I was editing my church’s listing information on Google when I came across this:

Google business listing

This is designed for businesses.  Plumber?  Yes, this business serves customers at their locations.  Hardware store?  No, all customers come to the business location.  Simple.  I put “No” for our church.  Somewhat because we are still stuck in the business church model of the last 100 years, but mostly because I’m having a hard time bringing myself to say Yes.

This past Sunday I preached a first-person sermon from Jonah (you can listen to it here if you want):

icon for podpress  Jonah - Called to Go: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

During my sermon study I always try to examine my own life in light of what I am going to be preaching and you can’t help being changed when you spend the necessary time and depth that a first-person sermon requires.  Jonah was called to go to Nineveh.  One of the extraordinary things about Jonah is that the book is the only latter prophet whose message is presented in narrative prose.  One of the functions of the literary genre of narrative is that the audience naturally identifies with one or more of the characters.  A talented narrative writer is adept at drawing the reader into the story, not just to be surrounded by it, but to become a part of it.  Part of the function of the book of Jonah was to do that for the people of Israel: to see themselves in Jonah.  To see their rebellion against God was a rebellion of the heart, a rebellion against His very nature.

And so I did.  I saw… I see myself in Jonah.  And I can’t even claim to have any enemies.  Jonah didn’t want to go to those he detested.  I don’t want to go to those I am uncomfortable around.  I know that my God is compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, patient.  Maybe that’s why I’m still allowed to be where I am… to do what I do… even though I don’t want to go.

I think it’s time that I– that we– started to say “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations.”

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Devotional, Evangelism, Theology, Uncategorized, preaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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3 Comments(+Add)

1   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
July 30th, 2010 at 11:23 am

So how does your church feel about you choosing “No” as the answer?

2   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
July 30th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I don’t know.

3   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
July 30th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’ll bet in some way it reminds Pastorboy of Rob Bell’s inability to say no to anything.