Let me tell you about my weekend. I drove our church bus, with thirteen women on board, to Indianapolis for a Women of Joy Conference at the Indiana Convention Center. Except for the part about being with thirteen women it sounds harmless. Au contraire, my friends.

Knowing we had reservations at a downtown hotel I called on Monday to ask about their parking plan for a bus. They told me where to go, uh, to park the bus, and I thanked them for the information. Again with the harmless theme while soft violin music plays in the background. I arrived at the hotel, unloaded the women and headed for the parking lot at 4:15 PM, the beginning of rush hour traffic. A bit dicey, but still harmless with soft music.

I reached the designated parking area and immediately the musical instrument changed from a violin to a viola and the theme from “Jaws” began  blaring in the background.  That should have been my first clue that something was amiss. I turned in to the parking lot and like a  pair of cheap socks my plan began  to unravel. The attendant told me I could not park there. Like a schoolboy being caught doing something wrong on the playground I raised my hand and got permission to call the hotel. They put me on hold while they consulted the valet supervisor.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a second parking lot attendant (who evidently was a Summa Cum Laude Have Mercy  graduate of the Simon Cowell School of Personality Disorder) told me in no uncertain terms to please leave. With anger bubbling  inside me like a New Orleans crab boil my first instinct was to call Beverly and get some bad words to use on this man.  Not that she uses them but she is a school teacher and has heard them all. God intervened and the hotel came back on the line.

They gave me a plan B.  One hour and forty-five minutes later, having gone through plans B, C, and D, the urge to call Beverly for some choice words had returned with gale –force winds. Then I remembered something from a long time ago in the summer of 1972 when I first started driving church vehicles on trips. This is it.  The name of the church is always on the side of your vehicle. The moral of this story is not the overused “When life gives you lemons make lemonade.” No sir. The moral of this story is if you plan on getting mad and using bad language then drive someone else’s bus.

I’m sure each of you has been in a similar situation where you were looking for some choice words to use.  Maybe you found them. Maybe you had some regrets about your actions. Maybe you were glad the name of your church wasn’t plastered across your forehead or on your back. Then again, if you call yourself a Christian you carry the names of God and Jesus all over you.  Genesis 1:27 says  “So God created man in his own image . . .” (ESV). Galatians 3:27 says “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (NIV).

In other words, you do have a sign. It’s with you all the time. You can’t drive someone else’s bus if you want to use bad words in public or pitch a fit.  If you are going to call yourself a Christian you can’t change your sign. It’s permanent.  But you can change what’s underneath. I John 2:6 says “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (NIV). Ready to be like Christ?  Enter, and sign in please.

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