Chick-fil-a, A Love Story

When I walk into a Chick-fil-a, I feel like I’m with my people. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that my people would never step into a McDonald’s. Man, my people have been thrown out of McDonald’s before. I won’t tell you which of my people.

It’s just that when I walk into a Chick-fil-a I feel like I’m back with some of the folks who helped to shape me. I worked at the Chick-fil-a in Southlake Mall, just south of Atlanta, Georgia for a few years during high school and college. David ran the place. You were just as likely to see him emptying a trash can as you were to find him in his office. He showed me that no one at Chick-fil-a, even the really important people, were too important to take out the trash. Renae and his brother Brent were assistant managers. If they saw us standing around not doing anything, they would always yell, “If you got time to lean, you got time to clean.” I hated hearing that. But now, a couple of decades later, I’m sure glad that I did. Sam was there too. We spent a lot of time together busting up boxes and unloading trucks out back while singing old country music songs off key.

People told me that once I started working at Chick-fil-a I would get sick of the food and not want to eat it anymore.

They were wrong.

But now that I’m older I’ve had to cut back on the number of chicken sandwiches I eat. In my diet, waffle fries have been replaced with organic, free range unicorn fur. But last week I was on vacation so I put the unicorn fur to the side and took my family to the Chick-fil-a in Panama City Beach, Florida. As soon as I walked into that store, I knew that I was with my people. As crazy as it sounds, I looked behind the counter for David, Renae, Brent and Sam.

They weren’t there.

But in a way, they were.

The guy who took my order was wearing a tie. That meant that he’s pretty important on the Chick-fil-a chain of command. But he wasn’t too important to stop what he was doing, take my order and tell me, “Go Dawgs” when he saw my Georgia hat. I learned that he was from Henry County, just below the Chick-fil-a where I worked and just above the place where I live now. I asked him why he moved out of Henry County.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

“I had to get away from the traffic.”

He made a good move.

There was another lady behind the counter. She too was wearing important clothing. But she was working on filling up cups with sweet tea like her life depended on it. I’m sure that whatever managerial training she had in the past didn’t focus too much on the proper way to fill a cup with ice and tea. But you wouldn’t know it from watching her. She had obviously learned the lesson well that I had learned from David all of those years ago. No one is too important for the job that needs to be done.

While I was eating, I noticed another worker. This girl was wearing the standard issue uniform and she was sweeping nugget crumbs out from under the booth behind us and piling it up next to her. I’ll bet ten people walked through that pile and spread it back out all over the floor. She never said a word. She just swept it back up each time. One day she’ll probably run a Chick-fil-a of her own and get to wear important people clothes. But she’ll still sweep the floor.

Eventually, we walked out of that Chick-fil-a and back into the rest of our vacation.  A few days later, my in-laws stopped in and volunteered to watch the kids so that my wife and I could go out on a date. I don’t take these opportunities for granted so I did my research. I stopped at every beach side restaurant I could find and asked for a menu. Pretty much every one of them said something like this.

Chicken Flëur de la Crępe Scallops 

A one ounce portion of lightly grilled chicken fused with two sprinkles of scallops with a side of Flëur de la Crępe shipped in from a tiny fishing village in Germany.

$72.50

So for our date night, my wife and I went back to that Chick-fil-a in Panama City Beach, Florida.

It was all her idea.

I promise.

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Benevolent Dictators, The Gospel And Georgia’s Burqa Ban

Update: Jason Spencer has decided to withdraw House Bill 3.

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You might have a hard time believing this but there’s a really bad bill scheduled to come before the Georgia Legislature. This one has nothing to do with raising taxes or making grits the official breakfast food of Georgia. House Bill 3, if passed as written, would prohibit the wearing of any device that would hide a person’s face while taking a photo for a driver’s license, driving a car or, get this, while on, “any public way or public property.” 

