Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, September 29, 2012

If I got married........

I was thinking about weddings today - no, I am not planning on getting married, but what if I did....... I'd want to change a few things.

First off: what is this deal about it all being about the bride? It seems the day revolves around her. She picks the colors, she picks the songs, she picks who is in the wedding.... usually allowing the groom to pick at least some of the groomsmen, she picks the food for the reception, she picks the cake.....

Wait a minute!!!!!!! What about the other person? The groom? The day is about him just as much as it is about her, isn't it? If it weren't for him, there would be no wedding, no processional, so shouldn't he have equal time and equal say? I think so.

In my experiences of being in weddings and wedding rehearsals, it seems most women suddenly become spoiled brats on their wedding day, wanting everything to be their way. Now I didn't say all women... most women....... :)

And what's this about a bridal shower? First off, is it necessary? She is going to get gifts at the wedding...... oh wait, this is all about HER, so of course she needs her separate little party. Baloney..... I want in on the party if I am getting married, or I want my own. Fair is fair baby cakes!  So this is how it will go:

Ask the girl to marry you, then mutually decide on a date. Now the fun part starts. Oh, you will need a hat of some kind.

1) Decide who to invite. This can get tricky. I say immediate family only, but that would never fly, so maybe throw every one's names in a hat, his side, her side, and both sides, and pull equal amounts out of each hat.

2) Who to have in the wedding. Simple. She picks the chicks, and the dude picks the dudes.

3) Music. Both list the songs they want played and sung, decide on how many for each, and they both get to pick an even amount on each one.

4) Colors. Another easy one. They usually go with 2 colors. He picks one, and she picks one. She gets to pick the color of her dress, and he picks the color of his suit or tux...... oh, and since he is wearing it, he gets to decide tux or suit, tails or no tails.

5) Preacher. If they go to different churches, this could be tricky..... I say throw the choices in a hat and pick one.

6) Church. Same as #5

7) Singers, players. This could get messy, but not necessarily. If the bride and groom are in agreement of who will sing and who will play.... awesome. If not, grab that hat again.

8) Cake. This could be an easy one. Most guys don't care what the cake looks like, but may care the flavor. I say go with half chocolate and half white. Easy.

9) Food. This could be an easy one too, there is such a wide variety of foods available that both should be happy and be able to incorporate both of their tastes and wishes

10) Photos. OK, a pet peeve of mine. The wedding is over, and all the guests go to the hall and sit and wait. And wait. And eat peanuts and those disgusting little mints (oh wait - no mints at my wedding! Peanuts and M&MS) - and wait. For what?! So the bride and groom can ride around town, then get their pictures taken. Wait a minute..... a solution. Actually two ideas:
    Have everyone dress up for the rehearsal and take pictures the night before. Hogwash on the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding in her gown. He knows what she looks like, so what!


    Take the pictures before the wedding. Its rude to make people wait!

11) No bride ransom or whatever other method to wrangle extra money out of people. This is a BIG, BIG, pet peeve. The reception finally starts, all is going well, then the groomsmen "kidnap" the bride and a collection is taken up to get her back - this is a poorly disguised effort to get more $$ out of the guests. I think its rude. Everyone already got a gift for the couple, and half of them also gave at the bridal shower (and the groom shower they had since this would be my wedding). Its rude and stupid. Not happening at my wedding. Nope. The wedding party and relatives will be warned ahead of time. And if I were getting married, I'd just handcuff the bride to me. Fix that dumb idea.

12) Cutting the cake. Where did the dumb idea come from of feeding each other cake, then smearing it in their face? I can feed myself, and if I were going to shove it in someones face, how about my new mother-in-law? There's an idea.

13) The gifts. I hate opening stuff in front of people. I say open them in private. People don't need to know what you got, and most probably don't care. Besides, it will clear out the place quicker.

