When the song, “I like big butts and I cannot lie was at its zenith and featured in Disney’s brilliant animation, Shrek, I wanted to use that phrase as a sermon title. BUT caution got the better of me.
So, here I am, all these years later, randomly remembering that the biggest—and best— ”buts” the world will ever know are found in the Bible.
Here are some of the better buts in the Bible:
THE EVIL BUT
Genesis 50:20 – “You meant it for evil, BUT God meant it for good.”
Joseph magnanimously forgiving his brothers and teaching them a lesson about omnipotence and sovereignty.
This is a good one for people like me to remember in times like this. How any good can come out of the Obama administration, only God knows. BUT God knows.
I tweeted a story about the homecoming queen at Auburn yesterday. Her mother was sexually assaulted and became pregnant. Her mom’s husband said she would abort the baby or he would be done with her. She did not abort her. She delivered the baby and then delivered her to an adoptive couple who raised her in a wonderful family environment… Well, here. Read it yourself at Lifenews.com..and share it with as many people as you can.
Another good verse on the evil but, and one that fits the above story, is Deuteronomy 23:5 - “Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God e loves you.”
THE AGELESS BUT
Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers, the flower fades, BUT the word of our God stands forever.”
The world can try to trivialize and marginalize God’s Word all they want. Generations come and go. Detractors grow old and die. The Word of God never ages, never diminishes, never fails, never dies.
Psalm 73:26 - “My flesh and my heart fail; BUT God is the strength of my heart and my s portion forever.”
God never wearies in His work. He doesn’t grow old and soft. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. When you are at your worst, He is at his best.
THE FRIGHTENING BUT
John 3:36 - “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, BUT the wrath of God abides on him.”
Some so-called preachers these days have expressed the opinion that Jesus is a way to God, rather than THE way. Nothing about that statement is true, nor could it be. Either Jesus is everything He claimed, or He is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on planet earth. His statements are too radical. His claims are too bold. His teachings are too clear. You are IN or you are OUT. In means life. Out means eternal death and damnation. Period.
John 14:6 - “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Pretty tough to misinterpret or miss the message there.
The most frightening but in history is the one in John 3:36.
THE BEAUTIFUL BUTS
The most beautiful buts in the Bible are about the grace and mercy and salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
John3:16, 17 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten q Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
If you have ever attended Sunday School or a bible study at any point in your life, you have likely seen this but. If you have memorized even on verse in the Bible, it is probably John 3:16. It is not about condemnation with Christ, BUT it is about salvation. It is about redemption. It is about real hope. Real change. Real life.
One of the most beautiful passages in the Bible—and one of the most heartening, encouraging, stimulating—features one magnificent but.
Ephesians 2:1-10 - And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, which you once walked according to the 1 course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in g the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. BUT God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should s boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
That doesn’t need any elaboration or enlargement. That is preaching, right there. Just wind it up and watch it go. Watch it crush the hopelessness Satan wants to sow in the wounded heart. Watch it ease the mind of the man or woman who has made a mess of things. Watch it bind the broken heart and ease the worried mind. Watch it give sleep to the sleepless, rest to the restless, hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless.
And YOU He made alive. You! Alive. Now. Forever. Not just existing. Not just marking time. ALIVE.
YOU are his “workmanship.” In the original language, the word is poeima, from which we derive “poem.” You are the work of a lifetime, which for God is eternity. You are more beautiful than Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa. You are more important than Michelangelo’s David or his Sistine Chapel. Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s starry nights have nothing on the beauty of HIS workmanship.
I love the big buts in the Bible. Without them, we would be lost. Without them, there would be no beauty, no hope, no healing, no help.
PS – To you bible scholars and sermon connoisseurs: I know that the “But God” sermon idea is nothing new. It has been a powerful theme preached by many great ones from Martin-Lloyd Jones to the great (and much less known, but no less eloquent or powerful) Earl Oldham. It remains a great theme—the great theme of the ages. But, God! If you cannot preach that, turn in your frock and turn over your flock to someone who can.
I was listening to smooth, dulcet tones of Norah Jones this morning when a song titled “Soon the New Day” came on. It is a collaboration with rapper Talib Kewli and has a nice vibe to it.
It also has a stark, sobering message, if you really listen to it.
Listen up, girls. I am talking to you. I am talking to those of you who think you are being cool and cute and hot and all that when you twerk the boys crazy, dirty dance and drink your way into some dude’s bed.
Just remember this: You are the hunted.
You feel empowered. You prance like Bambi and the lying lion licks his chops, grins and crouches.
“Yeah, baby, just like that. Oh baby, you’re so hot.”
Cavemen still use clubs to control the girls
Back to Norah and Talib.
