Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The preacher's kid and the liquor boxes

Not only am I a preacher, but I'm a PK-- preacher's kid. My father was a pastor before me.

Once when I was a teenager, we were moving out of the pastorium, and mom ran out of packing boxes. She asked me to go to the grocery store and see if I could get some more boxes. When I arrived at the grocery store, the manager informed me that they had just disposed of most of their boxes. Not wanting to return home empty-handed, I asked if he knew someplace else that had boxes. The manager said, "You can try the liquor store-- they have lots of boxes."

So I went to the liquor store in that town, and sure enough, they had plenty of empty boxes that they were glad for me to take. I thought mom would be pleased, since many of the liquor boxes had separate compartments that would be perfect for storing small things. I was wrong.

"You went WHERE?" she softly shouted. She was probably wondering if a deacon saw the Baptist pastor's son going into the liquor store.

When I explained that it was the suggestion of the grocery store manager, she relaxed and told me to put them over in the corner, but she did not plan to use the nasty things.

We continued to pack without using the liquor boxes, but soon we needed them. Finally, mom broke down and asked me to hand her one of those Jack Daniels' boxes to store her glasses in, so they wouldn't break. I guess she finally decided that the devil had used them long enough, and it was time for the Lord to get some good out of them.

God did something similar when he sent Jesus. The perfect, holy, pure Son of God came to earth, wrapping himself in the flesh of the sinful, wicked human race, although He was without sin Himself (Hebrews 4:15). When the angel Gabriel first heard about it, maybe he said to God, "You are sending the Son WHERE?"

God did not become one of us to condone our sin, but to show us the way out, by faith in His sacrifice on the cross. Like my mom with the liquor boxes, God decided the devil had us long enough, and it was time for Him to reclaim us for His purposes. Not only did He wrap Himself in the same flesh as sinful man, but he entrusted to mankind to pass on the gospel message to others. The apostle Paul, speaking about the precious gospel being carried by sinful man, says, "Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7, HCSB).

This is the wonder of the incarnation-- not that God came as a cute baby, but that a holy God took descended into the muck and mire of human sin to save us. The act of God using us as his "clay jars" is not only more shocking than the Baptist preacher's son uses empty liquor boxes, but it was also far more redemptive. Thank God that He loved us that much!

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Introductions can make a huge first impression, either for good or bad.
A man ran into the associate pastor of his church at a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. He introduced his associate pastor to some friends, and afterwards his wife told him, "Do you realize what you just said? You introduced him as our 'Socio-Pastor.'"
While some introductions may hurt, other introductions that seem to hurt may actually help. Years ago, a fellow was running for student body president at Mississippi College, and at the candidate forum he had six different people introduce him before he gave his campaign speech. Since it was a Christian college, he enlisted a fellow who was preparing to be a foreign missionary to make the final introduction. The speaker said that the candidate running for president had loved the college since he was a child, growing up near the college. In fact, he said, when the candidate was a little boy, his mother was hanging clothes on the line to dry, and she turned around to look for her child, but he was gone. She soon found him on his tricycle, riding straight to the college, "without a stitch of clothes on." The candidate said, "I think it was that introduction that got me elected."
The apostle Paul gave letters of introduction when he sent men with a financial gift to the church at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:3), but Paul said because he had such a close relationship with the church at Corinth, that he himself did not need a letter of introduction. "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry..." (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, NIV).
The truth is, that when you have a real relationship, you don't need an introduction. So if you met Jesus today in person, would somebody have to introduce you, or would He already know you?

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers.