My Sweater, the Evangelist.


For years I have stayed clear of Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, movies and anything else that would put me in a box. Once I realized that I was now in the box of people who all do this and there was a whole group of us, it started to seem weird. So this last year I slowly started to open up my closed gate that kept me from looking like the crazy American Christian. You know the ones you always see in the news. I have always been concerned that one day I would be mistaken for a fundamentalist who lost the address to the protest… Anyways, let’s pretend they are why Bon Jovi wrote the words “you gave love a bad name”. That way we can justify the great New Jersey hymnist for a while and call out loveless actions at the same time.

As this gate has been opening up, my inner fan boy has escaped. I got myself a few slick items from Hillsong. Namely a hoodie that has Ephesians 3:20-21 boldly written on the back. Ordinarily I would want my life to declare my faith and not my clothes… but it is a really nice hoodie, so I wear it. I never really think anything about it, I just wear it. I feel the same way about this hoodie as I do my Braves cap.

So on a Sunday afternoon, with our only family time together that weekend, we needed to get groceries. I had finished a weekend of ministry at multiple services and was so tired. But, I grabbed my very comfortable and sanctified hoodie and went to the grocery store to pay way to much money for chicken and cheese. I have to admit, I was pretty grumpy, it might have showed a bit. In between a moment of yelling at my kids to stop throwing potato chips in the cart and making bets on which lobster was going to win the ultimate cage match, I briefly met a lady in tears.

For what ever reason, God has given me this anointing / annoying trait where I am a magnet for those who are hurting and need comfort. This very seldom happens in the church where I am told it should, but in the real world. It would look better at an altar, great for serious pastor cred! Here is just one example, recently at a black tie event for several thousand people, I was trying to just be normal Michael. The guy who fit in with all the other professionals who were not starting altar calls or starting theophositc sessions, and it all went sideways. One of the bosses of the event had a few drinks and came running over to me. She spent a long while walking through her hurts in life and losses that kept her hostage. She retold stories of death and funerals, the people who stood by her and the Jesus she saw there. I got to pray with her and know that God has big plans for her life. Now she knows about those plans too. When the Holy Spirit starts illuminating areas of hearts that need healing, and then points out a safe place for help, all we can do is let it happen.

Back to the grocery store. This lady came out of no where and touched my arm to get my attention. She said “thank you”. At first I was really confused, what was I being thanked for? Maybe my superior parenting skills? (My daughter at this point was screaming “I am so bored, this place smells” in a nice little song and Amberley had to take her for a walk to avoid a toddler melt down) I must have looked confused because she said, “your sweater, I really needed that, life is really tough, and now I think I can do this”. I gave this stranger a big messy hug as she cried on my sleeves and then she walked off and ended the conversation.

So on this particular day, this lady needed to know that “God can do anything, You know-  far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams” Ephesians 3:20-21.

How many times do you think people need us to be like Christ in public? Not that you need to wear a bible verse sweater, but that you just act like him. Be available. Be willing to hug strangers, stick up for society’s losers or just be kind. Even on the days when we are tired or stressed or feel like less of a Christian than the entire rap industry… God still needs you and will surprise you with how he is going to use your weakness. It makes the content of this verse even more powerful. Not only is God going to do big things for those who need Him, but He is going to use us, in our strength and in our weakness, in our grumpy tired days and through our kids making a scene. God is bigger than all we are.


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