My grandfather-in-law, Bill is 85 years old. He’s in pretty good shape and enjoys giving himself chores to do around the house. He also sticks to a routine. Every morning he wakes up at five and reads the newspaper; at seven he heads to “Mac” Donald’s (as he affectionately calls it) just down the street from his home for coffee. When coffee is complete it’s time to accomplish his daily task. Tasks range from planting tomatoes, to going on “treasure hunts” at local yard sales in the area. He’s always eager to tell you about his latest gem.

Afternoons are reserved for naps, a homemade lunch, and a quick scan of the History Channel. Then it’s back out to complete what he’s started. During our visit I was shocked to see him on a ladder cleaning out gunk from his gutter as he whistled away like a blue bird. As the sun sets Bill makes dinner for one and relaxes in his easy chair. He told me that he can’t remember the last time he wasn’t in bed by eight and that was true for the five nights we spent with him as well. In the morning he repeats his routine from the previous day.

Paper, “Mac” Donald’s, daily self-imposed task, lunch, task, dinner, easy chair, and bed.

Tomorrow, repeat.

One morning I joined Bill for his morning coffee at “Mac” Donald’s. It was fun to sit with him and experience life the way he lives it. As we walked through the doors of my daughters favorite restaurant he was greeted by two employees, “Good morning Bill.”

He ordered his usual; a senior-priced coffee and Sausage McMuffin with Egg. He bought my coffee and we sat down across from a man named Mike who was the first one from the coffee crowd to arrive. Mike was seated in his senior scooter and was slowly sipping from his super-sized cup. Mike was a master of one-liners and shared briefly his story and background with me as we talked about current events.

Next to wander in was Carlene. She was the youngest of the group. She wasn’t even retired yet; she just enjoyed visiting with the group before work. She was fun and brought a youthful energy to the quieter laid-back group.

Benny was next through the door. He appeared to be in his 70’s and came in wearing his trucking hat and Velcro shoes. He talked about the a recent NASCAR race and joined Mike by trading one-liners with the group.

The final member to join the group was what seemed to be the matriarch. As she entered she gently hugged each member of the group in what looked like a daily greeting technique. Without knowing who I was or why I was there I too received
a sincere hug and good morning from the white haired woman. Bonnie was clearly the most up to date when it came to fashion and technology as she shared about emails and text messages she was trading with her granddaughters.

The “Mac” Donald’s community coffee group was assembled with people who without the benefit of inexpensive coffee and the human need to belong would otherwise rarely cross paths. What do a retired produce manager (Bill), war veteran (Mike), 40-ish year old (Carlene), NASCAR fan (Benny), and the white-haired fashionista (Bonnie) have in common?

Nothing really. Except for the need to connect. That’s where McDonald’s enters the picture. Like their food or not, McDonald’s provides a vehicle for this mish-mash group to experience community.

The local church is similar when you think about it. We gather weekly for services in which rich and poor, black and white, blue collar and white collar, old and young celebrate the grace, forgiveness, love, and purpose that is theirs because of what Jesus has done. Jesus is the ultimate uniter. He brings people together that otherwise would rarely cross paths. We don’t just sit around shooting the breeze either. When we come together we are encouraged to live the life God has called us to. A life that includes others and shares the good news that God desires relationship with them.

It’s time to leverage our relationships with others. Not exploit. We are called to be reconcilers, in fact the apostle Paul calls that our ministry. The ministry of reconciliation is for everyone, not just the super spiritual or extroverts. We all fit together in the body of Christ and play vital parts in furthering His kingdom. One area in which we are all called is to be an inviter, includer, and bringer.

I’m up for the adventure. Who will you invite, include, and bring?


**I wrote this post two years ago after visiting with my Grandfather-in-law. I spent a couple days with him again and thought I’d re-post it for those who didn’t see it the first time.**

Thanks For Reminding Me

I had just preached my heart out.

From my audience’s perspective I’m sure it was 23 minutes of pure listening pleasure.

I had received some customary, “Good word man!” comments.

One person even chimed in with a, “Nice performance today.” That was new, but fun to hear.

Then it happened…

As I was up near the stage receiving praise for my sermon-spectacular a lady approached me with a smile on her face.

Anticipating yet another glowing remark, I schemed for a way to deflect the compliment and show proper humility.

Then she dropped a bomb on me…

She… this lady… this church attender… this untrained, non-pastor person pointed out a mistake I had made during my message.

She was kind, gracious, and worst of all… right.

I maintained a smile and said thanks.

How could this happen? How did I allow that misinformation into my oracle masterpiece?!

I quickly went back to my office and corrected the mistake so I wouldn’t repeat it and risk further humiliation.


I really am thankful that the woman came and let me know I had some bad information in my message.

I was surprised by how much I hated hearing it though.

She did everything right.

She wasn’t rude, pushy, or arrogant.

She was helpful, humble, and encouraging.

My pride was the issue, not her.

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.

Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.

(Proverbs 15.31-33, NLT)

To the woman who helped me and pointed out my mistake:

Thank you.

Your gentle encouragement has helped me with much more than sermon content.