Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Today is that love it or hate it day in America.  The day where we say good-bye to a season of thankfulness by getting in line at 2am to fight Hunger Games style for the latest Tickle Me Elmo.  Or we stay at home grateful we aren't out in the hustle and bustle that comes along with Black Friday.  With so many of the stores opening up in the middle of Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday night I guess Black Friday really started on Thursday night.  

We celebrated Black Thursday/Friday on Thursday night too.  After finishing our annual Thanksgiving dinner with family, my sons wanted to take their telescope outside to look at the stars.  We drove to my parent's farm where there is minimal ambient light and enjoyed an hour of stargazing at planets and stars.  As we looked at the stars I thought about the vast darkness of space and I remembered an image I saw on Facebook.  The image was of Jesus hanging on the cross and the caption read "Only one Black Friday offered eternal savings."

How do these all relate?  Well while we were celebrating Black Thursday/Friday in our own way by stargazing I couldn't help but look at the stars and be reminded of God's love for us and how we are supposed to share that love.  When you look at the stars you see more black space than you do stars.  Those little stars give off what seems like very little light but if we were closer to them we would see they shine as brightly as our sun.  That is what we as followers of Christ are called to do, to shine the light of God's love as brightly as possible in the dark world around us.  Sometimes the darkness seems so overwhelming and our light looks like a twinkling star by comparison.  Other times the radiance of God shines through and His love is on display like the noonday sun.  Our responsibility is to make sure that we are doing everything necessary for that light to shine through us regardless of how dark it is around us.

Today as you celebrate Black Friday by working, staying home or shopping, be sure that all you say and do causes the light of God's love to shine in this dark and truly black world.

*If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You Need to Stop Going to Church

A few years ago I saw on Facebook that a church planter I know up north had led his church in a day they called "Don't Go To Church" Sunday.  The idea behind it was not to go to a church building on that Sunday but to go be the church.  They went out into the large city their church resided in and gave out water and food.  They also shared living water and bread from heaven.  The concept of "not going to church" wasn't lost on me.  I've heard Bible teachers and preachers over the years make the same kind of comment with a different perspective than the church planter mentioned above.  But there is plenty of truth in the statement... you need to stop going to church.

You should stop going to church and start going to worship.  Now that sounds a little picky in the language used but it's the truth.  Too often believers see the hour between 11:00-12:00 on Sunday, or whatever hour the service may be, as their required church time to stay in God's good graces.  God doesn't want you to go to church, He wants you to join other believers and worship Him.  Our worship of God is all about Him and nothing about us.  It's not about what I like. It's not about what I hope to get out of the service.  It's about my heartfelt devotion to God being poured out as a sacrifice on the altar before a holy and righteous God who is worthy of my worship.  So Sunday, stop going to church and start going to worship.

You should stop going to church for the preacher and start going for the message.  It's a sad but true fact that when there is a change in church leadership some people stop attending church.  It's also sad but true that when the pastor is gone on vacation or preaching at another church that some people don't attend church.  It is impossible to separate our worship experience from the pastor God has placed in leadership over our church.  But when we find ourselves not attending church because the pastor is not there, we find ourselves falling into the trap of idolatry.  We are starting to worship the one who leads worship rather than the only One worthy of our worship.  Recently our church had missionaries share during the message time on a Sunday morning.  I advertised this with our congregation for a few weeks and was concerned that our attendance may drop because the pastor wasn't the one who would be preaching.  To my surprise we tied our highest attendance to date and had several who were out sick.  That is the mentality we have to have, that regardless of who is sharing the message we are coming to hear God's message.  So Sunday, stop going to church for the preacher and start going for the message.

You should stop going to church for the style of music and start going for the praise of God.  I've heard it said "I can't worship unless it's _____ kind of music" or "I can't worship God unless it's ______ type of a service."  To those who would say that I would tell you that "Worship is not about you or what you like, it's about God."  Yes, we should have our preferences in how we worship God and hear from Him.  But when we limit our worship because we limit our mode of worship then we limit God and how He can speak to us.  Music is only one small part of the worship experience.  Worship involves prayer, preaching, testimonies, giving and so much more.  If you are only attending a church because of the style of music, I encourage you to stop going to church for the style of music and start going for the praise of God.

