Posts Tagged ‘Steve Carell’

Sermon 05-19-19: “Jesus the Good Samaritan”

May 22, 2019

The Parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37, isn’t primarily about what we need to do. If it were, given how far short of this standard of love that we usually fall, we would all be in trouble. No, more than anything the parable is about what Christ has done for us. He is our Good Samaritan, and he continues to be.

Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-37

When you get to know me, you’ll learn that my all-time favorite TV show is The Office. And one of my favorite episodes on this, my all-time favorite TV show, is episode 14 of season five, entitled “Stress Relief.” And it’s great in part because of the “CPR Training” scene. You can google it and watch it on YouTube. In this scene, an instructor from the Red Cross is teaching the office employees how to do CPR—using one of those CPR dummies to demonstrate techniques for chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. And Michael Scott, the boss of the office, is the first volunteer to practice CPR on the dummy. 

At first, he’s doing chest compressions too quickly. So the instructor tells him that one rule of thumb is to do the compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees. So Michael is singing, “Ah-ah-ah-ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive” [mimic compressions]” And Andy, another office worker, starts singing the verse. And Kelly jumps up and starts dancing. Pretty soon, everyone in the conference room is singing and dancing… and then Michael stops doing compressions and joins them—oblivious to the fact that if this were an actual human being, he or she would now be dead.

It’s funny… And helpful! Because earlier this year, this episode literally saved someone’s life. 

It happened in Tuscon, Arizona. A young man named Cross Scott was working at a tire shop. He had replaced and balanced tires on a vehicle and was taking it out for a test drive. He noticed a sedan on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. He stopped to see if he could help. He came close and saw a woman slumped over in the front seat, unconscious. The doors were locked. So he broke open the window with a rock, checked for a pulse—no pulse. She wasn’t breathing. He called 9-1-1 and started administering CPR.

The only thing is… he’d never been trained to do CPR. But he did watch The Office. So he did chest compressions while singing “Stayin’ Alive”! About a minute into it, the woman came to! The paramedics arrived, took her to the hospital. And she’s fine! One paramedic interviewed for the story said that the man’s heroic intervention probably saved the woman’s life. 

We have a name for people like this who go out of their way to rescue or save someone else. We call them “good Samaritans,” and they are true heroes. But… I would argue that most people we call good Samaritans don’t come close to measuring up to the actual Good Samaritan that Jesus describes in today’s scripture. Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons in leadership, Michael Scott-style

May 24, 2014
Pam (Jenna Fischer) listens to Michael's pep talk.

Pam (Jenna Fischer) listens to Michael’s pep talk.

I happened to re-watch this Season 5 episode of The Office entitled “Dream Team” last week. In the previous episode, Michael Scott quits Dunder-Mifflin and decides to start his own paper company. In a Jerry Maguire moment, he asks for volunteers to join him in his new venture. Impulsively, Pam, bored with being a receptionist, does so.

The clip below takes place the next day. Pam shows up at Michael’s house ready to get to work. Michael, however, is still in his bathrobe—depressed and filled with self-doubt. Pam encourages him. That afternoon, however, after failing to accomplish any of the goals they set for themselves—including convincing Michael’s grandmother to invest in his company—Pam is now the one with second thoughts. And Michael gives her a not-half-bad pep talk. (The acting is terrific. Especially watch Jenna Fischer’s face as Michael talks to her through the window.)

These are always my favorite moments in The Office—when Michael, despite his many deficiencies as a leader, rises to the occasion in spite of himself.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a crash course on leadership. I’ve been the pastor in charge at Hampton UMC for nearly a year. Now, with the strong endorsement of our church council, I’m making my first real changes to church life. While I believe these changes are good, necessary—and even exciting—they’re also hard. I’d be lying if said I couldn’t relate to Michael or Pam in this video.

I called an old clergy friend last week and said, “Remember when we were associate pastors and everything was easy?”

Of course, being an associate pastor didn’t seem easy at the time, but you know what I mean: it’s a lot harder when the buck stops with you!

I’ve said, half-jokingly, that while I have faith in the Lord, I’d prefer not to have to use it. Well, I’m now in a season in which I don’t have a choice—which is a great place to be. Thank you, Jesus!