One of my sermon PowerPoints with a PIP lego version of me
One of my sermon PowerPoints with a PIP lego version of me

During  recent renovations at our church we installed a video camera system so that wherever you sit in the church you will be able to see what is going on. As part of it we have a picture in picture facility so that, for example, we can show a PowerPoint with the words of a reading and also have on the screen a small screen showing the video of the person reading.

On Sunday morning there were some problems and the PIP (as it is known by technical peeps) would not show the video image over the PowerPoint backgrounds. No amount of pressing the buttons in the right order would work.

This morning, while I was at the church, I decided to call the company that installed the system and ask them to tell me what had gone wrong. In order to do this in the most helpful way I decided it would be a good idea to switch the system on so I could describe the problem accurately and be talked through any solution.

You can guess what happened when I switched the system on this morning.

That’s right.

The problem was still there. (Be honest, did you think I was going to say that it had resolved itself?)

I was just getting ready to call the company when my brain reached into the dark recesses of my memory and reminded me that there were some written instructions for the system and that they said something about what would happen if you did things in the wrong order.

I found the instructions and as I read them I realised that what had happened was that someone had switched it off in the wrong order and that what needed to happen was for that wrong order to be reversed in order to get back to the way the system should work. I did that, and it worked. Problem solved, no loss of face with the company that installed the system, and a sense of achievement.

Except that if we had thought about it on Sunday and consulted the instructions then we could have sorted the problem out quickly and easily. My achievement was not spectacular at all, it was more a saving of face.

How often do we ignore what is glaringly obvious and try alternative solutions?

When the Bible talks about forgiveness, grace and mercy instead we focus on revenge, bitterness and anger. While the Bible speaks of generosity and the blessing of giving, we concentrate on increasing our bank balance and hoarding. When the Bible speaks of freedom from sin we prefer to wallow in guilt.

For best results, follow the maker’s instructions. This is not only good advice for appliances, it should also be stamped clearly on each one of us.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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