14) The honeymoon. OK, fair is fair. The bride should get an equal say in where, instead of being surprised. What if she doesn't want to go where the guy picked? They should pick a place together, and if they can't decide, I am sure there is a hat lying around somewhere......

You know, after this, I think I have uncovered a buried talent: I could be a wedding planner/co-ordinator. I think I show promise. Coming to a wedding near you soon........

Monday, September 24, 2012


    I grew up thinking no one liked me. The kids at school picked on me and bullied me. I went to church with a lot of the same kids that I went to school with, so I never had any friends there. Some years were worse in school than other years. By the time I graduated from high school, I was convinced that no one liked me. I would literally walk in stores and feel like people disliked me on sight.

   I wish I could say it went away soon after that.....but it didn't. I struggled with that on some level for most of my adult life. I don't know when it started lessening, and it still hangs on sometimes. I still am surprised when I find out someone actually likes me and wants to be my friend. I was talking to a friend last week I hadn't seen for a while and was talking about some friends in my life and had made the statement a few times "not sure why they like me" and she called me on it and said "why do you say that?" Thinking about that conversation, I have to admit, I still carry those ideas from my teen years that I am not likable. Wow. How does one entirely get rid of those ideas, without going to the extreme that you think you're God's gift to the world?

    Another friend of mine recently had a similar conversation with me. I was putting myself down for some reason or reasons, and he said "I doubt anyone else sees you that way. You are a pretty cool guy, and I am sure I'm not the only one that thinks that." Wow. Me cool?

    God is helping me some in that area. It helps that I have some great people in my life. I have had old college friends come back into my life, and made some new friends. Some of these friends go to my church, others have different beliefs than I am accustomed to, while others don't go to church at all. Some of them know the worst about me, and let me talk about my struggles, something that I am sure isn't always comfortable for me. Some of them I haven't seen in years, some I have never met physically. Yet, they care. They like and love me. Yeah, me. The kid everyone picked on. The kid no one wanted on their team.....

    The thing is, what do I have to offer? It doesn't seem like much. I can pray when I know there is a need. I can listen, and I am trying to do that more. I can love and not judge. I want to be a better friend, and I can always use more. I hope and pray God helps me to be a friend to someone who doesn't have any.

    So, thanks to all of my friends. You have encouraged me, many have prayed, and you all have made my life richer and better.

Being Like Jesus: Being Merciful, a guest post

This is the first in a series of guest posts on my blog about being like Jesus, focusing on some of His traits. First up, is being merciful, written by my great friend, Rachel Yoder Shetterly:

Your mercies are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness, O God. – David

When I hear this verse read I am immediately picturing a sunrise of glorious proportions. The soft colors of pink, yellow, orange, and purple are simply splashed across the sky heralding the beginning of another day. With these colors comes a promise from our ABBA, our Daddy, Father that this day comes with a clean slate, a new beginning.

Even at the ripe age of 41, I’m not sure I ‘get this’ in its fullest measure.

Recently my husband, Steve, and I had the privilege of attending a Love Won Out conference with a friend who struggles with same sex attraction. God has been bringing men into our lives who are struggling with this temptation, and we were more than ready to listen to and learn more about homosexuality. I was not prepared for the depth of truth and mercy I heard about that day.

You see, the truth is we all struggle with something. The sin of gossip, lying, adultery, or whatever other sin you think of is not worse than the sin of homosexuality. Stop right here and know I am not referring to the person who is homosexual, but the act of homosexuality. This is not something these individuals are born with or choose to become. The doctor doesn’t know when a baby is born if it’s going to be a homosexual or a heterosexual. We are born male and female.

I used to think homosexuals were pedophiles, sex addicts, among other things, and for sure damned to hell. I no longer believe this lie. Homosexuals are normal people: doctors, lawyers, nurses, secretaries, teachers, administrators, who, for whatever life situation, are more attracted to the same sex than the opposite sex.

