Thursday, June 7, 2007

Squinting and the Promises of God

"God's promises are bright."

After talking to the man, I thought I should wear shades. He was a retired pastor, thirty years of ministry experience. We met in a bookstore; I make many acquaintances here. This one was Bob.

Bob recently moved to the area; Bob ordered a copy of Barna's Revolution; Bob drank his coffee black. We had a few things in common.

He asked me what I was did professionally. He'd overheard a conversation about coaching cross country, so he asked if I was a coach. "I'm a pastor," I replied.

"Where?"

"Leesburg."

"I'm new to the area and not sure where anything is."

"Three miles north of Wal-Mart," I said.

He nodded. Wal-Mart is the compass, the alpha and omega of small town traffic.

"Have you wanted to be a pastor for a long time?" he asked.

He was sixty-three, I'm twenty-eight: I wondered whose 'long time' we were referring to. Then I responded: "I heard you order Barna's book. When I finished Seminary, I wanted to try an alternative church style. I jumped on the house church train. After four years, a kid, and 60,000 miles, I decided I wanted to lead. House church teaches 'everyone leads,' which effectively means no one leads." I stated this dispassionately, an analysis rather than a criticism.

Bob looked at me affectionately. "Well, God's made some promises to you. To you and your family. You'll learn more about yourself in the next few years than you can imagine. Your future is bright. Let God lead."

Bob left, and I sat there squinting.

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