Today's Word for Pastors...
Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.
Today's Preaching Insight...
What Starbucks, Harry and You All Have in Common
"For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb. 2:2-3a).
Rick Richardson, professor and writer, tells about a pastor named Dan, who realized he was getting stale. So with the approval of his pastoral team, he took a part-time job at a Starbucks coffee shop.
To his surprise, "All 21 people he worked with believed in God. Not one was an atheist ... They were all very positive toward God and spirituality."
Richardson goes on to report:
A second surprise was that all were interested in spiritual things, but not in Christians, Christianity, or the church. No one wanted to hear Dan's proofs for God or invitations to come to church or ideas about salvation. Almost everyone thought they knew what Christianity was about and had decided they didn't want it. They were post Christian. At some point along the way, each of them had experienced a breach in trust related to Christianity. Maybe a Christian friend had been hypocritical or pushy. Maybe when they were young they had attended church and found it boring and irrelevant. Maybe they had watched TV preachers and been turned off. Or maybe they had experienced a tragedy—death or sexual abuse or some other trauma—and felt that God had been distant and uncaring.
Richardson said, "Dan wasn't starting at ground zero, but rather at minus-three or four. ... The biggest thing Dan learned is that people in this generation have a prior question of trust that must be addressed before we can have meaningful spiritual conversations with them."
Pastor Dan had discovered the outside understanding of how the church was viewed by some people.
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Illustration: Giving, Stewardship
A very wealthy man in the community was not known for his generosity to the church. The church was involved in a big financial program so the fundraising committee decided they had to pay him a visit. As they met with him, they said that in view of his considerable resources they were sure that he would like to make a substantial contribution to this program.
"I see," he said. "So you have it all figured out, have you? In the course of your investigation did you discover that I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?" No, they responded, they did not know that. "Did you know that I have a sister who was left by a drunken husband with five children and no means to provide for them?" No, they said, they did not know that either. "Well, did you know also that I have a brother who is crippled due to an automobile accident and can never work another day to support his wife and family?" Embarrassingly, they responded, no, they did not know that either.
"Well," he thundered triumphantly, "I've never given any of them a cent, so why should I give anything to you?"
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