I read the wicked Bible verse from the original “Wicked Bible” of 1631 earlier this month. This was the King James Bible with the most famous typographical error of all time: Exodus 20:14 reads “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The omission of the little word “not” from the seventh commandment brought outrage and a heavy fine toward the king’s printers. I was in Waco, Texas with the family and was able to take some time to view the rare Bible display being hosted at Baylor University in early April. This is the 400th Anniversary Year of the first printing of the King James Version of the Bible. I viewed with amazement the detail and large size of an actual first edition of that 1611 Bible. This all is part of a touring display of rare Bibles, scrolls and influential books. I saw bits of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical manuscripts, Hebrew torahs that were hundreds of years old, the Geneva Bible that came over with the Pilgrims, as well a number of other significant works like Milton’s Paradise Lost and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. There was even a working replica of the Gutenberg press and a copy of a Gutenberg Bible.
Biblical scholars were on hand to provide a richer context for each of the items we were viewing. Baylor was holding a two day seminar, which I was unable to attend, that addressed the profound influence the King James Version has made on the world and the shaping of America in particular. Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, has been purchasing what is becoming one of the largest collections of Bibles, manuscripts and related materials in the world. A larger display of this collection will be presented in Oklahoma City in mid-May.
The King James Bible was my first Bible, and probably yours also. We memorized favorite verses and understood its Elizabethan English without much trouble. With the explosion of modern translations in the last 50 years the King James Bible has become less used and less understood. I discovered it was time to change to a different version when I repeatedly found myself having to translate its old English words into modern words in order to convey the meaning of very important passages. For old time’s sake and to celebrate 400 years, get out your King James Bible and read Psalm 27, Romans 8, and 1 Corinthians 15. You will be amazed.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Thank God for His Word. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
I find myself in a season of grief right now. I am experiencing the loss of too many friends, one every few weeks since last fall. Most have been men; all have had close friendships with me for 25, 35 or 40 plus years. I miss their wisdom, their humor and their availability to help me solve problems. I miss their prayers. I am acquainted with grief from multiple perspectives, but always the hardest is my own. Grief cannot be rushed nor can it be ignored. There is a rhythm to grief, like the rhythm of the tides, but tides flow on a schedule; grief does not. I do just fine for a time, and then a crashing wave will wash over me, many times catching me unaware. So I am seeking to be more careful as I listen to my grieving heart, seeking to recognize the signs and the signals.
Healing comes as I acknowledge the ache and embrace the wave. On some levels grieving is a wound. Heartsick and heartbroken are words of love and grief. On other levels grieving is a blessing. The pain of loss is real because the love is real. The lessons learned are remembered because of gratitude and grace.
The Cross is genuine, and Easter is coming. Death is certain but not the final chapter. Believers know this is true because of Easter Sunday. Christ has conquered sin and death itself. In a conversation with a grief-stricken woman, Jesus confronts her by boldly proclaiming, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11). Always embrace your grief. Acknowledge the pain, anger and/or fear that hides in the quietness. Remember the promise of life for God will and does take care of you.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Easter is always near. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
I went camping in the Florida Everglades—once. I was in my teens and part of a very active Royal Ambassador church group. You have to be a Southern Baptist and of a certain age to remember the RA missions program for boys. It was sort of an alternative to scouting for some of us. We went camping in the Everglades as preparation for a cross-country camping trip we would be taking to Washington D.C. that August of 1963.
Alligators, snakes and mosquitoes were all on my mind as we set up our pup tents in a circle around the campfire. We had driven out to a point where our leaders parked their cars and the truck. We hiked through mucky high grass and through some trees and overgrown bushes. We eventually arrived at a clearing that was very dry and flat. As the darkness settled in, we zipped up our sleeping bags and tried to remember that the Lord was with us. As the sun came up, we all got up. Then we heard our leader tell us to all get very still. The men were examining the whole camp site. Then the announcement was made, no snakes in sight, but we had been visited in the night by at least one bobcat that had explored our garbage pile and everything else around us. I did not know I was supposed to worry about bobcats in the Everglades. After camping there, we knew we could face just about anything together.
We traveled from Miami to Washington D.C., camping each night in parks along the way. We stayed in a church basement in Silver Springs, Maryland, and attended the RA National Convocation. President Kennedy was to speak to us but his newborn son, Patrick, died during our time there. The RA Pledge took on new meaning for me during that trip: “As a Royal Ambassador I will do my best: to become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ; to have a Christ-like concern for all people; to learn how to carry the message of Christ around the world; to work with others in sharing Christ; and to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Share the journey with others. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Recently I was the guest principal for a day at Tulsa’s Will Rogers High School. My assignment: shadow the school’s top administrator and experience an up-close and personal look at the daily operations. Last week the school was featured in a major front-page story on proposed changes to nearly all of the Tulsa Public Schools. The changes proposed for Rogers, an urban school with nearly 1,000 students in grades 9-12, are the most far reaching.
Principal Lyda Wilbur spent the morning trying to convey the proposals and their implications to faculty and students alike. A series of brief assemblies were held by grade level, and the senior class was also told about low-cost college and career opportunities available after graduation. The school qualifies for 100% meal subsidies because of the economics realities of the student population. Then principals and their guests from the whole district met with the TPS Superintendent and Tulsa’s Mayor for lunch off campus. Returning to the school, we observed class in session, dealt with student situations, advised on some faculty issues, experienced a disaster drill and counseled student leaders on how to have their voices heard concerning the proposals affecting their future at Rogers. I left the school that afternoon at 4:45 with Mrs. Wilbur heading back to her office for more one-on-ones with faculty, parents and students, to be followed by her paperwork, answering e-mails and returning more phone calls.
A couple of thoughts come to mind. One, let’s not forsake our public schools. All of the pressure points of today’s family life, culture, economics and social unrest converge on our schools. We have strong, well-educated and dedicated teachers and staff who deserve our respect, our support and our involvement in our schools. Two, it’s not about the money. It’s about changing lives for the future and equipping students with the tools of knowledge and skill. It’s about exploration, discovery and life fulfilling dreams. If Christians will not step up to serve our schools and love every student in it, who will? If Christians abandon our educational system and promote the “every man for himself” egocentric philosophy of today, we will reap the harvest of prideful emptiness and a generation who cannot dream of a better life.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Visit a school. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.