Friday, December 29, 2006

 

Acts Brand Gospel-Some Assembly Required

Dear Courteous Reader,

The following story is a satirical attempt to spur you into study of how the apostles shared the Gospel, as recorded in the book of Acts.

Love in Christ,

Jeff




I wanted to give my next-door neighbor just the right Christmas present, so I decided to give him a Gospel. Normally I buy religious presents at a store called Twentieth Century America, but that store is so crowded around Christmas that you can’t even find a parking spot. So I went down to the old Acts of the Apostles store the day before Christmas and picked up a do-it-yourself Gospel Kit (some assembly required). Back home again, I opened the box, got out all the pieces, and spread them on the floor of the garage. There was a book of instructions for how to assemble a Gospel, but I knew how to put one together without any help, as I had seen my preacher put them together many times before.

First, I decided to put on the “God loves you.” But I looked at the pieces, and there wasn’t one there. I shook the box upside down and looked inside it, but there was no “God loves you” anywhere in the Acts Gospel Kit. So, I reached up on the shelf and took down my New Believer Kit, which a pastor had given me for my birthday some years before. After blowing off the dust, tearing off the shrink-wrap, and opening the box, I saw that there were several “God loves you”s in there, so I took one out and stuck it on the front of my neighbor’s Gospel.

Second, I thought a “God has a wonderful plan for your life” would look nice right under the “God loves you.” Again I looked through the pieces, checked in the empty box, but still couldn’t find a “wonderful plan” piece. Well, I knew I had seen one somewhere, so I checked in the New Believer Kit, and, sure enough, there it was. I took it and put it on my neighbor’s Gospel right next to the “God loves you.”

I was beginning to think that this Gospel Kit was defective, but it was Christmas Eve, so I really needed to get it assembled for my neighbor.

The third piece I reached for was the “age of accountability.” By now I was not surprised that my defective Gospel Kit did not have this piece, either. I was surprised, though, that there wasn’t one in my New Believer Kit, either. I began to rummage through the pieces of the Gospel Kit looking for something that would fit in its place. There was an “original sin” part, and an “actual transgressor” piece, but I didn’t like how those looked. Well, I’m pretty handy with tools, so in no time I just fashioned my own “age of accountability” piece and put it on the Gospel.

The fourth piece I reached for was the “Jesus is the Son of God.” Everyone knows that’s an important part of any good Gospel. Even though none of the first three pieces had been in the kit, I was sure this part would be. I looked, then looked again, and then looked a third time in utter disbelief. There was not even a “Son of God” in this defective Gospel Kit! At that point, I thought I must have bought the wrong thing. I don’t often shop at Acts of the Apostles, so maybe I picked the wrong kit off the shelf. Reaching for the box, I carefully read the label.

Acts of the Apostles brand
Gospel Kit
Contents: one complete Gospel presentation, one set assembly instructions
Some assembly required; no special tools needed

After making a note to self not to shop at Acts of the Apostles any more, I looked with high hopes into my New Believer Kit. You guessed it---there was a nice-looking Son of God piece right in there. I hooked it to my homemade “age of accountability,” and stepped back to admire my work. The Gospel was looking pretty good, in my opinion, despite the faulty kit, and I thought my neighbor would love it.

Things went much smoother after that. There was a “sin” piece in the kit, although I didn’t recognize it at first, because it didn’t look like what I was expecting. I reached for the “Jesus died for you” piece, and although there wasn’t one of those, the “Jesus died on a cross” piece fit okay. Imagine my relief when the “forgiveness” part was there, and looked just like I thought it should! The kit’s “repent” piece was a pretty good substitute for the “admit” piece I was looking for, and there was a “believe” part, even though it wasn’t quite the shape or color I had in mind. When I tried to put the “repent” on before the “believe,” it wouldn’t fit, but switching them around, they fit perfectly. It looked okay like that, so I just left it that way.

I happened to notice that the “be baptized” piece was a perfect fit to go on right after the “repent.” There were some more pieces, though, so I set it aside for later.

My next real snag was when I looked for the “receive the free gift,” the “ask Jesus into your heart,” and the “make Jesus Lord” pieces. Those pieces were not present in either kit. Again, I had to go back to the workbench and make my own. But even when I did, they wouldn’t fit onto the end of the “repent.” I had to get out the super glue to get them to stay.

Once those homemade pieces were in place, I got out the “be baptized” part but it didn’t fit well on the back of the “make Jesus Lord.” It didn’t seem that important to me anyway, so I just left it off.

I was sure I was finished, but there were several pieces still left on the floor of the garage. Along with the “be baptized,” there was a great big “resurrection,” an “exalted to the right hand of God,” a “Lord and Christ,” a “fulfillment of prophecy,” and a “creation and providence.” These pieces seemed unnecessary to me, so I just put them back in the box and put it on the shelf of the garage, along with my “New Believer” kit.

I wrapped the Gospel I had assembled in Santa Claus wrapping paper and gave it to my neighbor. He politely thanked me, and I went home to enjoy Christmas with my family.

A few days later, I checked with my neighbor. I said, “Did you open the present? What did you think of it?” My neighbor answered, “I have never received a Gospel before, and I was curious about it. I turned it on, and it made me feel really good. I decided I would get it out and turn it on whenever I need to feel better. Thank you very much for giving it to me.”

Comments:
Just to let you know ... I liked this post and it sparked one over on Eagles' Rest. I approached the problem from a different angle, though.

Thanks.
 
Dear Brother Bob,

Thanks for liking my story. It is great to know someone else is thinking along the same lines.

Love in Christ,

Jeff
 
Yes, good story and reflection. And thanks for your kind words left on my blog. May God's grace grant you a double portion to use for His service.

Rob Ayers
 
Jeff,

That is hillarious, LOL. And it really does show whats wrong with the Gospel being preached in America.

In fact, this morning, I was listening to a guy I like who does a Bible teaching ministry on TV, and he made the following sad, but true observations:

(1) As he travels all around the world, he sees revival breaking in every country, EXCEPT the U.S.

(2) Most of what is being preaching in America as the "Gospel" is not really the Gospel, and thus that is why we have a lot of problems in the American church.

Anyways, Jeff, I saw your comment towards me in Bob's blog... feel free to check out my blog, "World of Faith," at http://worldoffaith.wordpress.com/

Thanks and Blessings,
Jonathan
 
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