How You Doin’?

September 29, 2022

How You Doin’?

There are people who do not want to discuss issues. They would rather argue. Why? I don’t know. Yet, they exist, seemingly, only to demonstrate their intellectual prowess. There is this phrase that applies to such people: They are wise in their own conceits. They take your words and phrases and twist them into pretzel-like concoctions that are falsehoods, certainly not the ideas the other person was trying to say.

As Born Again, Bible Believing Christ followers, we all should recognize this phenomenon and not be surprised that we are favorite targets of such ploys. Jesus is still on trial, you see. We are still the witnesses for His defense. We are not nearly as smart as He, and we need to lean on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to weave our way through the obstacles placed before us.

We also need to heed the warnings of Jesus: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. — John 15:20–21

The apostles warned of such false people, pseudo-intellectuals whose talk may sound logical at first, but they turn out to be unreliable, broken crutches that cannot support the healing process. And if you have read the Bible at all, Jesus is all about healing. Peter writes this, speaking about the apostle Paul: “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16. Apparently, Satan isn’t the only snake in the Garden.

There is this accusation floating around out there that many, if not most, “Christian Churches” are trotting down the wrong race track and are deserving of the much criticism which I have been reading. I cannot judge their intentions or their goodwill — neither the accused nor the accusers — and as such, must utilize what good judgment I have to oppose not only errant teachings but false accusations also.

Perhaps, if everyone would put down their placards and name tags, and perhaps if people would descend from their lofty perches, judging others with such great self obtained wisdom, we could all take all that new found extra time to read the Bible and to search to obtain His presence in our lives.

When the Americas were discovered and that good news started getting around Europe, people flooded the continent. Not always the best results. Not that that history has much to do with the Good News of Jesus, but maybe you get what I’m driving at. Come on. Think.

Now, I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty much obsessed with cleaning up the messes that misunderstandings of many key Religious words have created. They have become horrible misunderstandings which cripple those trying to walk into the light of the Gospel.

Look, I’m no Theologian or Linguistic Scholar, but neither am I a Meteorologist, but I can stick my head out of the window and look up to get an idea how the weather is going to be today. Same kind of thing when Jesus used parables to teach, to teach in a way even little children understood Him. Jesus is not mystical. He is practical and talks “straight from the shoulder.”The Gospel is not simplistic, but it is understandable and full of wisdom, if you just try a little bit harder.

As for understanding religious words, first, let me talk about “sin.” In the simplest understanding, sin is violating the Law of Moses which, in turn, we understand to be distilled into the Ten Commandments. Yes. That is what sin is. Jesus furthermore summed them up saying in Matthew 22:37–40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Many can handle the “love your neighbor” part -whether or not we do it well. But the “love the Lord your God” part is often much too much to ask. It isn’t always easy to unravel ideas you have been taught from childhood.

Here is an illustration from my own life: The first time I was allowed in the room with my parents with all their adult friends, I tried to act like I belonged in the adult world. When I got a chance to throw in my two cents, I proudly announced a fact my big brother had taught me when I was much younger. I posed the question, “Do you know why they are called catfish?” I quoted the exact words my brother had taught me, “Because at night, they climb up trees and eat baby birds!” Of course my Dad was mortified and searched for an excuse for that stupid comment. “You’re joking, right? You must be joking,” he pleaded. Astonished and seeing his total embarrassment, I froze and said nothing. The adults in the room looked at me with great sympathy, despite their obvious amusement.

A long while ago I first read “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I didn’t quite get beyond the “all have” part. Later, someone explained that that wording was like shooting an arrow but it falling short of the target. Okay. That painted a fuller picture. Then, it became clear that the “glory” is all the good God has in His storehouse. We try. We try very, very hard to at least live up to our own standards. But we fall short. The word “shortcomings” seems relevant somehow…

Moreover, and most recently, my understanding has broadened a bit more: Looking at the Greek and Hebrew languages of the original texts, “sin” is not simply disobedience and falling short. It is doing harm — to oneself and/or to others. It is spreading harmfulness as if mopping the floor with dirty water.

To avoid this continual cycle of pain — and I hope you have observed all the pain in this world, all the harm that Humanity does — God wants it stopped, but just does say so. He has a plan

People often want Him to wave a magic wand to stop it, make it all better, make it go away. Awkwardly, God didn’t create people to be puppets. God’s plan is so much better. He will not violate our free will. However, just like all good human fathers, He gave guidelines as guardrails to, at least, minimize our base tendencies — those practices that lead us into harm’s way and so many disastrous consequences. Too bad we choose to ignore those boundaries. Further, when the Bible word for a sin is an “abomination,” it conveys the worst type of sin, a sin that results in a voluminous stench of a cancerous, rotting, contagious nature. Beyond a malignancy pervasive in Humanity and catapulting harm over civilizations’ boundaries.

