Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Dead Meat: Second Chances, Third Stories & the Gospel According to Harold

I am preaching tomorrow night at Highland and coming out of a text that I have never preached and never heard a sermon on in my life. That is often a bit risky and yet always rewarding. The story I am leading us through is found in Acts 20:7-12 and is the account of young Eutychus falling asleep during Paul's message.

I am planning on using the following illustration in order to communicate that Paul knew the secret that we must never forget: We must love others so much that we don't just share with them the gospel but our lives as well. His lesson was important but his love was life changing. The church in Troas had just seen a miracle. They had just witnessed a physical transformation as young Eutychus had been loved back to life. That was enough to rejuvenate them for the rest of the night.

A lot of us in Abilene have been to Harold's right? A business contradiction of sorts: Bad location. Crowded. Long lines. And his BBQ sauce isn't the only thing in that restaurant that is hot! I'm serious. I can sweat off more calories than I can take in at that place. It's like a big BBQ sauna. But yet Harold's is always packed. Why? The food. The product. The meat! Not the fancy building - the meat. Not the convenient location or speedy service it's the meat! The prices are not the draw - the product is. Advertisement is non existant. But the word of mouth - can't stop it!

The church would do well to learn a lesson from Harold. Our focus cannot be on our buildings, budgets, and bureaucracies. Our product is Jesus. His redemptive love must always be our missional meat. Jesus came down and loved us on Calvary. He knew we were sick and so he threw his arms around us and healed us. He knew we were lost and so he ran from Heaven to the hill of Golgotha to find us. Paul left a house, stopped a sermon and descended three flights of steps to awaken the dead. Jesus left heaven, stepped into the constraints of time and descended into hell for three days to awaken the dead.

God is calling us to do the same. For the church to be a community where people will do whatever it takes to save some. He is calling us "Christians" to "wake up" and rise up and descend into greatness and engage and embrace those in our world who lay broken and left for dead. He is calling us to go to them and to love them back to life and share with them not only the gospel but our lives as well. Only then will we earn the right to break bread with them and live with them in community. And only the revolution of changed lives will cause the church to greatly rejoice.

Our "meat" must be our willingness to "meet" others where they are at and love them back to where they belong - with God.


Matt said...


Sorry, but I'm going to be out of town, so I'll miss tomorrow night. But it sounds great, 'cause I want to be a part of the Harold's BBQ of churches!

Maybe I can get a tape...

Jeremy said...


It's Mandy's cuz...Jeremy. You know, the guy who took pictures gleefully as you lost your groceries at the Kemah boardwalk not too long ago. Hey, just wanted to drop a line and say hey! Dude, being for real, awesome thoughts. May grant you the gift of preaching tomorrow. May God continue to bles your ministry.

Because of the Messiah,

Jeremy said...

yeah...second line to last
"May (GOD) grant you the gift of preaching."

Proof read BEFORE sending....right?

Bart Phillips said...

Very insightful, Joel! You're writing is inspiring my brotha. Keep writing...you got some more meat on that bone.

Brandon Scott said...

Why'd you have to go and talk about Harold's? That's just mean. I want some!!

John Estes said...

Looking forward to the example of Harolds Sunday!! I think it would be great if you brought David a pint of Joe Allens sauce. That way I won't have to share my Harold's sauce. David thinks I contacted you and gave you the idea because of our ongoing argument over which BBQ is better. He actually choked down some of my Harold's sauce the night before you furnished your outline. Watching David sqirm has been great!!

Looking forward to meeting you - John Estes, Shepherd CRCOC

Lindsey said...

Joel, I just came to Highland tonight for Wednesday night service. You don't know me or anything, but you're seriously like in my top five favorite preachers. I got to listen to you one other time at Highland, at least I think it was you, when you spoke on the Good Samaritan. I really enjoy your style and how you relate the Bible to the church today. I definitely made a fool out of myself by laughing extremely hard at all your little jokes. Thank you for such a wonderful message, I hope we hear from you again soon. God Bless.

abileneblues said...


I just wanted to say thanks for the inspiring and convicting lesson last night. From reading this blog, I knew we were in for a treat but I didn't know just how great it would be.

May the spirit continue to fill you with messages just like that one.