"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lent Day 14 - Tuesday

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)

  I spent a few days in the mountains awhile back and realized that I cannot get out of my comfort bubble easily. After a time with random cell phone service (basically none), random internet access (basically none) and a television with only three stations, it was very hard for me to relax without all my regular comforts. Then, as we headed down the mountain, when my phone beeped the signal that I had service once again, the sigh of relief from my mouth probably affected the tides of the Atlantic coast. Then, when I stopped to buy gas for the trip home, for some reason the auto-stop on the gas pump didn’t work, so the right leg of my jeans, shoe and sock became drenched with gasoline pouring from my overflowing tank. Definitely not a way to get my day off to a good stop.

  After a few miles of driving in a closed car, the gas odor was overwhelming, so at our lunch stop, I went into the men’s room, took my sock and shoe off, dunked them in the sink to soak; then doing a high kick to make the Rockettes proud, I got my right leg into the other sink to begin soaking my jeans with water. Of course, about this time, another patron entered the men’s room, took a look and turned around for a quick exit. After soaking, splashing and a lot of grunting, I managed to drag my leg down, grabbed my soggy Adidas and sock, and slosh back to our table.

  One other thing I discovered about myself that week is that God has really worked with me in recent years to get rid of my (once) quite large ego. Now, it’s still a work in progress, but I am coming along with God’s help. I no longer see the ego-driven Minister and then volunteer worker that I once was. I know now that my way isn’t necessarily the best way. I know that physical materials, money and programs are not necessary to bring folks to Christ. The unsaved are not fooled by the grand trappings of a gorgeous building, they just want to feel welcomed and that they have a place to belong. The people searching for God will form their first opinions by how they are greeted at the door to the church, not the expensive furniture, floral arrangements and highly organized services. They just want someone to speak to them, to feel a part of the service or of a class, and to have someone share Jesus with them. They want to see and feel at home, not like a visitor to a museum or wealthy house where they could never feel comfortable. In my humble opinion, that is the ego of the church.

  Like the verse for today says, for me…now…as I continue to grow and learn in Christ…I would rather open the doors of the church to the community, welcome them in and share Jesus with them one on one, than to have the biggest and most impressive house of worship in the land. Because then I wonder what we are worshipping?  Not who. Perhaps this is why I have experienced more true worship in the Tybee Island Bar Church at Benny’s Tavern than I have in some of the largest churches of Atlanta. Their doors are open to all. Anyone. Just as you are. And just as I am….flip-flops, ratty cargo shorts, t-shirt and a ball cap.

  Maybe we all should try to be the doorkeeper for God, literally or figuratively. Be the welcoming Christian to them, make them feel at home with you, open the door to Jesus and meet them where they are. On their level, not the level you want them to see.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. Blessed be the Name of the LORD!


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