Now, God did not create this Universe, this Earth, and Humanity for harm, but for good. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” — Genesis 1:31 It is also a truism in Hebrews 11:6 — “anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

The Bible teaches that everyone has a “fallen nature” or a “sinful nature.” We have an inbred tendency to be self-centered, and when push comes to shove we choose our own benefit over that of others — even to the point of not really caring if it helps or hurts others. It’s an aspect of our “survival of the fittest” nature, I suppose. We often think of ourselves as generous, magnanimous, courageous heroes, but let’s be honest. We have been harmful in every way, in either ignorance orby intention — even destroying the only place we can exist, that is, Earth.

So, God isn’t handing out any gold medals.

Which brings me to these questions: Do you believe God of the Bible exists? Do you hope He exists? Have you invented your own replacement? Do you have a pinch hitter in the dugout? Do you have some other alternate system you hold onto religiously? Have you written down any ethical/moral system that demands your “faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality?” (excerpt of “religious” from Merriam Webster online)

For example, Science can be a religion. Economic and Political Systems, too. Heck, Sports is a religion to many. Those ardent fans who pursue Rock ’n’ Roll, isn’t that religion, too? People can argue heatedly about any human pursuit to which they are devoted.

Taking pot shots from behind a fence is not the most honest nor the bravest nor the noblest of pursuits.

Maybe we are all utilizing coping mechanisms to escape for just a little while. Escape from what? Maybe from the world that hasn’t been very good to us? Maybe our discomfort from all the harm we do to others and/or the pesky hurting in our guts from guilt? Maybe simply from our day to day existence?

It’s unfortunate, because God did not want Jesus’ life and death to be pointless, empty, inconclusive, an escape from reality. He is Reality.

Do you have “the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” because those are some of the benefits of walking in the Garden with God. What does your coping mechanism provide you?

The Bible is a revelatory history that has specific goals. One is illustrated in this verse in Genesis 3:8 — “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” It is reemphasized in the passage found in 1 John 1:3 — “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”

What then does God want for us? Quit doing harm. Turn away from reliance on our own natural stubbornness and cynicism. Answer the invitation to have fellowship with Him and with one another. That fellowship rewards us with companionship, community, and an association of friends, security, stability, and, not the least, with God through His process of adoption into His family.

So, where do most Christian churches get it wrong? Well, for my upbringing never once did any leader tell me “You must be born again.” First, not only to be born by my mother, born to enter this world, but also to be born again by the Spirit of God, born to enter God’s world.

That is the one and only way, and Jesus said, “few find it.”

Now, few find their way onto the NFL, no matter how religiously they pursue that goal (something around 3% of College players reach the NFL). Yet, there are a whole lot of critics out there, right? Some have never even played the game. But they have enough head knowledge to think of themselves as experts. Too bad they never even played Touch on a sandlot. They missed a lot of good times.

I hope the parallels are obvious.

Salvation by faith is another tough row to hoe. This may help: Jesus gave us this agricultural offering, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28–30. The yoke is for two. My experience is Jesus works on the other side of the yoke, side by side with us to get that field plowed.

Faith in the original texts often has a suffix which changes “faith” to “faithfulness.” That knowledge has helped me understand the Bible in a new way. In ordinary English “faith” has become synonymous with “church denomination,” as in, “What church do you belong to?” However, in the Bible, faith is not a noun. It is a verb. Christianity is supposed to be active walking, not idle sitting. It is flowing streams not a stagnant puddle.

Many of Christian critics have justifiable complaints, but it is as if perfection is the basis of justifying belief. May I point out such people are being so judgmental that they can’t see the hand before their face. They can’t see the forest for the trees.

Many use very cynical arguments against Christianity by using Biblical principles and Bible verses they themselves don’t understand. Thrown in are accusations like “emotional blackmail,” or that walking in faith is really running in fear or that not knowing all the answers proves that there is no God. 2 Timothy 4:3–4 has a foretelling, relevant to this: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Toss that one around in your brain for a minute or two.

In a final analysis, to me anyways, arguing about errors as if they were truths is a fruitless waste of time. For example, if a debate is based on the supposed fact that the Earth is flat and the question is whether or not we need to hire a police force to guard the edges… Well, whatever the conclusions are, they will be moot, pointless, ridiculous. Yay or nay?

