Straight Shootin’ Part 4 – The Karate Kid Syndrome

by Kevin on June 10, 2010

This is part 4 of a 5 part series where we take a look at Christian cowboy living without any fancy talk or sugar coating. If you missed the previous posts, please be sure and check them out.

Straight Shootin’ Part 1 – The Sortin’ Gate

Straight Shootin’ Part 2 – What is Christianity?

Straight Shootin’ Part 3 – The church of Lonesome Dove

Wax on…..Wax off

One of the greatest pleasures in the world is watching your kids watch a movie that you grew up with. This happened with me recently when my son watched the Karate Kid for the first time. I remember when that movie came out. It is the classic underdog story of nerd turned hero warrior.

The fun starts after the movie though. My eight year old son has been “crane” kicking everything for about a month now. From hallway doors he will jump out and raise his hands up in the air attempting to recreate the classic movie ending on his father, his mother, his sister, the dog, two cats, his bedroom wall, and imaginary bullies that suddenly show up out of nowhere.

Suddenly, after watching the movie, my son has instantly become a triple decker black belter after a simple 2 hour movie training. He leaves the door open so more flies will come in so that he can practice catching them with the two sticks. He hasn’t succeeded yet, but he never gives up. When his twigs get too tired, he uses the four million flies as target practice for his crane kicks.

I have tried to use the same methods on him as Mr. Miyagi used to get Daniel to finish chores and straighten up the house. Feed sacks have become weights. Taking out the trash on your head teaches balance. Shoeing horses becomes hand training so you can crush your foes. Yeah right!! He hasn’t fallen for any of it.

“I don’t have to go through training Dad. I watched the show! I know how to do everything already.”

The Karate Christian

I love to see the light in someone’s eyes when they find the Lord. There is a hunger. There is a burning. They have become a new person. They are ready to do battle with the evil forces of satan and all the sin that he has at his disposal. Most of them can’t wait to put their new hearts into the battle between good and evil. Instead of a black belt, they have their black bible. Instead of fists of fury, they wield lists of liturgy. They talk to their pastors and church leaders and beg to be put in the tournament for the lost souls. Then they crash and burn in defeat.

Let me preface what I am fixing to say with the fact that I am guilty as charged.

When a new Christian is born and joins the church and is eager to do good works for God, we as pastors and church leaders hit our knees in thanks. There is so much that needs to be done and so little money and people to do it. We throw these new Karate Christians right into the mix of things. More often than not, we line them up in sacrificial living for God just like the British lined up their troops in the Revolutionary War. Straight rows and pristine uniforms make perfect targets for the devil to pick them off from the vast hiding places and fox holes of the world.

On the other hand.

These new Karate Christians feel the fire of God in their lives. The first thing they want to do is join up and fight the battle. They go along willingly and sometimes forcibly in pursuit of God’s service. They are watching TV evangelists speak to thousands that amen their every word. They see more mature Christians hold up their faith like a banner in a storm. They start making plans for writing books, Bible studies, missionary trips, and spreading the gospel in any way known to man or beast. They want to do this without any training what so ever. They don’t need any. They watched the movie.

I am not talking about training from man. I am talking about building the relationship and friendship with God. I don’t care how many graduates you have from your year long discipleship trainings. I don’t care how many notes you take during every sermon that is preached. Without guidance from the Holy Spirit and a good, solid relationship with God, it is all for nothing.

This is not a call for everyone to quit serving and become meditation monks. This is just an urge to slow down. Let God lead you instead of you trying to drag God along with all the great ideas you have.

As pastors, we must remember that this race isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. We must continue the race by encouragement and sometimes tough love, but let us not send God’s children into the battle without the Armour of God.

Let’s all just slow down a little bit and not get burned out. Even Jesus took 40 days to go into the desert alone. He knew that his strength came through his relationship with his Father.

We are all commanded to bear good fruit, not make good fruit. I have never seen a distressed, sick, unhealthy plant with shallow roots and no water bear good fruit. Bearing fruit is the (nearly magical) result of a healthy relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about those that need to get off their pockets.

