Top Son MeThe scene from the movie Top Gun where Maverick won’t engage has always drawn me into that story, and recently Jesus showed me why. If you have seen the movie you will know what I am talking about, if you haven’t seen the movie here is the setup; Navy fighter pilots have nicknames called Call signs that I am told they earn or perhaps are bestowed. They even have formal naming ceremonies. The one named Maverick is played by Tom Cruise the hero/protagonist of the story. He and Goose, Maverick’s RIO (Radar intercept officer) share the cockpit of a F14 Tomcat flying off aircraft carriers, they are closer than close friends. They get to go to Top Gun School to become the elite of the Navy’s fighter pilots and in a tragic accident Maverick flies through another planes jet wash causing him to loose control and have to eject in the process, Goose gets killed leaving Maverick deeply wounded.


Maverick graduates alone and is assigned a new RIO and is sent into a military operation near Russia. The scene Jesus enticed me with is when two other of the Top Gun crews encounter five Russian Mig fighters and a dog fight ensues when a Mig shoots down one of those crews. This leaves Call sign “Ice Man” the best of the best to take on all five Migs. The aircraft carrier then launches Maverick to go help, and then the ship has difficulty and can’t launch anyone else to help. Picture with me then that there are five Migs attacking Ice man when Maverick arrives and prepares to engage the battle, Maverick flies through a Migs jet wash and loses control again, but this time he recovers. He then looks over the dire situation planes flying all over the place with everyone screaming at him, “engage Maverick, engage”.  I won’t ruin the movie and tell you what happened; you will have to watch to find out.


I was giving a talk at a Dangerous Heart Christian Boot Camp a week ago and using that movie clip to illustrate how Satan uses our wounds to keep us from engaging in the battles of the Christian faith, when during the talk I could see myself so clearly at work every day screaming at myself, “Robby engage, get in the fight, engage.”


The band of brothers I walk with shares that these kinds of times indicate, as my friend, Todd Clark would say, “It’s time to check under the hood”. So a couple days ago in my time with Jesus I purposed to do just that.


“Jesus what is going on with this and why is this, such a struggle?”  I asked my wonderful counselor. Jesus knew how for years and years I have struggled as a salesman to engage to reach out to prospects.


I would often sound just like Maverick, “This is no good.” The time wasn’t right or the wrong place to engage, or thinking which Mig should I go after anyway there are so many circling around me?


After over 40 years in sales I still struggle a lot so I asked Jesus to take me back, back to any wounds like Maverick’s that would lead to my behavior. Did I sell through someone’s jet wash that cause me to crash and burn? I actually started selling cars part time in my teens so I lead Jesus around in those memories, really nothing but good memories of some really fun customers.


Let’s go back further selling door to door as a kid maybe, immediately I got this picture of little bitty revolutionary plastic soldiers red and blue. “Oh yeah, Jesus, I earned those plastic soldiers for selling American Seed CoAmerican seeds when I was about seven years old.” I remembered. Back then I went by my middle name Bruce, so maybe someone little Bruce tried to sell seeds to had slammed the door in his face or something. No, I had no such memory, but I just couldn’t get those plastic soldiers out of my mind. At first it was a good memory but something began to twist and turn as I continued to look at those soldiers in my mind.


The more I looked the more the feelings came rushing back; those soldiers had been a bitter disappointment. I had spotted an ad in the back of a Boy’s Life Magazine when I was a cub scout and it said that if you sold enough seeds packets you could earn a 500 piece revolutionary war play set. The ad made this set look like the coolest thing ever, cannons, and muskets, and soldiers galore. In the ad they looked four or five inches tall. Why I just knew I would spend hours playing with this amazing set. So when I received my seed order book I then went about selling door to door until I had sold the amount needed to get the set. Naturally my parents helped me some and worked with me to get everything ready to mail back. They were so proud of me and I was proud of myself I had reached my goal, now came the reward.


I can still remember waiting on the mail everyday, “Mom, has the mail came today, was there a package for me?” I’m sure I was driving her crazy. There is nothing quite like waiting on a 500 piece revolutionary war set.


The long awaited day arrived and the package was curiously small for a 500 piece revolutionary war set. As I tore open the brown packaging I quickly saw why. The soldiers could not have been a quarter inch hm5wY-XJVhCak6xxrbScdjDAigh, the cannons not a half inch long and the muskets wouldn’t have made half a tooth pick. Recalling the event now little Bruce was broken hearted. My band of brother had taught  me that Big Robby could go back with Jesus help and give little Bruce some adult perspective that exposure to Jesus light would begin the healing of a broken heart.


indexFor the first time in over fifty years I could see the scars of that old wound I began to pray, “Jesus what can I tell little Bruce, the American seed company had clearly ripped off a seven year old and there was nothing I could do about it any more now than 50 years ago.” Try as I would I couldn’t provide a grown up Robby response.


I couldn’t but Jesus could. Jesus told us, “Robby and Bruce, (yes we are a little team here), “Guys the reward for your work was not what you thought. Your parents were proud and you proved to yourself little Bruce that you have what it takes to both sell and meet a goal. You worked as to the Lord and everyone watching saw what the Father’s image bearer was capable of.”


I immediately knew exactly what Jesus was saying and then went to talking with young Bruce. “Yeah, that’s right you had what it takes, you made your dad proud. What difference would that 500 piece revolutionary war set made if it had been everything you dreamed it would be. I don’t have any of my toys anymore and it would have been lost one piece at a time like a thousand other toys we had back then.”


Now that we had some work healing the wound, the next thing on Jesus healing agenda was what agreements had I made like Maverick not to engage?  An agreement is when Satan puts his twist on your wound and you agree. “See your efforts to sell people will get you nowhere,” Satan baited me with.


“That’s right!” young Bruce agreed and the next move Satan hoped for in the fight for young Bruce’s heart was, ‘the vow’. “I’ll never be ripped off again by someone trying to get me to sell things.” Bruce vowed. Young Bruce had no concept of the warfare designed to keep his heart broken and unengaged. A sale was an ability God designed Bruce with and Satan feared it and wanted to crush it. The younger the better as far as Satan is concerned.


I can’t begin to thank God for putting so many warriors in my life who understand the battle and the way to fight back. John Eldredge’s Ministry to Dangerous and Good Hearts have taught me the negative power of agreements and vows and now I need Jesus help to break them as ancient as they maybe.


“Jesus, it is by Your Blood and Your authority I break that agreement that my sales efforts will get me nowhere. Jesus by Your Blood and Your Authority I break the vows associated with that agreement. I will not be ripped off because my work is as unto You, and I bear my Father’s image when I sell, I do it with the good of all involved and for the advancement of Your Kingdom Jesus.


I am a great salesman as was my father before me and his father before him as is my Heavenly Father. As a matter of fact I am Top Son.