To be clear, the bill’s sponsor, Jason Spencer, isn’t trying to crack down on young suburbanite women at the Mall of Georgia who wear their scarfs too high up on their face. This is a ban on burqas.

I can understand the problems of a concealed face during a driver’s license photo but using the power of the sate to prohibit the wearing of a burqa while driving a car or “on public property” is very problematic.

It matters how Christians respond to this.

We must be firm in our theological disagreement with our fellow Americans who are Muslims. No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24) and it is clear that the God of Christianity and the god of Islam are not the same. However, we must be just as firm in defending the rights of our Muslim neighbors. Believe it or not, this can be done without compromising the faith.

There’s something very troubling about so-called conservative evangelicals. As I’ve always understood it, conservatism referred to limited government. Recent history reveals that conservatism really means government that’s just as big as the kind that progressives prefer, only with conservatives instead of liberals reaching into our lives. Simply put, many conservatives have abandoned the concept of liberty in favor of a benevolent dictatorship.

And make no mistake, a government that can tell people what they can and cannot wear on “public property” is a dictatorship. I guess it depends on who you ask as to whether or not it’s benevolent. And a government that can tell Muslim women that they have to put their faith in the backseat while driving or in the public square can just as easily tell Christian families that they can’t homeschool their children and tell Christian churches that they can’t refuse someone for baptism or membership.

This bill is rooted in fear. Spencer reasons, “This bill is simply a response to constituents that do have concerns of the rise of Islamic terrorism, and we in the State of Georgia do not want our laws used against us.”

But we must remember that fear is the enemy of liberty. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear, we can be sure that there will be scores of benevolent dictators eager to fix the problem. And we can be just as sure that the fix will be worse than the problem.

A while back I was driving my family to a soccer tournament that my son would be playing in. It was a trip like most others but this time we had an extra passenger. My son’s teammate came along for the ride because his parents had to work. My son’s teammate was Muslim.

Now, we could have performed our own stop and frisk on this young boy before letting him into our car. We wouldn’t want him setting off a bomb in the back seat of our Camry, now would we? Call me a bad parent, but we didn’t screen this young man. And somehow, no bomb went off.

But something else happened.

For the entire hour of our drive, I played the music of Lecrae. He’s a rapper who frequently references the gospel. And while Lecrae’s music was playing, I was praying. I was praying that the light of Christ would shine through our family as we interacted with one another and through Lecrae’s lyrics as they blew through our speakers.

When we got to the soccer fields, my son’s friend didn’t get out of the car and pray to make Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior. He did something very different from that.

He threw up.

Now, I don’t know what that has to say about me and my family but I think that it was an answer to prayer. While I was cleaning up vomit, my wife was comforting this young Muslim boy as if he was her own. The light of Christ shone through her that afternoon. And I’m still praying that it penetrates the heart of that young man.

Muslim’s suffer. Sometimes their suffering comes from being car sick. Sometimes it comes from ridiculous laws. Either way, it is the job of followers of Christ to be there for them, with love and truth, when that suffering comes.

It’s the sacrificial love and truth of God and his people that removes burqas.

Not ridiculous laws from benevolent dictators.

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The Link Between Us And Them

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I don’t believe in air conditioners in automobiles. I’ve always been a window man. So when my sons spent their first few weeks of summer driving around with me, we did so with the windows down. You can’t really experience summer through air conditioning. It’s best experienced with the windows down. Otherwise, you miss out on the joy of the wind blowing in your face. And you miss out on the smells that come with summertime in Georgia.

From the backseat, my sons gave me their commentary on those Georgia summertime smells. When they noticed an appealing aroma, they let me know. I think that was their way of telling me to pull over and buy them some food. And when something smelled rancid, they let me know that too. That was their way of telling me to roll up the windows and turn the air conditioner on. I never gave in.

