January 10, 2007

Today's Words: "Sad" and "Happy"

I came away from the Christian Product Expo in Hershey once again with concern and sad feelings about the state of the church. The attendees were bookstore managers and owners from up and down the east coast. But the ones who were there, anyway, were after the trinkets instead of the books. Instead of "Mortification of Sin" by Owen, or "Prayer" by Bunyan, they were after little placques for your car's dashboard that said, "Be ye reminded not to drive faster than your guardian angel can fly." And the t-shirts with the Staples office store's "Easy button" on the front, but with "Jesus" on the button and words beneath that read something like, "That was easy!" Easy? Easy?!?! Ugh.
On the positive side, however, I met Wally who works in banquet services at the Hershey Lodge. He can't remember the last time he'd been to church but was interested in our books, so I gave him one, "The Promise." It's a GREAT evangelistic tool! When I mentioned him to our friends at Crossway, they gave me a New Testament to give to him, too, since he said he didn't have a Bible. He asked if he could call me some Friday night to get together and talk. I said, "Sure!" Interesting. Pray with me for Wally, ok? Maybe it wasn't for bookstore owners that God took me to Hershey afterall.
Grace & peace. Steve

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, thank you for this post. It shows your heart and concern for others, both in your grief over 'Christian' fluff and your composure to not be so overwhelmed with grief towards the state of the church that you were blinded evangelistically. This post really highlights the godly character I've come to respect. Thank you again, this post speaks to me! God's grace is at work in your heart, brother.

Tony (TSS)

Matthew Cochrane said...

Steve, I'm sorry to hear that things didn't go so hot in Hershey for you. I feel your pain about the shallowness of most of the Christian "bookstore's" products these days. Unfortunately they undoubtedly just reflect the shallowness of most evangelical Christians. My wife and I will definitely be praying for Wally tonight. Please keep us posted about how the rest of your trip goes.

Steve Burlew said...

Hey, Tony & Matthew - Yeah, I know that many of the independent bookstore owners are hurting and they are selling what the people are going to buy. And yes, it does indeed reflect the "shallowness of most evangelical Christians." The solution isn't to get the stores to sell books, it's to get people in the church hungering and thirsting for the deeper truths of God and experiencing the excitement of reading what God has done in the lives of those who have gone this path before. I've got some ideas, maybe we can talk about 'em sometime.

Matthew Cochrane said...

Will be looking forward to your ideas, Steve. Don't know if this is an encouragement at all, but just a couple of years ago I was completely unaware of Banner of Truth and now I am a huge fan (not to mention customer). There are Christians out there who are hungering for more but just don't know where to find that meatier substance. Looking forward to hearing how the rest of your trip goes.

Steve Burlew said...

Thanks, Matthew. I'm actually back in our office today. I leave Harrisburg, PA on the 5:00 a.m. train in the morning to get to Philadelphia airport, then fly to Seattle. It'll be a long day.

Anonymous said...

I'm still bummed we're not meeting tomorrow. Soon my friend, soon!

Tony