Meridian Star

September 29, 2012

Nerf football in worship service

By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —    My son was telling us this story last week. He and his family attend a non-denominational Spirit-filled church in northwest Arkansas.

    Scott was working in the sound booth when he spotted a Nerf football come sailing up toward the ceiling, then dropping back down into the crowd. He couldn’t see who did it because so many children and youth had filled in the front area during the worship service. Then it happened again! So Scott dashed out of the sound booth and rushed down to the front.

    “I don’t know what parent has allowed their child to play with a Nerf football during church, but I’ll get that kid and bring him to his mom or dad!”

    Guess what? It was Scott’s own boy! When I heard that, I laughed and remembered all the grief and mischief Scott had given us growing up. “What you sow, you reap!”

Are you the new Father in town?

    My wife and I had begun to pastor a Pentecostal church in Baton Rouge. The city had a big Catholic population. The charismatic renewal was underway so I held clinics in different churches for believers to understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We had exciting times!

    During that year, our first child, Scott, was born to us. After Lana’s hard labor, and having the joy of seeing our healthy son laid in her arms, I got down on my knees late that night to pray. I said to God, “Father… I know how you feel!”

    That next week I spoke at a Catholic charismatic home Bible study in town. A new visitor was present for the first time, a nun, dressed in her formal habit. She assumed I was a priest, so she approached me with a question: “Are you a new Father in town?” Without any hesitation, I answered with a big smile, “Yes, I am!”

Suffer the little children

    We were riding along in the family car many years ago when my kids were small. They began begging for ice cream. “Well, we can’t do that,” I said. “Why not daddy?” they asked. I replied, “You know your father believes the Bible, right?” I continued, “Well, in the Bible there’s a verse where Jesus says, “Suffer the little children...” (Mk. 10:14 KJV)  “So, I must make you suffer by NOT giving you ice cream.” “Oh, no!” they wailed.

    Well, that phony theology didn’t last for long, because their mother quickly spoke up in their defense. The kids soon learned that I was only teasing them.

    Actually, modern Bibles translate that same verse: “Permit the little children to come unto Me…” The old English word “suffer” meant to let, or to allow; while the same word “suffer” today means pain, hurt, or loss. For example, the Women’s Suffrage Movement in American history was a campaign to allow women to vote. That’s an example of the old usage of “suffer”. Words can change their definition over time.

    I grew up reading the King James Version, a very old English translation. To this day, I can quote KJV scriptures from memory! When I graduated in 1969 from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., with a degree in Missions and Bible, I made one last visit to the campus bookstore to catch any possible sales.

    There I found the first published edition in hardback of the New Testament portion of the New American Standard Bible. When I picked it up, my spirit leaped for joy. I quickly started reading different sections. I loved it! Most of my studying and preaching today is still done from the NASB.

    Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God, located on Chandler Rd. at State Blvd. in north Meridian. Website: Phone: 601-483-8189.