Now We’re Really Cooking

You just thought you knew what it meant to be Ablaze! or as the Pentecostals have always said “on fire for the Lord.”

Take a page from Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas.

Consider the following ideas as ways that you might personally take a small step in your daily life to intentionally share Jesus with others in an even GREATER way!

At a Restaurant

  • If it is your usual practice to pray before you eat, let your waitperson know you are going to pray and ask him or her if there is anything you can include in your prayer or a way that you might pray for God to bless him or her.
  • Keep some pocket crosses in your purse or wallet. When you sign for your credit card and bill amount, write a brief Christian message such as “God Bless You” or “You Are Special to God” or “Nothing is Impossible With God” and include the cross as well.

In Your Car

  • Make up some lunch bags with water bottles and peanut butter crackers in them. Include a Christian message in or on the bag. The next time you see someone on the side of the road with a sign saying they are hungry, you will have something to offer for them for the stomach and their soul! (

How about a page from the May 10, 2010 Portals of Prayer:

A young man who was valedictorian of his public high school class was given.…strict instructions about refraining from using the name of God in his speech.  Here’s what he did. He convinced ninety-two of his friends in the graduating class to sneeze at an orchestrated time.  The young man then shouted out, ‘God bless you!’  Contrary to instructions, he got God out anyway.”

And finally for pièce de résistance.  It’s from the Spring 2010 Ablaze! Update, page 3 under the headline “Ablaze! Covenant Congregation reaches out to the unchurched in Southern California”

The FamJam worship format is a unique and experimental one in which the whole family can learn about a “Big Truth of God” together at the same time and in the same place. This 70-minute experience includes six-minute blocks that share a message, drama, music, and activity. The interactive message is communicated in a variety of media and methods. In fact, it is normal for members to experience scooters racing down the worship center, masks, balls, and silly string during FamJam—all for the family to experience God together in a unique setting.

If the final piece doesn’t show that what Ablaze! has ignited ought to be resisted by the Synod that claims to preach only Christ and Him crucified, perhaps a little Théâtre de l’Absurde can. As I was sharing these things with my Sunday morning Bible class, one of the members told me of person they personally knew who legally changed their name to “Jesus Saves.”

Augustine became so frustrated with the Donatists for not participating in worship with the Catholics he justified the use of physical force from the parable where the king with more food than guests says “compel them to come.”  Apparently we are so frustrated that the Lord’s Food is going uneaten we have justified the use of frivolity, banality, and just plain silliness.  But what you win people with is what you win them to.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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4 Responses to Now We’re Really Cooking

  1. Jey Ping says:

    FanJam is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but the other examples here just seem like ways a person can reflect the gospel in interacting with the world. I don’t see the problem with this?

    • We reflect the Gospel in our vocation, in every move we make, every breath we take we exude and exhale Christ in us. Setting up extras is the way of the law, and worse yet it’s setting up a doable law. I tried to show that once you get this mind set there is no end to the things you could do by including the woman who changed her name to “Jesus Saves.”

      Could little notes on the memo lines of checks, getting people to sneeze so you can say the name of God, and giving out bags of fruit with “You are special to God,” reflect the Gospel? Yes, but when someone tells you to do them it seems to me more a reflection of the law.

  2. Bart Goddard says:

    The problem, Jey Ping, is that such things distract from
    the Gospel, rather than induce reflection on the Gospel. The Gospel tells us that Jesus is in the Word and Sacraments. It says nothing about Him being present in Silly String.

    The other problem is that Jesus gave us the model of evangelism: Fishing. Not hunting. When you ambush a waitress or indigent with a schmaltzy “God loves you”, not
    only are you accomplishing less than nothing, you’re following Artemis, not Jesus.

    Modern, aggressive sales tactics (which are by their very
    nature anti-Gospel) are no way to preach the (true)

  3. Jey Ping says:

    I have never seen any Ablaze material, our church doesn’t use it probably due to the reasons mentioned here. Definitely agree that when examples of actions turn into mandates/requirements to act the same way it’s wrong.

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