Why The Tribe of Judah?

by Tom Wacaster

This particular expression, “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah,” occurs nowhere else in the Bible.  But why the tribe of “Judah”?   The answer lies in events that occurred centuries before John received this vision.  Joseph had been sold by his own brethren into the hands of Ishmeelites (Gen. 37:28), and later sold as a common slave to a man by the name of Potiphar.  God blessed Joseph in the months and years to follow, so much so that Joseph was eventually removed from his bondage and  promoted to a position of honor and authority in the Egyptian kingdom.  You know the story!

We jump ahead now several years; seven years of plenty have been followed by years of famine.   Meanwhile Jacob and his family, living in the land of Canaan, are suffering from the severe famine and are eventually forced, out of sheer necessity, to travel to Egypt to get sustenance. Jacob sends ten of his boys to Egypt to buy bread; only Benjamin remained behind.  Through a series of maneuvers, Joseph (recognizing his brethren while remaining unknown to his ten brothers who had come to Egypt) works out a plan to get Benjamin to Egypt.  Accusing the ten boys of being spies, he agrees that they could all go home, but one would have to remain as surety.  He then warns them that should they return to Egypt for more bread, “Ye shall not go forth hence except your youngest brother come hither” (Gen. 42:15).  If they dared come back to Egypt without Benjamin by their side, every one of them would be cast into prison.  With mixed emotions, the nine sons of Jacob make their way home.  We can only imagine the tremendous guilt these boys must have been feeling.  They had earlier admitted, “We are verily guilty concerning our bother [Joseph, TW], in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen. 42:21).   Now their father would suffer the loss of yet another son because of their foolish sin against Joseph.  Jacob would suffer the loss of Simeon, kept prisoner, likely as surety that eventually the other boys would have to return to retrieve their bother; but when they came, Benjamin would be with them! 

As the famine worsened, it finally became necessary for Jacob to send his boys back to Egypt to get bread. Reluctant to let Benjamin go with them, he finally gave in, and spoke these pitiful and heart rending words:  “If it be so now, do this: take of the choice fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts, and almonds; and take double money in your hand; and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks carry again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: and God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release unto you your other brother and Benjamin. And if I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved” (Gen. 43:11-14).  With Benjamin by their side, all of the remaining sons of Jacob now head for Egypt.  Once more they find themselves in the presence of Joseph, still unaware of his true identity.   Once again they are invited to dine with this second highest monarch in the land of Egypt.  Once again they are made to marvel at the turn of events which they were experiencing.  

Joseph is now ready to test these boys yet one more time.  Filling their sacks with food, Joseph has his steward to “put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money” (Gen. 44:1-2).  On the morning, as soon as the sun had dawned, the eleven boys now started for home, unaware that their money had been placed in their sacks, and unaware that the “silver cup” of Joseph had been hidden in Benjamin’s sack.   No sooner had they cleared the city when Joseph instructed the steward, “Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?  Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing” (Gen. 44:4-5).   Overtaking that ragtag band of Hebrews, a search was made; the cup was found in the sack of Benjamin.  He was arrested and carried back to the city, his brethren in hot pursuit.   Once again, the sons of Jacob were made to appear before Joseph; but this time it was not to beg for food – it was to attempt the release of their youngest brother.   It is upon Judah’s tender plea that we now focus our attention:

 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.  My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.  And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.   And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.  And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us.  And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:  And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.  Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;  It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.  For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever (Gen. 44:18-32). 

Never in the annals of history have mortal men spoken such tender words, neither before or since.  Years of guilt and anguish have finally caught up with these brethren of Joseph.  Judah takes the lead in making the case for Benjamin’s release.  But we are not finished.  Now listen attentively as Judah adds one important element to his tender plea for mercy:  “Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren” (Gen. 44:33). 

We ask the question once again: Why “the lion of the tribe of Judah?”  And herein lies the answer.  Judah was willing to offer himself for Benjamin’s release; his life for the life of his brother; his bondage for Benjamin’s freedom; his captivity in a foreign land that the young lad might go home to his father!  There, my friend, is the reason why our Lord came from the tribe of Judah.  It was because Judah, on that occasion, and in that particular moment, was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of his brother, and his love for his broken hearted father back home. It was Judah who unselfishly offered himself as a ransom for his brother Benjamin that earned him the right to have his name to be included in this title of the Messiah. 

