Becoming Potato Chip Christians
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Many of you will remember a potato chip ad campaign from many years ago in which the slogan was, “Nobody can eat just one.” Why did that slogan work so well for the potato chip brand? Because their potato chips left such a good taste in our mouths that it left us wanting more.

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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Have you ever noticed, as you go through your day, that some people who touch your life leave you with a bitter taste and some leave you wanting more? What do you think causes such different “after-tastes?” I’m not altogether sure. Some people might claim that it’s all about personal chemistry. That may be, but I hope there’s more to it than that. I don’t have any control over “personal chemistry.” What I do have control over is how I approach people and how I treat them based on my relationship with Jesus.

Have you realized that once people know you are a Christian, everything you do or say in no longer a reflection of you but of Jesus. Is that a little bit terrifying?
On the Christian radio station to which I listen, they play a short dramatization that makes that point very well – A policeman pulls a woman over and asks for her license and registration. The baffled woman asks the officer if she’s run a red light or committed any other traffic violation. The officer explains that he had been driving behind her for several miles and he had observed her as she shaking her fist and yelling at several drivers who were driving too slowly to suit her, as she swerved around one driver and cut off another. The woman is still confused.

“Did I break any laws, officer?”

“No,” he replies, “But when I saw the ‘Jesus loves you and so do I’ bumper sticker on the bumper, I assumed the car was stolen.”

Add to that, stories like this one from Steve Sjogren’s book, Changing the World Through Kindness:

“Not long after we moved [into our first house in California], my wife, Janie, and I picked up on the tension between a couple of neighbors. One was a very outspoken churchgoer, while the other was an unbeliever. I knew I was in the hot seat when the unchurched man struck up a conversation with me as we were both working in our yards.

“‘Say, Steve, aren’t you a pastor?’ It seems implicit in the public’s understanding that pastors exist to serve as referees in times of conflict, so I reluctantly listened as this troubled man opened up about the neighbor he’d never understood. He unfolded a long history of numerous conflicts over small issues. …

“Then he looked up and sighed, ‘But the most recent problem takes the cake. We received a letter from his attorney threatening to sue us if we don’t trim a tree that borders his yard. It seems strange he didn’t just come over and ask me to take care of the tree before he went to his attorney.’ …

“With a little wink this streetwise unchurched man continued, ‘You know, I was getting ready to trim that tree, but now there’s no way I’m going to do anything until he forces me. I will gladly go to court just so I can have a story to tell about being sued by Christians over an orange tree.’ He summarized his thoughts with a haunting observation: ‘I guess sometimes Christians love us—they just don’t like us.’”1

Is it any wonder then that, according to the Barna Research Group, nine out of ten people born between 1965 and 2002 would use the word “judgmental” to describe Christians? Additionally, even though 85 percent admit that they know at least one person who calls themselves a committed Christian, only 15 percent thought that those Christians they knew lived any differently than anyone else.2

So, have you thought of what kind of “after taste” you leave behind? Are you a potato chip Christian who leaves them wanting to know more about your Savior?
Wouldn’t it be terrible if something we said or did in an unguarded moment left a bitter taste for Jesus with someone who saw or heard us? Jesus’ last words on earth are found in Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

Many of us read the Great Commission and think to ourselves that that isn’t for us. That’s for the preachers and the evangelists of the world to worry about.
Sure, they can reach a whole lot more people than we, individually, ever will. But, (and this is huge) the preachers and evangelists have a much, much more difficult time if some interaction we have had with our neighbor, our school mate, our colleague, our family member, has left a bitter taste behind.

We have so many opportunities every single day, to touch people for Jesus. We don’t have to do anything big. We don’t even need to mention Jesus’ name. It’s as easy as sharing our potato chips. The main thing is first to show genuine interest in each person. Ask questions about their lives and really listen to their answers.
“Did you grow up around here?”
“Are you reading anything interesting these days?”
“What are some of the challenges you’re facing at work right now?”

Each time we ask questions and listen to the answers we’re offering a little taste of Jesus love and interest in them and their lives and struggles. As we get to know them, we can ask deeper and more important questions.
“Looks like you’re experiencing quite a bit of turmoil at work right now, how are you able to balance it all out?
“I just read a great Bible verse that I’d like to share with you.”
“I’d like to tell you a story about a shepherd and the sheep he lost and found.”
“I’d really like to pray for you, would you mind?”

