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Jesus at McDonald's  

I think I saw Jesus today!

At...McDonald's, no less.

As I write this, I'm seated at a booth in a Detroit airport McDonald's. 

Frustrated by the gouging prices at other food stands, I settled for some Chicken McNuggets and a fruit and walnut salad.   

I hardly had time to dip the first nugget when a voice from across the way breaks into a solo rendition of O Holy Night.  It was clear from her face and gestures she preferred a choir to a solo, so I joined in.  Heartily.  The two of us finished the song,  high-fived each other and I downed another Nugget.  But I couldn't help notice, a man off  to the right waved his hand in the air—as if to whisk the music away.   

Next thing I know, Choir girl breaks into “Joy to the World.”  A handicapped lady in a wheelchair sitting at a nearby booth joins in—and others seem to quietly follow along.  Not exactly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but it's a fascinating moment. 

At this point, a United Airlines crew member parks himself in the booth next to mine.  The black and gold epaulets on his crisp white shirt seem to shrug in confusion at the impromptu caroling.  But the handicapped girl is now launching into “He rules the world with truth and grace.”  So we must finish the verse.

When the would-be choir director broke into Silent Night, it was all I could do to chase away a lump in my throat.  Silent Night....Holy Night....All is calm, all is bright.

Right then and there...at that McDonald's in the Detroit airport on a foggy December afternoon, the thought struck me like thunder: There's Jesus!  Doing what Jesus has always done: confounding, confronting...compelling.

Some were confused by the music.

Some were offended.

Some smiled in faint interest.

But a few...a happy few—they joined the chorus. 

The Holes in Environmentalism  

The environmental movement—it's riddled with holes: inconsistencies that nobody seems to care about. 

Don't get me wrong.  I believe Christ followers SHOULD be good stewards of the earth—as long as we don't worship it.  That means we SHOULD care about clean air and clean water. 

Genesis 1:26...God gave man dominion over creation.  The idea is that we are to care for creation,  not abuse it.

That said, I'm fascinated by all the inconsistencies.  For example,  when I bought some expensive music software, it came in a rather large cardboard box.  Inside? Three paper-sleeved DVDs.  That's it! Not even a manual! What a waste.

Think of the landfill waste associated with buying something as tiny as an ink jet cartridge .  There's all kinds of cardboard, plastic tins, shrink wrap and more.

Then there are all those SUV's I see on the road.  Hundreds of thousands of gas guzzlers—despite what their owners may claim.

 With the advent of the flat panel, hundreds of thousands of TVs that are perfectly good now sit out at the curb waiting for the trash collector.  Consider the enormous landfill occupied by discarded televisions.   Mind you—there owners are the same people talking about respecting the environment. 

Clearly tablet devices are in....and Palm Pilots are out—have been out for years.  But that's more gizmos in the garbage—despite the fact that they still work!

At some point, we must concede that we like green policies as long as they don't mess too much with our choices in driving, viewing, entertaining, eating, etc.

In other words, we like the sense of personal piety and the public notariety that comes from being perceived as green. But we're only green...skin deep, if you will.

At heart, we still love 8 cylinder engines, big cars, and a certain disposability to our entertainment and technology choices.

If it's true that some people worship the environment, it's almost refreshing to see that their religion is plenty full of its own hypocrisy.

Consider the Cooks  

Is it just me or is America’s fascination with food—or at least food that’s prepared by chefs on TV—at an all-time high?

I suppose it began back with Julia Childs.  But her legacy is an army of Food Network television chefs: Emeril, Bobby Flay…Paula Dean.

More stars than Hollywood.

More shows than you could possibly stomach. 

Cooking is definitely on America’s front burner.

Yet I watch it all with a…tasteful mixture of intrigue and cynicism. 

On the one hand, the Food Network seems to thrive.  On the other hand, there’s an explosion in things like “lunchables” and other pre-packaged meals.