By now you’re wondering what on earth the mercies of God being new every morning have to do with this topic, right?! The truth I learned at that one day conference is this: every morning, we have a new slate. We have a new slate for making right and wrong choices. Whatever our temptation, to have sex with the same sex or have an adulterous affair, we have the power through Jesus Christ to rise above all of that and live a holy life. When we are tempted to gossip, cheat, lie, steal…or whatever your addiction or temptation happens to be…EVERY DAY we are given a new slate, a new opportunity to start fresh!

We have a merciful, loving ABBA Father who “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) This does not mean we will no longer be tempted to sin. We have the choice, however, to walk away from the temptation and live a life not controlled by our temptations and harmful addictions. We ALL have “stuff” we deal with every day. We all have a choice to make.

Today is a new day! Today is a new sunrise of mercy and faithfulness poured out on us, His beloved creation, to enjoy! Seize it! Live in it!

-Rachel Shetterly

September 24, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Being too hard on sin

Sometimes I think we are too hard on sin. Yeah, I really mean that. But, we are only too hard on SOME sins. Some sins just don't seem as bad. How long has it been since you heard a sermon on:

Judging (not necessarily a sin, but it can be)

Yet there are some sins that we hammer on, scream out about and fight with all our might:


Are we too hard on these sins, and similar ones? Can you be too hard on them? Maybe not. Don't read too much into my words........ but I think we can treat them in such a way, and act so un-Christ-like about them and toward people dealing with them, that yes.... we can be too hard on them. Stick with me if you're reading this.

Imagine that you are having a battle with worry, pride, or even lying. What would you do? Depending on your personality, you might stand up in church and admit your problem and ask for prayer. You may not want to go THAT public, and may talk to some friends and ask for prayer. There are quite a few "small/nice" sins that we don't mind admitting a struggle with, and seeking help. (And I am not minimizing prayer and God's help)

Now imagine you struggle with pornography and/or same-sex attractions. Since we are imagining, take it one step further. You are a teenager, say 16 or 17. What would you do? Sadly, with the way most Christians and churches react toward these sins, especially homosexuality, the majority of young people in the church who are dealing with it, talk to no one. Some may somewhat successfully battle it on their own and marry, and some of those may rise above it enough that it is a minor struggle. Others that marry, may struggle a lot, and may even act out on those desires. Others that don't marry, particularly in reference to the same-sex attractions, never marry, either battling the sin for the rest of their lives and remaining celibate, or giving in to their desires and living in and sometimes in and out of, that sinful lifestyle.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Now imagine someone from your church comes to you. They tell you they are really struggling with pornography, or same-sex attractions, or they are cheating on their spouse...... imagine if it was your teenager that came to you and told you that they were struggling with same-sex attractions, or porn, or that they were pregnant.......

If we are Christians, we are to be like Jesus, and He does condemn sin, but loves the sinner. Totally, without reservation. I've been thinking about this, and have to wonder: how many people in our churches across America - and even in your church - are struggling with one of these not-so-nice sins, but we have made them so horrible, are so outspoken against them without love for those dealing with them..... that they who go to church with us, and even live with us - are afraid to admit to anyone what they are dealing with. They need and want help desperately, but are afraid to seek it from the very people who should lovingly help them....because they fear being kicked out of their homes, their churches, of being condemned and ostracized.

I heard a sad story related on a live concert CD of a Christian singer, Kirk Talley:
A young man had attended this church and played his guitar in the praise band. One Wednesday night, he confided in the pastor about his struggle with homosexual desires. The pastor promised to pray for him. Sunday morning came. The young man was on the platform with the rest of the band. The pastor stepped up to the pulpit and told what the young man had told him, then turned to the young man and told him to get out of his church, that they didn't need his kind around there. That young man took his guitar, walked out and never returned.

What a sad and pathetic excuse of a pastor, and what a terrible lack of Christ-like love. Whatever your stance on homosexuality is, I hope, like me, that your heart broke for that young man. Can you imagine how he felt? And is it no wonder we have hurting people in our churches who are afraid to come forward and ask for help? To admit that their struggle isn't lying or gossip, but a moral struggle, a sex addiction, pornography, same-sex attractions.