My intentions with today's post is not to ruffle feathers.  My intentions are that we all really examine our motives for why we attend the church we attend.  What we as believers should do is find a local body of believers where our family is ministered to and the truth of the Bible is taught.  We should throw ourselves into the life of the church so we can truly worship God there.  That way regardless of who is behind the pulpit or the song being sung we are connected in spirit with God, pouring our heartfelt devotion out to Him.  So Sunday, you need to stop going to church!

If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't have one? You need to get one!

This morning I sat at a local hospital as a very precious lady in our church had surgery.  The surgery was set to last about an hour and a half.  The surgeon came out and shared with the family that the surgery went well and that she had been taken to recovery.  I shared with her and her husband prior to the surgery how we had many people in our church who were praying for her.  I told them how I had many in our church reminding me over the past few days that she was having surgery and that we needed to be praying for her.  As I sat at the hospital talking with the family waiting for the surgery to finish I couldn't help but think that this is how a church body is supposed to operate.

I realize that I have been spoiled in my life in a lot of ways.  God has blessed me with great parents and an extended family who helped raise me right.  He gave me a wife that keeps me straight and loves me deeply.  I haven't had to struggle in life for things like some do.  I grew up in a church that operated like the body of Christ should, concerned about each other and loving each other.  I also realize that there are plenty of people in this world who haven't had the same opportunities I've had.  People whose parents are divorced or no longer living.  People whose marriages didn't work out even though they tried their hardest to make things work.  People who have struggled with substance abuse, physical abuse or even struggled to keep steady work.  And people who had bad experiences in church or never even been to church.

Regardless of our situation, whether its been good or bad by our standards, people need a good church family.  I understand with the spiritual condition of our world today many people don't go to church and some don't want anything to do with church because they've been burnt before.  But if we've had our lives transformed by Christ then God wants us to be in a church so we can flourish as believers.  God didn't design man to thrive in solitude.  God designed man to thrive in community.  The best community that a believer can thrive in is a church body that loves each other and cares for each other.  Most churches, notice I said most, have this type of community.  They are involved in the lives of each other.  If one hurts, they all hurt.  If one rejoices, they all rejoice.  This is the way God intended it to be.  Sometimes though a church body will not operate as they should and people can feel ostracized, lonely or unwanted.  Those who have been hurt by a church are afraid that another church will do the same thing again and so some give up on church all together.  But many will find a loving and caring church that takes them in and ministers to their family.

If you don't have one already I encourage you to find a church with a church family that loves and cares for each other.  With a church family like that you can't go wrong and you will be glad you found them!  I grew up in a church like that and I'm thankful for what I experienced growing up.  I serve in a church that has quickly shown my family this same type of love and care for their members.  If you are looking for a church and haven't found one yet I encourage you to stop by our church at North Catawba Baptist Church and see what I'm talking about.

So let's hear from the readers today.  Share with others what church you attend and what you like about the church family there.  I look forward to hearing about what you think is great about your church family.

If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Friday, November 22, 2013

KJV Only! Right?

A couple of years ago I got into the habit of reading a different translation of the Bible each year as I have gone through my personal Bible reading.  I started out with what I was most familiar and really what I grew up on which was the New King James Version (NKJV).  Then I went to what I now deem my favorite translation, the New International Version (NIV).  Currently I am days away from completing my latest translation which is the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  My next translation will be one that I am interested in starting because of things I’ve heard and the little I’ve used it and it will be the New Living Translation (NLT).

Don’t misunderstand what I just shared with you.  This isn’t about getting attention for having read through the Bible a few times or the number of translations I’ve read.  This is about getting into a subject that is very personal to followers of Christ.  That subject is translations of the Bible.  Is there only one correct one to use?  Which is best?  Is it wrong to only use one translation?

