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The Gospel According to Shiner

For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
– The Epistle to the Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

This past worship service I opened up a bottle of Shiner Bock. Yup. You heard it right! In the beginning of my message I pulled out the iconic Texas brew and cracked it open saying, “Some of you are angry, others of you are thirsty.” I used it to illustrate there are certain liberties some of us feel free to exercise where others decline, and while people may not like the choices we make it doesn’t nullify those freedoms. There was much more to the message but can I just say one thing? I really, really love my church!

It wasn’t what happened during the service that prompts me to proclaim my devotion to my congregation, it’s all the conversations I had after the service was over (including those via email throughout the week). While I’m sure I probably got booted off the Christmas card list from some in the audience who didn’t like me twisting open a beverage handcrafted at the Spoetzl Brewery, many came up to me that evening earnestly seeking to get a heartfelt grasp on how the Christian should use his or her freedoms well. In other words, they got it. Not only did they not get hung up on a Shiner in my hand, they didn’t even care – heck, scores wondered if I could smuggle out one for them.

That levity stirred within me such a deep appreciation for a congregation who understands that if we’re going to get irked about something it’s going to concern the Gospel, not whether a Follower of Jesus decides to imbibe alcohol responsibly. That’s a freedom he may choose to use or not use (the same with movies, music, etc.), but we’ve got a bigger fish to fry – helping spiritually dead people find life in Jesus. I know far too many churches who’ve decided to major on the minors and miss the mission, where issues like beer become shibboleths for weak spirituality and engender fruitless causes that exasperate more than redeem. While I’ve personally fallen into that pitfall in years past, I thank God we haven’t done so as a congregation. May it never happen.

Thus it warmed my heart to hear from the mouths of those who call my church their church as well, that it’s the Cross that counts. If you want a Shiner that’s up to you. Be wise. Be discerning. Be loving. But in the end, the Gospel in your heart is much bigger than a beer in your hand.

Now that’s a Gospel that truly is Good News!

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

5 thoughts on “The Gospel According to Shiner”

  1. Break the conventions. Keep the commandments. Cheers to you for pushing people toward Christ.

    – Kerckhoff

  2. One word…”AMEN”! know me..i can’t resist… I agree!! I love our church home. What a great,thought-provoking night!

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