"An Inside Perspective"

January 2010


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I am a man. Men fix things. That is how God has wired most of us. When something is broken, most men have a need to fix it. I think that perhaps I am wired a little tighter in this area than other men. It seems I “must” fix things!

When I was a young boy my father was always fixing things. We didn't have much back then, kind of like me now, as I think about it. I used to study Dad as he made something out of nothing, tinkering with this to make that work; always, he was tinkering. As I grew older, I noticed that Dad really delighted to tinker. There was at times necessity involved, but not always. When I would come to him with whatever I had broken, he would have that “tinkering sparkle” in his eye as he said, “Come on son, let’s go down to my shop.” His shop was in the basement; it was his joy, and it quickly became my delight also.

I was not yet adept with the tools and broke many a thing in the learning. Dad was patient and he loved to teach me. They say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Today, I am just like my Dad was and I believe that if you look close you will see that “tinkering sparkle” in my eye at the very mention of a broken something-or-other!

My grandfather on my mother's side was named Lowell. He was even worse, or from my perspective, better than my father. His shop was bigger and filled with the most advanced tools of every sort. He didn't just tinker; he invented things! He even had a few of his inventions in Popular Mechanics Magazine. When our family went over to Grammy and Grampy' s house, I couldn't wait for dinner to be over so I could get into that basement. I drove that jig-saw with the same joy that any other kid would drive a new sports car. My grandfather’s basement was a virtual tinkerer’s wonderland, a veritable fantasia of tools.

As I grew and eventually purchased my own house, as grace would have it, my property had a six-bay shop and garage on it. I wasn’t saved yet, but I knew I was in heaven. Some would say that is why I bought the house, and they would be correct, but truthfully, I never saw a tool that I didn’t need. Tool magnet was perhaps a proper moniker for me. Within a few short years I had all 3000 square feet of that shop filled with every imaginable tool: compressors, tractors, spray-machines, grinders, etc. If you can think of it, it was in there. After all, you never know when something is going to break right? A man has to be prepared. (smile)

Currently, things break constantly in the Greenhouse. The guys just come and tell me because they know I will fix it. In the winter when we are slower something doesn’t even have to break, but it can still “need” fixing anyway. My doctrine is that I can always make it better, and therefore, prevent it from breaking in the first place. Sound thinking, right? There are men out there that know just what I mean. As you can see, “tinkering” is in my blood from both sides of the family. Today, because of “the Blood,” I do tinkering of a different sort. Now, as the Lord leads, I tinker with the hearts and souls of men. Men are my ministry. I delight to build and to fix men of God. Not that I myself have arrived, but by the grace of God given to me, I labor all the more because of my baser past. I know the struggles of men; I have been all over the proverbial spiritual map as it were.

It is hard to fully voice to you out there but there is a very special spiritual dynamic at work in our Body here in Rahway, perhaps because of the fact that we are all men. Not only that, but we are grateful men, very grateful, having been delivered from all the sordid debasements of sin. I suspect that the highest worship flows naturally from the heart redeemed from the darkest wickedness. Freedom is most appreciated by those having been most severely bound.

It is written, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Today my tools are all in one Book. It’s rather convenient, really. The men here are all at various levels in their walk. New believers need the “pliers” of encouragement to help separate them from the world. Some are young men in the Lord and need the “plumb-line” of doctrine to order their steps. Others, lured by the world, perhaps entrenched in bad practices need the “hammer” of reproof to open their eyes to their true condition. Still others require the “vise” of discipline to squeeze out self, arch-traitor to themselves. Therefore men, if you share your heart with me, and I then invite you to come on down to my shop, don't be surprised if you see . . .