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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Handshakes on Demand

A friendly smile and a firm handshake may determine the difference between a friendly church and a standoffish one, but as far as I’m concerned this kind of welcome is most meaningful when it occurs spontaneously before and after a service. By now, you have probably figured out that I am not much for a howdy handshake on demand. What good is it if a worship leader tells everyone to move about and shake hands with others “after we sing this chorus or hymn” (whatever a hymn is) if no one shakes hands before or after the service?

I’m sure some friendly churches are small for legitimate reasons, but others are small because they don’t really want to grow. They make visitors feel unwelcome and convey the notion that “this is our church, and we want to keep it that way.”

Congregations used to sing, “Brighten the corner where you are.” Think of your church as a corner that you can brighten by flashing a big smile and extending a sincere handshake to every visitor. Don’t wait for a handshake-by-demand time to be announced!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Large hail pummeled our house and neighborhood Sunday night. Monday night was calm, but another horrific hailstorm struck us Tuesday night. Ping-pong size hail slammed against our house, tore through a window screen, and smashed our solar address box. Our insurance agent has offered to send someone to inspect the roof.

Hailstorms can rankle nerves as well as wreck property, so I can scarcely imagine how frenzied earth-dwellers will become when the seventh bowl judgment of the tribulation period occurs. It will hurl “great hail from heaven upon men” (Revelation 16:21). Each hailstone will weigh about 100 pounds. Ouch!

But even 100-pound hailstones will not break down the hardness of the human heart. Revelation 16:21 reports, “Men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.”

I hope Colorado never sees another hailstorm, but I might as well hope for five-cents-a-gallon gas prices. As long as cool mountain air collides with the plains’ hot, dry air, an occasional hailstorm is inevitable. However, I won’t experience the devastating hailstorm Revelation 16:21 predicts. At that time, I will be in Heaven, where conditions are always favorable and my home is eternally indestructible (1 Peter 1:3-4).