What Will The Next Generation Bring?

by Tom Wacaster

In proof reading my notes for Volume Seven in my series, “The Songs and Devotions of David,” I was particularly impressed this week with the words of David in chapter one-hundred-thirty-one. 

Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, Or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child with his mother, Like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore.

This is a beautiful Psalm, written in a spirit of humility and with a child-like disposition on the part of the author.  “Comparing all the Psalms to gems, we should liken this to a pearl. How beautifully it will adorn the neck of patience. It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn. It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ. Lowliness and humility are here seen in connection with a sanctified heart, a will subdued to the mind of God, and a hope looking to the Lord alone” (Spurgeon, ESword Notes).  In verse one we see a wonderful attitude manifested in the words of the Psalmist.  He readily admits that his heart is not "haughty," nor his "eyes lofty." Pride did not posses his heart.  Pride is a great short coming and will result in destruction (Proverbs 16:18). "What the heart desires the eyes look for. Where the desires run the glances usually follow" (Spurgeon).  Notice in this connection Proverbs 30:12-13:  “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, And yet are not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, oh how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.”   I suppose that every generation tends to despise the younger. Maybe that's why Paul wrote Timothy these words of encouragement:  "Let no man despise thy youth…" (1 Tim. 4:12).  Perhaps the same advice could be given to those whose hair is graying and health is fading, "Let no man despise thy age." 

Age tends to develop wisdom, something that is often lacking in youth simply because of lack of experience.  Of course there are always exceptions.  H.L. Mencken concluded, "The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."  The down side of growing older is the temptation to become cynical and hyper critical of the leadership and capability of the next generation.   As I near my 60th birthday and the beginning of my 7th decade upon this planet, I am determined not to become overly critical, not because of the foolishness of a generation gone awry, but because I know God is in control. 

Someone warned, "In case you're worried about what's going to become of the younger generation, it's going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation."  The "baby boomers" are passing the torch to generation "Y" (or is it "X"?) in preparation for their social security checks, retirement, and increasing medical bills and ill health. Like the generations now passed into the dust bins of history, these "baby boomers" are anxious about where the next generation will take them.   Having aborted more than 45 million babies since 1973, the work force has reached a crisis of precisely how they are going to provide for the aging population.  But they need not worry, for the medical and scientific minds that were allowed to come to full term and somehow avoid the knife of the abortionist are now seriously considering euthanasia as a viable means of getting rid of so many unwanted senior citizens (quite ironic isn't it - or perhaps more like poetic justice). 

Since every generation needs wisdom, it seems appropriate to seek that wisdom from a source that is reliable - I speak, of course, of the Bible.  Most of our readers know that there is a book in the Old Testament called "Proverbs."  I have been meditating on some of those pithy sayings this past week, and there was one that struck me as particularly interesting, and motivated me to pen this week's article.  Listen to the words of Agur from Proverbs 30:11-14: “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.”

"There is a generation" was Agur's assessment of either his present generation or that which was soon to follow.  Keep in mind that the Proverbs were written during a time of great affluence in Israel.  The temptation of wealth turned the heart of Israel away from God, and plunged that nation into moral corruption, the likes of which are described in these four verses.  

There is an amazing similarity between the rich and abundant years of Israel's history, and our generation - whether we are speaking of generation "X," "Y," or the baby boomers.   Youth have learned the language of Asdod.  Honor for mother and father have fallen upon hard times and in many instances a child is no longer afraid of parents because he knows that society will protect him from discipline.   I have pity for a child, any child, who does not honor his or her parents.

This is a generation "pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness."  We have justified homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness, lying, embezzlement, cheating, gambling, and every other ungodly act known to men while claiming to be a "Nation under God."  Why is it that we become so upset when someone suggests that we should take the words, "In God We Trust" off our currency, but seem so unconcerned about the hundreds of thousands of babies being slaughtered each year? 