On one short stretch of road, we got both extremes of odor. When the smell of deep fried chicken worked its way into my automobile, my boys voiced their approval. Just a few minutes later, they let me know that the dead animal we had just driven by did not smell good. Should I be concerned that the roadkill was so close to the restaurant? Don’t answer that.

Although the smells could not have been more different, there was one thing that they had in common.

Both smells came from dead animals.

One dead animal was socially acceptable. Its odor was pleasing to the nose. Its flavor is pleasing to our sense of taste. But the other animal died of natural causes. And, judging from the odor, that death took place several days ago. No one in his right mind eats that animal.

We are a lot like those animals. Some of us are socially acceptable. Others of us are not. Some are appealing. Others are sickening. But, in our natural state, we are all dead. Only through Christ do we find life.

Our nation is divided. People who have spent seven decades on this planet tell me that we are more divided than we ever have been. We’re divided by race. We’re divided by political ideologies. And pretty much everyone is angry about it.

This is where the Church really needs to be different. We must resist the temptation to jump in on the divisiveness. We must be above it. We must remember that, apart from Christ, we are just as dead as everyone else. And we need not forget that grace is not a right. The only thing that God owes us is eternal wrath. Anything less than that is a gift.

You really aren’t that different from guy in the orange vest on the side of the road finishing out his community service hours.

You’re not as different as you think you are from the mother of four from four different men.

Really, the only difference is that you never got caught. Or you were too scared to act out on the evil intentions in your heart.

Whether it’s the promiscuous mother or the drunk working off his community service hours, there is a link between them and you.

That link is death.

You may doctor it up a little better and you may be more socially acceptable but, apart from the grace of God, you’re still dead.

Thankfully, Jesus came to save dead people. Not dead white people. Not dead religious people. Not dead Republicans or dead Democrats. Just dead people. His dead people.

So don’t be so quick to jump down on another person for the odor of their sin. Yes, confront them in love. Yes, address the sin. Yes, walk with them through it. But as you do, remember that to some degree, you carry the same odor.

And only grace can make it go away.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)

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Ten Things You Need To Know About Georgia

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Every single body of water in the state, including swimming pools, is where the movie Deliverance was filmed. Of course, no one knows for sure where in Georgia it was filmed but if it’s ever discovered that they made it in North Carolina, the entire state of Georgia will cease to exist.

If a man uses his hand to swat away a gnat, he’s from the northern part of the state. If a man can carry on a perfectly good conversation with ten thousand gnats swarming around his face, he’s from the southern part of the state. If a man doesn’t know what a gnat is, he’s from Atlanta and should not be trusted.

For people who live in Atlanta, there are four parts of the state – Inside the Perimeter, Outside the Perimeter, the lake and South Georgia. So by their geography, Turner Field is in south Georgia. That’s why the Braves are moving. To get away from all of the gnats.

Bo Duke gets thirteen percent of the popular vote whenever there’s an election for governor.

The top three college football programs in the state are as follows.

1.) The University of Georgia

2.) Georgia Southern

3.) Valdosta High School

Duck Dynasty is fake. The moon landing is questionable. Professional wrestling is 100% real.

If you live in a small town and you can’t find your teenage son, he’s hanging out in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

Tomatoes are not bought. They’re grown in the backyard or in a bucket on the front porch. You don’t buy peaches at the store. Your cousin brings you over a few when he gets off of work at Lane’s. The best watermelons are bought off of a trailer on the side of the road.

Everyone goes to church. It’s not that they’re religious or anything. It’s just that they can’t play on the church softball team if they don’t show up every Sunday.

Most famous country music singers from Georgia have no idea what a gnat is.

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The Terribly Offensive Truth About Our Monuments

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Every American, it seems, is offended by something. It’s our new national pastime.

Each day, someone new wants to do something to Stone Mountain. Last week the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP announced that they wanted the image on the side of the mountain sandblasted off or somehow torn off and sold to the highest bidder.

This week, Michael Julian Bond, an Atlanta city councilman, has joined in on all the fun. He suggested that other famous Georgians should be added along with the image that is already there.

