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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

November 8, 2012 - Modern-Day Non-Negotiables

By William E. Richardson

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).

In the '80s and '90s, a new word appeared and gained traction. The dictionary defines the term as "the transformation (as of something real or unsettling) into carefully controlled and safe entertainment or an environment with similar qualities." The popular definition nods at recasting facts to be more family-friendly, regardless of what that does to the truth content. The word: "Disneyfication."

More recently, the word "reimagining" has described movies, TV shows, music, and books that get a contemporary redo. One staple is favorite TV shows of previous generations reimagined to fit today's audiences. The leading characters are too often recognizable only by their names.

The Bible too has been subject to Disneyfication and reimagining. Some Bible passages have been reimagined and then presented in teaching and preaching with meanings vastly different from those widely accepted for centuries. Too often, modernized interpretations ignore a Scripture's original context and intended meaning. The result: pale, anemic teachings drained of the personality the Holy Spirit birthed into the texts.

The guiding factor in revamping Scripture is to appeal to present-day listeners. Its one thing to modernize literary ideas and recast TV characters from previous eras, but you can't really candy coat the central Person of the Bible — Jesus. We need to take Him as He is.

Jesus is more complex than any modern idea. While on earth, He could be tender with children, outcasts, and the ill while being brutally blunt with His disciples and skeptical religious leaders. He called people to repent, with warnings of dire, eternal consequences for continued sin. Yet His entire life — as well as His death and resurrection — proclaimed the free gift of grace to anyone desiring to escape God's judgment.

Jesus not only called us to a give up all personal ambitions and desires to follow Him (Luke 9:23-26), He foretold His own sacrificial commitment for us (vs. 21,22) to make our salvation and obedience possible in the first place. No amount of "Disneyfication" can remove the depth of our sin, devalue the price Christ paid in our behalf, or encompass the joy of the new life He has purchased for us.

Jesus refuses to fit the latest socially accepted mold. Rather, He calls us to fit into His life-changing mold for us. He is the Potter. We are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). When we accept those unvarnished truths, our lives begin anew with God-given clarity and purpose.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at



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