My Book Idea

I am a bad blogger. I know I have left you guys hanging for a while now with no updates. You have to understand how hectic everything has been. I have been helping Lyndsay prepare for her upcoming VN weekend. Also I have been learning the fine art of domestic plumbing. Some of the old galvanized pipes that supply my home with cold water have gotten clogged over the years to the point that our water pressure is rather low and one sink (our vanity) runs rusty water. Well that used to be the case. My father-in-law and I (and Steve too) have been working over the last week to replace those galvanized pipes with modern, efficient CPVC. We got the bulk of it done last Saturday but we have had to go back in and “tweak” some things thoughout the week. That has kept me busy every evening after work this week. But we are back in action, the water pressure is awesome and we can finally, for the first time, use our vanity’s sink. No more rusty water! Woo hoo!!!

So today I was thinking of what I should write about for my next post. The answer came when I was cleaning out some folders on my computer. I came across something I wrote back in late ‘05 or early ‘06 (I don’t exactly remember). You see, something that really beaks my heart is to see people either lose their faith in God because of something that happens to them or something they do. I also hurt for the scores of people who believe that this life and this world are hopeless because of “all the evil” or “all the pain”. In other words, they lose sight of Jesus as King. So this was something that I had been thinking a lot about at the time that I wrote this. Then I saw something on TV that illustrated it amazingly. So I got to thinking “What if I wrote about this? What if I wrote a book that encouraged believers who feel that God is not there or that they deserve God to be there because of something they have done or some problem they can’t shake?” Nothing groundbreaking, just something that would help prodigals get back on track with God and perhaps help estranged sons and daughters of God remember who they really are and who God really is. So I ended up writing what amounted to a prologue to such a book. But that’s as far as I got. Perhaps I should revisit this and seek God’s will in what I should say. The inspiration and the passion for the topic is definitely there, but I’d need to do some research and some Bible study to really make this something useful and encouraging.

Anyway, I have posted the prologue here for you all to read, consider, and critique (and perhaps tell me to not quit my day job). My inspiration for the title is explained here as well. Enjoy. Comments are welcome.

A People Lost

By
Joshua Horne

Prologue

I could not believe my eyes. As I sat staring at the television, my mouth hanging open, I saw the whole thing unfold before my eyes. I had been struggling for weeks with the knowledge that God wanted me to write something. I perceived a vague whisper of something deep in my spirit but it had not yet come to light. There was something God wanted me to say. Now, I guess in a way I had an inkling as to what it was. But for some reason I just hadn’t been able to get my mind around it and come to the place where I could put it down on paper.

Now here it was unfolding before me….on a rerun of “Bonanza”. You know the old frontier show. Ben Cartwright and his three sons live out a cowboy’s life tending cattle and farming the land. They own a mighty, beautiful piece of real estate that they have christened “the Ponderosa”. This particular episode was titled “A Woman Lost”. Ben Cartwright is visiting San Francisco and happens upon an old friend. Her name is Rita Marlowe. She once had a family: a husband and two children. They were killed when the hotel they were staying in caught fire. Only Rita escaped. She felt so hurt and betrayed by life and fate that she allowed herself to harden and take on a lifestyle where she’d never have to care about anybody again. She had also become an alcoholic and a not-so-great saloon singer. She was constantly running low on cash flow and always had an eager eye out for a chance to make some loot (just so she could be as self-reliant as possible). Ben pities her and convinces her to come back to the Ponderosa to stay with him and his family until she can kick the alcoholism and get on her feet again. While there she is miserable and just wants to go back to drinking and living paycheck to paycheck. She hates the thought of relying on the Cartwrights for food and shelter. Then she meets Mase Sindell. A former prize fighter, he walked away from the ring after destroying another fighter with his fists. Mase now does woodworking for the Cartwrights and is working his way toward owning his own woodworking shop. Ben once loaned him some money to start a shop but he never used it. He wanted to earn the money and buy the shop himself. He was a man of honor and hard work. Out of nowhere a promoter shows up to try to convince Mase to return to the ring for one night….and throw the fight so that his opponent, an up-and-coming fighter, might create a name for himself. Mase’s reward would be $1,000. Mase turns him down flat. Rita, knowing that greed is a weakness for her, is amazed at the integrity, resolve, and steadfastness of this man. Attributes that she knows she does not possess.
As Mase gets to know Rita, he falls in love with her and proposes to her during a picnic lunch. She says yes. But what she does not reveal is that that same promoter has asked her to use Mase’s affection for her against him and has offered her money to get Mase back in the ring. She tells Mase that she will marry him if he fights and gets the $1,000 so that they can start their life together right. The night of the fight, while Mase is taking punch after punch because he is not suppose to fight back and win, Rita is planning on boarding a stage coach back to San Francisco behind his back (because she has already earned her loot by getting Mase to fight. Ben Cartwright catches her just in time and takes her to the arena where the fight is taking place. As she sees the beating that Mase is taking on her account she is cut to the heart. She is faced with what she has become. And now she is letting this man take a beating physically (and soon emotionally once he finds out she lied to him). She goes to him when the round is ended and asks him to stop the fight. She now sees and has to admit that she cares for him more than money. She has once again become her true self. She is once again able to put someone above herself.

