HOT NOW.

14-things-you-didn-t-know-about-krispy-kreme

I wonder.

How many customers show up at Krispy Kreme when the “Hot Now” light is on, compared to when it’s off?

I’m guessing the difference is…gastronomical.

Come to think of it, the only time I show up at a Krispy Kreme is when that light is on, because it’s an entirely different eating experience.

I mean, you put a day-old doughnut in front of me, chances are I’m gonna eat it.

But when those things are hot?  Fresh off the conveyor belt?

Now that’s something special.

Something Life-changing.  Transcendent.

The kind of thing I might be willing to hop in my car and go buy a box of.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking.

Maybe we should get one of those “HOT NOW” signs for the church!

Instead of “Krispy Kreme” in the center, it would say “CHURCH”.

And we’d light it up every Sunday morning so the whole community would know something truly special was happening here.

Can you imagine the results?

Attendance would skyrocket.

Folks would fill up the parking lot to get their hands on what we’re offering.

(Something Life-changing.  Something Transcendent.)

When people saw that sign, they’d make it a priority because they’d know we were offering our very best.

There’s only one thing…

We’d have to truly be offering our very best.

I mean, can you picture people showing up at Krispy Kreme expecting 30-second old donuts and instead getting something stale and old?

If we lit up that “HOT NOW” sign for all people to see, then the experience of church had better be something extra special.

Something that would have people coming back for more.

So what does that mean we’d have to offer?  What’s our equivalent of a hot and fresh doughnut?

A great sermon?  A stirring anthem?  Well, they’d have to be pretty good.  But there’s more.

A “HOT NOW” Sunday morning includes amazing hospitality, excellent learning opportunities for all ages, and a real and powerful invitation to receive the love of Christ.

And there would be great excitement, and passion and vulnerability and faith bursting at the seams of the building and back out onto the streets.

And there would be a sense of community and support far more nourishing than any doughnut could ever be.

That’s a lot to pull together on a Sunday morning!

That makes doughnut frying look like child’s play.

Still, it’s what we’re called to do.  Some Sundays we do better than others.

I wonder.

If we had a “Hot Now Church” sign in the window…

How often would we turn it on?

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Some new Church Words

I’ve coined a few new Church Words.

(Who knows, some of them may already exist…)

Use them freely!

Catholic church in New York“PEWNY”:  The state or condition of having
fewer people than usual in the pews on Sunday morning.

.

.

corneliaumc_1_1“TRADIGITAL WORSHIP”: Old-time hymns
projected on new-fangled screens.

.

.

159235441_eccumenical-desk-wax-seal-stamp-of-william-temple-“ECCUMANIACAL”:  A community worship service
planned by severely dysfunctional churches/pastors.

.

.

simpsons-in-church_thumb[10]“MARGE”:  Designation for a church too big
to be medium-sized and too small to be large.

.

.

tithe“LITHE”: 1/3 less giving than a regular Tithe.

.

.

Evangelism-oh-no-300x233“EVANGERATISM”:  Spreading the Good News, but only to people you like.

.

.

A free flying white dove isolated on a black background

“LENTECOST”:  When you feel the Holy Spirit before Easter.

.

.

Pasteurized-Milk-Processing-Line-From-Jouyu-Group“PASTORIZED”: When the preacher’s sermon is
good enough to last you a whole week.

.

.

Adam Hamilton Photo and Book 03062014“HAMILTONNE”: The collected weight of all of a church’s
Adam Hamilton books and video series.

.

.

eggs benedict“EGGS BENEDICTION”:  When you want the pastor to hurry up
so you can go get brunch.

.

It took a while to come up with ten!   Vote for your favorites in the comments.

And if you’ve created some of your own church words, add those too!

In the meantime…Have a great week,

(and a non-pewny Sunday)

Mitch

Very Last Sin

“No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” – 1 John 3:6 NRSV

In 2073, when I’m 113 years old, I will commit my very last sin.

