If you attend South Lansing Christian Church you know Paul. You might not know his name but, trust me, you know the guy I'm talking about. Sits on the front row. Can't clap to save himself. Sings at the top of his lungs.
Everybody loves the guy.
Paul makes the coffee on Sunday mornings. He gives me the most up-to-date information on the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings and the MSU Spartans. Paul's waiting for me every Sunday morning and, by the time I've set two feet into the lobby, he's making a bee-line for me.
"Frank, Frank, the Detroit Red Wings . . . the Detroit Red Wings . . . the Red Wings . . . they beat the Phoenix Coyotes, four to nothing . . . four to nothing . . . and they play again tonight . . . and if they don't win . . . if they don't win . . . don't win, then they're out of the playoffs."
Its as though all of this information is just pouring out faster than Paul can keep up.
"Frank . . . Frank . . . guess what? Guess what? . . . Last week I missed church . . . I missed because I was at my mom and dads, because . . . because . . . because it was my birthday, and . . . and . . . and I turned the big five-four . . . the big five-four!"
Like I said, I love the guy.
Last week I preached about discipleship. I made the point that, spiritually speaking, you're either growin' or your dyin'; there ain't no third direction. I talked about the "law of spiritual entropy" and how, if we're not intentional, our spiritual lives just naturally degrade. Growth is natural, but healthy growth is the result of purpose and intentionality.
I sometimes wonder if Paul gets it, if he understands my preaching.
This week, at the conclusion of my talk, Wally fired up the worship band like always. I started for the lobby, like always. But then I heard Paul calling my name.
That's a little unusual. Paul hits me up before church, but rarely afterward. He's either waiting to turn the lights out in the gym, or standing in the lobby watching for his bus. Not this past Sunday. He was shouting from across the room, "Frank . . . Frank . . .Frank!"
"Frank, I'll always love Jesus!"
Yeah . . . Paul gets it.