There are some followers of Christ out there that will tell you that if you do not use a particular translation of the Bible then you aren’t using “the” Bible.  I actually heard this from a pastor not too long ago.  The translation that is usually most adamantly defended as being “the one and only Bible” is the King James Version (KJV).  Now before anyone gets upset with me, my first Bible was a KJV and I still have it on the shelf in my office, along with two other copies.  But the problem is with the narrow view that the KJV is the only version that should be used, not the version itself.  Many times those that argue so strongly for the KJV forget to mention that the Biblical texts were originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, not in 17th Century English.  Again don’t hear me bashing the KJV or any other specific translation.  Do hear me say this; it’s not right to put down believers who do not prefer your preferred translation.

In my nearly 10 years of ministry I’ve used KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB and NLT from the pulpit.  The first time I ever preached from the KJV was under mango trees in Honduras, just 5 months ago.  The first time I preached from the NLT was just two weeks ago.  I have primarily used the other translations throughout the years.  If you can’t tell by now I am a big proponent of using varied translations to help us get a better picture of what God is revealing to us through the text.  Like my chairman of Deacons said when I mentioned my apprehension of preaching from the NLT, he reminded me that different translations bring a different perspective. He was right.  If you enjoy the language of the KJV and don’t want to use another translation, I understand.  If you prefer a translation in modern English like the NIV, NLT, or others (such as the CEV or ESV) then by all means use them.  I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try a different translation and see how God will speak to you in a new way.  If you do try a different translation, don’t give up on it quickly or easily.  Variety is said to be the spice of life but the important thing is to be in the Word regardless of what translation you use!

Take a moment to leave a comment as to the translation you prefer and why.  I am interested to see what translation most of my readers prefer.  (As always, make sure your comments are encouraging and glorifying to Him.)

If you enjoyed today’s post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Are you a fan of BHAGs?

In his book, Courageous Leadership, Pastor Bill Hybels refers to what he calls BHAGs for short.  These are Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  These are goals that when you set them you realize that the only way to accomplish these goals is with divine intervention from God.  So that poses the question, are you a fan of Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

Most of the time, if we are really honest with ourselves, we don't feel comfortable with setting goals that big.  We like to be comfortable.  We don't like to be stretched.  We want to remain with the status quo.  We want our goals to be just enough of a challenge to make us feel like we've accomplished something.  But that's the problem, if our goals are things we can accomplish on our own then what need do we have for God in our situation.  If our goals are ones we can accomplish then who is getting the glory for the successful completion of the goal.  Certainly not God.

When we look to set BHAGs we must keep something in mind and that is common sense.  Jesus reminds us in Luke 14:28 the need to count the cost before taking on a difficult-to-accomplish goal.  In our seeking of God's BHAGs for our life we must be sure to mix our decision-making process with prayer, wisdom, common sense, and spiritual discernment.  This will help us make sure we are attempting God's goals and not ridiculous self-promoting goals.   

But goals are a tricky business.  A difficult goal for you may be simple for me or vice versa.  We need to prayerfully seek God's plans for us and discern the BHAGs He has in mind for us.  Chances are if we aren't seeking God's BHAGs for our life, then we probably aren't being molded into the image of Christ near as much as God would like.

I encourage you to seek out God's BHAGs for your life.  He may be asking you to give sacrificially to the offering at church.  He may be asking you to take on responsibilities you don't feel adequately prepared for.  He may want you to adopt a child at an age where you thought you were done raising kids.  He may want you to do something that absolutely scares you to death.  But the great thing about it is, if you allow Him to be the one helping you set the goal, then He will make sure you accomplish the goal.  I encourage you to prayerfully seek His will and then dive in head first into the BHAGs God wants to accomplish in your life.  

If God has recently shown you a BHAG that He wants you to accomplish then I encourage you to comment below and let others know how God is working in your life.

If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Monday, November 18, 2013

God Wants You To Be Rich!

