Inside Perspective - June 2014

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

This summer month, I would like to tell you a story about a friend that I work with in the greenhouse. His name is Gerald. I have referred to him many times in my past writings as one of “the rascals”. I personally call Gerald, “Junebug”, because that is what his dad, who has since passed, used to call him.

Historically, no one but Gerald’s dad had ever called him Junebug. But on the honor and strength of our relationship, Gerald has afforded me that privilege. Since Junebug is a man of few words, I know intuitively that letting me call him Junebug is his way of saying, without saying, “Philip, I trust you and value our relationship.”

Junebug and I have been friends since the early nineties when he first arrived on the same tier as me in Trenton State Prison. Back then, I was called a "runner", which meant I was out of my cell all of the time running errands for those who were locked in their cells. I came upon Junebug when he was a "new boot" and I introduced myself to him by sharing a huge bowl of barbecued chicken that I had made.

Of course, along with the “yard bird” came the gospel of the grace of God in Christ. [I learned that method from the Master Himself you know; He was often found "going to the belly" before He went to the heart!] I discovered that this method is a great springboard for the Word-if I may- a “physical appetizer” for a “spiritual entrée”!

Anyway, at that first encounter, June-bug promptly ate the yard-bird with great joy while he politely rejected my gospel message. Well, I have been preaching to him ever since! In 2007, I was transferred to Rahway, and as God's sovereignty would have it, June-bug was not far behind. The next thing I knew, he had a job with me in the greenhouse! At the moment, it is just the two of us that work in the greenhouse; the others have gone their own way.

Junebug and I get along great and he kindly allows me to continue to preach to him. I don't beat him over the head, but I am stealthy and persistent. Our relationship is indeed a divine appointment and if he one day believes, praise God! If not, he is surely without excuse on Judgment day!

Junebug is in his fifties now and his delight is in the “weight- pile”. He loves to workout with the young-bucks and to "school" them as it were, in the finer art of weight-lifting. When I walk by the weight-pile the young-bucks are all huddled around him laughing and joking as they try to out- lift him. Around the weight-pile they call him "Iron-man."

But, Junebug is getting older now, and he knows it. It is time for him to quit the weight-pile and move on to lighter workouts before he sustains a permanent injury. His pride, however, will not let him give up that weight-pile-at least for now.

At this point you may be wondering if Junebug has a nickname for me, and as a matter of fact, he does! He calls me “Cutleaf”, which is short for Cutleaf Philodendron-get it? When he comes to work in the mornings I hear, "Oh, Cutleaf, my this hurts and oh Cutleaf, my that hurts,” etc., etc. If only all those young-bucks could hear their "Iron-man,"- who is indeed, my "June-bug"-the next morning! So you see, Junebug trusts me and is therefore transparent with me. His pride is humbled when he talks to me. He is free to be himself.

It is written in I Corinthians 9:16b, "...yea, woe is me if I preach not the gospel!"

I ask you to consider this: that as believers, we are all "runners" for the Lord in our own right. Indeed, we run the errands of Heaven to those still locked in the cell of their sins. We are Truth dispensers and sometimes we have to be stealthy and persistent in our sharing of the Word, knowing by faith that "Salvation is of the Lord." (Jonah 2:9)

It is written-, "But when though makest a feast (BBQ) call the poor, the crippled and the blind..." (Luke 14:12-14)

So, have you ever thought about having a BBQ and inviting some unbelievers?! I can hear you now, "Oh my stars Cutleaf, you aren’t going there, are you?" That's right beloved, consider giving out some of your BBQ'D yard-bird on the way to reaching their hearts for Christ! Am I out of the box yet? Good!

We should strive to be a spiritually humble "Iron-man" by “curling” the book of Romans. Yes, let us “bench press” a little Ephesians to reach the next generation for Christ. When God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply it surely had a two-fold meaning, did it not? Reproduction is our Heavenly mandate!

Like June-bug with his pride around the weight-pile, there are some things in our lives that just simply need to go. Maybe like him your pride is a hindrance, and you just can't seem to let the spiritual "young-bucks" see you for who you really are? Be careful! Pride will bring you low. (Prov. 29:23a) If need be, try to find someone you can trust and be transparent with, maybe a “Cut-leaf” in your own life who will delight to pray for you.

Beloved, our love for Christ should foster relationships, and strong relationships give birth to transparency. Only when we are transparent are we truly free. Transparency is the willing exposure of ourselves to someone that we know loves us and cares about us.

 How about you...