Pest Control and Evangelism

Last Saturday afternoon our doorbell rang as we were preparing to load the cars for dinner at the family reunion we hosted over the weekend.

A pest control company was in the development on behalf of one of my neighbors. The exterminator/door-to-door salesman wanted to make sure I had the opportunity while he was in the area.  For only $50 he would treat my yard, too!

I politely engaged in conversation while just as politely expressing that I was not very interested.  I know I turned him down at least four times.  It seemed he literally would not accept “no” for an answer.

I was probably not quite as polite at the end of the conversation as I was at the beginning, but he was wearing me out. As I stepped back inside the house and started to shut the door, I heard him say, “well, aren’t you awesome!”  in a clearly sarcastic tone. (I know sarcasm; having used it myself for more than 35 years now)

Here’s the deal.  When I am cold-called, I start from a place of being a very hard sell.  I feel I am at an extreme disadvantage.  When the salesperson has too-quick an answer to EVERY ONE of my questions, it doesn’t not build trust. No, it makes me step even further back.

My takeaway.  Well, first, perhaps I could have stepped back out and pursued his sarcastic suggestion of my awesomeness. That’s water under the bridge.

Second, Christians, we can glean from insight into how other might feel when we attempt to share Jesus with them.  Sure, you and I know it is not just another sales call, but it is reasonable that the other person feels like we are trying to make a sale.

The faster we respond with canned answers to sincere questions, the less interested the other person is in what we have to say.

In case you are ever told to “bug off” when trying to share your faith, consider the perspective of the other person.




Pest Control and Evangelism

Speak for yourself

Next time you try to tell someone something, but dress it in “some people have told me…” or “everyone is saying…,” we know you speak only for yourself.

Own it! Your opinion is worth something.  Really; everyone’s opinion is worth something,

I mean it.  I’m not just bloviating generalities.  Your opinion matters.

In fact, it matters more when you can actually express your opinion.  When you pretend you speak on behalf of others because you think it will carry more weight. Ok, it may not carry more weight, but it will be honest, and honesty carries more weight.

I care what you think, but when you throw down the intimidation factor of trying to convince me there is a groundswell of support behind you, I am more than likely going to blow you off.

I mean all this especially in the context of church work.  The church has not always been good at being honest with one another.  In fact, we’ve got some pretty horrific time-honored practices of putting people in their place and keeping them there. Of silencing minorities we don’t want to hear from.

But we are Jesus’ people.  We claim him as our Savior, and say we want to follow him. We believe Jesus listened to individuals; if we follow him, it is a good practice for us to develop as well.

So, from now on, if I have something to tell you, I won’t try to crowdsource it.  I hope you’ll do the same for me.

Speak for yourself

Changing Your Mind

Are you at the mercy of whatever happens to enter your mind?  Sometimes this becomes an excuse we make.  It is one tool we use to justify a lack of transformation in our lives.

Now, you may (or may not) want any transformation in your life, but people of God are promised, offered, commanded it.

So here we go. Can we, indeed, change our minds?

I did so last night.  I am still surprised that it happened, and the degree to which it succeeded.

You see, I had a particular song in my head.  It doesn’t matter what song it was, but you know how this works.  Sometimes you get a song in your head and it just stays.  (I once had the theme from the A-Team in my head for over a year, but don’t hold that against me)

I was tired of this particular song, whatever it was, so I set to thinking of a different song.  I hoped to replace one song with another.

It worked.  I don’t mind telling you, either, that, for whatever reason, the new song, that I now cannot get out of my head is Shine, by the Newsboys. (Thank you, Glen Lake Camp, for making sure that song was in my recall files.)

Changing what is in one’s mind is not always this easy, but it IS possible.  More than that, perhaps it will help you to know that God is interested in changing our minds (Romans 12:2 & 2 Corinthians 10:5, for example).

Give it a try.  Start with something little, like a song in your head.

God’s it for it. Are you?