On Friday Misty found an interesting show on TV for us to watch.  The sad thing is she left to run an errand and I ended up turning the show off because it nearly made me physically sick.  This reality show follows the life of a financially wealthy minister who pushes a prosperity gospel.  This pastor claims that God wants you to be rich and you can be rich because God made him rich.  This pastor was shopping for a jet in this episode and shared about his mansion that seemed like a small cabin when all his kids were at home.

It's "ministers," and I use that term very loosely here, like this that are misleading millions of people around the world.  Whether its everybody's favorite king of the prosperity TV preachers who smiles at them as he leads millions astray or his female rival that has her own "ministry" that provided her with her solid gold toilet, there are plenty of preachers out there tickling the ears of people (2 Timothy 4:3).  The sad part of all this are the lives left in ruins when God doesn't make them millionaires.

God does want you to be rich, but not financially.  God wants you to be spiritually rich.  I'm not saying that wealth or riches are a bad thing.  Financial wealth is one of the ways God is able to accomplish His kingdom's work here on earth.  Wealth like anything else can be corrupted, perverted and misused when we do not view it as God views it.  I have known some very wealthy people who have used their wealth wisely for God's kingdom.  I've also known wealthy people who allowed their wealth to give them a sense of entitlement and arrogance.  God isn't going to make anyone financially rich just because they ask for it.  The reason being if He did then we would be more focused on what we have here and not on working for Him to build His kingdom.

I think the "theology" of prosperity preachers is rooted in a comment I heard on the show we watched last Friday.  One of the minister's daughters said that if she had to take a vow of poverty she would have never been saved.  Wow!  I am no person's judge but this comment makes me wonder if she has put more faith in her riches than in the blood of Christ.  The greatest riches we could ever hope to have are the ones that are given to us through a relationship with Christ.  So the next time you hear a prosperity preacher claim that God wants you to be rich, remember that He does want you to be rich...spiritually!

If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Smack Me One More Time

I have some friends whose father was a missionary to Indonesia.  This very godly man passed away more than a decade ago but one of the lessons I learned from him is something I try to remember daily.  This man of God understood the need for God's children to pay attention to the voice of God each and every day.  "What has God taught you today?" was one of the questions he liked to ask.  I try to remember this question as I go through my daily routine.  There is that old saying about "learning something new every day."  Well if we are open to truly listening to God, He'll do that for us.  He'll teach us something new about Him, about our self, or even about our faith if, and only if, we listen for Him to speak.

It's not even 8:30 today and I can already tell you what God has tried to teach me today.  Not because I've been overly spiritual today and followed the command from scripture to "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).  I think that God has shouted at me today a couple times to get through my thick head what He's wanting me to pick up on today.  I think it's more in line with smacking me upside the head rather than shouting.  Through things I've read either in the Bible or in my devotions or through my prayer time, God is pointing something out to me today.  For me today it's about devotion to Him.  He's showing me that I need to be more devoted to Him and His plan for my life.  But that's His message for me today.  He speaks to us all differently and for different reasons so what He's sharing with you will most likely be different.

Here's a challenge for you, or maybe more of a question that would make my missionary friend happy.  "What has God taught you today?"  When you finish reading today's post I encourage you to share in the comments section below in one word what God has taught you today.  You never know, you may be the encouragement God uses to minister to someone else today by simply answering this question.

*If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook or on Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Monday, November 11, 2013

365. Once For Each Day.

Dru, Cooper and I were riding down the road on Saturday and Dru tells me that he doesn't feel safe in his bedroom.  So I asked why and he said that he saw on a news report where there was a killer on the loose and police hadn't been able to find him yet.  Dru was worried that the killer would break in his window and kill him.  I reassured him that the police had most likely caught him since he saw the news on Wednesday.  I also reassured him that the news was talking about Charlotte and not Sawmills so the person wasn't anywhere near where we lived.  I also told him that if his mom and I felt like we were in an unsafe area then we would move to a safer place but that wasn't the case.  I also reassured him that our security system would keep him safe.  The final remark I made that I hoped would instill confidence in this fearful 8 year old was something I heard a Bible teacher share once.  In the Bible God tells us 365 times some variation of "Do not be afraid."  He may have said "Do not fear," "Do not be terrified" or "Fear not" but in the Bible God tells us 365 times not to be afraid.  As I put it to Dru, God tells us this 365 times so that is like Him telling us not to be afraid every day.  It's as if God is doing the same thing that I was doing with Dru, reassuring His child with words of comfort and reasons why they should not be fearful.  When I pulled out the higher power than dad and reassured him that God didn't want Him to be scared and God was watching over him, his fear seemed to melt away.

