Sometimes the places that end up being meaningful will surprise you.
This morning, we had a lovely, structured time of worship with
well-trained and talented musicians leading us in songs of praise and
one of the most incredible speakers I've ever had the privilege of
listening to over and over preaching a beautifully executed message.
But that's not what I'll remember about today.
No, today's meaningful worship experience didn't happen in the theater
with the stadium seating and balcony and beautiful flower arrangements
in front of the podium and the grand piano and the every tiny
No, today's most meaningful worship experience (at least for me, and
probably for the co-workers I'm traveling with) happened in a dirty
little multipurpose room below decks where less than 30 cruise crew
members gathered, sang a few simple songs to unamplified guitars, and
listened to a man who had little experience preaching who let God
speak through him.
If I had to be really honest, I would tell you that church is not
particularly something I always like lately. Part of this is that I
kind of work "in the industry," which makes it feel like I'm going to
work on Sundays too. There's no such thing as too much Jesus, but
let's be honest, there's definitely such a thing as too much
Christianity. And too many Christians. And too much media and "show"
in the church, quite frankly. It gets tiresome. What happened to plain
old worship? No fancy buildings. No edited videos playing on a big
screen. No lighting effects or soundtracks or classically trained
musicians. Just praise. I don't even know where I'd begin to find a
church like that.
Anyway, Dennis Agajanian, who is touring with us on our ministry's
cruise (and is one of the most talented musicians I have ever seen
perform) agreed in a heartbeat to play for the crew's short "church
service" at midnight tonight, and he blew me away with this simple
statement about having rebuilt a Muslim temple in the wake of the
tsunami last year:
"You have to earn the right to preach the gospel."
I darn-near hurt myself nodding my head when he said this statement.
If I were the type to holler "AMEN!" during sermons, you can bet I
It doesn't matter who it is.
It doesn't matter what they believe.
That part is none of your concern.
If you want to have a shot at showing them Jesus, then you have to
love them the way they come first. That's what He did, you know. No
judgement for their beliefs or lifestyle. Just love.
The rest? The converting them and their lifestyle and beliefs to what's right?
That's God's job.