Who doesn’t like a good one-liner?
I, for one, have never been very good at coming up with one-liners on the spot and therefore I have much respect for those who have a quick wit. Most of my “on-the-spot” one-liners are thought of moments after the moment has past and thus my one-liner because irrelevant.
One-liners can be funny or destructive. They can draw people in. One-liners can emphasize a point, but whatever the case, they are not meant to be deep and necessarily thought provoking but rather meant to pacify a moment and then move on. That may serve a purpose for a short time but if you want something deeper you need a longer conversation with that person. You need more than just one line.
For those who are friends with me on Facebook and Twitter, you have grown accustomed to me posting “one-liners” (a.k.a short Bible verses) on (nearly) a daily basis. Lately I have gone away from that; not because I am not reading my Bible but because of a Facebook post from a friend that I read a while back about “one-liners”. The post went something like this:
Never read just one verse in the Bible. Read a bunch of them. Read a paragraph; a chapter or more.
The idea of that post is to communicate that by reading only one verse you can lose important context. And as many of you know, you can take nearly any Bible verse and twist it to mean something completely different if you pull it out of it’s original context. Therefore you need more information.
I am doing something a little different now on social media. I am not ceasing my one-liners but rather giving one-liners based on my reading of a whole chapter of the Bible and then directing people to that chapter to “verify” and/or read the context themselves. For me personally, this has proven to be a great spiritual discipline as I reflect on a chapter and then formulate a summary in my head to share. Instead of a scripture one-liner I am sharing a chapter one-liner. My attempt is to be more biblical faithful.
Sure, there may be certain verses that speak to you and ones that are worthy for further reflection, but do so in context. Reflect on your verse but read the paragraph and/or the chapter that contains that verse to make sure you don’t miss the intended meaning. Get the context and by do so, you will be more faithful to scripture and more faithful about your spiritual growth.
One-liners can be good and grab attention, but make sure your focusing attention on the right things.
Praise be to God!
The Pastor -|—
I am excited about Lent this year…not to say that I haven’t been any other year, but this year is going to be different.
At the Belmont Lutheran Church (the small county congregation I also serve) annual meeting on Sunday we decided to try something new for Lent. For our Wednesday Lenten services we have been averaging around 10 per week. So for a while now I have been pondering the future of these services.
–Do I need to re-think what we do on Wednesdays?
–Do we need to change the time of the worship?
–Do we need to change the location (share a service with Salem in town)?
Well…on Sunday I offered an idea that I heard from our Methodist friends down the street. Instead of Wednesday evening Lenten services what about having home cottage meetings on Tuesday nights?
Are you intrigued…then allow me to elaborate…
What Belmont decided to do is meet in someone’s home on Tuesdays during Lent at 6:30pm. We will gather together in a circle and have a time of worship/devotions (I am not sure how this will look yet). The bulk of the time will be devoted to some teaching. I envision this to be a cross between a sermon and a Bible study. I will do the majority of the teaching but allow for questions, feedback or discussion. People can come and just sit and listen or get involved…it’s up to them. After we are done there will be some refreshments and fellowship time. The thinking is that this will be a more intimate setting and thus more attractive to people.
I am not sure what the topic will be; whether I will do a series in a particular book of the Bible, some aspect of Jesus life or whatever. The idea was suggested that I use the topic from the Lenten small group that I will be leading called “The Seven Wonders of God’s Word” from Augsburg Fortress. That idea intrigues me so I am going to explore that as well.
So I am excited about this new thing we are about to do (I will post updates here during Lent). I am not sure how it will be received. My hope is that the home we meet in won’t be big enough, but we’ll see what happens. But in the end we need to remember that where 2 or 3 are gathered there is Jesus right there in the midst of them. So either way we will praise God.
These past few weeks have been a lot of fun.
Wednesday, January 5 we started a small group study/sermon series on Old Testament stories. The format is that a group would gather on Wednesdays at 5pm to read and discuss an Old Testament story and then I would preach on that story the following Sunday. Up to this point we have talked about: The creation story, Noah and Abraham. The Old Testament stories that are coming up in our study are: Joseph, Moses, The book of Judges, David, Daniel and The book of Job. This small group is scheduled to end right before Ash Wednesday. I wasn’t exactly sure how this study would be received but so far there is a group of 5 people getting together every week and we are having a great time exploring these stories.
I don’t come each week prepared to lecture on the story but rather I have a couple questions in mind. The group then takes those questions and a fun discussion ensues. I have learned a lot from hearing different perspectives. I have learned a lot about the faith of the group participants. I have heard questions that I have never thought of before. And…maybe…gained a couple pounds (one of the participants is an excellent cook and baker and has been bringing treats for us).
There is nothing quite like gathering with a group of people to read, study and discuss scripture. I have read these stories many times but hearing from others has challenged me in ways that I would not be able to do on my own. I can hardly wait to see what is coming next.