This is a generation that is "lofty…and their eyelids are lifted up.  "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom" (Prov 11:2).  "In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them" (Pro 14:3).  "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov 16:18).  Pride will sully the noblest of men, and bring low the mighty.  It will render leaders ineffective, and destroy the good influence of all who are caught in its grip.   Our generation has produced great strides in science, medicine, technology and education.  But our successes and blessings have made us proud so much so that we have lifted up our eyes and declared God dead and religion a non-essential. 

This is a generation whose teeth are as swords and their jaw teeth as knives.  The violence in the theater has poured out into the streets, and our hatred for fellow man has found vent in the internet and "blog" pages of personal expression.  A recent article in the Dallas News pointed out that web sites fostering racial hatred, fascism, neo-Nazi, and anti-Semitic mentality have increased dramatically in the last ten years.  

Finally, there is a generation that devours the poor from the earth and the needy from among men.  Con artists and shysters prey on the needy and elderly.   From the dishonest salesman to the lying televangelist, this generation has its fare share of those whose only aim in life is to make a buck or get ahead, and the needy suffer as a result.

Perhaps this generation will run its course and the pendulum will swing the other way.  I like to hope this will happen. But with every passing year, I see little hope for a generation that cares only for itself, with little interest in things eternal.   Maybe, just maybe, when this generation is lying in the muck and mire of sin and ungodliness they will look to the God Who created them and long for something better and declare in hope of something better, "There is a generation…"

Grandpa, Tell Me About The Good Old Days

by Tom Wacaster

Discouragement comes to the best of men; even great men of faith.  Elijah had his moment(s) of discouragement, as I am sure did Abraham, Moses, and Noah.  Having studied and written now on 143 chapters in the Psalms, I think I can safely say that David had his moments of discouragement and disappointments.   How did he handle it?  Where did he flee for refuge?  Well, why not let him tell you.  In Psalms 143:4 he acknowledges that his spirit was “overwhelmed within,” and that his “heart” was “desolate.”   Now listen to the beginning of verse 5: “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy doings.” 

I once heard someone say that dwelling on the “good old days” is a waste of time and demonstrates a lack of faith rather than a confidence in the God Who has promised to care for us.  When I was a young preacher I would listen to the “elders” (i.e. those up in years; not those who necessarily held the office of elder) speak of “the good old days.” And now that I am only 60 days away from drawing my first Social Security check, I occasionally find myself thinking about “the good old days” as well.   If looking back on the “good old days” is always bad, then why did David tell us that he would “remember the days of old” as if it were something good; something that helped him make it through this particular moment of despair in his life?  I think it was because David wanted us to note the focus point of our nostalgia when, in fact, we are tempted to “remember the good old days.”   David did not look back on those days with melancholy sadness, but with a fond reflection upon the “doings” of God.  He recalled those days when God blessed him, and delivered him from the enemies of old.  He remembered the victories, the answered prayers, the forgiveness granted (oh, the forgiveness granted!), and the promised protection.

I think perhaps the church needs to “remember the good old days” with the same focus of purpose.  Some of you can remember the days when cottage classes were the norm, and knocking doors and visitation was not considered “outmoded” or “outdated.”  Can you remember when two week gospel meetings were considered “short,” and a two hour sermons was a blessing?  “Ah, do you remember these?”   Maybe we need to remind ourselves of what the world was like when the church was actively seeking and saving the lost; when men and women had a respect for the Bible, and families were still families and marriage was for a life time rather than “till we get tired of one another.”   

Some years ago The Judds had a country song that quickly became a number one hit.  The title was, “Grandpa, Tell Me About the Good Old Days.”  It reflects a time not all that long ago when the influence of God’s word was still having an impact upon our society.  I am not a country and western fan, and most of the lyrics in today’s pop country music are not worth repeating, but I think the lyrics of that song are noteworthy.


Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)
( The Judds )

Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world's gone crazy
And Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn't seem so hazy

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days

Grandpa, everything is changing fast
We call it progress, but I just don't know
And Grandpa, let's wander back into the past
And paint me the picture of long ago

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days

Maybe we should reflect upon the values that “grandpa” practiced, and then remind ourselves that such values of “the good old days” were the fruit of God’s word planted in the hearts of men.  If we would ever hope to return to that kind of Godly living, then perhaps we need to be actively preaching and teaching that same gospel that was preached and taught “in the good old days.”  Think about it. 

