Friday, March 27, 2015

The Dead Blow Hammer

Living Lesson: The Dead-Blow Hammer
By: Christopher Wiles
Drew and Lori have been very helpful on our new home.  Lori is a painting machine and Drew has every tool known to man.  It wasn't surprising when Mr. Myers showed up with a laminate flooring installation kit in his hands for me to borrow while putting ours in.  The kit included a tapping block and a pulling bar.  The block is great when you've got a lot of space to swing a hammer, the pulling bar is for when you lack that precious space. 
I didn't read the instructions, so I figured any old hammer would do to hit this metal pull bar.  My 23 oz. ball-peen hammer had a nice flat striking surface, so I started with that.  It did the trick and soon became Gabriel's weapon of choice as we found out he loved laying laminate.  So I upgrade my hammer to a 5 lb. mini-sledge hammer.  Bigger is better right?  What's better than 23 oz of swinging steel?  You're right, 80 oz. of cold, hard, floor mashing metal.  Or so I thought.
It didn't take long for the welds to break on the pull bar under the force of my monstrous blows, rendering the tool useless.  After a quick trip to Lowe's to buy Drew a new pull bar, I received the instruction that I should have been using a 23 oz. dead-blow hammer.  What's a dead-blow?  It's a special hammer that minimizes shock, vibration and miss hits.  In other words, it's the right tool for the job and a lot more gentle than my favorite mini-sledge. 
How many of us try to do God's work with the wrong tools?  I think we especially use the wrong tools when correcting error or handling conflict.  Our passive aggressive culture has taught us to either ignore error/conflict or use the biggest, boldest, baddest tools possible.  We either ignore people hoping the conflict will go away or we resort to yelling, cussing, and fist-fighting with them. 
We would do well to remember the instructions that God gave for handling conflict and the tools that He requires for the job. 
"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." - Galatians 6:1
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." - 2 Timothy 4:2

"If you ... remember that your brother has something against you...go; first be reconciled to your brother." - from Matthew 5:23-24

"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." - Matthew 18:15

Study Starter: The Case for Marriage

Study Starters: The Case for Marriage
By: Christopher Wiles
Since I primarily preach expository instead of topical there are some topics of interest that may not make its way frequently into sermons.  Polygamy (taking multiple spouses) came along in one of my recent daily morning readings and some church members have recently asked about it. 
                In Deuteronomy Moses is offering Israel much needed guidance just before they enter the promised land.  The Lord inspires him and Moses realizes they might say “I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me.” (17:14) How right Moses would be a few hundred years later.  He gives this further instruction “He (Israel’s King) shall not have multiple wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away.” (17:17)
I think the clearest evidence that monogamy (have only one spouse) is God’s ideal is that Christ taught on marriage in Matthew 19:3-6.  In that He quoted from the Genesis creation account, in particular Genesis 1:27 & 2:24 saying “the two will become one flesh.”  Yet I have read where some contemporaries say, “King David had multiple wives and he was a man after God’s own heart.”  On top of Jesus’ teachings, Moses’ offering in my morning reading of Deuteronomy really highlights God’s desire for our marriages. 
About 400 years before David, Moses told people not to have a king with multiple wives.  He knew it would cause problems, and he was right.  Take a look at what happened to David’s son, Solomon, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods.” – 1 Kings 11:4a.  God knew this would be a problem for kings and told them not to do it in advance.  David’s problems arose when he took Bathsheba for another wife and things got even worse when sibling rivalry and incest took place between half-brothers and half-sisters in his messy family tree. (2 Samuel 13) The narrative of David in 2 Samuel only offers three positive chapters of David’s kingship (8-10) as opposed to 10 negative chapters (11-20).  I was also thinking as I was looking through timelines, David was either a "young'un" or possibly not born when the "after His own heart" verse was written in 1 Samuel 13:14.  David didn't kill Goliath until three chapters later in 1 Samuel 17. 
God was right, a man with multiple wives would spell trouble.  Oh but wait, so would having a human as king (1 Samuel 8).   My morning reading in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 further solidifies the view that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman.  What does that reading do for you?