Please God, Send a Professional!

A lady hurried to the pharmacy to get medication, got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside.  The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground.  She looked at it and said, “I don’t know how to use this.”   She bowed her head and asked God to send her some HELP.  Within five minutes, a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.
She said: “Yes, my daughter is sick.  I’ve locked my keys in my car.  I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?”
He said, “Sure.”  He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.  She hugged the man and through tears said, “Thank You God for sending me such a very nice man.”

The man heard her little prayer and replied, “Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of PRISON yesterday; I was in prison for car theft.”

The woman hugged the man again sobbing, “Oh, thank you, God!   You even sent me a Professional!”

I love that story. A friend of mine sent it to me business womanrecently and I knew I had to recycle it to you.

Imagine being that lady. Imagine being face to face with a rough looking biker and counting on him for help. Lot’s of people would have taken a pass and waited for God to send someone a little safer looking.

The woman in the story, however, wasn’t putting any parameters on what she would accept from the Lord. If he was going to help her through a “professional,” so be it. She was just grateful for the help.

So many times our prayers have parameters. We try to box God in with our requests. “I want this, but only in this way.” “I’ll serve you as long as I don’t have to leave home.” “Please give me someone to pray for, as long as it’s not my mother-in-law.”

Sometimes God will send a professional…

When Jesus said, “Come follow me,” he didn’t give us a multiple choice questionnaire to determine how we wanted to fit into the ministry. The rich, young ruler just walked away because he wasn’t interested in Jesus’ terms (Matthew 19:16-22). Others who wanted to follow were told they couldn’t go home, say goodbye, or bury their dead. Talk about a narrow-minded, my-way-or-the-highway mentality.

We love answers to prayer–as long as they’re comfortable answers. We love to help the poor, the down and out, the destitute–so long as we don’t have to interact with them. We love to say we’re followers of the living Christ–just so we mother-teresa-poor-childdon’t have to go where he leads us.

Sometimes God will send a professional (whether you like it or not). Sometimes YOU will be the professional he sends. Get over it!

Closet Confessions of a Hanger Snob

I guess it’s time to come out of the closet. Well… For this one, I’m actually going to have to go INTO the closet.

woodenhangerI don’t like wire clothes hangers—especially the puny ones that come from the dry cleaners. I like the thick plastic ones for my shirts and good wooden ones for my pants and jackets.

Because of this, the wire hangers always accumulate at the far end of my closet. Every so often, I give them to my bride for recycling at the cleaners. For these reasons, she has labeled me a “hanger snob.”

“I must confess it’s true.”

I must confess it’s true. I should also quickly add I’ve never heard that term before and didn’t realize one could even BE a hanger snob. Guilty as charged.

I wondered—does this qualify as a guilty pleasure? Just to be sure, I looked it up on my Google Machine. A guilty pleasure, according to Wikipedia “is something, such as a movie, a television program or a piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” It goes on to say, “Fashion, video games, music, theatre, television series, films, food and fetishes can be examples of guilty pleasures.“

“Hangers don’t seem to qualify.”

Hangers don’t seem to qualify. A fetish they are not. One might be able to classify them under the heading of “fashion” if they weren’t hidden away in my upstairs closet. I guess hangers aren’t a guilty pleasure.Closet

That little exercise got me thinking. Do I have any guilty pleasures? Maybe I’m a tad too close to my own situation to be objective, but I can’t pinpoint any. I guess I’m too much in the mainstream to have those things. The things I enjoy are generally held in high regard.

On the other hand, I’m a Christian. Christians (at least in this country) used to be mainstream. That seems to have changed—or is changing. Maybe the things I enjoy aren’t actually held in such high regard anymore.

Think about that for a second. If you’re a Christian, some of the things you relish are no longer in vogue. Things that were once generally accepted now make you appear less than cool.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Maybe you like Christian music. Maybe you enjoy worship. Possibly you appreciate hanging out with others to study the Scriptures. If we stack those up against the Wikipedia definition, all of them have become (or are quickly becoming) guilty pleasures.

Years ago when I entered pastoral ministry, it was not uncommon to be introduced as the “Reverend.” I tried to avoid that for several reasons, but when I couldn’t, it was often followed by a general atmosphere of respect and deference. That is no longer the case.

I don’t mourn the loss of that instant respect. Yet the change in attitude toward Christians in general is noticeable. It seems now that the ultimate guilty pleasure is Jesus, himself. Does that make me a “Jesus snob” too?MommyDearest

Share This Post!

SHARE THIS POST! Share it. Pin it. Post it. We see these directives over and over again. Sometimes we do it. Often we ignore them.

