Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.19.19)

It’s like a death in the family. For the past fifteen years a group of men from our church has met almost every Wednesday morning at Magnolia Bakery and Cafe’ in Norcross. We have read an untold number of books, many classics of Christian devotion, others more contemporary reflections on what it means to be a Christian in today’s culture, all based on our understanding of the Bible as the roadway to faith in Christ. And we have consistently prayed for one another and for concerns of our church, family, and friends.

Through the years the members of the group have changed, but what has always remained a reassuring constant has been the warm and gracious welcome of Magnolia Bakery’s proprietors, Mike and Vickie Webb, their son Chris, and their staff. They have provided an atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness, born out of their own Christian convictions and commitments, that has been perfectly conducive to both serious study of God’s word and principles and light-hearted camaraderie. 

But now Magnolia is closing. A new owner of the property has increased their rent excessively and Mike and Vickie have decided it’s time to end what has truly been a ministry to our community. 

Our group won’t be the only one affected. It’s not unusual for me to eat breakfast there two or three times a week and it seems that there is always a small group of men or women, seated at a table, books or Bibles open, earnestly discussing some point of doctrine or practical application of Christianity and unashamedly joining together in prayer. 

We’ll find another place to meet. We’ll try out a few places before we land, and I am sure that we will be welcomed at any number of establishments in the area. It is unlikely, however, that we will receive the level of hospitality and encouragement of our attempts at living out the Christian faith as we have at a place where a quiet and unassuming couple have lived out theirs for so many years. 

Our group and countless others will be praying for the Webbs as they continue on their Christian journey. They are convinced that God has a plan for their futures. But what I will be praying for just as earnestly is that there will be more Christians like them, willing to bear witness to their faith while encouraging others to do the same and, at the same time, welcoming anyone who comes through the door. That’s what we need today more than anything else.