Monday, November 26, 2012

Moriah 4: Every Word


“Bo-y, you need to learn to slang your words,” My friend told me one night as we waited in the Choir line for a Sunday night service.  I did a double take.

I was in the South with a capital ‘S’.  You can’t get more south than the Gulf Coast in Mississippi.  I used to tell people I came from the Northern coast, if there was such a thing.  

Cleveland, the one in Ohio not Tennessee, was on the coast of Lake Erie.  To the north of Lake Erie was Canada, so it was a coast of sorts.  They used to call it “The mistake by the lake,” when I went to college in Oxford, Ohio.  Or, the people from Cincinnati called it, “The armpit of America.”  It was all just jealousy. 

So here I stood at the opposite pole of America.  A six foot tall person looked down at me and told me to “slang” my words.  What does a guy say to a comment like that?  I kept my mouth shut and felt my face turn red. 

Later that night I headed back to my apartment and thought about my friend’s comment.  “I could use with some loosening up,” I thought to myself.  These people are happy. 

The weekend came, and a friend from that same church, invited me to spend Saturday night at his house.  It was a full half hour between Pascagoula and Biloxi, where I was stationed.  Staying there saved on my car and gave me a little more time to hang out with my new friends. 

Saturday night came. 

“I’ve been following this new Bible study method,” My friend told me.  “It really forces you to read and know the scriptures.”

He told me about his method for study, and showed me his extensive notes.  He was in a program that gave him the equivalent of a Master’s in Biblical Study, though it wasn’t accredited, so he wouldn’t actually get the degree.  In the end it didn’t matter to him, he wanted to read and study the Bible, and he was doing that. 

I envied him.  I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I do this?  There is so much confusion with all of these movements.  If I could just study the Bible, I would be grounded.”

“There are a lot of preachers out there.  They come across with strange doctrine.  If you don’t get grounded in the Bible, you’ll get mislead,” his words echoed my thoughts. 

I made up my mind.  I needed to be grounded in the scriptures.  I needed to stop following men.  From that day on I dedicated myself to Bible study.

The rest of my tour in Mississippi brought me across the path of several charismatic preachers and movements.  The more churches I visited, the more movements I came across.  They all showed me the need to be firmly grounded in the Bible.  Movement Christianity can be dangerous.  You will end up believing things you never thought you would believe because of the momentum of the movement.

My Youth Director used to put it this way, “If the Devil can’t keep you from Christ, he’ll push you right past Him.”  I saw that played out in the movements. 

People start out following Christ, become zealous about the movement where they first experience Him and before long they are followers of the movement and not Christ anymore.

This just added to the message I had put in my back pocket.