I felt like a school girl shopping for a prom dress. I stood in front of the register staring at the menu on the wall for what seemed like an eternity. Ordering BBQ shouldnâ€™t be this hard for me considering that Iâ€™m a third degree black belt in all things BBQ. This menu didnâ€™t say ribs, brisket, pulled pork, or any of the usual stuff. Instead, they used clever plays on their words and wrote it in some cute cursive font that belonged on a Hallmark card. The thought crossed mind to leave but this place was packed with people.
The sweet young lady at the counter eventually asked if I had any questions about the menu. I said â€śYeah, whatâ€™s your most popular item?â€ť Now without even thinking about my question she said â€śOh! Our baked potatoes are by far our most popular order!â€ť I was shocked! I was confused. My senses were miss firing and my reasoning skill failed. Since when did BBQ joints get famous for serving baked root vegetables? Lord only knows why I didnâ€™t do an about face and walk right out of there. Instead, I went in to survival mode and just blurted out â€śJust gimme a pork sammich, baked beans and a tea.â€ť
I sat at a little dainty table in a trendy chair that was not built to support a real BBQ connoisseur. Any chance this will be good? No such luck. The laws of BBQ require meat to be cooked with fire, not a crock-pot. Bushâ€™s Beans are great but you canâ€™t charge $2.75 a scoop for them. Luckily the portions were small and the sauce was Sweet Baby Rayâ€™s, cleaning my plate was punishment.
I looked at plates on my way out and noticed everyone eating soups, salads, and those famous baked potatoes. I even took a second look at the sign to make sure they really served BBQ. Why were there so many people eating there? That place was awful! Then it hit me, they werenâ€™t there to eat barbecue, they were eating â€śBBQ inspiredâ€ť dishes. It was potatoes with BBQ sauce, salads with pulled pork and brisket soup. The sign said BBQ but eventually the locals learned to eat that stuff instead of traditional wood smoked meats.
When a BBQ joint is famous for potatoes it ainâ€™t a real BBQ joint. The same logic can be applied to the modern church. Many building have â€śChurchâ€ť on their sign but they are famous for something other than a Biblical proclamation of the gospel. Over time the locals may learn to come for other reason, like the youth group, the music, fun activities or just to see their extended family. Then some out of towner, like me will show up hoping to hear the gospel preached. Imagine their disappointment when they only find a â€śgospel inspiredâ€ť message? Just a sauced up imitation of the original. Friend, if your church ainâ€™t famous for the gospel, get out! Cause it ainâ€™t a real church.
I picked up the TV remote in my hotel room anticipating catching up on my favorite shows. We donâ€™t have satellite or cable TV at our house so I rely on motel stays to keep me up to date. This usually works out because they air reruns all day...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
About 4 or 5 years ago a preacher approached me after I finished my sermon at a conference and said â€śYouâ€™re a big God preacher.â€ť At first I thought he was accusing me of arrogance. I had to stop for a minute and repeat what he said in my mind. He...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
As I sat at my computer reading the back and forth arguments of two guys I went to high school with it dawned on me: They are comparing facts with feelings! There was nothing new about their discussion, it centered on two opposing political view...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
If there were a way to draw the blood from American Christianity and send it off for a lab test, it would come back with extremely low levels of doctrine and discernment. The test would also reveal elevated levels of emotionalism and...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Thereâ€™s a certain level of anxiety within the heart and mind of a preacher ever time he deals with a controversial topic. The topic may be instructed throughout the bible but viewed as improper throughout the culture. The preacher knows what he is...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
The words of Christ in Mat 23:11 â€śBut he that is greatest among you shall be your servantâ€ť have been ringing in my ears ever since I preached on that text back in January. Every time some little trivial issue gets under my skin and I start to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
You could almost hear the sighs of relief from many local Methodist when the news broke. They finally had the vote on same sex marriage and gay clergy in the UMC. I was tired of hearing about it and the fact they put it to a vote says a lot about...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I canâ€™t help but chuckle at the inconsistencies of so many professing Christians these days. When the news broke that Satanist of Arkansas have adopted a one mile stretch of highway to keep clean, people went nuts. The rowdiest opponents vowed to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Why do we attend church? I really want everyone consider what motivates them to attend church. Take some time and reflect on why you roll out of bed on your day off and travel to church. Iâ€™m not asking this question so that I can learn what you...[ abbreviated | read entire ]