Ba-ba-baby You Ain’t Seen Nu-nu-nuthin’ Yet – You Never Know Who You’ll Influence

“There’s someone here to see you,” my secretary said yesterday afternoon.  “He says he knew you a long time ago.”  She told me his name.  I remembered him, but hadn’t seen him for close to 40 years.

I went out to the lobby and he rose from the chair to greet me.  “Joe (name changed)” I said, “How have you been, buddy?”  Joe’s a long-time local musician, and the younger brother of a friend of mine from my old days of drugs, drunkenness and rock ‘n roll.

“I’ve been wanting to stop by and get your thoughts on something,” he said.  “I became a Christian a couple years ago and I think I’m going to have to quit my band.  I remember when you quit your band when you became a Christian and wanted to talk to you about it.”

“You remember that?” I said.  I’d been closer to his brother and couldn’t remember much about Joe.

“Oh yeah, I remember it.  I couldn’t believe you’d just throw it all away when you became a Christian.  Last I saw you, your band was playing in the barn on my brother’s farm.  It was a cold day and you said, ‘We’re going to sing ‘Ba-ba-baby you ain’t seen nu-nu-nuthin’ yet” by Bachman Turner Overdrive.  It ought to be easy ‘cause it’s so cold today.’”

I remembered that day.  Remembered the farmhouse bathroom floor covered with stalks of drying marijuana.

“Next thing I heard was you quit the band.  I couldn’t believe you’d just throw all that away because you became a Christian.  It really affected me.”

“Really?” I said.  “I had no idea.”

It was September of 74, and at the end of a Bible study I decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, which meant a few weeks later I’d have to quit my band. I’d asked our bass player, who booked our gigs, not to book any more in a particularly bad bar.  Not only was I exposing myself to temptation, but we sang songs that promoted ungodly things and provided background music for others to do the things we sang about.

A few days later he booked us into the very bar I’d asked him not to. So I called him and told him I was quitting the band.

“What! Are you kidding me?” He shouted. “We have gigs booked. What are you doing that for?”

I couldn’t think of anything else to say but, “Jesus told me to.”

“What?!” He yelled again. “Do you want me to come over there and string you up?” And he could have done it because he was built like a mountain.

“Not really, I said, “but do whatever you have to do. I just have to quit the band.”

Later I heard that lots of people didn’t understand what I had done. Some said I “got religion,” or “became a Jesus freak.”  Little did I suspect my decision would influence anyone.  Now 37 years later Joe tells me it affected him.

Every day we make decisions to obey Jesus and have no idea how we may influence others. People are watching us.  When we do our work cheerfully, when we shovel a neighbor’s walk, when we offer to pray for an unbelieving friend, when we respond to an insult with kindness – who knows how Jesus will use your faithfulness?

Around the Interweb: Great Photos, Beard Flow Charts, Did It Click?

How To Make A Command Sink or Swim: A helpful article from Kevin DeYoung on two different approaches to exhorting people to obey the word of God.

Little People In A World of Food: I loved the creativity of these photos. There is something very whimsical about these photos of little people surrounded by large food. Very cool.

These Kids Are Cool: These are some of the neatest engagement photos I’ve ever seen. I wish I had done something like this.

Beard Flow Chart: Is Your Beard Trustworthy?: After reviewing this chart, I don’t think that my beard is very trustworthy.

Are You A Hero?

This Sunday I interacted with several heroes. Not the comic book kind that swing around on Spidey-ropes, let bullets ping off their chest, and speak in a low gravelly voice while flinging Bat-A-Rang’s at baddies. No, these were real heroes.

My first heroic encounter occurred as I pulled into the church parking lot. Despite the lip-chapping cold, I was greeted by smiling parking crew attendants. Nobody pays much attention to those on the parking crew, but they’re heroes.

I walked into the church and was greeted by a smiling man. His name tag informed me that he was a “greeter”. Hence the greeting. I didn’t know this guy and didn’t catch his name. But his pleasant smile and warm greeting made me feel welcome at the church. How long had he been standing there, smiling to each person that entered?

I was led in singing by a bunch of happy, nameless people. They weren’t in it for the glory of being on stage, and they certainly weren’t making any money out of the deal. I did know one guy, Dave, who has been on the worship team since around the Civil War. He’s always a happy servant, always smiling. He (like me), is probably adored by one person: his wife. But he’s a hero.

After worship all the children made their way to Children’s Ministry. Hundreds of little hearts being instructed in the ways of the Lord. Little noses being wiped, crying babies being held. Nobody watching, no applause. Mostly hard work. That’s true heroism.

In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus said:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This past Sunday I was surrounded by true greatness. Two questions. Do we recognize true greatness? Do we pursue true greatness?

Originally published October, 2008

We Don’t Know What We Have

Believers in Jesus Christ are the richest people on earth.

We have every reason to be cheerful, optimistic, glad-hearted, generous servants, because we have been immeasurably blessed. In Jesus we lack nothing.  Though we may lack material goods and suffer affliction in this world, we look forward to an eternity of Christmas mornings where God will continually unwrap for us new riches in Christ, our Treasure.  As Paul worshipped God for our blessings in Christ, so should we:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

Paul regularly prayed for those he served to be able to grasp more of their riches in Christ.  He prayed because they needed God himself to reveal his riches to them.

“Our problem is not lack of blessings, but lack of insight and wisdom to understand and use them properly and faithfully. Our blessings are so vast that the human mind cannot comprehend them. In our own minds we cannot fathom the riches we have in our position in Jesus Christ. Such things are totally beyond the human mind to grasp. Only the Holy Spirit himself can search the deep things of the mind of God, and only the Spirit can bring them to our understanding.” –John MacArthur, Ephesians

MacArthur recounts a Warren Wiersbe illustration:

William Randolph Hearst once read of an extremely valuable piece of art, which he decided he must add to his extensive collection. He instructed his agent to scour the galleries of the world to find a masterpiece he was determined to have any price. After many months of painstaking search, the agent reported that the piece already belonged to Mr. Hearst and had been stored in one of his warehouses for many years. –John MacArthur, Ephesians

How can I be discontented when I’m rich in Christ?
How can I be selfish when God has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in his Son?
How can I grumble when I know the Treasure of Treasures?
How can I be unhappy when I’m a joint-heir with Jesus?
How can I not want to serve others when God has been so lavish toward me?
How can I not praise God for his steadfast love and goodness to me in Christ?
How can I not marvel that he saved me?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your lavish, incomprehensible grace toward us in Jesus.
Thank you Jesus, for living, dying and rising again to make us joint-heirs with you.
Holy Spirit, thank you for opening our eyes to see the glory of Jesus.  Please show us more today.

photo by fringefalcon