Some call the image of Davis, Lee and Jackson offensive. Others call it downright racist. One commenter who relocated to the south from the enlightened city of Chicago called it “backwards.”

Here’s the thing we forget about our monuments and statues. All of the men they honor are terribly flawed. All of them. Terribly.

Consider just one of those terribly flawed men.

He imprisoned thousands of citizens, clergy and journalists from his own country simply because they spoke out against his policies.

He censored communications between private citizens.

He used the military to interfere with elections.

He confiscated firearms from citizens.

He had a political opponent deported.

He said this. Read it very carefully.

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary.”

And, finally, you can ask any surviving members of the Santee Sioux Indians how they feel about this man and his monuments. But good luck finding any because he had a few hundred of them killed.

There appears to be quite a significant difference between Abraham Lincoln and good old Honest Abe that you learned about in school. Even still, I’m not expecting the Lincoln Memorial to be removed from Washington D.C. and sold to the highest bidder anytime soon.

Robert E. Lee was flawed. So was Honest Abe. So is your grandfather. You are too. And so am I.

Scratch deep enough through the bronze, clay, granite, plaster and mythology and, just as sure as the devil, you’ll find the dirt. It appears as though no human being can live up to the allegedly high standards we have set for our monuments.

Well, there is one human being worthy of such honor. One who lived his whole life without sin.

But we could never put up a monument devoted to him in front of the capital building.

It might offend someone.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

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The Monday Morning Quarterback

Brady’s Team!

Remember that episode of The Brady Bunch where Peter got made fun of by all of his buddies on his football team because he was in the glee club? In case you forgot, Deacon Jones showed up and told everyone that he liked to sing so they all quit making fun of Peter. A few things stick out about that episode.

First, there were somewhere around eight people on Peter’s team. Second, they were practicing in shoulder pads, helmets, sweat shirts and jeans. Jeans! What kind of a football team practices in jeans? The guy at the gym wearing jeans is off base enough but the football team practicing in jeans takes it to another level. Anyway, here’s my point.

Peter Brady’s football team could easily win the Big Ten.

Ohio State won their one and only big game of the year on Saturday against Michigan State. Usually, an Ohio State win is bad news for America, our allies and all other freedom loving people on our planet. But there just might be a ray of hope in all of this. The top ranked team in the Big Ten getting beat could mean that there will be no Big Ten team in the playoffs. And that’s good for America, our allies and freedom loving people all across our planet.

Here’s something else that fans of the Big Ten won’t like. If Ohio State ends up winning their conference, not only should they still miss the playoffs but there is a good argument for a two loss, non-conference winning SEC team making it to the final four. Think about it. Who deserves a shot at a national title more, a team that beat LSU and Ole Miss but lost to Mississippi State and Auburn or a team that couldn’t get double digits against The Fightin’ Brady’s?

Quick Hits

1. Why are the Chicago Bears allowed to have a football team and whose idea is it to keep putting them on television?

2. Georgia will beat Auburn 28 to 17.

3. Now that we’ve gotten rid of the political commercials during football games, can we also get rid of those two guys in the Sonic commercial? The folks from ISIS have to be behind these things.

4. At this very moment, somewhere in America, a person inside of a Home Depot is using the word thing-a-ma-jigger. Also, somewhere in America at this very moment, a current or former Florida State football player is wearing a suit and using the phrase, “Not guilty, your honor.”

Until next week, happy footballing.

The 2014 Pastoral Ramblings Football Predictions

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Football season is officially underway. That means that you can quit pretending to care about baseball. It also means that it’s time for the 2014 Pastoral Ramblings Football Predictions. Here are 10 things that you can count on happening this year.

1. Glen Steward Godwin is number one on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He’s escaped from prison a couple of times, he’s murdered and he’s trafficked drugs. Sometime within the next week, he’ll be caught. By mid November he’ll be playing for Auburn. In December, he’ll win the Heisman Trophy.