Study To Show Thyself Approved

by Tom Wacaster
  
Most of our readers are probably aware of Paul’s admonition to Timothy (KJV): “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Strictly speaking, the Greek word that has been translated “study” (spoudazo) means “to make effort, be prompt or earnest…diligence, be diligent, endeavour, labour” (Strong). It means “to hasten, make haste” (Thayer). The word was used in ancient military literature to compliment a soldier who followed his orders out of more than a sense of duty or obligation, but because the warrior was convinced that the fight was worth the sacrifice. He not only followed his orders but he believed in them. Of the infantry man who gave his all in the line of fire, it was said he had spoudason. He was intensely in pursuit of his objective. The King James translators selected the word “study” in view of the closing words of the verse: “rightly dividing the word of truth.” It seems rather obvious that in order for someone to “rightly divide the word of truth” he must be “diligent” in something that would help him to achieve that end; hence he must be a good “student” of the word.

Study is hard work. There is a difference between “reading” and “studying.” A person might “read” the newspaper, but unless he is deeply involved in the stock market, it is unlikely that a person would spend much time “studying” the newspaper. Study is a gathering of facts; it is determining the meaning of words, and their relationship one to another in any given sentence, paragraph or larger context such as a book, manuscript or essay. Study seeks to determine the meaning of a passage based upon the intent of the author. A good student of any science or art takes the time to study various fields related to the particular subject he is endeavoring to learn. It is no different with the Bible.

Study begins with reading the Bible; unfortunately most folks never get past this first step. Having read a passage, the challenge lies in digging deep into that passage to glean heaven’s meaning, and then make application to our life. It has been properly observed, “The books which help you most are those which make you think most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty” (author unknown). No book challenges the thinking of men more than the Bible. Simple in its structure, it is a storehouse of spiritual truth that is easily understood while at the same time challenging to even the most scholarly of men. As one writer put it, “The Bible is an ocean of knowledge that little children can wade around in, yet no man can fathom the depths thereof.”  Perhaps one of the reasons men do not study the Bible is due to a failure to understand the rich value of Bible study. The following is attributed to Henry Van Dyke:

"Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life. The wicked and proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother's voice. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, sympathy, devotion, memory, and hope put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech. No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own. When the landscape darkens, and the trembling pilgrim comes to the valley of the shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, 'Goodbye; we shall meet again'; and, confronted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness to light"

Perhaps as this year draws to a close it would benefit each of us to make our resolution a month in advance of ushering in 2009. Let each one of us determine that we are going to be students of God’s word so that we might reap the wonderful spiritual benefits that comes with “Giving diligence to show thyself approved unto God.”

Blind Carbon Copy

by Tom Wacaster

Most of you who receive my weekly “Tom’s Pen” know that I send out each week’s article to all of my subscribers using the “blind carbon copy” [bcc] rather than the “carbon copy” [cc] feature offered with most email servers.  When you send out “carbon copy” the recipients of your email are shown ALL of the other email addresses that have been sent the email as well.  Unfortunately this provides the email hackers and advertisement guru’s a veritable gold mine when it comes to getting new email address for their spam.   Now consider if you will how sending your messages to a number of recipients using the carbon copy can multiply, multiply again, and again, etc. 

Suppose you send an email to a dozen people, and you use the “carbon copy” feature in your email.  Let us suppose that six out of those twelve decide to forward your message to a dozen of their friends.  You now have the original six who have your email, plus seventy two more who, upon receiving the forwarded email, now have access to your email address [and many of these do not even know you personally].    Now let us assume further that each of these 72 to whom the email was forwarded decide to forward that to twelve of their friends, all using the “carbon copy” feature.   That means 72 x 12 = 864, plus the original 72, plus the original 12 – you now have an incredible 948 folks who have your email.  The more that article is forwarded, the more your email address is made public, and the more spam you get.  Unfortunately it increases proportionately.  And then you wonder, “Why am I getting so much spam!”  Well, now you know.