Another crazy thing I have heard is from folks who were once “Believers.” Again, they were believers in their denominational affiliation and doctrines. They had given an intellectual nod to whatever those doctrinal statements were, and they had to be acquiesced for membership in said Denomination. That’s like seeing all the information about swimming, but never jumping in the pool. Those doctrines were never and could never be internalized.

I’m one of those people who say that the most ardent critics of Christians and Christianity, are former Church members who probably weren’t really born again Christians in the first place. I’m not a football player just because I’ve read all about it and watched it and yelled at the TV announcers and coaches and players. It’s when I’ve put on the pads, strapped on a helmet, gone out on the field with my team, and actually played against an opposing team. Then, I can say I’m a football player — maybe not a very good one, but…

Again, “unless you are born again you cannot even begin to see the Kingdom of Heaven.” It is not a matter of believing in a weak kind of wishful thinking, but it is a matter of being. It is not just empty hoping Jesus saves, but it is experiencing Jesus’ love and salvation.

True Biblical Christianity is not a spectator sport.

As for sharing the Gospel, we are to share because of the love God puts in our hearts and the amazing works Jesus has done/is doing in our lives. Some relish criticizing Born Again Believers because we are not perfect in their eyes. Well, get a mirror, pal!

So, the most humorous comment to me is “Christians are too judgmental.” Does anyone else see the irony in that? “Goodness gracious sakes alive alivin,” my Dad used to say. What do you think you are doing, friend? Sawdust in your eye or is it a plank that bothers you so?

Another question/statement/complaint I recently ran into is that nobody seems to be able to answer the question, “Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?” Long story…

First, we aren’t supposed to judge in that way. Our limited capacity prevents people from deciding who ends up where in God’s kingdom. It’s a job far above our pay grades. I think that “I don’t know.” is a valid answer. Where does the Universe end? I don’t know. Would people criticize me for that ?!? “I don’t know everything.” is not only valid, it is commendable.

One critic concludes Christians have not fully thought through their belief system. Absolutely true. The reverse also is true: Have you fully thought through yours? And what exactly do you believe? I’d be happy to discuss it with you. Ever read Matthew 7:2? “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Not by me , though. I’ll listen and try to respond intelligently.

We are all being weighed.

There is a guarantee: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12. A couple of key words here: “found” so a person has to search for it; “name” which in that culture includes identity and character; and “must” which makes it guaranteed. So, if a person wants to try to accomplish eternal life some other way, I say, “Good luck!” I suppose it would be like saving yourself from drowning in the middle of the ocean or pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps or driving down the street when there is no street. At any rate, the Bible has this to say on the subject:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians5:10 Also there is Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) which indicates it ain’t just a free ride. Or like John the Baptist warned, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Church membership.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children. — Matthew 3:8–9 with my paraphrasing. What I am trying to emphasize here is the production of fruit, that is, “Do something to show me that your hearts are changed,” in the New Life Translation.

As far as the perfection our critics impose on us, Philippians 1:6 points this out — “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So, I’m not too concerned about my imperfections, but try to walk the walk and to yield to correction by God, certainly not by mere men.

Now, there is no Dark Ages version of Hell. There is separation from our life in the here and now. There are two designated realms of the dead mentioned in the Bible. I have not been to either. I’m only dying once, and I haven’t died quite yet. When I do die, that is, when my body dies, I will go to one or the other. Or it will be even better when I follow the one criminal who was crucified next to Jesus. He was to find himself immediately taken to Paradise — maybe the new, third place prepared for those who recognize who Jesus actually is.

Mystery? Well, yeah! Like I said, “Not been there yet.” There was an altar call message which Rex Humbard used to use. He asked “Do you know that you know that you know that you are saved and going to heaven?” I know where I’m going, not because I say so. Jesus says so. He put a downpayment on me, and I believe He’s good for the balance.

Yes. What being born of the Spirit gives to an individual is a down payment — just like putting a downpayment on a house or putting an item on Layaway (in this allegory, a person). So, Jesus gives us some real, solid, and dependable “part of the full price paid at the time of purchase or delivery with the balance to be paid later.” I have been bought with a price. A part of the promise now working in my life, the promise now, assures the fulfillment of the full working promise for later. I can wait because Jesus is working in this life here and now. Like the testimony in the Hymn “Blessed assurance! Jesus is mine! Oh! What a foretaste of glory divine!” (

This is my testimony. As a witness, am I believable? Like everything else in this life it is something you need to choose to decide yay or nay.

Choose Jesus.



Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between