We are missing it as a church, and as Christians. Yes, we need to fight abortion, gay marriage, and other such issues, but we MUST love the sinner. I wish people that are openly gay would feel welcomed in our churches - not that we make them members and pat them on the back and tell them their sin is ok, but that they are welcome and loved, and that we want them to come back.

I've made no secret of the fact that I have struggled with believing God loves me for most of my life. One thing I have been trying to focus on lately, is that God doesn't just love me, but God IS love. It isn't second nature for Him to love - it IS His nature to love. Everyone. The liar, the gossip, the thief, the murderer, the homosexual..... and even the child molester. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could love like that? And we should. The Bible even says that is how we know we love God, if we love others. It also says that he who does not love, doesn't love God. (1 John 4)

It isn't always easy. I admit it. One big problem area for me is these guys who walk off and leave their wives and sometimes children. I really have a hard time loving them and feeling charitable. Part of that reason may be that I wish so badly to be married and have a family, and so far in my life, that has not been possible..... but even child molesters...... love them? Is there any worse sin than hurting a child in that way? Yet, God loves them. He died for them just as much as He died for you and I, and is waiting just as eagerly to forgive them as He is you and I. Hard to swallow? Hard to imagine a child molester finding God and going to Heaven?

We need to wake up and realize Jesus didn't die for nice people. He died for sinners. If we don't seek forgiveness for our "nice' sins, we will go to the same hell that the murderer and child molester will go to. And if they repent, they can go to the same Heaven that we all can go to if we repent and serve God.

The answer does not lie in accepting sin. There are churches that say it is ok to live a gay lifestyle and be a Christian. That the Bible really doesn't condemn that sin. No, we can never excuse sin and say it is ok, but we do need to change something. The church isn't a place for godly people to gather and isolate themselves from sinners. It is a place for sinners to come and be helped, loved, and pointed to God as the only solution for whatever sin they are battling.

And I hope that if you're reading this and someone comes to you and admits a struggle that is out of your idea of "nice" sins, that they fare a lot better than the young man in the story I related above. I don't know what happened to that young man after that incident. I hope he found another church where people would love him, and not tell him "gay is ok", but that would encourage him, help him, carry him if he needed carried.... isn't that what the church should be all about? It is more than getting dressed up, going to church, singing, putting our offering in the offering plate, listening to the sermon, then going home and relaxing until next Sunday. If that is all church is about, then I want out. I want something better. And we can make it better.

In closing, I'd like to say a couple of things. First off, I know in God's eyes, sin is sin, and no sin is nice. Hence the quotes around nice sins. Secondly, this blog post is near and dear to my heart. I was a young man dealing with a not-so-nice sin. I was scared to tell anyone, and unfortunately it got a good hold on me before I sought help. I can still remember the day I sat in my pastor's study and told him what I was struggling and dealing with. I expected and feared revulsion, and didn't get it. I wish that had ended it, but it didn't. Some of us are not good students in this course of life, and over the years it seems I have failed more than I succeeded. Fallen more than I stood, but this same Jesus who said to the adulterous woman "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more", also has stood before me, with no stones in His hand to throw, but with arms open wide to love me and take me back.

I've gotten a bit more open over the years. I used to fear people finding out what I worked so hard to hide, but there came a point that I started admitting to people, and you know what...... no one has ever reacted badly. For the most part, most people who know don't ever bring it up, and some are completely willing to talk about it, and love me in spite of it. I still wonder sometimes what would happen if I admitted it to the world. Would I lose some friends? Would some people condemn and avoid me? Most likely. As a whole, the church still needs to love more, to be more like Jesus who was willing to die for the same people too many Christians want to toss aside and avoid.

