by Art Greco, Lead Pastor - Outreach
Two words that point to moments of decision that could have changed my life are also key to the force of one of the readings in our #SummerInTheScriptures reading list for last week. Those words: “... BUT IF …”
During the summer of 1977 Brenda and I met and started dating. But the process of going on that first date was anything but normal. You see, when I first called and asked if I could take Brenda out to dinner on a specific night that week, her initial response was, “Sorry, I already have a date with someone else that night.” I’m not sure if it was arrogance or naiveté, but my response was something like, “No problem. You can dump that guy early and I’ll be your SECOND date that night.” Fortunately, Brenda agreed, “BUT IF” she hadn’t, well … my life would have been “changed” alright, but not for the better, I’m sure.
My wife having said yes to our first date was no “small” thing, really. Even so, it is fully overshadowed by the “BUT IF” offered in Sunday’s sermon text, I John 1:5-2:2 and, specifically, I John 1:9:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, BUT IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
The example of Brenda and me changed our lives here on earth, however the “BUT IF” John points out changes a person’s “LIFE life” – gives ETERNAL life. Having Brenda as my spouse decreased the odds that I would do something to soil my current life: confessing my sins to Christ guarantees the cleansing of soul that give me ETERNAL life.
THAT'S A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT COUPLING OF "CONJUNCTION TWINS" IF YOU ASK ME: "... BUT IF..."
Here are some other significant “But if’ statements in Scripture. Read the stories connected with them and note the way each had the potential to cause significant life change for the people involved – even, is some cases, profound historical changes for all of humanity.
Remember - be sure to read these in context, then reflect on how significant our choices are – both for us and for those who follow us.
- Genesis 4:7
- Joshua 2:20
- I Samuel 17:9
- Nehemiah 1:9
- Matthew 6:15
- Revelation 3:3
BE A BLESSING
There is certainly someone in your life’s history that came to a crossroads – a “BUT IF” moment – where their decision changed your life for the good.
- Remember them and the cost of that decision for them;
- Pray for them – either asking God to bless them or thanking God for leading them;
- If they are still with you, write a note (not an email) and send a snail-mail to them telling them that you have been remembering them and thanking God for that decision they made.
- If possible, follow up that note by taking them to lunch of coffee.
Get with a small group of friends and talk about the following:
- What are the most important decisions you are currently facing - “If I choose this … but if I choose that …” kinds of decision?
- Brainstorm together about what God might be saying and how his word might inform your choice.
“BUT & IF” ARE TWO PRETTY POWERFUL – EVEN WORLD CHANGING CONJUNCTIONS TO PLACE SIDE BY SIDE IN A SENTENCE. AND THEY ARE PLACED TOGETHER NEARLY 200 TIMES IN THE NIV TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.
WHERE ARE THEY PLACED SIDE-BY-SIDE IN YOUR EXPERIENCES TODAY? THE WAY YOU RESPOND COULD CHANGE EERYTHING IN THIS LIFE … AND EVEN IN THE “LIFE” THAT’S WAITING FOR YOU AFTER THIS LIFE.