So how did a “Bonanza” rerun bring to light what God was trying to get me to see? The history of Christendom is littered with the corpses of the fallen. Those who having heard the message of the cross, followed Christ for a season until a critical moment. That critical moment could have been the first time they were abused. It could have been when they first had their heart broken. It could have even been when they got an unhealthy dose of modern church legalism and it made their stomach turn. From that critical moment on, these people were not the same. The gospel and the Kingdom walk began to seem like a sideshow to their true lives. It no longer seemed like the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Up to this point the person in question could have been the most outstanding of people. But now you would hardly recognize that person as being a Christian. When I look at Rita Marlowe, I see someone I know. More than one person I know. In fact I see myself along with many others I’ve known. We have heard the term “backslider” thrown around to describe such people. I’m not sure if that is the right word to use for such a case. But one thing is for certain: backslidden or not, these people feel defeated. They feel hurt and betrayed by life and fate and God. “If the gospel is so powerful, then why do I fail when I try to live according to it? If God loves me so much then why don’t I feel loved? If the Christian life is suppose to be so exciting and so wonderful and if this is the “most important decision I’ll ever make” then why do I feel so…bored….beaten…restless….wretched? Why isn’t everything hunky-dory?” Before we get to the reasons why, let’s discuss “How”. How did you go from a preacher’s kid to a party animal? Why did your Christian fellowship slowly shrink to the point that you surrounded yourself with only the most worldly of people? Why does it seem that the child-like faith of your youth has turned to doubts, questions, and a backseat view of God?
You see, you also are just like Rita Marlowe. You once trusted God. You once gave yourself over to complete trust in Him. Though you were far from having not a care in the world, your outlook was positive. You were ready to take your school, workplace, or city for Christ. Then the blow came. It seemed as though life looked you in the face and said “I’m going to destroy you” and then proceeded to keep it’s word. Like Rita, you have retreated to a place and a mindset where you keep God at arm’s length. You do not want to find yourself trusting Him because the last time you did that you found yourself to be too vulnerable. What was your critical moment? Did your father betray you or hurt you? Did someone you care about die for seemingly no reason other than “it was in God’s plan”? Did someone at church look down on you because you had long hair, a tattoo, an ugly past? Keep in mind, I’m not just talking to those who are estranged from God. My message certainly goes out to the prodigal sons and daughters who may be reading. But I’m also speaking to the guy who will be quick to give the correct Sunday school answers (“yes, God is sovereign and good and powerful and my strength…”) but when the real world, real life, comes calling you don’t think of God. You instead begin to plan in your finite human wisdom how to get out of the situation yourself. It’s almost laughable! Why do we do it? Why do we insist on being such posers? We say we are Christians. We give ourselves the same title as Paul the great missionary, and Peter, who saw 3,000 people saved in one day because of the message he preached. There are times that if I list my name alongside those great men I’m reminded of an old Sesame Street song: “one of these things is not like the others.” You may wonder why you feel so defeated. You may wonder why you no longer have the strength or willpower to be a Christian anymore and you’ve just walked away. Perhaps you are like me and you can’t stand when someone acts like something they are not and you saw too many of those types at your church. Whatever category you fall into, you want to know that there is more. You’ve been waiting for a sign, something that confirms to you that…

We…are…more…than…conquerors!

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