My skirmish with the KJV only battle for the Bible

Around 25 years ago I was asked to do pulpit supply just one Sunday in SW OK. We drove out to the church, arriving just before Sunday School. I said I’d just sit in the empty nursery at the back of the sanctuary and collect my thoughts for the message rather than sit in the sanctuary for the adult class.

However, I could hear what was being said in the class. The teacher was talking about versions of the Bible and how he could never be a part of a church that used anything but a KJV. Everyone seemed to be in agreement. There I sat with my NIV in my lap preparing to preach the only sermon I would ever preach there.

I didn’t want to stir anything up, so I slipped down to the church basement where the only other class, the teens, were meeting. I looked in several empty rooms, sure that there’d be an old KJV laying around somewhere. No luck.

Back upstairs, I could see that there was a pastor’s study off the platform and I guessed that there would be a Bible there.

The adult class ran just a bit long and, since everyone was already in the sanctuary by then, they wanted to get right to the service. I said I’d like to step into the pastor’s study for just a second. Some folks gave me a strange look, wondering what I needed to do that for after having been praying in the nursery for all of Sunday School.

In the study, there were several nearly empty bookshelves, but I didn’t see a Bible. Then, as they were starting the music for the service, I spotted a stack of a few rag-tag Bibles. I grabbed the one that looked the most presentable and hurried to my assigned spot on the platform.

I opened the Bible.

It was written in Chinese.

(During the offering I retrieved one of the more ragged looking Bibles – it was KJV.)

NazNet reborn

I am site manager for  It’s a great place for fellowship among members and friends of the Church of the Nazarene.  One week ago the server’s hard drive crashed.  Since NazNet is a non-commercial site we don’t have backup redundancy on it, so when it went down we were basically back at the beginning.

Even though I’m dabble with technical stuff, I’m a pastor, so I don’t install server software every day.  I thought we’d be down for several days.  However, as I said, I am a pastor, so as I considered the task ahead of me I prayed, asking the Lord to help me do what needed to be done to get NazNet up and running again.

It was after our Wednesday night disciple group meeting that I came home and went to work on “NazNet reborn.”  I installed stuff like PHP, MYSQL, and other programs that no one ever thinks about but is used by everyone who uses the internet every day.

In a few hours I was surprised to have a test forum running.  Things just seemed to fall into place.  Rather than just open the forums and going to bed, I couldn’t resist staying with it, adding some of the “bells and whistles” I hadn’t intended to install until later on.  I was tired, but I was also on a roll and didn’t want to quit.

When I went to bed late Wednesday (actually early Thursday) NazNet was up and running and feeling pretty much like “home” to anyone who is a regular user of the forums there.

Someone who has a bone to pick with NazNet and, I think, the Church of the Nazarene in general, posted on their blog that “God crashed NazNet.”  I couldn’t help but think that if God wanted to crash a website he could do a better job than take it down for a few hours.

Rather, I think the opposite happened.  I think “God blessed NazNet.”  With amazing speed and capability I don’t even have I was able to put the website back up.  I understood what to do and how to do it even though I was dealing with installations of server software that I’ve only worked with once or twice in the past 10 years.

Tonight, we are just a week past the “crash” and I see that NazNet has over 200 people registered and over 2000 posts.  For God’s help in all the technical stuff and for all the good folks who have good naturedly re-registered and reignited the fellowship I give God the glory.

Pastor/Lay friendships

In my 35+ years of ministry I’ve had many good friends who weren’t clergy. In fact, while I’ve had lots of good friends who are pastors, most of my best friends (golfing, fishing buddies) have been laymen. One thing that has helped that relationship is that they thought of me as a friend and not as a pastor. That isn’t to say we never interacted at that level, but there was a sense of mutuality about it.

However, I’ve known some good men with whom I couldn’t have that level of friendship because they could never forget that I was a pastor. We could be right in the middle of laughing about something and they’d say, “I can’t believe a pastor would think that’s funny.” When I hear something like that I reevaluate my relationship with that person. They aren’t ready to be a real “friend” to the pastor. I adjust things so I can treat them as a person in need of a pastor. I guess you’d say I stop being “one of the guys” in a group of Christian friends and move back to the pastor position so I can minister to them the best I am able.

In fact, I think wanting to “be friends” with “the pastor” is almost self defeating.  If someone wants to be friends with me, a person with whom they have something in common (like fishing for bass or hiking) that’s one thing.  If they want to be friends with “the pastor” well, that carries with it, at least in my way of thinking, considerable baggage.  After all, I don’t think to myself, “I’d like to be friends with ‘the doctor’ or with ‘the policeman.'”  Rather, I view them as people and not vocations.