I woke up yesterday with one thing on my mind. SELL Tickets!! Our children's ministries at church is selling BBQ Chicken Plates. I took 44 tickets in hopes to sell them all at $5.00 a piece. After I got my morning routine accomplished, I set out to accomplish this task of moving my 44 tickets. About 9:30 I sold my first 4 tickets to Terri. Terri is the lady who cuts my hair. By 2:30p.m., I had sold all 44 tickets! 5 hours and I was "ticketless". The best part of selling those tickets to various places in our community was the chance to talk to people. It was really a fun day for me. So, as of right now, I think I'm in the lead for the most tickets sold. The reward? A $50.00 cash prize! I wonder what I'll do with it?
Yesterday worked out well in more ways than one. Just the other day as I was meditating on God and His work in my life, God impressed upon me to visit a local bar in town. Yes, a local bar. 11th Street Bar to be exact. I'll have to post a pic later. I know it sounds crazy. But he did. I asked God, "Is that really what you want me to do?!? God's reply was, "That's what I'd do". What do you do with that? I yielded and said, "Ok...that's what I'll do too." So as I was out selling tickets and I ended up on 11th street at the our church's old location. We sold the building to build our new one and it's now an antique shop. I go in and speak with Kevin, part owner with his Mother. Kevin was nice enough to buy two tickets from me. As I exit the antique shop and look to my right, 2 buildings down is the 11th Street Bar. I make my way down there, not to sell tickets, but to meet my new friends.
11th Street Bar is a unique establishment you could say. I walk up and notice 2 guys sitting at an outside table with drinks in hand. I walk through the gate, grab a chair and place it at their table and with all the confidence I can muster I say, "How's it going guys?" They were very welcoming and replied with, "Just trying to beat the heat." I was in!! They didn't say, "What do you want, who are you, or you don't belong here." Immediately the bartender says, "What can I get for you honey?" I respond by telling her I don't drink, but I'm thirsty so what do you have? We settle for a cold Coca-Cola.
As we're setting there, the guys and I just begin talking about whatever. I can talk about whatever because it's vague and at that moment, vague was very much what I was about.
We talked about allergies, the new construction the bar is undergoing, the long hours Melissa, the bartender, had been working. I felt it was time to let the cat out of the bag and divulge the real reason I was there. I asked them if it was OK for a preacher to come into the bar and kind of "hang out" even though he wouldn't be buying anything. The response was unanimous. "Sure! If you can handle the language", Rick said. All of them were open to my request. I began telling them that I had spent much of my childhood in a bar as my parents were for sometime bartenders themselves. Now I had a real connection! I begin to share how we spent Sunday mornings cleaning up the bar and finding money everywhere. It was like a contest between my younger brother and myself to see who could find the most dropped money from the night before.....we all laughed together.
Rick asks me where my church is and I tell him where it is and he replies, "That big church on the highway?" I said, "Yes, that's the one." I began to tell them that I'm not there to preach "at" them, but to simply hang out with them. I firmly believe that a relationship must be established before the gospel can effectively be communicated. I don't think they would have been so accepting of me had I went into their domain and hammered their lifestyle with my Bible or my theology. So I now have an open door to their personal hangout! I'm thrilled with that!
I asked them if they've ever had a "preacher" come hang out with them at the bar? They responded by saying, "Nope! You'd be the first." As I got up to leave I told them to have a good day and thanks for letting me sit in with them. Rick looked in disbelief that I even came to this bar as I was standing up to leave. In all, I spent at least 30 minutes with them. I hope there will be more late morning encounters at the 11th Street Bar that await me!
I'll be going back to this bar to further my new found friendships with Melissa, Rick and I forgot his name. I'm bad about that! :) Need to work on it!
I'm looking forward to the many firsts that God will lead me in as I journey with him!