Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, February 13, 2012

Engaged? Things we don't hear a preacher say.....


Park Chapel had a tremendous weekend we titled "Global Impact" weekend over the past few days. In the church I grew up in, we called it a Missions weekend. Powerful testimonies of missionaries would be on the preaching schedule to preaching to the congregation and give us listeners words to inspire and encourage us to engage in ministry. I remember some wonderful weekends of workshops, games, FOOD (always a potluck) and then on Sunday we would worship in song, preaching, prayer, fellowship, and breaking bread.

We would often go to other sister church revivals or mission Saturday events. We had one church we would go to and at the end of the service the preacher always gave an alter call. I am not talking about an time of invitation, but an alter call. He would say, "Every head is bowed and every eye is closed. If there is anyone that needs Jesus, would you slip your hand up. Just slip that hand up. No one will know and I will pray for you. Is there anyone that would like to meet Jesus just put your hand up." He would go on like this for 15 minutes. As a teenage, I was often at the organ playing as the guest organist because I was willing to play more of the contemporary choruses. My eyes could not be closed and I would glance out to the crowd and I never saw any hands. Then the preacher would say, "I see that hand...yes, I see that hand...yes, sister I see your hand and will pray for your need....and on and on and on."

I was thinking what would have happened if instead of saying, "I see that hand," what if the preacher said;
"Put that hand down, James, everyone knows you don't mean it."
OR
"Put that hand down Betty and stop being such a gossip. You're killing the Spirit in this place."
OR
"Put your hand down Don, everyone knows your providing half the county with drugs."
OR
"Put You hand down Roberta, and put some clothes on for once."
OR
"Put that hand down John, your just going to cheat someone out of more money tomorrow."
OR
"Get a grip Jess, and put that hand down. You could care less about God."
OR
"Put that hand down Steve, your hand was up last week and look how serious your were about that.
You get the idea. I wonder if there would have been more revival in that place instead of more complacency. I am so thankful, that was not our church. Our preacher was sincere, authentic, and genuine. He and his wife were well aware of our faults. He understood there was no need to guilt us to the alter every week because he opened the word of God to us in a well prepared sermon and God had made us well aware of our faults. Yes, there was a time of invitation, but it was for prayer, repentance, and receiving individuals that wanted to know Jesus. Guilt was never part of the equation and that is probably why I feel so compelled to be a minister and preacher today.

Karen and I want to be engaged in what God has laid out for our lives. He has given us a calling for Children with special needs and specifically children with Down syndrome. We are not climbing the mountain of India, or traveling into closed Muslim countries, or even washing the wounds and feeding the hungry in Africa. God has called us to minister to people with special needs and their families. He has called and equipped us to add two boys with Down syndrome into our family. He has engaged us to be His people on the front lines of isolation, fear and neglect.

I know He is willing to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask..."yes, I see that hand and I will be praying for you." You know I love ya, Don

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