While cookbook sales seem to soar, grocery stores at unprecedented rates are:

  1. Selling less ingredients for real cooking.
  2. Selling more and more frozen and prepared foods

Never before have we been more content to watch someone else slice and dice—but been less inclined to do it ourselves.

Sure there are some who genuinely enjoy whipping up recipes for braised pork cutlets with pumpkin cherry sauce.  But frankly—the majority of us are much more satisfied to watch—or pay—for someone else to do our cooking.

Yet allow me for a moment to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire when I suggest Christians today face a similar dichotomy when it comes to worship. 

We love to talk about it, write about it, read about it—and above all—sing about it.  And just like the Food Network, our self-styled “Worship” network has its own stars: Jeremy Camp, Matt Redman, Darlene Zschech. Yet if you distill worship down to its most practical core component—obedience…well there most of us all fall quite short.

Just like cooking is work, there’s a work side to worship.  A lifestyle of consistent obedience knows little of whipped cream.  It is, in fact, sometimes tough.  And sometimes bitter.  But always required.

Why Young People Are Leaving the Church  

By now the shocking numbers are almost numbing.  Depending on whose statistics you believe, anywhere between 60 and 90% of young people currently attending an evangelical church will leave once they hit college.  Leave...and never come back. But why?

Some people say it's our secular environment—now almost hostile to Christianity.  Some say it's the lack of programs for kids at church...or the quality of the preaching. It is my contention that there are a whole lot fewer reasons than are currently being looked at.  In fact, I think the biggest factor is a whole lot closer to home.  It's parents.   Us.  

In too many homes church is a Sunday thing, but not a Monday thing. Like Maybelline make-up, you put it on Sunday morning but wash it off by nightfall.  Come Monday, parents who on Sunday were raising their hands in worship, are often clicking their mouses to porn sites.  Or watching garbage on TV.  Or playing fast and loose with the IRS. 

Though they claim to be just like Christ, too many moms and dads are just like the world—an observation not lost on our kids.  Rather than a spiritual legacy, we pass on a spiritual fallacy.  So they've simply decided to skip the pretense. 

Now the truth is, there are boat loads of parents who are really doing things right. God-fearing Moms and Dads who practice what they preach, pray on their knees, and are truly seeking the God of Israel.  But if there are boatloads of these, we must also acknowledge there are fleets full of Titanics captained by parents charting courses of self-fulfillment and ruderless Christianity.   

There's no need to wonder at the numbers. But we SHOULD wonder what will it take for followers of Jesus...to follow Jesus. 

Long Lines at Bethlehem  

Every heart is built differently.  I’m convinced of it.

God seems to have placed within me something of His own passion and compassion for lost people.  Wish I could say I’ve always been a good steward of that heart.  I haven’t.

But it happens once in awhile I’ll be in a big crowd and the thought suddenly sweeps over me, “Wonder how many of these people really know Jesus?  How many of them are headed for heaven?  How many marching toward Hell?”

I’ve thought that thought staring at SuperBowl crowds.

A month ago we were in Bethlehem…visiting the Church of the Holy Nativity—built over the cave where Jesus may well have been born.

I’d been there before when tourism had shriveled to nothing.  Not this time.  The place was mobbed.  There were lines snaking up and around and over.  Scads of tourists snapping pictures and standing…and waiting to visit the place where Messiah is said to have been born.

But the thought occurs to me…how many were there merely for a photo…or a passport stamp…rather than to worship the Savior of the World?  To my earlier point, how many of these travelers would someday travel to heaven?

It’s sad, in a way.  People who would spend so much money, exert so much effort, stand in such long lines…and maybe only know Jesus as a souvenir, not a Savior. 

Regardless of whether or not your heart is built like mine, we are all called to share Christ---with our lives and with our words. 

Going and telling the Good News is as close to the heart of  Christmas as anything on your to-do list. 

So who are you going to tell this Christmas?  About Jesus!

A sister?  A friend?  A mom or dad?   The neighbor next door and the one two doors down?  I remind you…apart from Christ, they are at this moment marching directly for Hell.  Do you care?  Enough to speak up?

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016