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  • Another Great word Kevin! This one pretty much described me perfectly, I can’t imagine myself not being involved in my church. Even when I first became a Christian I was certain that I absolutely needed to be neck deep in the goings ons of which ever church I ended up joining. I was certainly stumbling around at first but thankfully my pastor was keeping a close eye on me and made sure I was keeping to the narrow path πŸ™‚

    • Kevin

      I wish I had been as lucky as you. Even after two years of full time ministry, I learn every day just how much I don’t know. I still fuss and worry about all the going’s on when I really need to work on the going’s in.

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  • Love the post and the analogy.

    Funny thing is my family are for real enacting the karate kid as we have been training in Tang Soo Do since last September – and I can tell you today, that after last night’s “lesson in failure” one does need to train, to learn, to listen, to adapt and to practise, practise, practise.

    You can read my little failure on my personl blog:

    • Paul also came up missing for a while before making a splash in the Kingdom. I remember reading an article about Billy Graham several years ago as he discussed his ministry. I recall him saying in the article that if he had it to do all over again he would have studied more and preached less. That may not be an exact quote but it is the gist of his comments.

      I find that far too often I need to focus on what goes in instead of focusing so much on what comes out. In a world that judges everything by performance we all need to heed these words.

      • Kevin

        We had VBS tonight (well, not us but we helped another church out because it was a cowboy theme) and it went fantastic. But what was most amazing is that I didn’t try to micro manage or worry about every little detail. I just worried about me, said a prayer for everyone else, and let God take the reins.

        I am pumped up about stepping up to the plate but allowing God to swing the bat.

    • Kevin

      I hope Coel’s eye gets better. I think you are dead on with your three points. They also apply to our Christian lives as well.

      • Now you mention it – they do make great spiritual sense. Dang – now I know why you’re the pastor and I’m just a part of the herd. πŸ™‚

        Oh and his eye is just fine – a little bruised that’s all.

  • Love. this. post. I have come to this place where I realize that I want/need/have to be led by the Spirit every moment of every day. Well, at least that is my desire. When we walk filled with His Spirit, submitting to His leading, then the pace is slower and purposeful. I like what you said, “Let God lead you instead of you trying to drag God along with all the great ideas you have.” Looking back I see that God placed “dream seeds” in my heart when I was a new Christian–sold-out and fiery. But those seeds had to root themselves deep in His soil before anything visible began to sprout. Thanks again. I love this.

    By the way, you would like my friend’s recent blog post. She goes to my church and she is a Christian comedian motivational speaker. You will get a kick out of this,

    • Kevin

      I loved Kelly’s post. Thanks for introducing me to her. I will be checking out here different blogs in the future.

  • Steve Gilcrest

    Thank you for this series I have read every one and it hits home. I have moved from church to church a lot but the cowboy church that me and my family attend is my home. This third part of the article will really help with my invovlemnt with the church.

    • Kevin

      I am glad you are enjoying them Steve. Please keep in touch and stop by anytime. Great to have you here.

  • Chad Armstrong

    If you don’t mind Kevin I understood every word that you mentioned in this one. This made me think of a comment I heard the other day. Big Lake for some reason has become a safe haven for some drug runners and we are battling them with all we have at this time. However A comment was made while we were all sitting around talking about being drugged and the effects it has on the body and our kids and the way our home town has changed. Now here is the good point I think you may like. ” Maybe this is what we have been missing we have it all wrong!!! we do need drugs (in this form and I bet it will work) Do you remember the drug we had back in school Kevin? I certainly do and let me explain this. We were drug to school, we were drug to church, we were drug out of bed when we wanted to sleep late, we were drug to the person in charge when we did wrong, and we were drug to respect our elders and the ladies. Kevin what do you think about those drugs???? If we could get back to being drugged like this and getting back to great faith then I reackon them drugs is alright!!!

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