Yesterday as I headed to "a deserted place to pray," I stopped in to meet one of my new neighbors.
A family moved into a house a couple of blocks down about a month ago, and for one reason or another, I hadn't stopped in to welcome them to the neighborhood.
I introduced myself and talked to Johnny for the first time. His granddaughter was with him on the porch blowing bubbles. She was adorable.
I remarked to him, "Just down the road is a playground next to the church. If you want a place to take her to play, by all means, take her. That's what the place is for."
We continued to talk, and he expressed his desire to find some part-time work. I found out he does carpentry, painting, and other such things. I told him I'd keep an eye out and talk to a few folks around.
He asked what I did, and I replied, "I'm a pastor."
He said, "What else do you do to earn a living?"
Apparently, he's from a different denomination where pastors work at other jobs. Fortunately, I do not have to do that, so I told him, "That's it. I'm paid full time to be a pastor."
And then he said something very intriguing, "Yeah, an old man in a red truck came by and said that I was welcome to come to that church down there. He said everybody can come and everybody can worship. That's what that old man said."
And I said, "We'd love to have you."
A few more pleasantries were exchanged, and I climbed back into my car. As I reflected upon those few moments with Johnny, I thought about what he said about that "old man in the red truck." At least one of my congregation members had met this gentleman and invited him and his family to worship with us--even before I could make my way down there and invite him myself.
Sometimes, you just have to smile.