Social media sites like Facebook are full of these little commands and suggestions. They’re known as “calls to action”—CTA for short. And I always thought that meant Chicago Transit Authority. Who knew?

I’m sure you’ve seen them. Some are very obvious and purposeful. Others are more accidental and indecisive. All of them are instructions to do the deed (whatever the deed might be in that particular case).

I dare you to post this on your wall for two minutes!

A lot of them want you to agree with what they’re laying down. They have CTAs like, “share this post if you agree.” Others want you to help them get something around the cyber world and ask you to, “post this to your FB page.” Still others are a dare that bait you to, “post this on your wall for at least two minutes.”

As a Christian, the ones I like the least are the ones that suggest you’ll be blest if you share their post. God will give you 60 days of good luck if you do. Either that or you’ll prove you don’t really love God if you don’t repost. Please…TLW Stack

Of course the goal of these reposting requests are ultimately to get something to go “viral.” Going viral could turn our fifteen minutes of fame into a YouTube phenomenon. Sometimes these are good and other times they are embarrassing. But any publicity is good publicity, right?

Shared posts are like compound interest.

The big thing about sharing posts is this. It’s like compound interest. Compound interest is when you begin to earn interest on your interest. You invest the principle amount, it earns interest, and then the interest earns interest. You make money while doing nothing (in other words, your money works for you).

That’s how posts work. A “share” is like interest. A friend reposts your post. A friend of theirs (whom you don’t know) likes it and reposts it. A friend of theirs does the same, and all of a sudden, you have an audience bigger than you can imagine (compound interest).

Two things you can glean from this…

So you can glean two things from all of this. Number one is you shouldn’t share anything you’d rather not see go viral. You never know what you’re starting.

Number two is you can really help someone get their point, product, or cause out there if you want to. One thing can lead to another, and they’ve got a large audience, fan base, or clientele list.

The real reason for this post.    TLW Angled Cover

That brings me to the real reason for this post. I’ve written a book entitled “The Last Wedding.” I’d like you to help me get the word out by…you guessed it…sharing this post.

You’re not going to get 60 days of luck or prove you love God by doing it. You just might help my meager effort to touch souls, however.

Sorry for the crass commercialism, but you know how it is. Please share this post.

(Better yet–click here and order it!).

My Band of Brothers and the Advent Relived

Occasionally, I make the five-hour trek northward to my hometown. While there, I meet up with some of my high school buddies for breakfast.

It’s amazing how we can pick up where we left off. Sometimes it’s like we were never apart. We yuck it up, renew old acquaintances, and catch up on each other’s lives.Brothers II

Inevitably, we tell a few stories that never get old. These are stories we’ve been retelling for forty or fifty years. We still laugh just as hard as when we first told them (or we still shake our heads just as much). Either way, they are a reminder of the history we share.

“They told me the same stories over and over again.”

Those stories remind me of my first parish. I often visited the nursing homes in my area as many pastors do. There were a few lovely, elderly ladies that stand out in my mind from that era of my life. They each would tell me the same stories every time I visited them.

I would patiently listen to those stories, nod, and act surprised by the ending. Then I would politely ask clarifying questions as if I didn’t already know the answers. It was a ritual I grew to enjoy.

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. I was reminded that it is the first Sunday in the Christian calendar year. A new cycle has begun.

We do the same thing every year. During Advent, we look back to the coming of Jesus and look forward to his return. In the short term, we gear up for the celebration of his birth.

We tell many of the same stories. You Brothersknow the ones. Stories about John the Baptist, Mother Mary preparing for the babe, and Joseph trying to keep his family afloat. Along with that, we sing the same songs. Each of these things keeps a spark alive within us.

Some of it is nostalgic—harking back to childhood memories or more recent happenings. But all of it adds up to much more than nostalgia. Advent is the time for stories and songs and rituals that never get old.

“Advent means a coming into view or an arrival.”

The word “advent” means a coming into view or an arrival. While Jesus is always in view for a Christian, we use these four weeks leading into Christmas as a time to remind ourselves of how we got here. It’s a time of joyous anticipation as well as quiet hopefulness.

The Advent Season is really indispensible. If we didn’t tell these stories over and over again, we would soon lose sight of them. If we didn’t cherish the memories, we would undoubtedly become stale in our faith and in our daily walk.

We Christians are a band of brothers (and sisters) not unlike my old high school buddies and those nursing home beauties. So we retell the stories. In doing so, we help imbed the reality of the greatest occurrence in human history into our souls. God comes in the flesh, and our lives are never the same again.Band of Brothers