This weekend begins a very special new sermon series called, “What’s Your Story.” I can honestly say I am more excited about this sermon series than any other I have preached in the past. Over the course of the next six weeks, we will look at six people who had personal encounters with Jesus (A Samaritan woman – Nicodemus – A blind man – A paralytic – John the Baptist – Peter), and we’ll see how Jesus changed their lives/stories in powerful and dramatic ways. At the same time, we’ll be hearing from some very special people in our church family who have stories that are very similar to each of these characters. I can’t tell you how much respect and appreciation I have for these people who have been willing to open up their lives in ways that are rarely seen in church. Along with all of this, we will be experiencing Spirit-led worship, heart-stirring specials, and a very powerful element on the final week that you will remember for the rest of your life. I hope you won’t miss a single week and that you will be inviting your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to come and experience church the way it’s supposed to be…honest and real.
While I’m on the subject of church, I read a very thought-provoking article in the Christian Standard written by a man named Paul Williams. He wrote about a recent evening when he was flipping through the television channels and happened upon five comedians (O’ Brien, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Craig Ferguson) all with one thing in common – every one of them was wearing a suit and tie. He went on to say that the next week he traveled to Louisville to attend the North American Christian Convention. While he was there, he attended five of the main sessions where the speakers/preachers all wore polo shirts or, as he called them, “hide the fat Hawaiian shirts.” Williams went on to talk about the progression he’s experienced in his own ministry of shifting from preaching in a suit and tie to blue jeans. Then he wrote these words:
Some day archeologists will discover evidence dating back to the early 21st century. They will gather behind closed doors and puzzle together about the early days of the third millennium. What fascinating conclusions will they reach? I can see the headline: “Clothing Unlocks Secrets – Ancient Civilization Worshiped Comedy – Laughed at Religion.”I am not a curmudgeon. Really. I’m not. You can ask my kids. I am pretty sure there is no right or wrong here. But you have to admit, it is fascinating. How did we get here? How did David Letterman end up doing his monologue in a suit, while I quote Scripture in a pair of Levi’s?
It’s something to think about.
Finally, this weekend when you come to church, you’ll find the Worship Center in the midst of a pretty extensive facelift. That means for about three weeks we’ll have to sit on folding chairs and deal with floors in various stages of stain and carpet as well as walls that are going through their own transformations. I hope it won’t be a distraction to you and that you’ll remember to focus on the end result. I guarantee it will be well worth the inconvenience. But in the meantime, you might want to bring your own seat and/or back cushion if you think folding chairs will be difficult to endure. Please join with me in praying that the setting will in no way detract from what God is doing in the service.