Some of my very best ideas come to me while I am preaching. I first noticed this twenty-nine years ago in the pulpit of Pleasant Ridge Bible Church near Ft. Recovery, Ohio. The other night I was preaching in a little town in Illinois and a great idea popped into my head. I asked those in attendance, “How many of you here have a recipe for carrot cake?
At first no one responded. I pressed on.
“I’m serious, who here really knows how to make carrot cake?
Finally a couple ladies sheepishly raised their hands. I said to one of them, “Do you have a real carrot cake recipe?
“Sour cream frosting?” I said.
She nodded again and smiled.
“With nuts and real carrots and coconut?
Again she nodded.
I said, “Let me tell you something. If you have neighbors and you want to introduce them to Christ let me suggest you open with carrot cake. You go over to the neighbors every once and a while with a nice, big, from-scratch, homemade carrot cake with sour cream frosting. Get to know them. Show them you care about them. Learn their kids names. Find out their dreams and their fears. Get to know what makes them tick. Help them with the plumbing. Give them a hand with their brake job. Watch their house when they are on vacation. Show them you care about them. Mourn with them. Celebrate with them.
People aren’t impressed with our gimmicks and our slick sales talk but carrot cake with coffee and conversation. Genuine interest and lots of listening is hard to resist. If they can resist the appeal of home-made, from-scratch, carrot cake with sour-cream frosting and real nuts and still turn you away, you can pretty much conclude they are not elect! I’m kidding, but let me suggest that you should never underestimate the power of a well-placed coffee cake.
Just pray they come to faith before they are overcome with insulin shock.
It’s Holly’s 21st birthday and Hannah made, you guessed it, a home-made carrot cake with nuts and sour cream frosting. I have never had better. That young lady has a bright future. I had two forkfuls. Tomorrow I will run long and hard to atone.
Riverfront Character Inn
April 18, 2005