Hot Dog- No Strings Attached! (7/18/22)

Posted by on Jul 29, 2022 in FEATURED, Godprints, Mission: AroundTowns | 0 comments

Have you ever noticed that nothing is ever really for free?  Things are advertised as “free,” but there are always strings attached.

A church in Georgia has created a “Hot Dogs and Jesus Day” ministry which gives out FREE hot dogs to anyone who passes by.  No forms to sign, nothing to buy, no commitments: just a hot dog (with mustard if desired!).  It sounds cliche, but in God’s economy, “the best things in life” (or after life!) are indeed free!

 

Strings Attached…

We’re always hit with things that are supposedly “free,”  but things usually don’t turn out to be as good as advertised (click/tap the “Previous” and “Next” arrows to scroll through some things that are “free,” but not really “free”): 

“Visit our historic downtown and browse through the shoppes that line our main street. Plenty of free parking.” 

But when you arrive, you find that all of the parking spots are either taken or reserved for “special customers.”

“Sign up for XYZ cellular and get a FREE super duper iPphone i10000!” 

But when you visit the “XYZ Celluar” store, you find out that the phone actually costs $799.  It’s only “free” IF you keep their plan for 2 years.

You call customer service and you’re greeted with the assurance that “your call is important to us.”  You “listen carefully because our menu options have changed,” and then you patiently enter in your account number and all of the other information they request.  You then “please hold because all of our agents are serving other customers.” 

After spending 20 minutes listening to ads telling you how great the organization is, they hang up on you.

We’re all used to situations that come up short and have strings attached.  We’ve created a long collection of familiar sayings to help us cope:  “Always look a gift horse in the eye.”…   “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”…  “Nothing in life is free.”   We’ve been fooled by “free” offers so many times that we’ve developed a healthy sense of skepticism.  

 

No Strings Attached…

To find something that’s really (really!) free, we need to turn to people who really (really!) love us.  True love is the only thing that gives without attaching strings.  The best example of true love that we can find is God Himself, and we find that love illustrated by Jesus. In John chapter 3, Jesus explained why He came to earth to die on a cross:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

(from the Message)

 

Humanity’s relationship with God got messed up way back in the beginning.  Early on, we humans decided that we wanted to do things our way instead of God’s way, even though God always knows better than we can ever understand (see Genesis chapter 3).  Jesus was with God at the beginning of creation (see John 1:1-14), and He became a human to restore the good things that come when we’re in sync with God.  When we’re in tune with God, we can  “have life and have it more abundantly.” (see John 10:10)   Jesus said that He came to give us a life that’s richer and full of peace and purpose.   To receive this promise, there are no strings attached.  All we have to do is to believe and to want to return to God.

And this isn’t just John 3:16 or other cherry picked verses in the Bible.  This is really God’s character.  He loves us- No strings attached! Throughout human history, God has offered to bring us back into a life-giving relationship with Him.

Click/tap the following tabs to view a few of things God is promising us- no strings attached!

Psalm 94:14  The Lord will not reject his people;  he will not abandon his special possession.

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 65:24      I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs,  I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Nahum 1:7  The Lord is good,  a strong refuge when trouble comes.  He is close to those who trust in him.

2 Corinthians 5:17   This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

John 1:12    But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

Hebrews 8:12    And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Proverbs 3:5, 6     Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Revelation 21:4      He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

John 6:47    “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.

John 14:2-3     There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

All of the above promises are from the NLT (New Living Translation) of the Bible

 


So what does all of this have to do with Hot Dogs?!?

 

Hot Dogs and Jesus!

Hot Dogs and Jesus Day (photo courtesy of Bemiss UMC)

A church in Southern Georgia (the Bemiss United Methodist Church in Valdosta, GA) has come up with a creative way to share with their community by GIVING away hot dogs. Just like God’s love, there are “no strings attached.” It’s really Free!   

On the last Saturday of every month, someone stands near the driveway wearing a hot dog suit carrying a sign saying “FREE Hot Dogs.”  If you drive in, you’re given a free hot dog (yep- the roll and condiments are included!  If you need a friendly smile or prayer, that’s included too!)

Given.  Free.  You don’t have to go to church on Sunday.  You don’t have to sign up for their newsletter.  You don’t have to listen to a sermon.  All you have to do is to take the hot dog.

To learn more, check out this article from the South Georgia United Methodist Conference website: 
Hot Dogs and Jesus  

To learn more about the Bemiss United Methodist Church, click this button: 
Bemiss UMC  

 

What’s in it for Me?

Why is this church doing this?  If it doesn’t boost their Sunday attendance or the balance in their General Expense fund, what’s in it for them?  They’re doing this because they want to illustrate God’s love. They’re part of their community and they want to engage with it.   A Church isn’t a walled fortress for “specially chosen saints.”  A church is for everyone because God wants a relationship with everyone.

People in churches are there so that they can become more and more like Jesus and reflect God’s love to the community.  Every month, someone in Valdosta, GA puts on a hot dog suit and stands by a highway to demonstrate that God’s love is for everyone who wants to experience it. All you have to do is to notice the hot dog lady, turn into the parking lot, and accept the gift.

In the same way, to experience the abundant life that God is offering, there are no strings attached.  Just like the hot dogs, it’s a free gift.   You just need to turn to God and accept the gift.

 

 

+     +     +     +     +

To see some of the things PUMC is doing in our community, click this button: Community  

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.