Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
These are the lyrics of a famous song that most of us know and remember. Putting words into rhyme is a fun and effective way to hook thoughts into the human memory.
I have a few frustrating things that I wish I was clever enough to put into rhyme, so that they would hook into the memory of Christians. This is because remembering these few things could help the cause of the gospel.
Here's the first frustrating thing. We had been trying to get a crowd to stop and listen to the gospel. Occasionally people would immediately gather, but not this day. For about an hour we labored, and nothing happened. But then someone started asking me loud and provocative questions, and a crowd began to gather. It was wonderful! This is what we live for—for sinners to stop and hear that the gift of God is eternal life.
Suddenly, a young woman interrupted the discourse I was having with the heckler. I quickly jumped down from the soapbox and politely said, "Please don't talk to him. It will distract and divide the crowd." She took no notice and kept talking to him, only to take a moment to tell me that she was talking to him about God. I pleaded with her to let him continue to speak with me. She refused, and the result was that we lost the crowd within minutes, leaving one talkative woman, one quiet heckler, and two very frustrated preachers.
Most Christians politely stop when we ask them to. But not this lady. We stopped the crowd; she stopped them from listening. That was very frustrating.
Next on my list of frustrating things is Hollywood's portrayal of Christians as hateful, anti-science bigots. Their star is a good-looking, likeable, witty, godless hero, while the villain is a cowardly, blaspheming, narrow-minded, Bible-quoting hypocrite. Hollywood has a massive reach into the hearts of millions and can poison a generation against the gospel. It is a powerful propaganda machine that feeds this God-hating world, and it's frustrating because we don't have a loud comeback. It's my prayer that God would give us one.
That brings me to my third leading frustration: sign carriers. These are often sincere Christians who think they are doing the gospel a service by carrying a Bible sign, but they are doing the opposite. It seems they are not aware that the news media regularly cover the Westboro Baptist Church—with their colorful signs proclaiming "God hates fags" and "God hates America." The cult regularly protests with their signs at funerals of America soldiers who have courageously died serving their country. They mock the soldier's sacrifice and make the nightmare for families even worse. They carry signs stating "Thank God for 911" and "Thank God for IEDs," as well as "Repent or perish," and others that are based on Scripture.
When Christians carry similar-looking signs (no matter how biblical the message), in the eyes of the world we are trying to reach, these believers are aligned with the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. No matter what the signs may say, the world sees, "We hate sinners, and we hate our troops." It's frustrating when these Christians show up with signs and want to stand by us while we are preaching.
Last on the list is something that I never dreamed I would have to battle. It's the emergence of Christian flat-earthers. I can understand why a woman would want to talk with a heckler, why Hollywood is anti-Christian, and why Christians would want to hold up signs. But I am dumbfounded as to why anyone would believe that the earth is actually flat. But they do, and they share that belief with a fanatical zeal. It's as though they have their own private version of the Great Commission: "Go into all the world and preach that the earth is flat to every creature."
I really don't mind if someone thinks that he's a pink unicorn. But if he starts pushing his weirdness and using the label "Christian," I will go to the moon to put a distance between him and myself, because our agendas are different. I desperately want to reach the lost. He doesn't.
Unruly women who hinder our preaching.
Flat-earthers, Hollywood, and those they are reaching.
The sincere zealot—the sign that he brings,
These are a few of my frustrating things.