2. Michael Sam will be cut by the St. Louis Rams. By executive order, President Barack Obama will charge head coach Jeff Fisher with a hate crime and name a bridge after Michael Sam. ESPN will have wall to wall coverage.

3. Steve Spurrier will throw things. Judging by last night’s loss to Texas A&M, he’ll be throwing a lot of things.

4. An Ohio State fan will say the following statement at least four times this year.

“I hated to lose that game to ________________ (insert: Akron, Ohio University or Mercer). But we play in the Big 10 so we still have a shot.”

Somehow, a 4 loss Ohio State team will end up playing a 7 loss Notre Dame team in a New Year’s Day bowl.

5. At some point in the season the quarterback of your favorite team will say the following statement word for word.

“Well, you know, it was a tough loss but it is what it is so we’re just gonna have to take it one game at a time.”

6. Stanford will beat Cal on a last second hail mary only to have the touchdown overturned by the American Atheist Society for using offensive religious terminology.

7. The Dallas Cowboys will lose seven games this year. You won’t be able to turn on your television or radio without hearing about the Dallas Cowboys.

8. A Georgia Tech fan will lose 75% of his Facebook fans simply for saying, “This is our year,” after the Jackets beat Presbyterian by three touchdowns. The remaining 25% of those Facebook friends will keep sending him Farmville requests.

9. There will be one week where the most interesting game on television will be Hawaii versus Army. You’ll watch your very first WNBA game that day. And then you’ll wish that you had watched Hawaii versus Army instead.

10. Georgia will go undefeated and win the national championship. Some Georgia fan will still want to fire Coach Mark Richt.

Enjoy the football season, everyone.

Oh, and Go Dawgs!

I live in Jackson, Georgia. It’s a small town.

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I live in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

If I want to see a professional baseball team play, I have to drive an hour north. That’s assuming of course that we’re classifying the Atlanta Braves as a professional baseball team.

In Jackson, there are no stores for a woman to buy a $700 calfskin leather Louis Vuitton purse. But we do have a few dollar stores and an Ingles. I’ve bought my wife a handful of flowers from Ingles several times. They seemed to make her happy. She’s never mentioned anything about liking calfskins.

In Jackson, there are no traffic jams. It’s always fun to listen to the Atlanta radio stations talk about how bad the traffic is on I-20 as I drive down a dirt road. You should try it sometime. The closest thing I’ve seen to a traffic jam in Jackson, Georgia was the time when one of Mr. Luke Weaver’s cows got out and decided to have rest time in the middle of the road. I waved at Mr. Luke Weaver when I finally got to drive by him trying to get his cow back. I didn’t stop. The next day he told me that I was therefore unqualified to ever preach on the Good Samaritan. Point taken.

People like to put down small towns. They say that everybody is into everybody else’s business. Maybe that’s true sometimes. But maybe that’s not always so bad. Maybe that’s part of the charm of living in a small town.

A few nights ago the power went out at my house. I didn’t think that it was any big deal. People lose power from time to time. But when I looked outside I noticed that all of my neighbors had power. That was kind of scary. So I did what any reputable Southern Baptist pastor would do.

I asked my wife if we paid the power bill.

She checked our records and we were good.

So I called the power company to tell them that my power was out. I had to tell my story to a computer. The computer promised to get back to me as soon as possible. While I waited for the computer to call me back, I walked outside where I pretended to have some idea of how to restore power to my house.

That’s when my phone rang.

It was the power company. I could tell that it wasn’t a computer because my wife was laughing and saying, “Hold on, let me let you talk to him” as she brought the phone my way.

Justin was on the other end. He works for the power company. We go to church together. He promised to have my power back on in no time. And then he told me that I could not in fact restore power to my home by rubbing two screw drivers together while standing next to the circuit breaker. Who knew? So I put down my screwdrivers and waited for help to arrive.