It's been said that fear is the absence of faith and there is plenty of truth in that statement.  Our fear, like Dru's, is out of a lack of faith in provision or protection.  We may be fearful about many things in this life.  We can easily be fearful about doctor's reports, losing our job, being alone, or the things our children are mixed up in.  What we must do is not allow these fears to control us but rely on our faith in the One who controls all things.  God didn't tell us "Do not be afraid" that many times just to be talking.  He shares it with us for a reason.  That reason is because He wants our faith in Him to rule over the fear that Satan tries to instill in us.  So let your faith rule over your fear and take comfort in the words of Joshua 1:9.  It says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (NKJV)

*If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook or on Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stuck in a Loop?

I think an app on my phone has lost it's mind.  I have a Bible app on my phone that places a new verse from the Bible on my home screen each day.  The reason I think my app has lost its mind is because for the past two days it has shown the same verse.  Normally I wouldn't think anything of it but as I've thought about why it is stuck in a loop, so to speak, I've come to the conclusion that God is probably trying to show me something.  Isaiah 55:11 reminds us that God's Word accomplishes the task for which it goes out and does not return empty or void.  So I'm under the impression that the verse I've seen for the past two days is something I need to pay attention to.

The verse is one that many people are familiar with because of a Casting Crowns song titled, Praise You In This Storm.  The verse that the band uses for the line in their song comes from Psalm 121:1-2 and it says "I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth" (NIV).  This verse sticks with me because of an explanation I heard of this verse years ago.  The Bible teacher explained it as the psalmist, probably King David, is in the middle of a very trying time.  He said that the verses give the image of a man surrounded by his enemy with no means of escape.  He also said that many times people will read this with the idea of the Calvary coming down from the hills to rescue the writer, hence his looking to the hills.  Instead, he suggested, the reader should view it as the writer is looking from his position to the hills and seeing there is no hope for him.  He is surrounded by enemies on the high ground and there is no hope of rescue.  But the writer asks an important question "where does my help come from?"  As verse 2 explains, his help comes from the Lord.  His help comes from the One who spoke and creation came into being.  The writer sees his help as coming from the only source of true deliverance.  It reminds me of a verse I tried committing to memory years ago, Psalm 20:7 where it says "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God" (NIV).  Our only hope for deliverance from whatever is plaguing us is God and He is the one we must trust in during our trials.  Otherwise we look to the hills and truly have no hope.

So why did my app get stuck in a loop?  I don't know.  I don't pretend to know the mind of God because I've found, as my Facebook post mentioned yesterday, that the more I think I have figured God out, the more I realize I know very little.  Could I be headed for a very difficult time in life?  Possibly, but aren't we all?  Could I need to minister to someone who will go through their darkest hours?  Maybe.  Whatever the future holds and for whatever reason God has doubly reminded me of this verse I will remember to look beyond the hills full of problems to the One who is my help, the One who is "the Maker of heaven and earth."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Billy is Right

Billy Graham is quoted as saying "I am just a spectator watching what God is doing." That's how I feel this morning as I sit in my office.  I feel like a spectator watching God do amazing things.  Yesterday morning during our morning service I think we experienced a re-positioning of our missional compass here at North Catawba. I don't think the compass was off but by a degree or two but one or two degrees can cause big problems down the road. See the problem with that degree or two is that for the first little bit of the journey the difference doesn't really affect much. But when you try to travel a long distance and your compass is off a little you can end up nowhere near where you intended to be.  Our time around the altar praying for our church's missional effort yesterday was the icing on the cake of what we needed to do as a church to set our missional effort on the right course.

