Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

REAL MEN CARRY TOOLS

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Recently I was in a very well known store that is all about tools.  In fact it even has the word “tools” in its name.  That’s a sure way to get most men to stop and come inside.  That’s unfair!  Men see that word and become zombies!  Tools, tools,tools, all kinds of tools for all kinds of purposes!  You know, a man’s version of heaven on earth!  You see, for men tools aren’t just tools.  They’re toys!  We love our tools!  You never know when you might need a gas-powered generator, an 18-inch crescent wrench, or a battery-powered screwdriver!  I mean, how great is that?  And even if you never actually need them, its just kind of cool to know you have them just in case.

When I was standing at the checkout counter (and I must sadly confess I wasn’t buying but returning something that I had gotten some sense about and realized I didn’t really need), I looked up on the wall and staring me in the face was this sign:

There is no shame in a man not having tools….just as there is no shame in him carrying his wife’s purse!

That did it!  If there was any doubt in my mind that sign dispelled it.  God intended men to have tools not carry purses!  I’m just sayin….  Anyway as I walked out of the store to my truck (we have trucks so we won’t need a purse to carry our tools in), I began to think about that statement, and as I try to do with everything, make the spiritual application.

In Jesus’ day for any workman there were three things that were necessary in order to make a living.

1.  He had to have tools.  In fact each workman had to have his own tools.  A craftsman didn’t get hired and show up on the job site without tools.  There were none provided for you!  If you didn’t have tools you didn’t work.  So a workman took great care to have the right tools for his particular craft and he took great care of those tools.  They were his very life!  Without them he couldn’t earn a living for his family.

2.  He had to know how his tools worked.  If he showed up on the job with a bag full of tools but didn’t have a clue how to use them, he got found out pretty quickly.  He was a fraud trying to weasel his way into a job he didn’t know how to do!  He got quickly kicked to the curb so someone who could really use the tools could take his place.

3.  He had to be willing to use the tools–Even if he had tools and knew how to use them, if he didn’t have them with him on the jobsite they couldn’t do him any good.  Not only that but he might have the tools, be skilled in their use, but if he was a lazy sort and wouldn’t work, the tools were of no value.

That is the imagery of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:15.  In essence he says, “There is shame in not having tools, not knowing how they work, and being unwilling to use them when it comes to the Word of God.  We are workmen!  The work we do is “handling accurately the Word of Truth.”

Sometimes we are ashamed because we don’t have tools.  We need God’s direction in a situation and because we have not studied and learned the Word of God we don’t have any idea what God’s Word says about that situation.  We are ashamed when an unbeliever asks us a question about Christ, salvation, or Christian living and we can’t answer their question with anything but our own opinion, thought, or best guess.  There is shame in not having tools when that tool is the Word of God.

So men don’t be ashamed! Study, memorize, meditate, upon the Word of God so you will be able to “handle accurately the Word of Truth” and have no need to be ashamed!

So men, put down your purse and pick up your tools!

JESUS LOVED THE HELL OUT OF ME

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law…; To those who are without law as without law… ; To the weak I became weak…I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” (I Corinthians 9:20-22)

Recently, while seeing doctors at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, I stayed in my little “Redneck Ramada Inn” (my little travel trailer) in an RV park.  While there I met a wonderful Christian couple who turned me onto a country artist I had never heard of and a song he performed that I had never heard.  The artist was Ed Bruce (a Christ follower) and the song was, “Jesus Loved The Hell Out Of Me.”  The idea is that this guy had come to know Christ and his old friends asked him one day where he had been.  They said they had heard he had gotten “religion.”  He replied, “Oh more than that!  I’ve been born again.”  They didn’t get that terminology so they asked, “Can you put that in terms we understand?”  He said “Sure!  Jesus loved the Hell out of me.”  Those were terms they could understand!

The truth is that sometimes you just have to speak the language of the hearer so they can understand!  That was the practice of the Apostle Paul as expressed in I Corinthians 9:20-22. I guess you could say he was the first Christian to understand the importance of “cultural relevance.”  He never changed the Gospel.  He simply communicated it in language, forms, thoughts, and ideas, that his hearer could understand. He made the adjustment rather than expecting his hearers to adjust.

One of the great questions from people in our day to us as Christians is, “Can you put that in terms I can understand?”  One of the great challenges to Christians in our day is to get out of our “Christianese” and put the Gospel in terms that people can understand.

To refuse to do so is like trying to communicate the Gospel in English to someone who only speaks Spanish!  If I want them to understand me I better be willing to learn their language and speak in that language!  How selfish would it be of me to say, “If you want to understand the Good News of Jesus you are going to have to learn English!”  Yet that is often what we do in the Church today.  If you want to worship you have to learn to worship in the musical style that we’ve been worshipping in for the past 50 years!  If you want to hear and understand the teaching you have to learn a whole new vocabulary of theological terms because that is how we teach.  If you want to be accepted in our midst you have to learn to dress the way we think you should dress to come to church.  In other words, “You adjust to us first, and then we will share the Good News with you.”  How contrary to how Jesus acted and how the Apostle Paul acted.  Jesus spoke the language of the people he met and so did Paul.  How can we do any different?  It’s simple.  Because of selfishness!  It is so often “All about us!”

So, let me say it several ways so anyone can understand.  “Well, that just ain’t right!”(Redneck)  Or, “Well, that is ‘so’ not like Jesus.”(Cool)  Or, “That is not Christ-like behavior.”(Churchy)  How many other ways can I say it?  Let me count the ways.  There are a million but they all mean the same thing.  It isn’t how Jesus acted and it isn’t how He expects His followers to act.

Rick Warren is famous for saying, “It takes an unselfish people to reach people for Christ in our day.”  In other words, “We better be willing to give up some of the things we are comfortable with, get warm fuzzies from, and have grown accustomed to, if we are going to communicate Christ in a Post-Modern, Post-Christian, non-Christianese culture.

Sometimes saying it like “Jesus loved the Hell out of me” is the only way to git-er-done!

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