I have felt this pull, almost a call, at times in my life that God wants to use me to help others who have the same struggles that I do. I used to fight the idea, feared it. Now.... not so much. I have come to realize it is God's opinion of me that matters, not people's, and that people who are my true friends are going to stick with me and love me no matter what it is I am dealing with.

My hope and prayer is that God helps me to love more. That is what its all about.

And one last thing, just to stave off comments I may get: I am in no way putting child molesters in the same category as gossips. Some sins ARE worse to us, and crimes need to be punished, but God does love even those who sin in that way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Excited to forgive us

I don’t believe He’s sitting up in Heaven
Evaluating sinners by their scars
But I see Him excited to forgive us
And it’s not at all in spite of who we are

Excited to forgive us? That seems like such a foreign idea to me. I was raised in a very conservative and strict church. I am not saying that anyone came out and said this to me, but years of church services, revival meetings, and camp meetings gave me these impressions:

You have to beg God for forgiveness and talk Him into taking you on, or taking you back

It takes a long time to pray for forgiveness, and you have to name out every sin out loud. Where anyone around at the altar can hear you. Including the church gossips.

God is just waiting for you to mess up so He can take His white out and cross your name out of the Book of Life.

I often find myself wishing that I could sit down with a physical Jesus and ask the questions I wonder about. I wish I knew who was right.

I don't believe a Christian sins every day in word thought and deed. I believe a Christian can sin, but needs to repent. We expect the murderer to quit his sin, the thief to quit his, the adulterer to quit his sin....... show me where the "nice" sins are ok to keep doing.

I've worked with people and been around those who believe "once saved, always saved", and wasn't impressed with what I saw. They lived no different from those who profess no Christianity at all. I've talked to others who seem sincere........ maybe it comes down to a difference in terminology and definition of sin. I believe sin is a wilful transgression of a known law of God. That when you sin, it is a willful thing, not something you do by accident or not knowing, whereas some believe any mistake is a sin...... I don't know. I feel like I need something in between the eternal security/Calvinism doctrine, and the belief that no matter how hard I try to do right and serve God, I am still going to miss Heaven in the end.

I was - and still am in many ways - a very impressionable guy. It seems like the bar has been set so high in the churches I've attended, the sermons that I have heard, that I could never make it to Heaven. Oh, I know the blood of Jesus covers sin - past. I can't believe it covers future sins - but what about those who struggle with a besetting sin - an addiction that is a sin.

I'm tired of the rules. Is my church legalistic? Sometimes I think we are. There are so many rules, and some of them I can see the need for, yet can you legislate morality? If people truly love God, will they try to get by wearing as little as they can, or will they cover up a bit more than the world does? Will they avoid questionable activities, music, TV shows, and places they go, or will they figure anything is permissible now that we are under grace?

I know of people who claim to be Christians that lie, curse, do dishonest and unethical things, watch questionable TV shows and movies, and listen to the worst kinds of music........ maybe we shouldn't have rules, but shouldn't true Christians avoid doing some of this stuff out of love for God and the desire to be in, not of the world?

Loving God, loving each other,
Making music with my friends;
Loving God, loving each other,
And the music never ends.

They pushed back from the table
To listen to His words,
His secret plan before He had to go.
It's not complicated;
Don't need a lot of rules,
This is all you'll need to know.

Loving God, loving each other,
Making music with my friends;
Loving God, loving each other,
And the music never ends.

We tend to make it harder,
Build steeples out of stone,
Fill with explanations of The Way,
But if we'd stop and listen
And break a little bread,
We would hear the Master say

Loving God, loving each other,
Making music with my friends;
Loving God, loving each other,
And the music never ends.

(William J and Gloria Gaither)

Do we tend to make it harder? It seems like that is what I have grown up with. Too many hell, fire, and brimstone messages. Too many horror stories to scare people into going to the altar. Too many bullies in the pulpit that seemed more concerned with getting a lot of people to the altar by scaring them there, then by talking about a God of love and about a relationship with him.

