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Monday, April 22, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Calling the CEO”

E-Vangel Newsletter
April 22, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Calling the CEO”

For the past two months we have had a problem at the church with a service provided by a national company (who shall remain unnamed), the second largest company in their field. For several years, we have been satisfied customers. But when a problem arose, and after several unsuccessful attempts to fix the problem, the local branch did not return my calls for several days.

In frustration, I wanted to see if we might get help from someone higher up the organization chart. Anita searched the internet and found the name of the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at their corporate headquarters in the Midwest. His webpage said, “I’m just a phone call away.” Yeah, right! So I asked her to tell me his phone number, and she said there was none listed on that website. Of course! So I almost gave up when Anita continued her search and found the corporate phone number. What did I have to lose?

I dialed the number, got voicemail (not a surprise) but selected their automated directory. I spoke the name of the person I was trying to reach. The automated attendant said, “One moment, and I will connect you to that extension.” Good, I thought. At least I will get his administrative assistant or will be able to leave a message to call me back.

After about three rings, a pleasant voice said, “Hello”. “I’m calling for Mr. Smith,” (not his real name) I said. “This is John Smith, how may I help you?”

It took me a few seconds to realize he actually DID answer his own phone! Not only that, he patiently listened to my dilemma and said he would get right on this and get a resolution by the end of the day. I thanked him, and hung up, doubting he would be able to do anything that fast. But at least we could expect to break the impasse.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was the Senior Vice President of Operations from the regional office. He said Mr. Smith had asked him to see that my problem received attention. I repeated the situation, and received his assurance the problem would be addressed immediately.

A few minutes later, the district manager in Los Angeles called to say three of their top problem solvers were on their way to my office, one coming into San Diego from LA to fix the problem.

The three men worked for almost three hours, and true to Mr. Smith’s word, by close of business that same day, the problem was resolved. No, our situation is even better than before the problem emerged. We forged a friendship where I was able to offer some resources from my experience and connections as a technology manager and educator, and their company gave the Ministry Center a generous credit on our bill. I am back in the fold of satisfied customers.

I was so pleased, I called the district manager and VP to let them know how much we appreciated the extraordinary service we received. Then, I dialed Mr. Smith’s line to leave a message to let him know the problem was resolved, and to thank him. After three rings I expected to get his voice mail, but once again heard, “This is John Smith. How may I help you?” We had another pleasant conversation which ended with him thanking me for “taking time to call back”.

There is a sermon in this amazing experience, and I will attempt to unpack it for my own edification. Of course you see the parallel between my call to Mr. Smith and our calling (through prayer) our Heavenly Father.

Seven lessons learned from speaking with The CEO.

1.   We might be surprised at the results when we simply step out in faith.
“Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they will never get their problems resolved.”
2.   God is at the other end of prayer, waiting for His children to call.
We are created in the image of God and for the expressed purpose of having fellowship with Him. How do you do that without communicating with Him?
3.   There is no problem too big or too small that God cannot handle.
We deceive ourselves when we think a problem is too trivial for God. He notes the fall of the sparrow and counts the hairs upon our heads.
4.   God is never too busy to answer the phone Himself.
We have a direct line to the Throne of Grace. We never have to leave a voicemail for a call-back.
5.   We let too many problems linger without asking for His help.
Why is it God is the last person we turn to? Maybe if we start with God, we would have fewer problems.
6.   God has all the resources needed to fix what is wrong in our lives, and make things better than before.
He has the power and legions of angels to guard and protect us. We may discover that prayer is not so much that He hears us (which He surely will), but that we will hear Him! And we should ask, as Joel Osteen says, not simply that our problems be fixed, but that things will be even better than before!
7.   It is a reminder that God loves us!
Dr. David Jeremiah said only when we put God into the void He alone can fill in our hearts does He turn on the transmitter and receiver in our heads! If it seems your calls to God are not getting through, maybe you haven’t put the love of God in your heart, which automatically actives the transmitter and receiver.

I thought about the television series, “Undercover Boss” where the CEO goes undercover at one of his local branches to see how the customers are being treated. If Mr. Smith wants his customers’ needs to be met, how much more does your Heavenly Father want you, his very own child, to ask Him for what you need?

Are you dialing yet?

Pastor Bill

[Photos taken Saturday at Birch Aquarium in La Jolla on our family outing. What a beautiful world God created. What a joy to live in San Diego.]

Prayers appreciated for a safe and successful trip this week to Memphis and Mississippi for the Methodist Russian Roundtable conference and visit with my family.

From the Quote Garden:

“Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.”
~ Satchel Paige, 1974 ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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