I’m going to walk out to the food replicator and order up a nice big plate of nachos. From the other room, my wife will call out, “What are you eating, dear? That had better be a health drink.”

“Of course dear,” I’ll say, as I sit down at the kitchen table and place one enormous chip filled with cheesy goopy stuff into my mouth.

And then I’ll just die. From old age.

Now on the one hand, that seems like a pretty good way to go. Eating some nachos, my wife nearby. It was a good life. But did you catch it? There, just before I kicked off this mortal coil, I broke a commandment. I lied.

I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. Too bad I had to ruin that special moment by sinning.

Here’s the question: Did I die a Christian, or a sinner?

1 John 3:6, above, makes it pretty clear. You’re either in or you’re out. You’re either a sinner or an “abider”. Certainly there are Christians of various denominations that take this literally. I know some who claim that once you are a Christian it’s impossible to sin anymore. You aren’t just “saved”, you receive “Christian Perfection” all at once. My experience doesn’t bear that out. I see perfection as a goal for our lifelong spiritual journeys.

What about you? What do you think your last sin will be? Will it be a lie? Maybe you’ll steal something, or disrespect God or someone else? Is selfishness a sin? If it is, then you and I have some issues to face. Am I right?

Well, the good news is that several other translations of the scripture read a little differently. Many translations say if you “keep sinning” you won’t abide with God. In other words, it’s not just a one time deal. If you make sin an ongoing part of your life, it becomes very difficult to remain part of the Body of Christ.

So that would mean you’re not booted out for every single transgression. Instead, it means that if sin is a pattern in your life, it’s very difficult for Christ to be the pattern of your life.

That puts some things into perspective for me. If I’ve got a good 65 years left in my life (one can hope!), what kind of a pattern do I want to follow? I may not live perfectly, but I want to live intentionally.

Interestingly enough, my very last sin may not have changed. After all, lying about nachos is more like a little white lie.  And at 113, I say I deserve them.

Maybe it’s “Nacho” last sin to be so concerned about.

It’s the ones between now and then that really matter.

Have a great week,

Mitch

(Updated)

Down To The Second

Something strange happened to me last night.

I walked into the kitchen and looked at the microwave clock.  It said 11:04pm.

But then I noticed the oven clock.  It said 11:00pm.

Curious, I looked at my watch.  It said the time was 10:59pm.

Intrigued, I pulled out my cellphone.  It said it was 11:02.

4 different time pieces.  4 different times.

What in the world was going on?  Had I been sucked into a time vortex?

You know, in the movies, when spies are about to pull off some covert mission?  They stand in a circle and hold out their wrists and synchronize their watches down to the exact second.  I always kind of liked that notion, that time could be so dependable and exact.

But I have all kinds of time-telling devices in my life, and I doubt any of them are perfectly synced with each other.  Is that okay?

I went to the Bible, curious to see what the scriptures say about keeping time.   There are lots and lots of passages referring to the words “time”, “day”, and “hour”, but do you know how many passages mention “minutes” or “seconds”?

None!  None that I could find anyway.

And I suppose that makes sense.   People back then weren’t wearing wristwatches, nor did they have microwave clocks (or microwaves).

The idea of living with such precision–down to the second–would have been quite foreign to them.   And still, they managed to keep important dates, make plans, etc.

Today we have clocks with radio signals so they stay perfectly in time with the “official time”.  And cellphones keep their time through their cell towers.  There are programs and websites you can access offering 100% accuracy when it comes to time.

I suppose that’s kind of cool, but truthfully?

I’ve decided that living in my own little time vortex is kind of nice.   It reminds me that I don’t have to be “on the clock” all the time.  I don’t have to plan my life down to the last second.

There’s give and take in life.  Room to breathe.  A couple minutes of wiggle room here and there keep me from feeling like a prisoner to time.

Time may relentlessly continue to march forward, but I choose to march…

to the beep of my own microwave.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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