The other amazing way we watched God work was through our evening message on forgiveness.  We talked about the parable of the unmerciful servant who received forgiveness but was unwilling to extend forgiveness to a fellow servant.  The servants represented Christians and the parable addressed our forgiveness of our fellow Christians. As we gathered at the altar last night to pray for the strength to forgive those who we harbored unforgiveness towards, you could feel a movement from God that lightened the load of many in the room.

God is doing amazing things in our church.  God is doing amazing things in our lives every day.  All we have to do is open our spiritual eyes and allow God to reveal to us a sight of Him at work.  When we do, we will be amazed.  When we do, we'll understand what Billy meant.

Previous Blogs

Made to Love
Wednesday 10.30.13

On our way home from the dentist this afternoon the song Made to Love by TobyMac came on the radio.  The line in the song "Anything, I would give up for you, Everything, I'd give it all away" played and Dru made an interesting comment.  He jokingly said, "Ok, give up your life Cooper."  Not wanting to miss a chance to teach them spiritual matters, I asked the boys "Would you give up your life if God asked you to?"  Their answers were the same answers that we as adults give to that question.  If God asked you or I to give up everything we have to Him and let Him have total control, would we?  Do we answer immediately and excitedly like Cooper and say "Yes!" or do we answer like Dru and consider it before we reluctantly say "Yes."  I am proud of my boys for both being willing to answer "Yes," just as much as God is proud of His children for answering "Yes" to His requests.  We need to have that child-like faith that makes us quickly answer "Yes" to whatever request God makes of us.  The end result is a proud Father who is excited about the spiritual growth He sees in His child.

Thank You!
Monday 10.28.13

Last night I found my self speechless.  For those of you who have known me for any amount of time you know that this does not happen often.  You're more likely to see Bigfoot than you are to find me speechless.  After church last night I sat in my recliner at home and opened card after card after card from our church family at North Catawba.  The cards and gifts were given for Pastor Appreciation.   I would open a card read it and then pass it to Misty to read.  We were overwhelmed (that is putting it mildly) at the outpouring of love and appreciation that our new church has for us.  The gifts, cards, handshakes, hugs, comments and reception were all far above and beyond what a pastor deserves having only served for a few weeks in this church.  The words "Thank You" do not adequately reflect the feelings that we have towards our church family for all they have done.  The only option we have is to say "Thank You" and then show you how we are truly grateful.

You can tell that God is doing a wonderful thing at North Catawba.  Not because we have a new young pastor or for any other reason than to bring Him glory.  As our church moves forward in faith and following God's direction, I, like so many in our number, am excited to see what God does next at North Catawba.  There is a contagious excitement in the air.  If you do not currently attend a church in the area I want to invite you to come worship God with us.  As one who has been a part of this church less than a month I can tell you that you will not feel like an outsider for long.  You will quickly feel like part of a family.  You will feel like you are at home.  We hope to see you soon at North Catawba Baptist Church. 

Take Away the Blessings!
Wednesday 10.23.13

I keep on my desk a journal given to me by a godly couple that I met years ago.  The journal is actually the great spiritual book My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  This book has the daily writings of Chambers and an area on the outer margin for you to write notes, as if anything I could write would ever compare to his writings.  I've tried over the years to make it a habit of reading the entry for the day first thing when I arrive in the office of a morning.  It is usually always very challenging and I look forward to reflecting on some part of the entry that really jumps out at me.  Today's entry had a line in it that really has stuck with me.  It says "Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him?"  I thought "Wow! Do I have that kind of faith in God?"  Could He make me like Job and it would not affect my trust in Him?  Could He take away everything blessing and I would still want to sing praises?  Could He withhold blessings for the rest of my life and I would still faithfully worship Him?  That is a tough question to answer.  On this side of a situation like that it would be easy to naively say "Yes."  But if that were to be the will of God for my life, I pray that my faith in God would be strong enough to be unshaken, regardless of my lot in life.  I pray that I would be able to say with full confidence "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." - Job 1:21 (NASB)