Summary: Missions-ish sermon about how being effective in sharing the gospel.

It Begins in the Heart

1 Peter 3:15-16

November 12, 2006


I can’t tell you how honored I am that you let me come back. That doesn’t happen very often after I speak at other churches…

Today I was able to bring my family, and I hope you’ll get the chance to get to know them a bit before the day is over.

Before I get started on the message, I also want to tell you how much I appreciate Pastor Virgil.

He and I visit on the phone on occasion, do the occasional lunch, visit over e-mail and pray together.

During a very stressful time for me this summer, Virgil was right there, encouraging me and praying for me.

He even offered to inflict physical violence on certain individuals who were at the center of this situation. Just kidding.

I value him more than I can say. And I don’t say that because I’m the “special speaker.” I say it because it’s the truth. And I hope you value him and his family like I do.

Pastor Virgil and Vonnie love Jesus. And they love you.

Over my 42 years I’ve had a variety of jobs – anything from shoveling sidewalks and mowing lawns to managing Christian bookstores and now I’m a pastor.

In some of those jobs I’ve had some really bad bosses. You know the kind I’m thinking of, because you’ve either had them yourself or you’ve heard about them. In fact, I’ll bet that for some of you, just hearing the term “bad boss” set off some memories that you would just as soon forget.

They’re the kind who order you around but don’t do the work themselves. Or they abuse their authority by lording their title over you, threatening you with firing if you don’t do everything just the way they say to, even if their way is the wrong way.

Anyone here had that kind of boss?

I hope you’ve never BEEN the bad boss!

On the other hand, I’ve also had some great bosses. The kind that expect you to work but give you what you need to do the work.

They treat you like a human being with cares and concerns.

One of the best examples I ever had for bosses was when I lived in Brookings, working for a company called Central Business Supply.

I had only been working there a short time when I had to attend a wedding in Rapid City, and the reception was held at a bar. We had our two children with us, Dani and Noble, who was just a baby.

As we made our way back to Brookings, Noble started coughing badly, and to make a long story short, we ended up at the hospital in Chamberlain. For 5 days. Noble was in an oxygen tent trying to recover from breathing in all the smoke at the reception.

I’m missing work, and that means I was losing money big-time.

When I got back to work, one of the two owners asked me if I needed more time off, and that I could take all the time I needed.

I assured him that everything was under control and that I was anxious to get back to work. I didn’t tell him that I was desperate for the paycheck so I was going to do everything I needed to get some money.

When the next payday came, I opened my check and found that they had paid me as if I had worked the whole time.

So I went to the boss in charge of the payroll and said that there was a mistake on my check – that he had paid me too much.

He said, “Well, I put vacation pay on there.”

I replied that I hadn’t worked there long enough to get vacation pay.

He said, “You let me worry about that.”

There were other examples, but that is a good one.

I ended up working for them for about 8 years, and if God ever told me to go back to Brookings, that’s the first place I’d look to find a job.

Now just as when I mentioned bad bosses and some of you shuddered, my guess is that when I mentioned good bosses, some of you smiled as you remembered someone like that.

At least I hope so.

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to do what a good boss asks than what the bad boss asks?

They might ask you to do the same thing, but if the bad boss tells you do to it, you’re dragging your feet, and checking your job description to make sure he can make you do it.

But if the good boss asks, you jump right to it. Why is that?

Because it’s a joy to work for someone and with someone who cares for you and treats you with dignity.

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