How Big is Your Vocabulary?
The church in America is changing in most every way. Some have all but ceased to exist due to the failure to reach the “new” face of the community that has become their neighbors in recent decades. Others have had tragic things happen through a leader’s moral failure, a horrible shooting in the building, or sexual abuse reported within the walls of the church. And, simultaneously, some churches are growing in number as they offer lots of things to attract visitors and new members to be a part of what they are doing.
One of the most notable changes within churches is the vocabulary that has morphed from previous generations of pastors. Rarely do we hear churches that use terms like “salvation, saved, sanctification, “lost”, hell, spiritual ruin, perish, repent, Satan (as a person and a reality), judgement, destruction”, etc. More and more, there is a new “gospel” being propagated that has no foundation in Scripture, no veracity based on the things of God, and no power to transform lives.
Some pastors fail to use terms like the ones mentioned above because they contend that this new generation does not relate to those or know what they mean. The role of a pastor is to expound the Bible in such a way that it “is” understood, applied, and lived by the listeners.
One word that seemingly is not heard so often any more is the word “saved”. The argument is that it is not relevant and understood by seekers. Then as a pastor, my job assignment is to make that term vividly clear so that none perish, but all can be saved!
Normally the flight from Nassau to Miami took Walter Wyatt, Jr., only sixty-five minutes. But on December 5, 1986, he attempted it after thieves had looted the navigational equipment in his Beechcraft. With only a compass and a hand-held radio, Walter flew into skies blackened by storm clouds.
When his compass began to gyrate, Walter concluded he was headed in the wrong direction. He flew his plane below the clouds, hoping to spot something, but soon he knew he was lost. He put out a mayday call, which brought a Coast Guard Falcon search plane to lead him to an emergency landing strip only six miles away. Suddenly Wyatt’s right engine coughed its last and died. The fuel tank had run dry. Around 8 p.m. Wyatt could do little more than glide the plane into the water.
Wyatt survived the crash, but his plane disappeared quickly, leaving him bobbing on the water in a leaky life vest. With blood on his forehead, Wyatt floated on his back. Suddenly he felt a hard bump against his body. A shark had found him. Wyatt kicked the intruder and wondered if he would survive the night. He managed to stay afloat for the next ten hours. In the morning, Wyatt saw no airplanes, but in the water a dorsal fin was headed for him. Twisting, he felt the hide of a shark brush against him. In a moment, two more bull sharks sliced through the water toward him.
Again he kicked the sharks, and they veered away, but he was nearing exhaustion. Then he heard the sound of a distant aircraft. When it was within a half mile, he waved his orange vest. The pilot radioed the Cape York, which was twelve minutes away: “Get moving, cutter! There’s a shark targeting this guy!” As the Cape York pulled alongside Wyatt, a Jacob’s ladder was dropped over the side. Wyatt climbed wearily out of the water and onto the ship, where he fell to his knees and kissed the deck. He’d been saved. He didn’t need encouragement or better techniques. Nothing less than outside intervention could have rescued him from sure death. How much we are like Walter Wyatt. (Copied).