Archive | November, 2013

A (serious) Black Friday Story From The Unappreciated Pastor

29 Nov

The day after Thanksgiving (a few years ago) was an eventful one for me and my family. We witnessed an unusual amount of security guards, screaming children and irate adults. Yes, we shopped on Black Friday. And we did it in Jacksonville Florida! We didn’t leave at 4:00 AM like some of you may have, but we spent about six hours shopping anyway. We made the usual rounds, stopped off for some lunch and bought most of our stuff at Kohl’s. It was our time in Kohl’s that inspired this blog 

I was chosen to be the one to stand in line while my wife and her grandmother continued shopping. To say the least, it was looong. I have to say, I’d rather stand in line than try to keep up with my wife in a department store. At least then she knows where I am (I tend to drift away and get lost). So I’m standing in line making conversation with the lady behind me. She had a lot of stuff. I had a few items, but I was sporting something that caught her eye, it was something she didn’t have. It was a card that my wife got in the mail that rewarded the holder with an extra 15% off of the entire purchase. She wanted to know where I got it. And then she let me know in a round about way how fortunate I was. I could tell she was coveting my card. So I decided to offer her my card. We made a deal. She would just follow me to whatever check out line that took me and I would discreetly pass the card off to her. I know that there was nothing immoral or illegal about sharing my card with her, but for some reason I didn’t want the check out lady to see me do it. This did add a little excitement to the monotony of standing in a 100 yard long line. 

So I paid for my stuff and passed the card off to her. By this time my wife had joined me. She stood by the door waiting on my new friend to bring our card back to us (It was good through Saturday). When the lady handed the card back off to my wife she was excited. She told us that we had saved her $30.00! I let out a “Praise the Lord!” Then I felt the Lord tug at my heart. He was telling me to tell this woman about Christ and how He saves us more than money, He saves us from our sin. The flesh rose up and convinced me that the store was too busy and this wasn’t the place. Unfortunately, I failed to share Christ with the woman. I had to repent over that. The Lord showed me that I had missed an opportunity to talk about the real meaning of Christmas. 

My wife and I discussed, as we passed all the people standing in line, how we could charge folks $5.00 a piece to use our card. We laughed a little. But inside I was hurting. I think we can all learn something from this. Let’s not let the chaos of the season keep us from sharing Christ. We will all have a number of opportunities to share Jesus over the Christmas season. Sure we can come up with many reasons not to. But in the end, they are just excuses. People need Jesus more than they need a sweater or the latest DVD. It’s easy to be consumed with the people centered gospel of the media and the mall. Let’s make our focus Christ. He is a gift to unworthy sinners available to all who will repent and trust in Him. Let us not be ashamed of that. 

How to Close the Deal

11 Nov

It’s no secret that much of church “growth” isn’t kingdom growth at all. New church members often join a church because they have either moved to a new town or are frustrated with the church they are currently in. As pastors we are aware of this. Most pastors don’t seem to mind the fish swapping aquariums.  In fact many pastors just want to see the sanctuary full on Sunday mornings. And if we are not careful, we can resemble a sleazy new car salesman more than a pastor. So that’s the subject of this blog. Let’s call it “How to Close the Deal.”

Good morning sir! What a lovely family you have there. Who’s this, your daughter? Oh, pardon me I had no idea she was your wife, she looks so young. (At this point feel free to slap him on the back and laugh).

Step right on into our show room, I mean sanctuary. We want your stay with us to be as comfortable as possible. We have:

Hot coffee

Hot cocoa

Soft seats

Fresh bagels

Free coffee mugs

You just make yourselves at home. But let’s get down to serious business now. What do I have to do to get you into this church? Let’s not beat around the bush, we both know that’s why you’re here.  Fill this card out if you don’t mind. Here’s a pen with our church name on it. Now I want you to relax. Joining a church is a big deal. I know that you probably have some reservations but I am here to set your heart at ease.

Mom, I bet those kids keep you busy. What with all the school work and keeping up the house, oh and you work too? My stars, how do you ever have time for yourself? Mom, I’m going to help you. How would you like to have two hours every Wednesday evening to do what you want to do? Here’s what you do. You bring those two darling kids up here at 6 PM. We will feed them, play games with them and teach them a lesson. You show back up at 8 PM & they’ll be fed and ready for bed! Now doesn’t  that sound like something you’d like?

You’re just visiting? That’s ok. But why waste anymore of your time. You don’t want to drag those children from church to church. Studies show that children who have parents that move from church to church have a greater chance of becoming serial killers. You wouldn’t want that would you? Of course not. We both know that you are going to pick a church in this area so why not this one?

You’re not ready? Oh, I understand. You are still trying to decide if Christianity is for you or not. I respect that. Becoming a Christian is a life changing decision. You know what else is a life changing decision? Getting in your car, pulling out of the parking lot and getting hit by a semi. So it really is an easy question. Do you want to die without Christ in front of our church or would you like to join our church?

Oh, I see, you need to know if your kids are going to enjoy it here. Hey kids, let me ask you a question. Would you like to sit really still and listen to a long sermon or play on your iPod? Because guess what, we have free Wi-Fi! And we are very strict when it comes to our youth minister. We don’t let any of them stay after their 25th birthday!

What’s our worship style like? We have three different services. We have traditional, for those who like the classic hymns. We have contemporary for those that like to jam. And we have a blended service for folks who don’t like either one. So I’m sure you’ll find a service that suits you.

Now what I need you to do is walk right down that aisle. When you get to the stage stop and shake that man’s hand. Fill the card out that he gives you and get ready for more handshakes and hugs than you’ve ever experienced. Welcome home…uh…..what was your name again?