Changing Your Mind

Favorite Commandment?

ten_commandmentDo you have a favorite Commandment?  I am thinking of the Ten Commandments, but you might choose from the two greatest that Jesus and “the legal expert” both cite as summing up all the rest.  Or you may choose from among the 613 Commandments of the Torah.

You may, perhaps, even cite some other authoritative source for the purposes of this post.

This thought arises after having heard, again, adults suggest to children that the “most important one for you” is to obey your mother and father.

Huh.  Now, I’m not going to disagree on this in front of a roomful of children.  But sometimes I wonder if we have told children THIS commandment often enough that we begin to think it is for them.

I don’t think there is any credible biblical scholar who would support the idea that the other 9 are for everyone, but that one is for children.

Another possibility of your (or my) favorite commandment would be the one that we have the least likelihood of offending.  Kill?  No, that’s really not me, so I’ll jump on that one as the most important.  I’ll engage in discussions (actually debates) about how this commandment is the most important and work tirelessly to get other people to stop breaking it.

Least favorite? Well, that’s easy.  It would be the one over which we stumble most.  That whole covet thing gets me daily.  Did Moses have any idea how materialistic our culture would be?  Don’t covet anything?  How about nothing over $100?

What do I mean by favorite?  Favorite one to toss at others?  Favorite one to celebrate?  Favorite to stand awestruck at God’s goodness?

Your choice.  After all, it’s YOUR favorite.


Favorite Commandment?

Idol or Offering?

In the same week that I was engaged in a discussion about online worship, I came across this:Image

I was struck at the cultural contrast in this image. The altar setting appears very traditional to me, the LCD television sitting upon it the opposite.

The first thought I had, honestly, was that this symbolized our present-day worship of electronic imagery.  Is the television itself a “graven image,” or are the multiplicity of images we look for on it “graven images”?

Or could it be that an altar is exactly where Jesus Followers ought to place their televisions.  What we put on the altar, after all, is what we give to God.  Dare we give our use of the screen to God?

ALL of our use of the screen? EVERY screen?

If indeed our employment of screens is given over to God, what might this mean about our openness to worship, fellowship, other experiences we have that involve screens?

Idol or Offering?

You don’t know… You CAN’T know…

Bill Cosby, in the interest of helping men understand the agony of giving birth, likened it to “taking your lower lip, and pulling it up over your head.”  I’m not sure how close a match that would be, but I know it is closer than  this:

Rachel was in the hospital the day after giving birth to our son Liam.  I had gone down to the first floor for something and got onto the elevator to return to the Labor and Delivery section.  I rode with a man and a woman, who I quickly identified as a father and grandmother of a newborn.

The man mentioned that his back was hurting. He had not slept well on the pseudo-bed the hospital provided for partners of those giving birth.  Then he said this, “my back hurts so much I know how my wife must feel.”  (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP)

No, sir, you don’t.  You can’t

My own wife had, the day before, gone through a rather brief labor.  She delivered Liam without any pain medication, in less than 3 hours.  I think I would rather pull my lower lip over my head.

His wife, he explained, had endured 36 hours of labor and then had a C-section.  I don’t care what kind of mattress he slept or tossed-and-turned on; it didn’t match what the mother of his child had just done.

I know we are wired to make comparisons.  Sometimes, when motivated by empathy and compassion, such comparisons may be helpful.

I don’t think this man’s was.

There are things men don’t know, and can’t know, about being a woman – including giving birth.  Even if you (or a comedian) offers us an analogy, we will not and cannot really grasp it.

There are also things women don’t know, and can’t know, about being a man.

Categories are now flooding my mind of all the possibilities of limits on comparison here.  We are all humans, but not a single one of us is *just* a human.  Every one of us is identified in multiple other ways, too, that limit the ability of some to really grasp everything about us.

And vice-versa.

However many hyphens this adds to your self-description, I believe it is incredibly helpful for us to humbly acknowledge not only what we *all* have in common, but how very much we don’t.


You don’t know… You CAN’T know…