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Do You Know Who Saved You?
by Bro. Clifford Hurst

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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"Pastor, what is your favorite Bible verse?" It all started with that question. One day a week ago a brother was working with me and asked this question. In one sense, that is a hard question. Different verses are favorites at different times, usually dependent on what we are currently experiencing. I instinctively answered with one of my all-time favorites, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: ..." (1Jn 3:16); then, I asked him his. This all got me to thinking: A person's favorite verse says a lot about him, his theology, his desires, his experiences. The same is true for a church. A representative sampling of the favorite verses of the people of a given church has to reveal a lot about that church's beliefs, emphasis, mission, and over all character. This must be true for a movement too. All of this is unscientific, since it is based solely on my observation, reading, and experience, but consider if it is not true. Accepting the above premise, cannot we see evidence of a huge shift in evangelical Christianity simply by the contemporary favorite Bible verses of today’s evangelicals? If you wonder what these verses are, take a look at all the poster image posts on social media. It appears that the bulk of favorite verses relate to God's blessing a person, a person being endowed and anointed by God, a person being special, and a person's dreams coming true. Two things sadden me about this (Even though I do believe God wants to bless and endow us and enable us to fulfill our life's calling.) First, there is a matter that many of these favorite verses are ripped right out of their original contexts to be applied erroneously to individuals. A promise to the nation of Israel with immediate historical realities is applied indiscriminately to an individual. A verse applied without context is a verse applied without qualifications or parameters. Second, when I contrast today's favorite verses with the favorite verses loved by evangelicals for over two centuries, it is sad to see what today's church has become. Today's church has not done a very good job at keeping society's narcissism and self-absorption out. Here's what I mean: While many of today's favorite verses are about me, blessing me, endowing me, etc., the favorite verses for two centuries or more were about doing God's will, pleasing God, seeking God, following God, etc. (This does not deny that verses of God's promises have always been favorites.) This was made clear to me while trying to encourage a struggling believer. I opened a Bible to Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart..." and said, "Here are some verses that can really help you through this. I am sure you are familiar with these." I was shocked by the response as I showed this individual the verses, "No, I didn't know these were in the Bible." A case could be made that this is just one individual and there is nothing to what I am saying. Perhaps, but just listen to today's folk's favorite verses, favorite sermon texts, phrases of verses in worship monologues, and posted verses. Then, think on a whole what are the bulk of these about? Simply put, are they not about my being blessed rather than my glorifying God? Just a thought. By the way, what is your favorite Bible verse? And, what would that reveal about you?
I won't have to worry, When I reach the other shore
All my troubles will be over, And I'll rest forever more
My eyes will be on Jesus, And my heart will be aglow
And I won't have to worry anymore

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