Beautiful Feet

I often find myself defeated before I open my mouth when it comes to inviting folks to anything “religious” in nature. I play mental chess, a futile exercise in which I invariably am beaten by the fourth move.

“They don’t want to hear this! They have ALREADY heard it. Isn’t this somewhat self-serving, PASTOR Chris! Live and let live. Move along…no story here!”

Checkmate. Again.

Yet, I am learning to press through these subtle but insidious lies.

Not everyone knows. Not everyone has heard.

In fact, most people desparately want AND need what Jesus is serving up. So in order to win a few matches, I remind myself that there are three types of folks:

They are those who Don’t Know

Used to Know and

Want to Know.

My mission, should I decide to accept it, is to find out which one you are!

There is a growing number of folks in the Don’t Know camp. The rise of relativism and post-modernism has helped to foster ignorance in our younger generation. Simply put, they don’t know The Story. In the Proverbs, they would be referred to as the Simple. They don’t any better. They haven’t landed yet. They are open to the dialogue. Like or not, however, the Simple will face life head on. They need wisdom. That’s where we come in. Ww have the privilege, and I do mean that, of sharing the Story with them.

There are also those who Used to Know. These are the ones that grew up quickly in the faith, but life happened. They may have gone to VBS, Young Life or walked down the aisle at a crusade. The soil is hardest here. Many in the Used to Know camp don’t want to trust again, then get hurt again. I get it…no patronizing. Genuine compassion and patience required. No fly by invitations; rather authentic Christianity lived out in close proximity can soften the driest ground. I believe they hope to hope again. They NEED to hope again.

Finally, there is the Want to Know camp. We might call them seekers. They are reading, watching and attending various venues that address the deep need of the soul. They are ready to engage. If we are. Rather than anticipating verbal sparring, I choose to overcome by listening and asking questions designed to get the heart of the matter. I believe Christ-like interest in every soul carries the day, more often than not. I love that the Bible ends with the invitation to all who are thirsty…to come and drink of the free water of life! I think everyone is parched, whether they know it or not.

So instead of hearing “Checkmate” in my head, I more often hear “Thank you!” from those I share the Story with. They are so glad to at least know it, whether or not they receive it. And in my heart, I hear the scriptures…“How beautiful are the feet of them that bring Good News.”

May you be encouraged as well, as the Day draws near!


Alone Again

I am a people watcher. I think I have always been that way. Long before my training in psychology, I have been fascinated by the human psyche. Everyone has a story. Everyone is unique. Oh, how I would wish to know what goes on inside each person’s heart and mind.

I am most impacted, perhaps, by those who are alone. Sometimes the girls and I play an imagination game. We speculate, CSI style, what their story is and why they are flying solo. We note everything about them in our silly attempt to figure them out. But we always end up feeling sorry for those who are alone.

They are in restaurants, hospitals and at the beach. People who going through life on their own. Some may say that is their preference. That it is easier that way. I’m not buying it. I see pain, loneliness and despair more than I see satisfaction, contentment and leisure among those who are without companionship. A friend. A fellow traveler. What’s the answer?

The lost art of hospitality. The power of invitation. A genuine love and concern for our fellow man.

So as I pray for our Easter in the Park celebration this weekend, I am committed to extending a genuine offer of invitation to those who need to know someone cares.

Someone notices them.

To give them dignity, as Jesus did for a short tax collector. And I am trusting God for a similar result.

The Power of Invitation

I was at Veterans’ Park this morning. Praying for the services planned this weekend to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Such a glorious way to start the week! As we prayed, someone shared this intercession:”May we invite people to the celebration as easily and comfortably as we invite them to dinner.”

Yes! I was both encouraged and challenged by the power of invitation! I so often find myself over-thinking the whole invite thing. I tend to defeat myself before I get the words out. They don’t want to go. They have heard it before. Blah blah blah. And within moments, I find myself muted by my own thoughts. That’s just stinkin thinkin…as we like to say in our family!

So I am engaged in invitation! I am renewed in my commitment to extend a warm and sincere invitation to attend our Easter Celebrations. I am reminded of the power of invitation. “How lovely are the feet of them that bring Good News.” I have the privilege to invite people to hear Good News!

And in this day and age, nothing could be better than that.