Hey all, got on and realized that I started a blog, or rather blog series, last year, and never continued it, and from the feedback I got from the last one, I figured it was about time I put in my next installment, which is "The Gunfighter" Many old westerns usually have more then one, they have the hero, and a villain, and often several "allies" on both sides.
Many Gunfighters, also share traights with loners, and/or are loners. Where they differ though, is that while they may "enjoy" being alone, they rarely back down from a fight, and speak their mind. They're not always loners, some will go in a group, and often exhibit fierce loyalty to those whom they consider their friends. They speak their mind, and often see life as "black and white". They live by their code, and anyone who doesn't is in the wrong. They enjoy debate, arn't afraid to get in the mud so to speak, and when they find someone or a group of someones whom they trust, are loyal to them to the bitter end. They do not understand the concept of "retreat" and often treat situations as "their way or the highway"
Now, their ability to charge into a fight guns blazing no questions asked, is both their greatest strength, and their biggest weakness. There is no doubt that churches often need such "Gunfighters" in their church, but often at the same time if left unchecked can run off and hurt people unwittingly. They often are very intellectual people, very smart, sometimes they are where they are now because of being raised in a very intellectual environment, or it maybe they grew up bullied, and the way they learned to deal with it, was to fight back. Of course, everyones different, so its important not to "generalize" and put everyone in the box, like I said in my first blog, these "characters" I am describing, are generalizations and most people will exhibit traights of each, and arrive where they are at today for a host of different reasons.
A gunfighter, so to speak, can do a lot of good, often, especially one who is serious about their faith, is often well studied in the Bible, theology, and solid doctrine. These are their "six shooters" so to speak, and when properly applied, are very deadly indeed, but knowledge is a two edged sword. Many Gunfighters in the movies, and even in life, will have at least one friend, or leader that they look up to, and its important that that leader is one wise enough to teach and guide that gunfighter properly, as to when is the best time to "apply" his skills. They are often great at defending the faith, and the church from outside threats from satan, but need that guiding hand to make sure they dont mistake a threat from a young christian. A gunfighter, mature in his faith, will often make excellent elders/leaders of the church. with the right training/friends alongside them. A man, strong in faith and willing to defend it openly, is a valuable asset to any church, but its important we dont leave them alone, because often a church full of Gunslingers will often destroy itself. Every church, needs to be a team.
What Gunfighters need wisdom in, is decifering between an honest threat upon the church, and what is not, and the appropriate answer. They need the wisdom to know that not every situation requires a quick draw, and often soft words will go a lot farther to accomplishing your goal, then a mountain of self righteous Bible verses. That you can't beat the Bible into someone, no matter how tempting it is. They also, need to resist the urge to go it alone-because many gunfighters do like to go it alone, and realize they are strongest in a team with other people of different strengths and weaknesses.
Gunfighters, if left unchecked can destroy a church, but with the right support and Godly wisdom, can be crucial to their strength. Like in the movies, there is often more then one, and sometimes, theyre not on the right side, and sometimes they maybe on the right side, but haven't learned how to play well with others. Time, love, and Godly wisdom often will bring them together if their hearts are in the right place.
There are a few characters in the Bible, whom I believe are very much "gunfighters" The most famous, probably, is King David. While we can see in his psalms, he was a very intelligent, loving man, we can see from his life was very much a warrior, willing to fight for what he believed, and sometimes it got him in trouble, but when He kept God as his focus, did great things for the nation of Israel.
The Apostle Peter, for instance, is a prime example of a gunfighter, everything from slicing off the gaurds ear, arguing to be Christs right hand man, to denying Him, for his mistakes, but more importantly, his devout loyalty to Christ, willingness to jump out of the boat to go to Him without even thinking about it, to yes, charging to Christs defense in gethsemene, without so much as a second thought, and after Christs return, and the early church, his standing steadfast to the faith, against all opponents, regardless of what opposition he took. Early on you see with Peter, his "gunfighter" traights getting him in trouble, but later on, once he learned how to apply them with wisdom and love, they became a strength
Another example of a New Testament Gunfighter, is the Apostle Paul. He actually was a picture perfect example of a "gunfighter" he traveled, but rarely alone, but at the same time not around a lot of people when he traveled. He started many churches, but usually only kept one or two close people around to encourage him and help him in his journeys. He spoke the gospel wherever he went, and was not afraid to stand firm and defend that gospel, such as what he did at mars hill in Acts 17:22-31
All gunfighters need to learn wisdom and love, when defending the gospel, and that is where having a good team of friends around is a necessity for them.
Some important verses to keep in mind for the "gunfighters" out there, especially the passage in Timothy.
1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
2 Timothy 2:23-26
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Recently, Ive been reading a lot of western novels (I know, me, read westerns) And I got to thinking, you know, there are a lot of different "characters" or types of people, in these novels, that all go together, to make the story real, and then I thought, I wondered what would happen, if I made a comparison of these different types of people, to people in the church today, and if it would be relevant. And keep in mind, many of these types, intermix, and share characteristics, and many people change from one to another. They all have strengths, and weaknesses, and when combined can make for a well oiled church. I am going to start a series, discussing these different types of people, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they can help others, and how to help them.
The one I'm going to discuss today is "the loner". The loner, is someone who tends to avoid other people, to avoid hurt. In the novels, hes often a hermit, or someone who sticks to himself, often because of some past hurt, loss of a loved one, a fortune, or just burned by to many people. The person is often quiet, stays out of the way and no one thinks twice about them, but usually ends up playing some vital part in the story. Often, this person comes to the realization that they cant hide from all their problems, and there are more important things and people need help, and they come out and save the day.
The modern day loner, like the ones in the books, tend to carry around a lot of pain, and a lot of baggage, and like the ones in the books, their answer to dealing with it, is basically to retreat inside themselves. They may attend church for awhile, but usually, end up forsaking the church. The pain comes from many sources, personal life, loss of a loved one, sometimes mental issues, and often, even from the church, and their answer is to retreat within themselves. If they are in church they are hiding alone in a back pew, or at home listening to a TV preacher. They have a hard time seeing past the pain and the hurt, and they have grown to not see any good in others.
Now, they also, usually have big hearts and can be very caring people, they have often been through tough things, and can relate to others, and really be a great person to have in the church family, just for that very reason, but reaching them can be tough. They need to know that they are not alone, and that they are loved, and encouraged to reach out for help, that even though the church isnt perfect it is there for them. It often takes a lot of patience, and prayer, to reach this kind of person, but once you get them on your side, just like in the novels, they can play a instrumental role in your church, and can literally, move mountains. They often work behind the scenes, helping others that feel alone. Their experience with pain, can be both their greatest weakness-but also their greatest strength.
Each "loner" is different, about the best advice that can be applied all around, is to pray for them, and love on them, and listen to them, and be very encouraging. Beyond that, each ones different, but will take patience, and a lot of love to earn their trust. Once you do, you will not regret it. And if you are a loner reading this, please, remember, that God does love you, and promises to be there for you-if you let him. And please, I realize the church maybe hurtful, but it does need you, and the talents you alone can provide. Its tough, but try to look for the good in people, remember, God loves you!
Here are some comforting verses, that may come as comfort to "the loner" in your life. All verses are taken out of the KJV
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
43 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you
1 Timothy 4:16-17
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of