Jul 24, 2006

unhappy soul

Spending time in a coffee shop sipping their horrendously foul brew is not always a complete waste of time. Many people you never see anywhere else are killing a little time, and looking for conversation.

A gentleman who comes in occasionally is generally ignored by the patrons, and even the waitresses spend little time with him; hello ... your order please ... and the usual hope-you-leave-a-tip smile. He is a rather small man in his mid-thirties with long stringy brown hair way past his shoulders, slightly paunchy, heavily scarred face, and a right eye that seems to meander without any specific purpose. He usually sits across from me at the counter (15-20' ft. away,) but one morning he plopped down on a stool beside me without uttering a word, or looking my direction.

I decided to make an effort to engage him in conversation:

"Hello, how are you today?"

No response. Okay, perhaps he didn't hear me, lets try again;

"Hello, hows things going?" (spoke with a little more gusto.)

This time he mumbled something; have no idea what. Okay, were gaining, lets try once more;

"Nice day huh?"

His first decipherable words were softly whispered;

"Not bad!"

Within minutes he was conversing quite well, and I discovered he had been in a car accident when he was only seventeen years old that put him in a coma for two years. He said it was his fault; he had been drinking. As a result of the accident the right side of his face is completely paralyzed (reason enough for a meandering eye.) He still doesn't say much to anyone, but he will nod in my direction when he's in the cafe, and occasionally speak to me.

Bad choices we make, even as teenagers, can often haunt us throughout our remaining days. This man knows other people ignore him because of his appearance, so he responds with silence. Over time perhaps God can work through me (or some other person) in such a way that this man will understand that Jesus died for him, God loves him, and his future can be unimaginably wonderful.

Jul 17, 2006

the church gossip

Anonymous email

Mildred, the church gossip, self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused Henry, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Henry and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

Henry, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Henry quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house . . . walked home . . and left it there all night.

Jul 13, 2006

freedom from tradition

The Sunday School System, Sunday night services, and Wednesday night study have great merit, but they are not scripturally binding on Christians, they are merely based in tradition. Anyone insisting that you must participate in a Sunday School program in order to be a child of God is wrong (not that it's unscriptural to go to Sunday School,) but it is unscriptural for another person to bind their personal opinions on other Christians.

Any group of believers who bind their traditional viewpoints on other believers rob them of their freedom in Christ, and enslave them like puppets to a human religious system.
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Gal 5:1 ESV
Many Christians honestly believe that every time the door to the "church building" is ajar, you absolutely must be present in order to be a true follower of Jesus. Any person not attending these meetings are often considered unfaithful members, and soon find themselves on the outside looking in, even if the reasons for not attending these meetings are valid (not that they have to be valid.)

Enjoy your freedom in Christ, and don't allow anyone to hamper your relationship with Jesus because of their Pharisaical pronouncements on your Christian walk.