NOW OPEN… Two words that bring anticipation and excitement over something new! New opportunities, new possibilities, new potential… These are things that come to mind when the sign, NOW OPEN appears out in front of a new business in the community.
As I mentioned yesterday, I felt like God was moving me to be intentional about reaching out to local business owners. And today, I sensed that he was specifically leading me towards people who had recently opened up new businesses in the area.
If you know our neighborhood in Peoria, you know it has been some time since the ACE Hardware at 83rd Ave. and Lake Pleasant Parkway was closed. But in the last few weeks, a NOW OPEN sign has appeared out in front of the building, so today I went inside to see what was going on. I wasn’t inside but a few seconds before one of the owners, Mike, came up and said, ‘Hi’, asking me if I needed any help. I asked him where the light bulbs were and a few other items (including some things to keep doors secure, since we’ve got a toddler walking around getting into everything now!)
Mike was eager to show me around and point out where everything was. I don’t think a new dad could have been more proud of his child than he was of his new store! As I asked more questions, I found out that Mike was a new to the area as well as being a first-time business owner, and that he was also going to go out tomorrow and start home shopping.
So I welcomed him to Peoria, and as I was handing him a business card, he shared that his greatest needs right now were 1) That his business would take hold and get established and 2) To find the right house for him and his family. I told him that we would be praying for those things and and to let us know if there was anything we could help him with, which he really seemed to appreciate. Finally, I invited him to join us for a Sunday morning worship experience and for our upcoming Movie Under the Stars on March 25. He said he’d come by and check it out…
The next NOW OPEN sign I saw was in front of a new Italian place in the same parking lot. Our worship leader, Dave, and I were looking for a place to grab lunch when we saw that the restaurant was open. We went on in and had some of the best pasta ever!
Later, I ended up talking to the owner, Diana, who was also excited about the area and the goal of getting her new business off of the ground. Afterwards, I told her I would be bringing my wife, Kecia, back on a date night sometime soon! And as before, I told her that we would be praying for the success of their new business, and I invited her to come and join us on an upcoming Sunday worship experience at Access.
As we drove away, the NOW OPEN signs at these two businesses made me think about a truth when connecting with new people… that there are just certain times in life when some people are more open to spiritual things than others. And when this is going on in someones life, if we look close and ask the right questions, we can begin to see that they also have a NOW OPEN sign on them, inviting you to engage in a conversation with them about spiritual things.
Jesus talked about NOW OPEN people in Luke 10:5-6… and how those who are open to the things of God will respond to us when we reach out to them. So will you pray this with me this week? ‘Lord, please open up our spiritual eyes to see when the person we are talking to has an NOW OPEN sign hanging around their neck, letting us know that they are open to your message of love, forgiveness and grace.
And by the way, if you do stop by Hardware Plus or Cousin Vinny’s, tell them Rance sent you…