Besides being honestly and truly interested in people and what they’re going through, we can also offer to help them with the little tasks we all get buried under every day.
“Those bags look heavy, may I help you carry them?”
“I’ve notice you’ve been working late, would you like some help with your yard?”

Every sincere question and good deed are potato chips offered…and nobody can eat just one. With the Holy Spirit’s help, these small things will awaken a hunger for Jesus in the hearts of our friends and family.

I want to be a potato chip Christian, don’t you?

  1. Steve Sjogren, Changing the World Through Kindness (Regal, 2005), pp. 103-104
  2. David Kinnaman, UnChristian (Baker, 2007), pp. 48, 182
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Comments

Becoming Potato Chip Christians — 19 Comments

  1. Thanks for another interesting read Lillianne. Wow! Only 15% say they know a Christian who lives any different from anyone else. I remember back in the 90's getting phone calls from long distance companies wanting me to switch over to their company. I never did because I could not see any reason to bother changing companies since I could not see any difference. Think there is a lesson there? Meanwhile I remember Arby's ads a while back, "same same same different different." They were marketing the fact that their sandwiches were different from everybody else. They succeeded by having an obvious difference from all other burger restaurants. There is no reason for our church to exist if its just going to blend in with the world and be same same same. Unless we are different we have no reason to exist as church. I pray the world sees a difference not only in my church but also in myself and others individually.

    Like(38)
  2. Sister Lillianne, The Holy Spirit has used you in a very, very mighty way to teach us some of the most valuable lessons we absolutely need to learn. I grew up in the church in the judgemental era and it was not a good experience and so many people were badly hurt and left the church because of it. May God have mercy on our souls.

    The world needs to see the love of Jesus which should be seen in us for it is a cold, cold place to live and if we are no different and at times worst than the non-believers our lives are being lived in vain.

    It is not knowing the Bible or fancy prayers but it is being a LIVING testimony that will win souls for Jesus.

    May God help us in our daily lives to be like Jesus in words, thoughts and deeds.

    Like(17)
  3. [Edited]

    Perspectives:
    1) Doesn't the world of "Christians" represent a wide range of people who are different in beliefs, in understanding of what is wrong and what is right, in faith, commitment, alliances, loyalties, etc? A "remnant" will be saved?
    2) What likelihood that the unbelieving neighbor was intentionally harassing, victimizing, persecuting the Christian neighbor, maybe even trying to trip them up to prove that he is better than the Christian, and so prove to himself that God is impotent, non-existent? Then manipulating the non-discerning Pastor to join him in alliance in judgment against God's own? Used of Satan?
    3) Doesn't God describe the church in the last days (Laodicea) as "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked", self-satisfied and well integrated into the world? Representation of illegitimacy soaring through the roof?
    4) Didn't Jesus say of the faithful that the world will not know them, but He knows them for they are His sheep; and just as He was rejected by the world and "people of God", because they perceived of Him as judgmental - feeling judged by His holy presence; so His people today will be rejected because their lives of faith and obedience to God will unintentionally make others feel that same sense of judgment?

    Like(4)
    • Hurford, Your questions have really started me thinking! I'm anxious to read what others think.
      Having said that, I believe that no matter what the situation, victimized, rejected, whatever -- we are to show the love of Jesus, be gracious, and leave everyone we meet wanting to know more about Jesus.

      Like(11)
      • I almost thought yje same but didn't the pharisees lnow that christ was indeed a special person, or didnt yhey attest of his works beyond their understanding? Albeit it was within their conscience that he was the SON of GOD ; ocaassionally they called him good teacher and" ....we know what you do cannot be done by any person..." So let us not be challegged by their sentiments bi rather, let's know that they are aware of it only that they are trying to b smart for the gospel/

        Like(0)
  4. [Edited]

    This is a very illuminating article and leads me to wonder how we can convert Christians to 'Christianity'? The bible says "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!" Acts 16:31 I think that this is all that we do. Is it the responsibility of the Church (as an organisation) to equip/teach the church (as a group of individuals) not only how to truly be Christ-like but also how to take 'The Great Commission' to our neighbourhoods, work places, study halls and communities?

