Just asking

It’s been annoyingly repeated too much: there is no such thing as a dumb question. I stopped believing that lie years ago!

Within everything we do, there is an important task of asking questions. There is also an art of learning to ask the right questions, or the right kinds of questions.

Forbes, in a recent article, offered an example of a great question.

Think about looking for your next perfect job. That’s the context of the article. The first question people often have when discerning a career move or a new job is, “Is this the right job for me?”

Basic, right? That question would lead to other questions, hopefully.

Here’s Forbes’ better question: Do I want to be exactly like the people who work here?

If I were to ask myself that question, imagine what I would have to pay attention to. Think about what I would be looking at in a potential place of employment.

I wonder if, on some level, people ask that kind of question of church. If a friend invites them to a church, they have to make a decision that mirrors the idea of that question. In other words, is their friend the kind of person they want to go to church with?

What are the attitudes people notice of your church? What are the impressions your church makes to someone new? Would someone new want to be like anyone you picked out of your congregation?

Stay blessed…john

Everything’s a fight

Most of what we argue about is more important to us than it is to God. Not that there aren’t issues that might be important to the Lord. I just don’t think we’ve figured most of those out.

Let’s be honest, how much of what we argue about is more important to us than God?

Sometimes we don’t even know when the original argument ended. Hatfield vs. McCoy. We’re just used to being against each other. Everything is an argument we must win, or, at least, prove how wrong they are. I wish we would all just admit how biased and hypocritical we are. Our politicians are just as liable as theirs,¬†for¬†example.

The energy we spend railing against each other could be used to transform the entire world. But we’d rather be right than help make the world right.

Stay blessed…john

The gift

This weekend we had our youth group over at our house. We did all the things we would normally do at youth group. Silly game. Snacks. Coffee, too. Prayer and Bible study.

Right before our Bible study and prayer, I put a gift bag on the table where we were all gathered. It was a red, shiny Christmas bag Santa brought Nathan last year. I told the group that everyone was responsible for giving everyone else a gift when we got together.

“I didn’t know about that,” someone said, nervously. Someone wondered if there was a price limit.

I assured them that this gift was, actually, priceless.

All they had to do was put their phones in the bag. By so doing, we promised each other that every time we meet we would give each other the gift of our undivided attention.

I’m writing this today because I want to remember how shocked I was at how easy it played out. No one complained or refused or came up with their best excuse why they couldn’t. All the phones were in the bag in a matter of seconds.

And we had a great study.

Give it a shot, in youth ministry or anywhere else you might be around people.

Stay blessed…john

I am a child of God

This song was offered at the conclusion of my sermon this weekend. We had spoken about the prodigal son and his brother. More or less, the message was that some people don’t want to accept you because they remember what you used to be.

God still calls you beloved, even though others don’t!

Oh, and the short one on the left is Ashlei!

Stay blessed…john

Tales From the Church Refrigerator | I’ll Take the Heat

Once upon a time…

A preacher greeted the congregation as they exited the sanctuary. It had been a blessing of a time, a gathering that included the faithful praying for God’s will, hearing God’s love proclaimed enthusiastically and the receiving of Holy Communion.

People smiled, hugged and even offered a holy kiss or two as the time for their gathered worship concluded.

One saint offered a blessing as he was leaving, just like most people that day. He included an additional offer. “I’ll take the heat for that,” he said to the preacher. Confused, he inquired, “Heat for what?”

“The ushers. I chose them,” apologized the saint.

The horror of what happened that day went right under the preacher’s clerical nose.

At that moment, it was too soon to judge the situation with complete accuracy. Had the ushers been chosen beforehand? Were the usual ushers unavailable? Was this a statement Sunday for the usher chooser? For whatever reason those ushers were chosen, that day they performed their role correctly, on cue. There’s no other possible explanation for the congregation’s collection to have been received in the manner it was.

And Communion?

People filed in line, following the hand motions and head nods of those ushers. The congregation received the body and blood of Christ.

So, what would be a saint to take heat for anything other than sharing the Gospel of Jesus?

As the saint left the line, it dawned on the unsuspecting preacher what he had missed. He met the ushers at the front of the sanctuary to present the offerings. He watched as they ushered the congregation for Communion. Actually, it wasn’t the preacher who was missing anything. It was the ushers.

For in their service that Sunday, they employed no tie, blazer or dress slacks.

And they lived happily ever after.