. The greater understanding one has of his or her own sin, and the greater understanding one has of the holiness and perfect righteousness of God, the more shocking and mind-blowing this exchange becomes. This is, without question, the most…

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Backward verse of the day (#9)

9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. James 1:9-10 …has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? James 2:5 James gives us a backwards (=biblical) view of money here. A biblical view of money leads one to the conclusion that wealth is ultimately cancerous to our souls. Why? Because it slowly deceives us, day by day, into placing too much hope in money. Jesus warned of a rich fool in Luke, who said this: “I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19). God responds to him and says “You fool!” Wealth is not…

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