Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

SPOONIN’ AND MOONIN’

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Last night we had our first meeting of the Purity Project For Men at City on a Hill (formerly Celebration Fellowship).  Our vision is to be Men who desire to walk in purity of mind and body.  The topic for the night was Lone Rangers.  Why do we as men think we must go it alone and what is the value of having a fellowship of other men to walk with and share with?

One question was, “When have you seen the value of having other men in your life?”  So in the interest of vulnerability and transparency I told my story of Spoonin and Moonin.

My senior year of college four (the other three will remain anonymous lest they sue me for telling this) of us who had grown up together in West Texas and now were at Baylor University, decided to spend our last Spring Break shooting the rapids on the Rio Grande river through the Santa Elena and Boquillas canyons.  We never made it to the Boquillas.  We were fortunate to survive the Santa Elena.

Because it is in the Big Bend National Park we had to check in with the park rangers before we put into the river.  He questioned us about our equipment and told us we were not equipped for the Santa Elena and once in it there was no way out but forward. The Canyon walls reach 1500 feet above the river and the river narrows at the canyon mouth creating some real rapids. Particularly in the March rains.  He told us, “Almost every year someone dies in that canyon.”

We were 22 years old and West Texas boys so we scoffed at the Ranger and went into the river anyway.  After a day of lazy river riding in our little raft we could hear the roar of the canyon entrance 15 minutes before we reached it.  When we hit the entrance, where the river narrows down to half its width, our raft was immediately flipped over and we and everything we had went into the river.  We spent the rest of the day in the river fighting for our lives.  Little did we know that would only be our first fight for survival.

We eventually found a place where we could get out of the river and take stock of our situation.  Everything was wet.  Clothes, sleeping bags (the couple that we had been able to recover).  On top of that, when the sun goes down in the desert it gets cold in March.  Thus our second struggle.  We knew we were now facing the real possibility of hypothermia.  A fun, exciting outing with buds had quickly turned into a fight for life.  We had enough knowledge of survival skills to know we had one option, and everyone was going to have to buy in.  We stripped naked to get dry and then crawled beneath wet sleeping bags and spent the night Spoonin’ and Moonin’, shivering and praying for the sun to come up in the morning.  Of course, we first swore an oath of secrecy for life.  I had the thought, “I wonder if they will respect me in the morning?”  I may now have to go into the witness protection program for ratting them out.  (At least I didn’t name them!)

The Point?  If any of us had been alone that night there is a good chance we might not have survived.  Together we made it out.

In so many ways that experience is a picture of life.  When we try to go it alone we die.  If not physically, for sure emotionally and spiritually.  When we isolate and refuse to connect with others the end result is never good.  God’s Word tells us that and it never lies.  God didn’t create us to be Lone Rangers.  He created us for community.

Sometimes it isn’t comfortable to open ourselves up completely to others.  The thought of doing it can sometimes bring a grown man to his knees in fear.  I can guarantee you that night of spoonin’ and moonin’ wasn’t comfortable.  But it was necessary and I’m thankful for the life-sustaining warmth it provided.  I’m also thankful for other men I can join with in the process of becoming what the Father desires me to be.

So get out there!  Spoon and Moon!  It may not be comfortable but the results will be worth effort!

TRASH BASKET EARS

Once a month the entire leadership team (anyone in any form of leadership in the church) of City on a Hill (Formerly Celebration Fellowship) meets for leadership training.  Last night we met and I was so proud that as a leadership team we prayed a prayer of commitment to God.  The commitment was this.  I RESOLVE TO NEVER HOLD THE WHOLE OPINION WITH ONLY HALF THE STORY.  If all believers resolved to do that it would cut the heart out of the enemy’s ability to divide relationships and hinder the ministry of the Body of Christ.

James 3:1-12 tells us that though the tongue is small it is as powerful as a spark which can destroy a forest, powerful like a rudder that can turn an entire ship, and powerful like a bit in a horses mouth.  Small but powerful. With it he says we, “Bless our Lord and Father and curse men.”  Why?  James says the tongue is a “restless evil” a “world of iniquity”, and is “set on fire by hell.”  Wow…that’s strong.  That’s nasty!  Of course it isn’t the physical tongue that is the real problem is it?  Jesus told us in Matthew 12:34 that the “Mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  The tongue only does what the heart tells it to do.  Slanderous words come out of a slanderous heart.

This resolution was the result of a discussion we have been having about “slander” and “faithfulness.”  What it is slander and what is faithfulness in this area?  Slander is a translation of the Greek word βλασφημια.  We just transliterated that word and adopted it into English as the word blasphemy.  We can blaspheme God and we can blaspheme people.  When blasphemy is directed toward people it is usually translated as “Slander.” 

Slander by definition is “words spoken to injure or tear down.”  At the end of the day slander is murder.  It is character assassination.  Sometimes slanderous words are for the purpose of getting someone you want to harm.  Sometimes they are spoken to cover up your own culpability.  If the spotlight is turned completely on the other person, and you can turn the hearts of others away from that person, then you can skate by in your own sin.  Of course when that is the purpose the story is slanted, distorted, and at best only half told.  Slanderous words are meant to convince someone to hold the WHOLE opinion about another person with only HALF the story.

So what does faithfulness look like when it comes to slander? 

1.  When you are slandered refuse to slander back.  Stay with the truth and only the truth.  Jesus modeled that on the cross as he prayed for those crucifying Him.

2.  When someone tries to use your ear for a trash basket for their slanderous words about someone else, faithfulness says,  “I refuse to hold a WHOLE opinion with only HALF the story.”  Therefore, now I must be faithful to go to that person you have spoken about and get the “rest of the story”.  And since you are the one who said these things you need to go with me!!! Most of the time they won’t go with you.  That should tell you something right there. Taking this approach will accomplish two things.

1.  It will protect your heart from being poisoned toward the one being spoken about.  No matter how much you try to not let it happen, when those words have been dumped into your ear they find their way into your heart and mind.  They poison your heart toward that other person even without you realizing it.  There is a seed of suspicion and doubt planted.  You can’t keep it from happening.  Getting the whole story will protect your heart.

2.  It will eventually send the message to people that your ears are not a trash basket.  That people can’t just walk by and toss their trash into your ears.  They will begin to avoid you with their slander.  You will protect yourself from being poisoned by it and even becoming a party to the slander.  God hates it.  We should hate it as well.

Be Faithful!  Send out the message.  My ears aren’t trash baskets!!  

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