A few minutes later, one of the big power trucks stopped in front of my house. Seeing as how it was 11:00 on a Friday night, I wondered what kind of person might be getting out of that big truck. And I wondered if he would be angry for getting pulled out of bed on a weekend. The man in the truck turned out to be Ron. Most of his family goes to church with me. He said that he’d have the problem fixed in no time.

He was right.

But I swear that I saw him rubbing two screwdrivers together.

Either way, my power was back on. And there I was, talking to Ron at 11:00 on a Friday night in my yard in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

It’s usually pretty quiet in Jackson, Georgia.

The other night my wife and I sat on our back porch and ate cereal. The only lights we saw were from our neighbors next door and the stars up above. The only noise we heard was the sound of dogs barking and kids trying to use up their last few nights of staying out late to play before school started back.

Not a lot happens in Jackson, Georgia.

But when it does, you can count on a friend or someone from your church being around to help out. Well, unless you’re trying to retrieve your cow and I happen to be the one driving by.

I live in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s The Big Deal About Guns In Church?

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It’s illegal to have a gun in a church in the state of Georgia. I know. It makes no sense. It’s sort of like folks in Nashville not being allowed to listen to country music. Or Auburn fans being told that they can’t take their significant other to Krystal for Valentine’s Day.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, if signed by Governor Nathan Deal, would change all of that. Well, the gun part. There’s nothing he can do about taking your date to Krystal. Sorry, Auburn fans.

The reactions to the bill have been predictable.

Gun-control advocates call it the guns everywhere bill.

The NRA calls it historic.

Southern Baptists are saying, “Wait just a minute. You mean all this time I wasn’t supposed to be carrying my gun to church?”

The issue really has more to do with freedom than it does guns. What gives any government the right to tell any church what they can and cannot have inside of their building? If the state of Georgia can tell you that you can’t bring a gun to church, what’s to stop them from telling you that your old hymnals need to be removed and replace with ones containing paper that was harvested from fair trade certified mills which use only repurposed materials? A government agent has never had to deal with opposition like he would see if he tried to remove the hymn books from an old baptist church.

Or what about all of the food we like to eat? “Have you seen how many calories are in that fried chicken?” they might tell us. “And the goldfish to sugary drink ratio in your nursery is way off balance. We’re going to have to do an inspection.”

Where will it all end?

That’s the problem with progressive politics. It only addresses the immediate problem with no regard for the future or how the so-called solution could actually make matters worse. A guy kills another guy with a gun? Take all the guns away. Some kid gets fat because he likes to eat 12 donuts everyday for breakfast? Ban the donuts. The weeds in your lawn are unmanageable? Set fire to every house in the neighborhood. React to the crisis at hand. The rest should take care of itself. And when it doesn’t, maybe our grandkids can take care of it. Good look, youngsters!

The pastor and leadership of a church should have the freedom to allow guns onto their property if they so choose. But Don Plummer, a communications consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta says that this is, “bad theology.” Bad theology? Bad theology is the belief that you can earn your way to heaven. Bad theology is what you usually see on church signs. “Don’t make me come down there! – God.” What does that even mean? Carrying a gun to church is not bad theology. It’s good practice.

It’s been said that a liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet. With apologies to whoever came up with that one, a pastor in favor of not having guns in his church is just some guy who hasn’t yet had a strange man who looked like he hasn’t slept in 12 days walk up on the platform and take him by the arm to whisper weird stuff into his ear in the middle of the sermon.

I have had that happen to me before and I say, let us bring our guns to church, Governor Deal.

If the pastor and other leaders do not like the idea of guns on their property, that’s their decision. But they should be the ones to make that decision, not the politicians. They could even put up a sign.

This church is a gun-free zone.

But before you put up that sign, pastor, you should know that bad guys who go into public places to do bad things with guns, aren’t very good at reading. When they come up on a gun-free zone sign, here’s what they see.

