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LIGHTS ARE ON, BUT NO ONE'S HOME---If any of you have ever owned an electric lawn mower, you know that electric lawn mowers tend to not be very powerful. Electric lawn mowers, as a whole, are underpowered garden tools. I have an electric lawn mower now and it isn’t very powerful, all I can say is that the price seemed right at the time. However years ago I had an incredible electric lawn mower manufactured by a company called MTD. This electric lawn mower was the king of electric lawn mowers.


This MTD electric lawn mower was unbelievably powerful. It could easily power through even wet grass that was over five inches high. It was so powerful that anything that got in its way, it just took it out. I’m embarrassed to say how many times I ran over the power cord - but I got pretty good at splicing the power cord.


This mower drew so much current that nothing else could be running on the same circuit or the fuse in the fuse box would just blow. This mower drew so much current that even a higher gauge electrical cord became too hot to touch after the lawn was mowed. This was one mean mower.


Well, one day this MTD mower just stopped. The power was still on, the fuse had not blown and I had not run over the cord - something blew in the mower itself. So I opened the mower casing up to have a look. An electric mower is quite a simple piece of machinery, it is just an electric motor with a blade attached. So when I looked inside the housing there were only about 12 different parts, and one little part was charred black and somewhat melted. It was obvious to me that this was the part I needed. I had no idea what the melted part was, and I don’t know much about electric motors, but the part was clearly damaged, and it conveniently had the part number printed right on it.


So I called up the manufacturer in Arkansas, who referred me to a parts warehouse in Dallas Texas and I ordered the part.


A few days later the lawn mower part arrived in the mail...but it was the wrong part. So I called up the parts warehouse in Dallas to rectify the situation. The call, which should have taken about three minutes, dragged out into this huge ordeal.


Now before I tell you the rest of the story, let me just say this: I was living in Oklahoma at the time that my mower died. When someone in Dallas Texas receives a phone call from someone in Oklahoma, the person on the line from Dallas Texas doesn’t necessarily have a favorable opinion about the person on the line from Oklahoma. I’m not saying that this is right, I just saying that people in Dallas generally have a certain image of people from Oklahoma.


So, with that in mind, I call up the parts warehouse in Dallas Texas and tell the guy that I received the wrong part for my mower in the mail. I’m transferred over to Steve in shipping. Here is our conversation:


Steve: “I understand that you received the wrong part for your mower. What is name of the part did you receive from us?”


OK, first off, this is not a fair question. This little envelope arrives at my house with a little black part inside. There’s no description, there’s no name, its just a little black part - which was clearly not the same as the other part I needed….and the name of the part I needed had no name, I could see that the part they sent me was completely different than the part that had charred in the mower.


Steve repeated his question: “What is name of the part did you receive from us?”

Peter: “I don’t know what the part is called, but it is not the part I ordered”

Steve: “OK….Well then what is the name of the part you need?”

Peter: “I don’t know what the name of the part is that I need.”


There was an extended period of silence.


Steve: So let me get this straight. You don’t know the name of the part you need, and you don’t know the name of the part you have, but the part you received is not the part you need, even though you don’t know what the part is”

Peter: “Exactly.”

Steve: “Jim, I have some guy on the phone from Oklahoma who wants to talk to you about parts for an electric mower”


Steve clearly thought I was crazy and probably not the most intelligent person he had ever spoken to - I could feel over the phone lines that Steve did not think I was the sharpest tool in the shed, so Steve handed me off to one of his coworkers because Steve did not know how to deal with me.


This is what we see in our passage today, Paul who is not crazy, is seen as crazy because of what he believes and Paul is handed off from one person to the next because people do not know how to deal with Paul’s beliefs. Have you ever been placed in a position like that? Have you ever been placed in a position like that? Have you ever felt like the conversation around you carries the tone of well...anyone who believes this Christian stuff is a complete idiot? Sure you have, I’ve been there too, and sometimes these people who think Christianity is for fools are so articulate, they are so convincing, that you end up wondering...Am I fool to believe?

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