In A Nutshell | March 5, 2021

‘Drive-By’ Observations of Oak Chapel

It never ceases to amaze me the things I encounter in the parking lot of our
church. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Coroner’s truck was parked there for
several hours, which was unnerving to say the least.

Last fall, a couple of young men drove up and were taking pictures of the church
on their phone. That, too, was unsettling until Miriam assured me that they were
probably playing a game of Pokémon.

Then a week or so ago, a purple pickup pulled in during a driving snowstorm.
The driver got out of the truck, pulled a bicycle out of the back of the truck, and merrily
peddled on his way — with at least two inches of snow on the ground.

When I was young and foolish (as opposed to being old and foolish), I tried to
ride my bike in the snow. It only took me one time to realize that bicycling in the snow is
pretty much impossible. I didn’t know where this guy was going or if he would ever
come back, but evidently he did because the purple truck was gone the next day.

All of this has caused me to wonder what people are thinking when they drive by
our church or pull into our parking lot? Do they see it as an inviting, welcoming place, or
are they simply using it as a meeting place, a staging area, or a turnaround? I wonder if
any of them would ever consider joining us for worship.

What would it take for those who use our parking lot for other purposes or drive
by the church to consider joining us for worship? How about those who never even
make it to the parking lot, much less the sanctuary? How might we persuade those folks
to worship with us?

Perhaps we should be more vocal, more inviting. Perhaps we should follow the
lead from Psalm 66, which lays out a nice invitation that is both compelling and

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!”
So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you,

They sing the praises of your name.
Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!

Maybe we should be more intentional about inviting others to “Come and see
what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind.” After all, many people don’t
know or fail to see the power and majesty of the Lord God Almighty.

What better time to invite others than during this solemn Lenten season. It gives
us a great opportunity to be inclusive so that others can share in the joy and glory of
Easter Sunday. There is plenty of room to socially distance in the sanctuary or to
worship from the parking lot in the safety and comfort of one’s vehicle.

Why not offer that invitation today? Fear not rejection or ridicule. Instead, let us
spread His Word as we share our faith. Let us give others a chance to experience what
we experience with fellow believers — the glory and majesty of our Sacred Savior.

Until we meet again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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