Get a load of these lyrics:
The clan of the cavebear
Used to use the club to hit and drag her by the hair
Still use the club to get her a martini or a beer
Try to get her home and put the smell of sex in the air
Come through like the cable guy
Get ‘er done
That ‘ole hit ‘n run
Turn into bitter ones
Tonight is catch me if you can
You can taste the ginger bread
Ain’t nothing like wakin’ up with a stranger in your bed
If you will listen to these sexual predators and social anarchists (aka rappers), they will tell you what they are really all about. They won’t even lie.
But you won’t listen. Instead you will be drunk with the attention. You will be swept away by the need to be needed, the desire to be desired.
You will give yourself entirely to that moment and that sorry excuse for a man.
And only you will wake with regret.
The caveman will regale his friends with the tales of his conquest. While your head pounds from the clubbing and your heart breaks because what you wanted/needed was to love and be loved and this cheap substitute only leaves you hollow and self-loathing.
It’s not about the trophy; it’s about the hunt
Let me tell you something about hunting. It gets in your blood. Just watch Facebook during hunting season. No matter how nice the last trophy, the hunter is always anxious to get the next hunt underway.
Because it is the thrill of the hunt. It is all about the conquest.
This is also true of the “love” hunter. He is not in love with you. He is in love with conquering you. Once the conquest is completed, he will look for the next trophy.
I have a friend that has been married five times. I am convinced he loved certain things about each of the women he married. I am also convinced he was never as in love with anyone as much as he was addicted to the thrill of the hunt. He was in love with “love.”
You are more than a trophy, girl!
Trophies tarnish. Glories fade. Blondes and brunettes gray. Time marches on, dragging you with it.
You want to be valued when your physical attributes fade? Then you have to change your values now. Value character over cool. Value steady over smooth. Value a man that is “good” over a man that is “good at…”
And let me know how it works out for you.
Love you all.
If you are not old enough to remember that long before ESPN ruled the sports world (or was even invented),–when CBS had NFC games, NBC covered the AFC, and ABC had Monday Night Football; when Brent Musburger was the smooth, never-a-queue-or-muss-a-word original host of the CBS studio show, The NFL Today –then you are forbidden to laugh at this clip of Brent Musburger, at the start of the 2013 BCS Championship game, identify himself as his partner and his partner as himself…
The reason you are forbidden to laugh at Brent’s funny old man goof-up is that if you are too young to remember his greatness, then all you know him as is a doddering old man who overstates everything and misstates lots of things in the course of a broadcast.
The look on Kirk Herbstreit’s face is priceless.
I laughed so hard, I spewed tea out my nose.
Because I remember.
Because, by Jiminy, I can identify.
Like Brent, I made my living talking to people. I never had the audience he’s had, but I had an audience. And there was a time when I could deliver a sermon like Machine Gun Kelly in a firefight and never miss a word or turn a bad phrase. I could stop and spin on a verbal dime. I could soar with the eagles and plunge the depths, ebb and flow, shout and whisper.
A wordsmith with a smooth delivery.
At least that is the way I remember it. If you remember it differently, keep your yap shut.
These days, however, like Brent, my thoughts cannot keep up with my mouth or my mouth with my thoughts.
I haven’t called any of my daughters by the right name on the first try in like five years or so.
I have become my grandmother, who used to call the roll every time she addressed a family member. I have been called “David, Freda, Don, Wayne, Troy….oh! Gene!” at least a million times.
That was my grandmother on my mom’s side. The one I named Granky and the whole world called her that.
Then there was my granddad on my dad’s side. We called him Little Granddad. He lived with us a lot in his old age. I was about 16 when I woke one night to the sound of something splattering on the wall. He had gotten up to pee and took a wrong turn.
I said, “Granddad?!”
And he said, “Oh, #%^*!!!”
Old people are funny and it is ok to laugh with them, because if you are lucky, you will be one pretty soon and get your come-uppance. If you are unlucky, I guess you got your come-uppance anyway. So, go ahead. Laugh.
Now where did I lay my glasses? I am done typing and reading and can use them again.
HAS ANYONE SEEN MY #@&^*%# GLASSES???
The world has too long been plagued by the burden of the New Year’s resolution;
Said resolutions are always made with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes
Most NY resolutions fail to make February
I have seen enough of failure to keep promises to oneself
Be it hereby known to one and all that in 2014 I am declaring a New Year’s REVOLUTION.
I declare my ten 2014 Revolutionary acts:
In 2014, I will…
- Eat more bacon…and chicken fried steak
- Consume more Dr. Pepper
- Watch more All in the Family reruns
- Be more selective–and effective–with my cussing
- Write at least one letter protesting those infernal and unconstitutional red light cameras
- Laugh at liberals
- Find new and better ways to express my feelings for Jerry Jones
- Find new and better ways to express my feelings for Barack Obama
- Watch more football
- Addendum: Watch more baseball, basketball, and hockey
- Smoke better cigars
I feel pretty good about my list. What things would you put on yours?
Make 2014 the best year yet. Happy New Year!