Summary: Welcome, Connection, Visitors, Family

The 3 C’s of a Healthy Church - The Sermon Begins in the Parking Lot

Colossians 3:17 (p. 822) January 8, 2017



Andy Stanley, the lead minister from Northpoint Community Church has a famous quote - “The sermon begins in the parking lot.”

And He is right because words will always be heard in the context of actions…Christians, and those who alarm to be will always be the first sermon people see, hear, and experience.

That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul is reminding us in Colossians 3:17:

“Whatever you do…whether it’s with your conversation…or whether it’s with your actions…do it all for Jesus…do it with a thankful heart to God.”

Because our first responsibility isn’t to get the cars parked, or bulletin handed out, or get to our class.

Our first responsibility is Jesus…our words and actions exhibit thankfulness and that’s the primary goal… “Whatever we do, whatever we say.”

Most people who visit churches or take the risk to do something out of their zone for themselves and their families will be impacted for good or bad….waaay before the preacher gets up to speak.

And whether we like it or not that first bite of the sandwich will determine if we really want to take a second bite.

[If you show up at a restaurant and the valet grabs your keys with a snarl and the

maitre d doesn’t acknowledge you because they’re too busy talking about last week with the hostess, and says “Just sit over there…I’ll be with you when I’m free.” And the waiter ignores you. It could be the greatest meal ever…but you’ll never ever be back. In fact you might not even stick around to find out…because your assumption is…if the food’s as bad as the people serving me…I don’t want anything to do with it.]

The good news of Jesus Christ will always be experienced in the context of the people who serve it up.

Because of this truth:


When it comes to connecting people to Jesus every single one of us is responsible…and that introduction starts in the parking lot…in Kroger…at Walmart…or the bank.

You see we don’t know when the whatever will be witnessed by someone with a need. Whatever and Whenever seem to go together…and that’s a little scary.

Jon Weece in his book Jesus Prom shares this story:

Several years ago I was in a department store with my family doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. My son, Silas, who was four years old at the time, said, “Dad, I really need to go to the bathroom.” Emphasis on the word really. I had no idea where the bathroom was located, so I asked a clerk, who graciously pointed me in the right direction. The tricky part was that Silas and I had to walk through the lingerie section to get there.

I walked with my head down-doing my best not to make eye contact with anyone or anything in the area - when out of the blue Silas shouted, “Dad, look!” Now that’s a dangerous thing to say in the lingerie section. Before I could stop him, he dashed and darted through racks of unmentionables to a table where he grabbed a bra and started jumping up and down.

“Dad,” he said, “on Tom and Jerry they use this as a parachute!”

If that wasn’t enough, he climbed atop the display and put it to the test. Bra above his head, he jumped.

Naturally, all the women in the area laughed!

It’s alway funny when it’s not your kid.

As I scooped him up in my arms, I heard a lady behind me say, “Hey, aren’t you the preacher at Southland Christian Church?”

I spun around and said, “No, ma’am. I work at the local prison, and this little guy is one our escaped convicts!”

You just never know whose watching and when “whatever” can happen.

You see our God is a God that winks at us occasionally so we can see Him working…Sometimes we are the connection He winks at others through.

[As I was writing this message my youngest daughter Karissa called and said, “What are you doing? I was swamped so I answered, “Layin’ on the beach with a cold Ale 8 One…Why? She said, “God just winked at me…she explained that she had taken Peyton, her son, to the dentist…and she didn’t get paid until the next day…She had 86 bucks in her account and some cash in her wallet…she wasn’t sure what she would do if the dentist was over a hundred bucks…and she had to get gas too…and the dentist had to do some extra things…some caps as well as the other work…she hoped she could get them to bill her cause she knew it would be way over 100 bucks…as she started to walk to the counter the dentist said, “Merry Christmas…it’s on the house.]

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