Power of the Word 4-21


Dr. Rev. Linda Hollies
    Once upon a time a girlfriend’s mother said to me, “Sista Linda, you are so much like the apostle Peter!  You will cuss and fight in a minute!”  Of course, I yelled, screamed and wanted to slap her as I tried to defend myself against her raw truth!  I laugh as I recall the incidents with Esther’s mom today, for she hit me squarely between the eyes and let me know that God’s amazing grace will dare to reach out, choose and use even me, a knucklehead!  Seriously, I feel that this is one of the primary reasons for The Church loving that old hymn, Amazing Grace.  For each one of us is a knucklehead in one way or another!
    God has this strange, unusual habit of specializing in using knuckleheads!
    A knucklehead is a hard headed individual who sort of believes that they can be “self-made”.  A knucklehead is one of those persons who seeks to know in order to show others the “right” way.  A knucklehead is someone who has a good heart, but can be tactless and too blunt with their version of the truth.  A knucklehead will move full force ahead, wanting to do the right thing for the right people, but not have all the information necessary.  A knucklehead has faith to dare; faith to risk, faith to fail and faith to try and twist arms, hands and arms to ensure that “it” works out well.  A knucklehead is a visionary who will try to run both heaven and earth.  A knucklehead will defend to the death what they feel is injust, not right and unholy.  The Apostle Paul is a prime portrait of a knucklehead!  (And, you thought that I was picking on YOU!)
    Paul had every pedigree in the book.  Paul had bragging rights in race, education and religious circles.  Paul could stand with the best and hold his own.  And, the brother felt that he was actually doing God a favor by persecuting and killing up those people who were following after Jesus Christ.  Remember that Saul/Paul was standing there holding coats as Stephen was stoned to death for witnessing for Jesus Christ.  God let him go on his own knucklehead business for awhile.  God allowed his foolishness to continue for a season.  God put up with this knucklehead, as the kids say, “for a minute!”  Then, God called a serious halt to the business of Paul being a knucklehead and caused him to fall both blind and off his horse!  When the brother found himself down and blind, God spoke and the knucklehead business was halted with a quickness!
    In my humanness, I can get really riled at God for allowing bad stuff to happen to good people!  In my arrogance, as a child of God, I’d like to call down fire, snakes and any other evil that I can upon the heads and lives of those who dare to operate in ways that I feel are unholy!  In my limited capacity to know and to see into the mind of God, often, like both Peter and like Paul, I want to and have gone to war, without seeing God’s perspective in the matter.  Where I want instant answers, God has this way of allowing stuff to fester, to grow and to enlarge, so that God will get all the glory when the “stuff” blows up in the fan! (Hello, Hurricane Katrina, President Bush, Mr. Michael Brown, FEMA, and multiple others!)  Knuckleheads abound!  There is only one Sovereign who has it all in control and works in “due season”!
    The scripture verse for this week says: “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was baptized.” (Acts 9: 18)  Boyfriend, you and I all have to be knocked off our “high horse” every now and then, in order to see that we are not in control and that we are not even working the work of God!  In actuality, knuckleheads tend to work against God’s program and often do more harm than good!  Saul was a terrorist and a tormentor of God’s people, until he picked himself up from the dirt!  Then, the lights came on, so to speak!  In order to get Saul’s attention and to arrest him for service, Saul had to be humbled and brought down to proper size!  Paul was left blind, in Damascus, an Old Testament city of historical significance for three days.  Paul, a knucklehead, was in the dark, clueless and unable to see.  Ever been there?  I surely have!
     God had a brilliant plan for the knucklehead who was down off his high horse and unable to see!  God had woven a change of names into Saul’s future.  God had drafted a divine scheme to use this knucklehead to write the story of the growth and development of the First Church.  God had an original story line that would feature a knucklehead building, growing and converting gentiles to God through Jesus Christ.  Finally, the knucklehead got the picture!  Knuckleheads unite!  There is room at the Cross for us too!  Saul/Paul became the head of The Fellowship of the Unashamed! 
   ”We are the fellowship of the unashamed.  We have the Holy Spirit’s power.  The die, for us, has been cast.  We have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.  We are disciples of Jesus.  We won’t look back; we won’t let up; we won’t slow down or will we back away.  Our past is redeemed, our present makes sense and our future is secure.  We are finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame division, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarf sized goals.
     We no longer need preeminence, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity.  We don’t have to be right. We don’t have to be first.  We don’t have to be recognized, praised, or rewarded.  We live by faith, lean on God’s presence in our lives, walk with patience, lift others by prayer, and labor by The Holy Spirit’s power.  Our face is set, our gait is fast, our goal is Heaven.  Our road is narrow, our way is rough and often, our companions are few.  However, our Guide is reliable!  Our mission is clear!  We cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.  We will not flinch in the face of sacrifice; we will not hesitate in the presence of the adversary; we will not negotiate at the table of the enemy; we will not ponder at the pool of popularity; and we will not meander in the maze of mediocrity. We won’t give up!  We won’t shut up!  We won’t let up, until we’ve,
stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up into the heavenly for the cause of Jesus Christ. We are Servants for Christ!” (www.eSermons.com, 2005)  We are the redeemed, blood washed and sanctified knuckleheads who are sold out for God!  And, it’s all good!
    This week, walk with Christ.  Be humble in spirit and in attitude.  Be gentle in speech and in spirit.  Reach out in love and in kindness to one who you know deserves it the least!  Reach down to lift up someone who just might have been pushed off their high horse and needs a witness to God’s amazing grace that found us and took us in, just the same!  Remember me this week, for I’m on the journey with ya!   Shalom Knucklehead, God’s best Shalom!  Sista Linda 
Let’s live holy; laugh often; and let’s love with flair and with extravagance!
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