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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: Witnessing - Without a Micro-Wave Switch
By Noel Mitaxa
01/23/13


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No surprises in today’s menu, thought Pastor Kelvin, surveying the burger options for a Golden Arches lunch with Steve and Warren. Yes, they "would like fries with that,” and a table number, after the cashier promised to bring their coffees over to them.

At the table, with their heads bowed, grace was unwittingly gate-crashed by her cheerful “Here are your coffees.”

“Thank you,” they replied, looking up and smiling. Her smile was edged with curiosity as she walked away. How could these guys order their meals so cheerfully; suddenly share a migraine and then just as quickly snap out of it?

Their conversation kicked in as Kelvin had hoped, for he regularly lunched with men from his church—on their own or with their work colleagues. Menus ranged across silver service, fast-foods, roadside sandwiches and factory canteens, for he was focused on understanding them and their work pressures better. These lunches gave him more honest feedback than any fleeting “wonderful message, pastor” comments at the church door. Which in turn helped him to avoid clichés that roam the stratosphere before coming to rest above the heads of a congregation.

Sales management training helped Steve and Warren to regularly exceed their monthly targets, with sales pitches that subsumed any prospect’s excuses. But they felt like failures at winning people to Christ, and they wanted to know why.

“Pastor Kelvin, the church started with three thousand converts in a single day! Why don’t we see that happening here?” Warren asked, “Especially when our church already outnumbers the hundred and twenty at Pentecost.”

“Warren, the church is growing much faster than that,” replied Kelvin. “Worldwide mission figures show that over seventy-five thousand people give their lives to Jesus every day—over three thousand every hour!”

“But it’s not happening here,” said Steve, “and we've got Christian schools, Christian universities, Christian radio and television networks, Christian movies and books and newspapers…”

“You guys canvass for prospective sales, without expecting every call to produce a contract,” Kelvin replied, “because you know people need time to recognise your product and how it can help them. At Pentecost, centuries of annual festivals and prophecies had prepared the crowd, and their eyes were opened when Peter told them in Acts 2:36: ‘This Jesus whom you crucified, God has made both Yahweh and Messiah!’ Peter reached into where they came from, and opened God’s door for their future.”

As Warren’s mouthful subsided, he wiped a napkin across his mouth. “But pastor, we’ve got sharp testimonies about how we came to know Jesus, but nobody wants to know—and we don’t have centuries to prepare anybody. What should we do?”

Kelvin smiled. “It’s wonderful to have a clear testimony about being born again. But if it’s all we ever tell people, pretty soon they’ll start wishing we’d never been born the first time!

“God uses a whole chain of people as he draws people to himself. Sometimes he lets us know our part in this, but mostly he trusts us with unexpected opportunities to show more interest in others than we have in ourselves. This gives them a rest from needing to compete for attention, and it stimulates their curiosity about what God’s love might do for them.

“You don't like it when people refuse deals that you know would help them. Just like me, when people miss the point of my preaching; because we don’t like people to walk away. But there is no micro-wave switch here, because our desire for them to know Jesus can’t outstrip his desire—or his patience—for them.

“Jesus often let people walk away when he knew they weren’t ready, and our best reply to these people is to let them rest and chew over our interaction with them. This gives them room to get back to us or to ask somebody else about where to go from there.

“I’ve found it helpful to silently pray beneath any conversation; for clear insight about where God is working in people’s lives. Give that a try, and you’ll be able to rest in his guidance to say or ask something relevant, or to just let them talk about their dreams or their disappointments. Sooner or later God will open a door that leads to more than we could ever ask or imagine.

"So let’s be thankful for whatever his next opportunity will be, and rest in his trust in the meantime.”


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This article has been read 257 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dusti (Bramlage) Zarse01/24/13
This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 3:7, a very difficult verse to accept sometimes. Patience to wait on God's timing is always difficult. Great job.
Beth LaBuff 01/24/13
That poor waitress, first she unwittingly "gate-crashed" grace, then when she saw the hands to the forehead while the trio was praying she assumed they all had migraines. What a start to this entry! :) "Subsume" was a new word for me.. :) You are a master with titles AND I had to smile at the concept of a micro-wave switch for witnessing. The message tucked in your story with the example Pastor Kelvin uses of "centuries of annual festivals and prophecies" had prepared the crowd is so good. Then the verse from Acts 2:36 concerning Christ being Yahweh and Messiah is powerful! You have me wondering if that waitress will be the next convert. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
I really enjoyed this piece. I think you made some awesome points and definitely left me with things to think about. Good job.
Danielle King 01/25/13
Oh, I do like pastor Kelvin. He's certainly in tune with God and the people God wants to reach.

I laughed at your 'funnies' (as always)and especially 'grace was unwittingly gate crashed, and 'cliches that roam the stratosphere.'

You packed a lot of stuff into this and conveyed your message well. Looking forward to more of pastor Kelvin please.
Loren T. Lowery01/25/13
What I took from this and admire about Pastor Kelvin is one, his perspective on things (past and present) and his shrewd wisdom in getting to others on their level - in the trenches, completely empathetic with keen listening skills and understanding heart. He was also armed with history lesson to hearten his sometime weary flock. And he was right, of course - preaching at the pulpit has its place and is necessary - but lunching with his congregation inspires honest feedback for both pastor and his flock. Nicely done!
lynn gipson 01/25/13
I just thought of all the people who "planted seeds" in me before I finally gave my life to Christ. Remembering words said to me by people I could tell had something I wanted. This reminded me of that. As usual, you have written a wonderful, thought provoking, and well produced piece that resonates. Excellent. God BLess
CD Swanson 01/25/13
Pastor Kevin is sagacious, kind and a man to be admired. This was an excellent piece that many will enjoy well after reading it.

Thank you. God bless~
Allison Egley 01/25/13
This is great.

My only suggestion/confusion was about the whole "migraine" part. Who was thinking that? If it was the waitress, you have a POV shift. It it was the pastors who THOUGHT that's what she was thinking, then that wasn't made clear enough. (Clear as mud? :))

There are some good reminders here. Nice job.

Dannie Hawley 01/26/13
I loved that the pastor was going to where the people were and eating wherever they normally did. I was confused about the migraine thing, though. How is it that she thought they all had a migraine? The above commenter helped with one possibility, praying posture. Since I pray with my hands in my lap at a restaurant, head bowed and eyes gently closed, I wondered then what our waitresses must think of me...the old girl's nodded off? In any case, a terrific message, delightfully presented.
Christina Banks 01/26/13
You've made some wonderful points in this entry. I really like your line that says "avoid clichés that roam the stratosphere before coming to rest above the heads of a congregation." Nicely done.
Carolyn Ancell01/26/13
Lots of wisdom packed into this piece.
Virgil Youngblood 01/27/13
The fields, being white unto harvest, are due to seeds previously planted. Some plant, some reap, as the pastor counseled. One niggling thought,for what its worth: Table service at Golden Arches? I've never seen that on this side of the pond. Enjoyed your easy-to-read, informative writing style.
Myrna Noyes01/28/13
I really like Pastor Kelvin, and if he had a church in my area, I'd be sure and visit it! :) He really shares a lot of wisdom in this well-written piece with its nice touches of humor! I truly enjoyed the story and its great message!