Last week, I committed an unpardonable sin while speaking at Cross Point.
I didn’t mean to. I mean that’s my home church. As a speaker, the last thing I want to do is mess up during one of the 5 services I spoke at that day. If that happens out on the road, I can hang my head in shame and retreat back to Nashville, resting in the knowledge that I probably won’t see those folks again.
But when it’s your own church and you mess up during a sermon, those poor people have to make eye contact with you the next Sunday and the Sunday after that.
What did I do from stage that was so erroneous?
I forget to give the answer to one of my fill in the blanks during my sermon.
There were three in the sermon, one for each main point. And I hit the first two, just fine. I said the right sentence, revealed what was supposed to go in the blank and saw the congregation collectively scribble. But in the third service, I forgot to say the third sentence. I shared the point. I told the story. I just didn’t say the answer to the fill in the blank.
I realized this during my closing prayer. In the midst of praying, I actually gave the answer to the fill in the blank. I’m pretty sure that’s going to earn me a straight shot to hades. Who puts a fill in the blank in a prayer? Me.
As soon as service was over, I went to the lobby to sign some books and shake some hands and kiss some babies. Within 30 seconds, an elderly woman pulled me aside, put her bulletin on the table in front of me, showed me her empty blanks, and said, “Why do you hate Jesus so much?”
Those weren’t her exact words, in fact I might have exaggerated that a little bit. She was actually quite nice and said, “I think I might have missed your last fill in the blank.” We both knew she hadn’t. I had, and I immediately said, “Not at all. In my excitement, I skipped right by it.” I didn’t ask her if she had heard it in my closing prayer, like an Easter Egg hidden in a movie. I didn’t ask her if she opened her eyes during the closing the prayer, grabbed her bulletin and filled out the last line.
I didn’t have to, because she handed me the bulletin and had me fill it out for her. It was only right.
And no sooner had she left than a married couple approached me with an iPad. They had created their own version of the bulletin sermon notes. By forgetting to mention that line, I had created digital disappointment. I apologized and helped them fill out the sermon notes and then hit that point 19 times in the next service.
You better believe I remembered that fill in the blanks section next service. I wore out that point! I was all over that point like Rebecca Black on the word “Friday.”
And I had to be, because although both of those people were incredibly gracious to me, if there’s one things we Christians don’t mess around with, it’s the fill in the blanks.
Do you fill in the blanks during a sermon?