My pastor Brian Henson, St. Patrick Church in Cedar Park, Texas, sent this out recently and gave me permission to share.
Last week, I was having lunch with a buddy (I'll call him Bob)--a local businessman I met through a civic activity. Bob grew up around here, but hasn't had a lot of exposure to the church or Christianity. For the first thirty minutes or so of our time together, Bob shared with me some difficulties he has been having at work--mostly related to a couple of bad client interactions, and problems with employees. I responded by listening, and then offering a couple of suggestions. We then discussed some of the business connections I've helped him establish in the community (he's a gifted businessman, but not the best networker). Bob told me how helpful those contacts have been, and as he was considering the comments I had made about his work, I saw a quizzical look come across his face. He slowly began--as though he was searching for the right phrases to string together--one at a time: "So...you're a...pastor...and you...do that...full-time?" "Yes," I responded, but I knew where this was going, so I continued: "The local business community is sort of my niche, and I spend a lot of time helping guys think through their businesses, and praying for them, and talking to them about Jesus, like I'm doing with you now."
That led into a discussion about Christianity and the nature of the gospel. I explained to him the often-made (and remarkably helpful) distinction that, whereas all other belief systems are fundamentally advice (do this, do that, and you can have a good life), the gospel is news (this is what has been done for you by Jesus...trust in him). One is a message of self-improvement, one is a message of rescue. And as we talked, and he shared some of the darker things from his life, I said, "See man! You're perfect for Christianity--it's the only faith for losers like us!" We both laughed, and I was able to elaborate on the fact that since Christianity is about God's grace, that who we are is no obstacle to his power to rescue us. He shared with me some more of his questions, and after giving brief answers, I offered to carry on the discussion another time (since it was getting late), and offered to get him a couple of books to help him think through our discussion, "If you'll read them," I added. He said he would, so I bought him The Reason for God, by Tim Keller, and Cold-Case Christianity, by J. Warner Wallace. I gave them to him on Friday night, so we'll see where things go from here. Lord willing, he is doing something in Bob's heart.
Grace & Peace,
Brian (on behalf of Erika and Joaquin)
Brian spends a great deal of his time in the workplace, networking, having one-to-one meetings and going to luncheons and other events. I met him at a Chamber luncheon, see him in workplace settings weekly. He's on-the-streets, practicing Christianity.
To that end.......