Pass the Popcorn!

popcornGaylon and I typically attend the 9:30 service at our church, however we went to the 4:30 service this past Sunday. We are in a series called “At the Movies,” and our pastor plays clips from well-known movies, and then makes spiritual applications. This is a yearly thing for us, and one of my favorite series. We literally have hundreds of visitors for this series, and hundreds of salvations — not just “raise-your-hand salvations,” but fill out a card and turn in your name salvations. Follow up is done and people are added to the church and discipled.

Because we have so many visitors, our pastor asks the congregation to be a part of one of the lesser attended services. The 4:30 and 6:30 services usually don’t require overflow. The 4:30 service we were in was packed, and the service was wonderful.
An interesting thing awaited those who attended the evening services. A box of popcorn and a beverage were given to everyone. Yep, popcorn and movies at the church! Once worship was over, everyone sat down and opened their popcorn and beverages, and the movie clips and sermon began.

I looked around that building that was packed with so many young families and young people. The message was about resisting the devil and standing in the power of God. It was great truth. At the end many responded to the call to receive Christ as Savior.
While I sat there, my mind wandered a bit as I thought of so many who would disapprove of popcorn at the church. Some would say it’s a “fluff” church. It’s just entertainment. It’s worldly. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth about our church. Truth is taught. Souls are won. Young people are being trained and deployed into ministry, hundreds go on short-term mission trips and our local community is being impacted in many ways.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t care whether we do or don’t have popcorn, but I do care that we are making a huge impact for the Kingdom of God and dispelling darkness. If passing out popcorn will bring them in, and cause them to listen to a Gospel presentation, then I say, “Pass the popcorn!”

As Leonard Ravenhill said, “Any method of evangelism will work if God is in it.”

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”– Luke 19:10

Long Hair, Short Hair

long hairI am not used to a house full of girls, but it’s fun! My son is out of town for about a week, so I came to stay with Alica and the girls, to help out with transportation and other things.

Michael and Alica have a foster child, who we will call Olivia. Olivia is a full-of-life four-year old, and that’s an understatement! Olivia asks the question, “Why?” about twenty-five times a day on a slow day. Yesterday, Olivia was sick so she stayed with me all day, and asked “why” more times than I can count.

All the girls in Alica’s house have very long hair, flowing way down the back. My hair is shoulder length. Olivia asked me several times yesterday, “Why your hair short?” I kept telling her that my hair is not short, but she kept insisting that my hair is short. To me, shoulder length is long. To Olivia, it’s not long unless it flows down one’s back. I will never convince her that my hair is long. We could have argued over and over about the length of hair, and in the scheme of life it doesn’t matter.

Too often in “church” world, we argue and bicker over things that don’t matter. It’s easy to feel that’s it is our gift and call in life to convince everyone to believe just as we do. Some things are simply not set in concrete.

The definition of long hair and short hair don’t matter, but let me state emphatically that there are many non-negotiables in the Word of God. The most important one is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Savior of the World.  According to scripture, He is the only way to the Father. “Barbara, who do you think you are saying that Jesus is the only way?”  I didn’t say it. I am just repeating what Jesus said in John 14:6.

We are in an hour when it’s popular to embrace every religion as a pathway to God for eternal life. The most important question facing the Church today is the same that Jesus asked the disciples in Mark 8:29, “But what about you?” he asked.  “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”  Lots of people were identifying Jesus different ways, but Peter answered correctly!

I don’t really care about “long hair” issues. I want to know, if you identify as a follower of Jesus Christ, how you answer the question, “Who do you say I am?”   Unless that is answered correctly, the rest doesn’t even matter.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

Driving Like That Will Cost You

BumperToBumperWhy don’t you just drive up my tail pipe! Have you ever felt like that when someone is following you way too closely?

As I was driving down the winding road leading to my little hometown of Helena, AL, a driver was about twelve inches from my bumper. I tried brake tapping a few times, but to no avail. This car wanted me out of the way, but alas, there was nothing I could do. I was driving on a two lane road, with lots of curves and no passing was allowed, and I was driving the speed limit.

I really wanted to stop and have a little conversation with the driver, but not the kind you might think. I had recently gotten a ticket while driving in Helena. I was clocked doing thirty-two miles per hour in a twenty-mile an hour speed zone. That little venture cost me one hundred and eighty six dollars, and four hours of traffic school. I wanted to tell the driver that I had learned my lesson the hard way. I wanted to tell the driver that driving like that will cost you.  I wanted to let the driver know that I had already paid the price on that road, and could help her learn a better way down that road. I can keep you from making the mistakes that I have made. I can save you a lot of trouble and heartache!  (Yes, I really thought these things!)

How that same lesson translates where spiritual things are concerned!

Do you have a mentor – a person that you will allow to walk with you, and help you in maturing in Christ? There are many who have walked down roads that have cost them something. We would do ourselves well to learn all we can from them. We can learn what to do and what not to do.

I presently have, and have had in the past, the privilege of mentoring other believers. My desire is to teach them to walk with God, closely with God. I also want to keep them from making mistakes that cost me too much.

Getting feedback from others is also absolutely critical. If we don’t get feedback, it’s easy to get off course. During all the Apollo trips to the moon, those spaceships had to do frequent course corrections. The earth was turning, and the moon was turning. To make it, the astronauts had to constantly change the course of their ship. And the only way they could do that was to get feedback. As a result of listening to and applying feedback, they were successful in their journeys.

Find someone with character. Find someone in love with God. Find someone you trust. Find a mentor.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17