Thursday, June 27, 2013

Abundance. In Abundance.

It's getting more and more puzzling to me, why most church members aren't more open about their faith. I figure it's mostly the usually-expressed reasons ... fear of failure, fear of being asked something they don't know, a feeling they don't know enough about their faith to express themselves properly, etc. Perhaps fear of being a poor witness.

I've been around quite a while, and have traveled around quite a bit, too. And I can count on one hand the number of times someone I've been around .. someone I didn't know .. has ever mentioned their faith. And that covers half a century! So, thinking we should be a lot freer to express our faith, than that, I frequently bring up things in my Sunday School class, or in a Bible study, to make it easier for ordinary folks to bring up Spiritual matters. To discuss their faith. To ask others about theirs.

As a side note, I'm starting a class in October called Conversational Jesus, designed to remove those invisible unnamed fears from folks' hearts, so they can feel free and confident to bring up the matter any time they'd like to. Which I'd hope, among church members, would be frequently.

One of the things I've done is to ask a class member about, say, their house. They'll give me a description of it, and I'll ask about anything they omit, like is it brick, do they have a living room and a den, etc. Then I will pop a question like how many nails, or bricks, or board feet of lumber there are, in the house. When they answer that they don't know, I'll point out it's OK that they don't, and point out that lack of knowledge about nails or bricks or board feet of lumber didn't keep them from telling what they did know about it.

They usually get the point. What we don't know shouldn't keep us from telling what we do know.

I've put a few pictures up on Facebook, showing servers in restaurants we've visited, for whom we'd prayed (after asking if we could pray for something, on their behalf). That has gotten to be a real joy for us, kind of exemplified by our experience in Houston, at Pappadeaux's Restaurant, when 7 of us from FBC Pelham prayed for the delightful Alyssa. Which I also reported on, via Facebook.

Well, the guy in the picture above isn't a server. He's a salesman for AT&T's U-Verse. And, in a coincidence of coincidences, he lives in Tuscaloosa and his name is Paul Bryant.

Really. Paul Bryant.

U-Verse wasn't the deal for us, so the presentation didn't last too long. But I pointed out a few things about selling, that I thought would be profitable for him. And then it got interesting.

I asked if he was a student, or what, and he replied he'd graduated from The University of Alabama, and was trying to earn money to go back and finish his MBA. I asked him if that was common in his family and he said no, anything but. We talked then about why he had this drive .. this clarity of vision .. this determination .. when that was far from the norm in his family. That, eventually, led to a chat about his desires coming from God, a gift from the Maker of the universe, to him. And we talked about why him? In a family in which that was highly unusual.

That led to a discussion about church. He went to Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, but he'd not been attending lately, as he traveled every day from Tuscaloosa to Homewood, to start work, and he had been out of church for some time (though he doesn't work on Sundays).

We talked about what God gets out of church services ... namely, our worship. And that he needed to be in church worshiping on Sundays. And that he has obviously been given a gift, which somehow God is going to want to see used in the Body of Christ ... "for the common good." as Paul put it, in 1 Corinthians.

We finished up with a prayer time, that God would show Paul how He wanted to use him, and yes, when I asked him his name, I did tell him that, in itself, was interesting.

Paul.

I have to wonder why everybody doesn't want to talk about their faith at times like this. The whole episode, perhaps 45 minutes, was thrilling. It was a blast.

It was abundant.

So come on in! The (Living) Water's fine!

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