And you know what? Those times I was scared into going to the altar, or the preacher held the altar call out so long that I eventually went...... it didn't last.

Some would disagree with me on this, and that is ok, but I stopped going to the altar. I don't know how long ago, but it has been several years. If God is truly speaking to me and I need to pray, I do it at home. For more than one reason:

1) I don't appreciate being scared or badgered into going to the altar.

2) Most of the times I went to the altar, the preacher held the altar call out so long, that I was done praying by the time he called people up to pray. Dilemma: go back to my seat, or kneel there as people pray and I count the minutes til I can go back to my seat?

3) I've heard more than one preacher say you shouldn't hang over the altar, mumbling into your arm, but you should pray aloud, confessing your sins. Really?! Some sins don't need to be told to the church, and shouldn't be, so I will pray at home, in private.

I guess it makes sense that combined with some other issues in life, that I would grow up doubting God's love. Really, seriously doubting. Believing that He didn't like me, and didn't want to forgive me, but if I prayed long enough, begged enough, worked up some tears..... then He would grudgingly decide to forgive me...... but He would be just waiting for a chance to kick me out the first time I messed up.

So yeah, the idea of His being excited to forgive me? Wow. That is heavy.

I've just come out of a very dark period that lasted for over two years. And I mean dark. If those around me could have read my thoughts during that time, I'd have probably been in a straight jacket in a padded room. For real.

I slowly started making some changes - I talked about that in my "beating depression post" recently. One change I made, I decided to work on believing God loves me. There were a couple of weeks that I read John 3:16 every other night, and read other verses about God's love on the other nights. I started thanking Him for loving me, listening to songs that talked about God's love. Such as this one I have found myself listening to over and over:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

  • Refrain:
    Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!
    It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

It has taken me a long time to get to this place, and I am not entirely there - to believe that God DOES love me, and not any less nor any more than anyone else. That when Jesus died on the cross, He did it for me, just as much as anyone who ever lived. And that He wants a relationship with me. He wants to hear from me, delights in me, and yes..... is excited to forgive me. For a guy with the thinking I have had, I still can't completely get my head around that. Its one thing to believe God loves me, but that He delights in me, is excited about anything to do with me? Wow.

You know, the devil is such a great liar. He really is. He has it down to an art. He had me convinced for years that God didn't love me, and only forgave me because He promised He would....... yet, the same Bible that said He'd forgive, also said He'd love me. Doesn't make sense when you think about it. But we don't always think it out. Maybe the devil is good at stopping that from happening.

As odd as it may sound, quitting my job Friday before last seemed to take the last obstacle away from my getting to where I needed to be. There was a lot of negativity in my life I was trying to rid myself of, and a lot of it revolved around work. Add to it the Sunday work issue - I don't know for sure, but after I quit my job, it seemed so much easier to work on the spiritual, and everything seems so much clearer now in ways I can't really explain in words.

I've come to the place that I realize that it is God I need and want to please. Not the church, my friends, or even my family. I need to do and believe what He wants, not what any earthly person or organization tells me. Does that mean I am going to run out and get a bunch of tattoos and piercings tomorrow? A resounding no! But it does mean God and His Word is going to be what I live by. If it matches what my church and others teach and say, then fine. If not...... God is my judge, and the one who I serve and desire to please, not church and people.

Brave words? Oh yeah. Easier said than done, I am sure, but I am tired of playing Christian, of being shallow, of keeping all of the rules, yet never having the relationship with God that I need and long for.

Its funny how life is. I have some great people in my life who have been there for a while: my Sunday School teacher, my pastor, my best friend, and some other great friends, but God has brought a couple of college pals back into my life who have also been very helpful. (J&R, you know who I am talking about). These two ladies, and some others in my life, know the worst about me, yet don't run screaming in revulsion, but have modeled God's love to me, and have brought me to the place I am at in this journey of life and grace. They have helped give me hope and encouraged me in a multitude of ways.

