A Strange Place for a Pulpit

Written by Pastor Eric Everhart

Last week I was having breakfast with a young couple who are soon to be married and looking to join Friendship. We were meeting at the famous Byron Family Restaurant. While I was sitting in the booth waiting for the couple to arrive, a gentleman of more experienced years entered and walked up to my table. He extended his hand for a traditional greeting and, thinking I knew the guy or he knew me, I extended my hand out as well. The gentlemen shook my hand and said in a very loud and almost obnoxious voice, “If you are going to sit in the first booth, you have to greet everyone with a smile.” With a half-hearted smile I replied, “Yes, sir.” The man squeezed my hand and in that same loud voice, he prayed for me. That was a first for me! The gentleman wished me a good day and proceeded to his table.

The couple I was meeting finally arrived and we began our conversation about the fundamentals of the faith and the practice of being grateful for that faith in Christ. We touched on a lot of the basics: sin, salvation, our need for Jesus, and what he did for us on the cross. As we got a bit deeper into our conversation I remember thinking that it would be great if I could share some of the ways I have seen some of these “basics” played out in practical life. 

About that time, the same gentleman who prayed for me peeked over the half wall as he was getting ready to pay for his bill. He grabbed my hand again as I thanked him for taking time to pray for me. He said, “Do you know why I prayed for you and felt led to come speak to you? Because of what Jesus has done in my life. I knew that I needed to share my story with you!” I definitely was not expecting that, and we waited for what was next.

After a couple quick (and really bad) jokes, the man stood up straight on the pulpit God had provided for him in this restaurant to an unsuspecting congregation, and poured out his life story. He shared how God had saved him from the grip of drugs and alcohol, how God had picked him up off the road of death, and, with tears in his eyes, shared with everyone listening how God had called him his son. He spoke with confidence, passion, excitement, and you could hear the depth of his faith in his every word. His gratefulness for God’s work in his life and the gift of Jesus Christ was his everything, and he stood unashamed in a crowded restaurant church preaching to a very attentive crowd. Saved or not saved, everyone present was washed in the blood that morning as this man preached the incarnate gospel of Jesus Christ. “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” Psalm 32:11

After his emotional testimony to the three of us and everyone sitting there, the man shook my hand again and said, “This, my friend, was a divine appointment,” and he left.

Brothers and sisters, when was the last time you were that excited about your faith? When you were filled with so much joy because of Jesus Christ, that you couldn’t hold it in and had to tell someone–or an entire restaurant? “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11 

Be encouraged by this man’s example. I’m not saying we all need to step into the pulpit at Byron Restaurant, but let’s be reminded to share the great joy we have in what God has done, is doing, and what he promises to do in our lives. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15  Live a loud and excited life of gratitude that spills out into the world…let it see our passion for the gospel every day…let your joy flow freely, because you never know who might need to hear the good news!

“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 133:1-2

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