On the afternoon of Monday, December 3, I went to Walmart. My objective was to conduct an un-scientific survey of what people thought about the man known as Jesus Immanuel Christ. I intended to stand outside the front doors (as long as I didn’t get kicked off the property) and approach people as they came in and out.
My strategy? Walk up and ask, “Do you have one minute for three questions?” After I did so, to give them a Calvary invite card for our Sunday service.
Do you believe there was a guy named Jesus who came into the world?
Who do you think he was?
Why do you think he came?
As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized immediately I needed to adjust my strategy: the salvation army bell ringers had already staked out the entrances. However, I quickly noted that the parking lot was (to my surprise, but hey, I never go shopping because I have an amazing wife) really busy, and there were a lot of people leaving and returning to their cars. So I decided I would just approach people in the lot and ask my questions.
I learned quite a bit over the next hour.
It was easier than I thought it was going to be. I had it in my mind that people might just be a little crabby having someone interrupt their simple goal of getting in and out of Walmart. I thought my success of talking with folks might be pretty low. But over that next hour, only four people declined hearing my questions.
The other thing I learned is that there is a tremendous amount of opportunity surrounding us every single day. Only one person in that next hour answered my questions in such a way that I thought she was a disciple of Jesus. Most people, even though they said they believed there was a guy named Jesus who came into the world, said they had no idea who he was or why he came.
Think about that—no idea.
I found myself near the end of that time, standing in a parking lot, thinking of the words of Jesus, “The fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). And I was given the grace to see a Walmart parking lot through his eyes. And while, in one sense, it made me sad so many people didn’t have an answer to my questions, it also gave me great hope that quite simply telling people who Jesus is and why he came—and that’s a simple exercise, family—will substantially help people take one step closer to the right in knowing Jesus, and coming out of darkness, and into light.
If you’d like to hear more about my time in the Walmart parking lot talking with folks in our community about Jesus, but more importantly, why he came, I encourage you to listen to the first sermon in our Jesus Came Christmas sermon series, “Jesus Came for Sinners.” You can find it here.
And please join us for the next two Sundays of the series, as well as on Monday, December 24th, at 4pm for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.
This last Sunday, we made our way into Paul’s second letter to some very dear friends who made up the church he and Silas had planted in Thessalonica, a city in Greece.
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First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.