Monday, June 04, 2007

Don’t Be Nervous

The purpose of life is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, but to make them fly in formation.

It was the Alpha program dinner, our final meeting of the season, and I was asked to speak and share about my experience serving. The room was full, over 200 or so people, and I was a bit nervous. I stepped up to microphone anyway.

Being the Alpha Dude, I was wearing jeans and a Hawaiian shirt, only half buttoned, over a t-shirt that says “Surf’s Up”. Hidden just under my shirt was a whoopee cushion with the “valve” near the top, just under the opening in my shirt.

With my hands over my heart in that loving Christian gesture (actually, holding the whoopee cushion in place), I leaned into the microphone and said, “Hi, I’m Alpha Dude, and I’d like to share a little something with you all.”

Then I firmly and quickly squeezed my hands against my chest.


The laughter was deafening. I guess no one had ever heard a fart in church before. At least, not from the guy on stage with the microphone. I took the cushion out from under my shirt and told them, “It wasn’t me, really! It was just this thing”. Then I tossed it over to the Alpha Director and said, “Thanks. You can have it back now”. More laughter.

The pastor just sat there at his table in silence. The look on his face said he wasn’t sure if he should wait to see what happens next, or run up on stage to stop this train wreck!

I looked out among the 200 or so people in the room, shifted gears from the "Southern California Surfer Dude" voice and told them this:

“Now you all laughed at that funny noise, didn’t you? It’s just a whoopee cushion. It makes a funny sound. But why do we laugh at that particular sound? I think it is because that sound is so unexpected. Okay, so maybe it’s expected on a guy’s only camping trip or at the Chili Cook-Off, but it sure is unexpected in a church.

We often laugh at, or pay attention to something, simply because it is unexpected. If you knew it was coming, it wouldn’t be as funny. Like, sometimes when the Alpha director tells (reads) a joke, if you heard it before, it isn’t as funny as the first time you heard it. Okay, maybe for some of you since by the second or third time you heard it, you finally got the joke.

Sometimes, unexpected things are not so funny. They’re even sad. Picture someone who suddenly finds themselves standing in front of the throne of God. (That means they just died and are now facing judgment). Trembling at the very presence of God and His Son, Jesus. If this person never accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, they’re not getting in. Jesus will say to them “Away from me. I never knew you”. And that person will be cast into the lake of fire. (That’s hell, in case you didn’t know).

Now, imagine that you are there, witnessing the whole thing. And you recognize this person – you met them during your life here on earth. As they are being cast into the fire, they see you and they recognize you. In that moment, they realize that you had the information they needed to stay out of the fire, you had the knowledge to share with them how they could know God and spend eternity in Heaven, and they cry out to you, as they are falling towards the flames, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Dudes, I don’t ever want anyone to be able to say that to me. Every Sprout I meet is going to hear the truth about Jesus. So is every person I meet as well. Thank you so much for letting me work with your children (the Alpha Sprouts) and tell them about Jesus.

One of our lessons during the Alpha Course is on “How and Why do I tell Others About Jesus”. How do you do it? That depends on you and the current circumstances, just let the Holy Spirit guide you. Why? Well, I’ve already told you my reason.

What’s Yours?

No one was laughing anymore. And my pastor was smiling.

Yes, I was nervous and sweating and feeling shaky inside, but the desire to please my Heavenly Father is far stronger than any fears the enemy would have me focus on.

That was just about eight years ago, and they still won’t let me near a microphone.

“Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world”


HeiressChild said...

hi alpha dude, you are so hilarious. i think i was laughing as hard as the people at the banquet. i like how thoughtful and considerate you were concerning your wife. when i have to speak, i have to prepare myself thru fasting and prayer, but there are times when there's no preparation time, and i have to trust my Father and He brings me thru every time. excellent post.

my4kids said...

Ok dude, I totally would love to hear you speak about God! Starting with a joke is a great way to get attention.
Me I am a very nervous speaker. Actually I have never spoken my self in front of an audience. A bit of a social phobia of mine. Thats why I was so proud of Izzak when he got up and announced the song for his choir concert (even with his mistake) he knew it would be hard for him and there would probably be mistakes but he got up there and did it anyway.

Dr.John said...

That was a great testimony. None of the people who went through our Alpha program were that good.

EE said...

You had me rollin' here...
You are so darn funny! I totally can't imagine you being nervous about public speaking.
Loved your testimony...and the whoopie cushion!
P.S. The children's pastor and myself once put a Baby Ruth candy bar in the baptism tub after an evening of baptisms:o

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

I, too, would love to hear you speak... :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE to speak infront of people (strangers, not people that i know)... but i still get nervous and I always make them laugh first... it calms me and gets their attention.

I just wrote out my testimony to keep for a rainy day... and there's humor in it... :)

Great story!

Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Real Life in South Carolina said...

They totally should let you near a microphone again (after they pat you down). This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks for always your blog is a blessing...and your wife is so awesome - I would have loved to have heard her speak, even if she didn't have cool noisy gadgets hidden beneath her clothes! ;)