With that said, there is a really great lesson we can learn regarding the power of sowing, reaping, and multiplication.  I know you have heard the figures.  If you save one person this year, and then each of you are instrumental in saving one person the next year, and each one thus saved continues to multiply with each passing year, the figures become astronomical in a short period of time.  The power of the Gospel will permeate our society till change of the face of a society becomes inevitable.  

I thoroughly believe that the time for judgment upon the United States has arrived.  But I also believe that God will spare a city, or a nation, if there can be found a sufficient number of “righteous” souls within that city or nation.   When Abraham pleaded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah, God agreed that if a certain number could be found He would, indeed, have mercy upon the city.  Unfortunately there could not be found ten righteous people in that city, and God’s judgment rained upon the ungodly cities of the plains.   If for no other reason,  perhaps we should consider going about planting the seed of God’s word in the hearts of men in hopes that enough souls will respond to the Gospel and avert the inevitable judgment that will come upon this nation should we fail to do so. 

Surely there is at least one person with whom you are acquainted who, if taught the truth, would obey.  It may take inviting ten, or perhaps twenty, to find that one soul.  If we are willing to “forward” emails that are worth sharing with our friends, why not “forward” the message of the gospel that has been given to you by some precious soul that loved you enough to share God’s word.    Think about it!

Oh, by the way, if you are accustomed to forwarding emails to others, would you be so kind as to use the “blind carbon copy” feature so as to protect the email address information of all your friends who happen to be on your email list?  Thanks!

Whose Church Is It Anyway?

by Tom Wacaster

It has been a few years since I passed that little church building, but the sign certainly caught my attention.  It read: "Evangelical Spirit Filled Orthodox Catholic Church of St. Thomas the Apostle."   It was likely a spin off from the Catholic Church that had been influenced by the charismatic movement of the 60’s and early 70’s.  Eleven words without a single reference to God or Christ.   One can only wonder what they believed, and since my schedule would not allow it I did not take the time to inquire.   Were I a “non-Christian,” I might read the title on that church sign and wonder, “Whose church is it, anyway?”

While that particular title may be a little out of the norm, so far as the number of words used to identify the "church" that meets in that place, there are many "names" and "designations" being used to "denominate" the large number of small, independent, and novel churches cropping up all across our land.   We now have the "Cowboy Church," the "Community GLBT Church" (in case you did not get the GLBT, it stands for "Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender"), and the "Liberated Theological Free Thinkers" church (which by the way, is an emalgamation of atheisits who have banned together to form a church for non-believers...really!).  I have seen the “Harvest Church,” the “Palm Tree Church,” the “Fruit of the Spirit Church,” the “Little Country Church,” and the “Holy Spirit Filled Church” (all here in east Texas).  In the past twenty years or so there has been a virtual “explosion” of independent churches cropping up and with them an attempt to come up with a unique name for a banner of identification. The most recent count of denominations in America has exceeded the imagination, not to mention the strange doctrines being taught and the so-called “worship” that takes place on any given Sunday.   In fact, our society has become so inundated with these new churches that one wonders if the Lord has a church at all. 

The Bible tells me that Jesus clearly promised, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt 16:18b).  I am interested right here in three simple, but important words.  The “I” suggests the builder.  Any religious institution designed, organized, and built by someone other than Jesus is bogus and exists without divine authority.   The word “church”  translates the Greek word ’eklesia,’ and means the “called out.”  Those who make up the church are no more and no less than the saved and redeemed.  One is added to that church upon obedience (Acts 2:41, 47).  The most impressive word among the three is the word “my.”  The church belongs to Jesus.  He planned it, purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), and will save it in that final day (Eph. 5:23).  If it is the case that it is HIS church, would it not be proper to say it is “Christ’s church”?   Who would suggest otherwise?  By the same token it is proper to speak of those congregations that are made up of the saved as “the churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).  Where, then, is the authority [either by example, inference, or command] for any designation the likes of which we see on church buildings in our city, not to mention across this land and throughout the world?   Dear reader, will you take just a moment, pick up your Bible, and search its pages?  Is there just ONE reference in the Holy Book that contains the name of that religious organization to which you have entrusted your eternal soul?  Why not pick up your Yellow Pages, turn to the section on “churches,” and put a scripture by every name that you can find in the New Testament.  You may find yourself asking the same question I have asked: “Whose church is it, anyway?”