I've never liked change, nor the unknown. It felt great to quit my job, and I truly feel God was urging me to get out of there, but its also a bit scary not to have a job or any prospects, but I'm single, and not bound by family or anything else, just ready for whatever God has in store for my life. That doesn't mean He will drop a job in my life - though that would be awesome - but I am praying and trusting that He would help me find the right job for me.

This blog post turned out to be much longer and much more than I had intended, and probably more scattered and topic-jumping than I'd intended, but I am excited about what God is doing in my life, and am looking forward to whatever He has in store.

When He Saved Me
by Jim Brady and Phil Cross

I don’t believe He’s sitting up in Heaven
Evaluating sinners by their scars
But I see Him excited to forgive us
And it’s not at all in spite of who we are

When He saved me He knew
What I had done, what I would do
He looked beyond the worst in me
And saw not what I was, He saw what I could be

He looked at all the broken scattered pieces
And made a brand new vessel of my life
Every day possibility increases
‘Cause he placed me in a dream that never dies

And though I was a sinner, the Savior heard my cry
His mercy came and rescued me, He did not pass me by

Monday, September 3, 2012

If the Apostle Pau used it, it is good enough for me

I have blogged about this before, but I've been thinking about it lately, and felt like blogging about it more.

My church still uses the King James Version of the Bible. It is the one I was raised on, and the one that I memorized verses from. It is still the one most people will quote verses such as Psalm 23 and John 3:16 from. I'm not knocking the version, and I think it is good for one version to be used at church, as it makes it easier to read along.

I still carry the KJV to church, whether an actual copy or on my Kindle, but I rarely use it at home. Thing is, we don't talk like that. "Lovest" and the like.... no one talks that way anymore, and I don't see anything wrong with reading versions of the Bible that have updated language.

I have met people, and some of them are in my church, who are horrified at the idea of using anything but the KJV. Any other version is heresy and no good, even the New King James Version, which simply removes words like "lovest, thou, thee" and similar words. These people act like the Apostle Paul read the KJV.

Ironically, the KJV we use today is the same thing that the NKJV is.... a modern revision of the former. No one alive would be able to understand the original KJV of 1611. It can still be bought, and in my opinion, if people are going to be so extreme about the KJV, they should buy that version, otherwise they are being hypocritical and doing just what they rail against - using a newer version. Harsh? Not really. Just using their own words against them.

Not every version out there is good. There is one who removes all masculine references, even to God. There are some that try so hard to modernize the language, that it sounds like a gangster version. Here are a few I like and use:

The New Living Translation. The Living Bible was a paraphrase. This is an actual translation, and is my favorite version to read from.

The New King James Version. This sticks closer to the KJV, only changing old words we don't use to ones that we do.

God's Word. This version is still new to me. I don't own a regular copy of it, but do have the Names of God Bible, which puts the original names of God back in that were taken out and replaced with "God" and "Lord", etc. So far, I like it pretty well.

The Common English Bible. This one is still fairly new to me, but I am liking it so far.

The Message. This isn't a favorite new version, and I personally think it is too modernized, and seems more of a paraphrase than a translation, but I do like to look up a passage occasionally in it to get a different perspective, and since I got it for $5, I don't have much invested in it.

The Bible is the most important book there is, and we are encouraged to read and study it often. I believe using different translations and versions can help with that. When reading familiar passages, it is so easy to skim over it if you are used to the same old version, whereas using different ones can make you slow down a bit and think more about what you are reading. It does for me. And it helps clear up passages that are a bit unclear due to the old English we don't speak and use anymore.

We shouldn't just grab any version out there, but there are many that are good and can be a help as we read and study God's Word. I can find no proof that God prefers it over any other version out there, and at one point, it was new and people considered it heresy. And one other point for the KJV only crowd: the work on it was organized and ordered by a very corrupt king. Not by God.