Please feel free to take all of our money and shoot us. Don’t worry, we can’t stop you. This is a gun-free zone, remember? But whatever you do, leave our old hymnals alone.

Some pastors worry about this bill because they’re not too sure about some of the people in their congregation having guns. Understandable. I’ve visited churches before where I had my doubts about a person’s ability to successfully manage the offering plate, much less a gun. But again, that should be the pastor’s decision, not the Georgia General Assembly’s.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about what accidents may happen if the people I preach to each week are allowed to carry guns to church. Many of those people are current or former military or policemen. One of them, during his time in the military, guarded the president. Some are competition shooters. We even have a certified gun safety instructor.

Maybe I should figure out a way to put all of that on a sign in front of our church.

I don’t think that the bad guys would have a problem reading that one.

It’s the Auburn fans that I’m worried about.

Ice Road Workers

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Thursday, February 13, 2014  11:00 a.m.

There is a pot of soup on the stove a few feet away from me.

Thanks to the ice storm of the century, I’ve spent the last two days working from home. With my kids. So that means that I’ve had to take a break every 30 minutes to build a Lego spaceship. When I work alone at my office I only take breaks every 45 minutes to build Lego spaceships.

This is the part where I’m supposed to complain about cabin fever and the kids getting on my nerves. But I can’t do that. I can’t do it because there are a lot of people in my church who would love to have cabin fever with their kids.

Before the ice storm hit us I called a lady in our church. She just moved down here from the midwest. I wanted to make sure that she was ready for her first Georgia ice storm.

“I moved down here to get away from this stuff.”

She went on to inform me that ice was different from snow and that nobody, no matter what side of the Mason-Dixon Line they come from, can drive on ice.

The police in my county agreed with her. They spent Wednesday night encouraging all of us to stay off of the roads. They even offered a free ride to work for anyone who needed it. The message was clear.

Stay home.

But, like I said, several people in my church didn’t take that advice. It’s not that they were being stubborn or rebellious. They just had a job to do.

Matt is a police officer. He spent all day Tuesday tracking down an escaped inmate from another county. And then an inch of ice fell on us. So he spent the rest of the week making sure that the people who had to get out on the roads were okay.

People like Clint. He works for a power company. While I was sitting at home, smelling soup and working on my sermon, he was with a bunch of other men making sure that the electric stoves we all cook our soup on still had what they needed to function. I thought about him every time our lights blinked off for a second or two. That’s about as long as we ever lost our power. A second or two.

Justin slept at the airport. He wasn’t stuck, waiting for his next flight. He was at work. That’s where he’s been most of the week. Without coming home. Without seeing his wife and daughter. There was a job that needed to be done and there were only a few people who were able to do it. Justin made sure that he was one of those people.

There are others. Danielle slept at the hospital where she works. Randa chased her kid around while her husband was stuck at work.

I’m a pastor. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see the fruits of my labor. Being a pastor is not like cutting grass.

Yesterday the grass was tall.

Today it’s short.

I did that.

Some pastors go years before they ever experience that feeling of accomplishment from their work. Some pastors never see it. But we’re always looking for it.

Social media can fool us. It can make us believe that our people have to start non-profits or dig wells in foreign countries before they are ever truly Christ-like. Those things are great but modeling the love and life of Christ isn’t confined to those things. You can also see it in a man who willingly sleeps on a bench where he works in order to provide for his family during an ice storm.

The ice in my yard is starting to melt. Soon, the roads will be clear and families in our church will be reunited. This ice storm brought with it a reminder. A reminder that being like Jesus doesn’t require starting a trendy ministry, preaching a sermon or writing a book.

Sometimes being like Jesus just means going to work when going to work is hard because you might not be coming back for a few days.

I’m blessed to pastor a church full of people with that attitude. People who know who they represent. People who know who they’re really working for.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 (ESV)