Filed under: Christ
Last Sunday I preached my heart out over Nathan and David and Psalm 51, and most of all Jesus and the Good news. I went a little over, unusually, but then we started a little late too. I had done my homework and prepared a message to soften the heart of the unreformed and uplift the heart of the saints! As soon as I closed in prayer I lifted my head and saw, in the very back row, scorecards. Yes, held high above the heads of the “back row boys” were white placards with numbers to indicate my “performance”. I am a serious guy so I took this seriously, and I thought at first I did OK. A 7.5 from a rough scoring judge, and to my delight, a 9. Unfortunately the guy with the 9 looked up at the score, held up his index finger to me, and quite thoughtfully rotated his card until it read 6 and then nodded. I was heartbroken! Then they laughed and ditched the cards before the church started to mill for fellowship.
I guess some might get angry, or think this out of place in a house of worship, but I rejoice, these guys are miracles. 9 into 6 guy I have known for 30 years. He tried to join a church once and learn about the Lord, but they told him Satan made fossils and to drink one beer meant damnation, also they taught anybody not in their little group pr at least in complete agreement with them was also hell bound. So he quit. Three years ago his uncle, a man he loved dearly died, and 9 to 6 invited me to do the funeral. He has been at church ever since, and was baptized two summers ago as a believer in the gospel of Christ.
7.5 guy I have known and loved for over 30 years. For decades we would debate the affairs of the cosmos. Evolution, God, the bible, and I never won one argument. Two years ago at Wednesday night prayer, we each took a name of someone we loved and prayed for salvation. We prayed the Holy Spirit would quicken dead hearts. I prayed for 7.5. I have taught that God answers prayer. I have had God answer prayer, but when this guy walked into church I could have dropped over. He now describes himself as a Christian, reads his bible as a believer not a critic, prays, and I hope will come forward for baptism. I waited 30 years to get here, I am not hurrying the Holy Spirit on this one.
So I am not mad, I thank God they are there. They take God seriously, but love to torture me. That’s Ok. They are not clowns, they dig into the sermon material and we often go over the same scripture over coffee. I am not there to get them to respect me, my mission is being accomplished.
Today at the gas station I got further abused. Harley man stopped me. I haven’t seen him in a while. He and I met at the church about six years ago when I was pulpit supply [again, long story]. I was walking around the huge wooded back lot behind our suburban church, and Harley appeared. He had a rottweiler on a chain, and a gun on his hip. “If you step on my land I will shoot you! If you are from that church, you are my enemy! I will sick this dog on you you S.O.B.”, and many expletives were not deleted. I informed him that if he liked his dog he would keep it under control, and if he shot at me he bloody well better hit, as that would cause me to loose my religion, and I just might, maybe, shoot back. He liked that. We have been friendly ever since, and he ended up leading the movement to have a neighborhood peace dinner where the church apologized for offending and hurting the neighbors.
So Harley started telling me he has a new God, Uff. His heart is failing rapidly, it is down to 6%. Harley said his family said a novena, it did not help, he prayed to Jesus, and God, but they were “busy”. So the Rottweiler told him to pray to the dog god Uff. He did, and he feels better. No respect, huh? But I know him. He is calling me out. He is dying, and figures if he proclaims out and out blasphemy I will respond. He is right. I will be at his house to talk about Jesus, thanks Uff.
So I get no respect, but I do not deserve any either. I will put on a clown nose [never did it], sing like Elvis [ ok I have done that, kinda] , or stand in front of people to explain the unexplainable and attempt to describe the indescribable , [ I do it as often as possible] and do whatever it takes to get someone to grasp the Truth.
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