The Beauty of Being Irrelevant


True story from seminary days:

I stick a Tootsie Roll in my lip,” he said. 

“A what where why?” I said. 

“Well, the guys in my community all chew tobacco, and I don’t. So the Tootsie Roll turns my spit brown. I can relate to them better that way,” he said.

“Oh,” I said.

He was a young pastor in rural upstate New York — to a redneck tribe of pickup trucks and flannel shirts. And chewing tobacco. In the spirit of becoming “all things to all people,” my seminary roommate took up the Tootsie Roll habit, that he might better relate to the men he wanted to reach.

I love that spirit.

But I’m not so sure about that practice.

Aside from the risk of getting busted, “Hey Jimmy-Bob, got a plug of chew I could have?” “Nah, just Tootsie Rolls…” there’s a flaw in the thinking. Being relevant does not mean coloring your spit, faux-hawking what’s left of your hair, or sporting hipster glasses. It does not require LL Cool J on your iPod or misspelled Hebrew tatted on your forearm.

Being relevant means BEING YOURSELF, connecting with a tribe different than yours, and offering hope for a way out. If God has called you to cross cultural barriers (age, language, ethnicity, nationality, religion, education, social status) for the sake of the gospel, then the people you’re reaching need three gifts from you: Continue reading

Monday Morning Quarterback

A worship weekend. All the services seemed to have a great spirit. The 10:45 was full, as usual, and the other services run about 75-90% full.  We really have a wide age-spread… young and old.

I preached sermon 10 in the War of the World’s series. This one was on worldliness… Probably 30 people or more responded to the invitation to receive Jesus. It’s so amazing to see their excited faces when they look at me and smile, or wave, or have tears streaming down their cheeks.

I talked to 1 guy who got out of prison and 1 guy who’s going to prison and 3 guys who I urged to come to Celebrate Recovery. I love these guys! They keep us all real. One of them, a pizza delivery guy who stayed around after delivering pizzas for our worship team, got saved. Very cool.

We had some technical problems with video…and some of our stage monitors died during the 9:00 service. But, God works IN SPITE of technology.

The temperature in the Lassenview Gym during the Classic service never got below 81. My shirt was soaked with sweat. Good thing I bring extra t-shirts to change into!

Today will be a good day to veg out… then I have to prepare 8 talks for my Africa Trip (and powerpoints!), and then it’s run, run, run for the rest of the summer!

Oh… today, I’m putting together my daughter’s doll house.  The directions go up to “Step 28”.  Pray for my sanctification.

““…On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Mt 16:18.