Gary poses a tough question to a Christian talk show host.
|Author's Note: The intent of Drama for Worship is to launch a realistic conflict to the point where a congregation is ready to listen for the pastor's sermon points to resolve the issue.
GARY IN GARY
By Laura Milner
HOST (Finishing his last call) ... and so, for Sarah in Portland, Maine, don't worry so much about appearances. It's really what proceeds from your mouth. The words that you say. For out of the wealth of the heart, the tongue doth speak. (Presses a button to disconnect call) This is Pastor Greg and you're listening to "The Front Lines," out of God's country - the Ozarks. Just dial 800-GOD-TALK. ... 800- 'G-O-D-T-A-L-K.' Anyone can call in. We want to hear your questions or concerns about what's happening in the church on "The Front Lines." Then we ask for listeners to respond. That's limited to three callers. You don't have to be a Christian to call in. We just ask that you keep it respectful, and under two minutes. And we have a caller. (Presses a button) And this is Gary in Gary, Indiana. Go ahead, Gary. You're on "The Front Lines."
GARY Thanks, Pastor Greg. Thanks for taking my call. I love your show.
HOST Good to have you on the air, Gary. What's on your mind tonight?
GARY Well, a lot. But let me just say that I've got a situation with a co-worker of mine. Really nice guy, but when he gets a few beers in him, I don't know. He gets loud and rude and - well, not much fun to be around.
HOST Yeah, I've seen a lot of that through the years, too.
GARY Yeah. Yeah. But I'm wondering, what can I do to get him to ... to just stop and consider changing. I feel kind of responsible for helping the guy out. It's not just the drinking. There's ... other stuff I don't want to say on the air. I mean, he's really rough around the edges. The other guys at work know I go to church and, well, they're always looking at me like... they're waiting for me to say something. (Quickly) But it's not just that. I feel like God wants me to do something, and I don't want to mess it up. I thought about just walking away, but that doesn't seem right. I'd invite him to church, but I'm pretty sure what he'll say. And I've prayed about it, too. I thought about talking to my wife about it. But, I don't know. I thought I'd try to call in and see what your other listeners had to say.
HOST I'm glad you did, Gary. And I'm pretty sure we'll get some comments to help with this. And Gary, don't worry. Sometimes prayer is ... is just a process. It's not always like a fast-food drive through.
GARY (Laughs) No. I guess it's not that simple. It's just that I was where this guy is about six years ago, so ... it's hard to just watch it and not do anything.
HOST That's quite a testimony, Gary. Well, let's open up the lines and listen to what the Spirit has to say to those of us who are on "The Front Lines."
GARY Thanks, Pastor Greg. I appreciate it.
HOST Thanks for calling. (Presses button to disconnect call) 800-GOD-TALK gets you on the air. We need three callers. Let's hear something for Gary in Gary. Good! We've already got caller Number One on the line. (Presses a button) This is Harry in Houston, Texas, and you're on "The Front Lines." Go ahead, Harry.
HARRY Thanks, Pastor Greg. It's a tough question that Gary raised. Guys always feel like people are trying to talk them into doing something they just don't want to do. Ya know what I mean?
HOST No doubt about that. I was as hard headed and stiff-necked as they come! You're preaching to the choir here, Harry.
HARRY I know, and I don't know why, but that's just how it is. Now, I grew up in the church. And I was pretty active in youth group throughout high school. Some people thought I was actually gonna be a preacher! I kinda wondered about that, too. But in college, it's like all the rules changed and I messed up. Not just a little. I messed up a lot.
HOST (Kindly) Well, most of us do, Harry. Most of us do.
HARRY But I made it back to church eventually. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that I'm any super Christian or anything. But, Gary in Gary, I just want you to know that in the Bible, Jesus met a lot of people and did a lot of miraculous things. But they still didn't all decide to follow Him. You can be a friend, but just don't take it personally if things don't change. Just do what you can and let God take care of the rest. That's my two cents!
HOST Thanks for calling in, Harry. Hope you're listening, Gary. (Presses button to disconnect call) That's one. And here's caller Number Two. (Presses button) This is Tom from Topeka, Kansas, and you're on "The Front Lines." Go ahead, Tom.
TOM I'll just make this short and sweet. This is what I say to Gary in Gary: (Strongly, somewhat brash) Just be a man! Tell it like it is. I mean, this other guy needs to get a grip on things, know what I mean? You're not doing him any favors by just smiling and nodding and being all "churchy" and stuff, Jerry.
TOM What? Oh, yeah. Gary ... in Gary. That's right. My mistake. But I was just saying, more than likely, he already knows he's headed down a wrong path. Men just need to grow up and be - well, men! Read the Bible. The apostles, or disciples, were not wimps. They just said it like it is. Even went to prison. And some of 'em died! Well, they all died. (HOST silently chuckles with a hand over his mouth, genuinely amused.) But I mean they killed 'em. You know what I mean.
HOST (Gracefully) I know what you mean, Tom. You're talking about taking a stand for Christ, right?
TOM That's exactly what I'm saying. Be a man! Take a stand! That's all!
HOST That's pretty catchy. Thanks for calling in, Tom. (Presses button to disconnect call) That's two callers. It's time for our last one. And now, caller Number Three. (Presses a button) This is Ellen in Indiana, and you're on "The Front Lines." Go ahead, Ellen. (Pause) Ellen? ... Are you there? (Moves as if to press button, but ELLEN speaks)
ELLEN (Somewhat startled) Wow! I'm just so surprised. I didn't expect to get through.
HOST Go ahead, Ellen. You've got two minutes.
ELLEN I don't usually call in to live talk shows, but I thought I felt the Holy Spirit "nudge." So let me just say to Gary in Gary, Indiana: My own husband has come a long, long way since when we first married. Today, he's with me at church every Sunday. And I never thought that it would ever be this way, but God made it happen! And - oh - I've actually got a Scripture for Gary. It's from John, Chapter 3, Verse 17: For God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
HOST Great Scripture! One of my personal favorites, in fact.
ELLEN Well, I think that's what I hear Gary saying: that he wants his friend to be saved - to have life and have it in abundance. That's all.
HOST Well, that's good news for all of us, isn't it? Thanks for calling, Ellen.
ELLEN (Hastily) Oh, and could I just say just one more thing?
HOST You've got about thirty more seconds.
ELLEN In case he recognizes the voice, this is Mrs. Gary, from Gary, Indiana. And this is our seventeenth anniversary!
HOST (Surprised) Well!! Happy Anniversary! Doesn't that just beat all?
ELLEN (Quickly) And I just crossed the county line on my way back from Chicago, Honey, so I hope you've got the Anniversary Chili on the stove. I'm just an hour from home. And, Gary, (Suddenly serious), I always wanted you, but never as much as I do today. Love you. Bye, Pastor Greg.
HOST Godspeed, Ellen. Stay safe, now. (Genuinely moved) That's a first for me. That was our third call, so we'll take a short break before returning to recap what the Spirit is saying to Gary ... (Drawn out) ... in Gary! You're listening to ... (Dramatic radio pause) ... "The Front Lines." We'll be right back. (Takes deep breath, removes headphones, looks heavenward and mouths "Thank You," then folds his hands and bows his head to pray. Contemporary Christian song begins. Lights dim to blackout.)
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