Summary: This evotional concludes the God @ the Billboard series.

God @ the Billboards: Unwritten

Pastor Mark Batterson


Highlight Tape

When I was in High School I played basketball and I did alright. I wanted to play in college so my dad put together a highlight tape to give to college recruiters. He went through all of my game tapes and spliced together my best plays. The bottom line is that it made me look a lot better than I really was. All of my turnovers and missed shots were deleted. And all of my steals and rebounds and dunks and three-pointers were edited-in.

So one day we had a family friend over for lunch. His name was Wiley. And he was 117 years-old. Not really, but he was really old and wasn’t exactly a basketball buff. So we showed him the highlight tape and I’ll never forget what he said: “Mark never misses.” Wiley didn’t pick up on the fact that it was a highlight tape. He didn’t notice that I was wearing my home red jersey in some of the shots and my away white jersey in others. And our opponents kept changing jersey! Wiley thought it was one game! We laughed so hard about that. If only the college recruiters had thought it was one game!

It’s amazing what you can do if you have the ability to edit. You can delete all of the lowlights. You can splice together all of the highlights. And you can make yourself look pretty good in the process! In fact, you look better than you really are.

I want to suggest that God wants to do for you exactly what my dad did for me. Think of your life as a videotape. Think of God as editor and producer. God wants to delete the turnovers and misses. We call it sin. And He wants to splice together the spiritual highlights.

That is precisely what happens when we confess our sin. While we’re confessing our sin God is editing the tape. He is deleting everything we’re confessing!

Hebrews 10:17 says, “I will never again remember their sins.”

God doesn’t just forgive. God forgets. He destroys the evidence against us. He deletes the sin. And what you’re left with is a highlight tape.

The bottom line is this: God is in the editing business. He wants complete editorial control of your life. And if you give it to Him, there is no telling what kind of story He can write through you. He wants to rewrite the script of your life. He wants you to be part of his-story.

Pharisees and Prostitutes

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees’ house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Let me make a couple observations.

First of all, I guarantee this woman wasn’t on the invitation list. She crashed this party.

Secondly, can you say awkward? You’ve got your straight-laced Pharisees. Then you throw in a prostitute who starts crying and kissing Jesus’ feet and breaking perfume bottles. That has awkward written all over it.

I may be reading into things, but I have a feeling this was a totally lame party before this woman showed up. Pharisee party is an oxymoron if there ever was one! Pharisees didn’t know how to have fun. They didn’t believe in fun. They probably had laws against laughter. How fun can a party at a Pharisee’s house be?

I have this mental picture: everybody was just standing around eating Ritz crackers and having meaningless conversations about the latest sandal styles. And in walks this woman. That’ll spice things up. I think there were ancient jokes that started: so you’re at a party with a bunch of Pharisees and in walks a prostitute. You don’t even have to finish the joke.

Things go from boring to awkward in two seconds. She starts crying and kissing his feet and she breaks open a bottle of perfume that smells to high heaven. What a scenario!

What do you do?

Emily Post hadn’t written her book on etiquette yet. But even that book doesn’t cover this scenario.


Reactions reveal so much! The Pharisee reacts out of self-righteousness, but Jesus comes to this woman’s defense.

The Pharisee who invited Jesus says, “If this man [Jesus] were a prophet he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Notice the way this Pharisee labeled this woman? We do the same thing. We tend to reduce people to labels, but it’s a form of judgmentalism. We give people political labels or sexual labels or personality labels or religious labels and in the process we dehumanize them. We strip them of their individuality. We reduce the complexity of an individual and replace them with stereotypes.

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