    Then, after a week of constant outreach in our everyday lives, we come together to recharge, encourage, and enlarge our churches with the fruits of our labour?

    "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt 6:33. Should we not strive to be known by the things we *Do* do? And if so, what are they?

    The thing with potato chips is that they were specifically crafted to be addictive, moreish, compelling! They were originally just potatoes. There is a whole process that goes into making them as desirable as they are, so what is the Church doing to help the church?

    Jesus is waiting on us...

    Like(6)
  5. I understund main goal in text and agree. We need aldought corectiv in knowing that we cant be like potato chips because chips stimulate desire of flesh and people like that. We will not be liked by all but can do better.

    Like(0)
  6. Who could dare say that Jesus left a bad taste?...yet it was Barabbas that was released by the blood-thirsty mob. I agree, we can't be unkind while trying to win the lost, but the reality is that there are many that will gag on even the best Potato Chip.

    Our need is that Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith, and those that love Him will be drawn to Him while those who don't will find reason to disparage the most kind, courteous and sympathetic of God's children.

    Jesus gave 8 Beatitudes (yes, we read; "Blessed are" 9 times, but number 8 was repeated due to the inevitable being so real, and the double blessing that experience will bring) because He did not want His followers surprised by the hatred of Cain against Abel. As we near the final conflict, this principle will become more vivid when the spirit of Satan will control all who reject the goodness of God as seen in His faithful servants.

    This doesn't undermine the truth of the potato chip story, but keeps before us why this sinful world must end soon. It's our privilege to hasten that day.

    Like(2)
    • Interesting perspective. Thank you. I once read, "You can be a delicious, ripe peach and there will still be people in the world that hate peaches."

      At the end of the day, as Christians, we need to realize and always remember that we "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12.)

      I have seen so-called church members be used by the enemy; but sadly they don't even know or perhaps they can't see it's not them but the enemy.

      That's why we need to ask Christ to give us the eye ointment he prescribed to Laodicea (so that we can see clearly what we are up against.) As Joshua sent spies to Jericho to spy out the land and see what his enemies are made of, we need to see our enemy (the Devil and his hosts) and his strategies, his works; that kind of intel will tremendously help us to form a bold resistance against him through Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we are simply like a well-equipped but blind solider in the middle of a war zone. We all gotta pray for that eye salve in Revelation 3:18 on a daily basis. We're sitting ducks for the enemy without it.

      Like(6)
  7. This is a very interesting topic. Sometimes, I wonder why and how these nonbelievers can be good. What drove them to be good if they don't have Christ in their lives?

    Like(0)
    • It is said of Christ that He is light wich shine on every men. So nonbelievers can be inlighted by Christ gift toward all humanity. I dont see that believers are better people than others. We like to separate people in two camps but Bible dont. Prophetes said that after recieving faith we must become beter that we were but still out there is many greater men than we. We in majority
      were less good than average and because of much sin love to God surpases.

      Like(0)
      • Believers are not better? Than what? Anyone who believes is given power to become a son(or daughter) of God.(John 1:12) How is that not better than an unbeliever?

        There are two classes in the end:
        Saved and lost.
        Believers and unbelievers.
        Forgiven and unrepentant.
        Wise and foolish.

        Both classes exist in all places whether in or out of the church. The only thing that separates the two classes is true faith in the light given to them. It matters not where they are found when Jesus comes looking for those with faith.

        Does this make sense?

        Like(0)
        • I think you misded point or if you think that good peoples are saved and bad peoples are doomed than Why Christ have to die? We have law in writen on stone or in memory or in heart by nature like in Romans is said. So why then Christ?

          Like(0)
          • Goran, I think you missed what Robert was saying. It seems to me that he is saying that believers will be saved and unbelievers will be lost. The believers are forgiven and saved, while the unrepentant are lost.

            The Angel stated the mission of Jesus to Joseph when he announced that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit:

            18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)

            Notice that the Angel said that Jesus would save His people from their sins, not in their sins.

            In other words, Christ died that He might save us from our sins.

            Like(1)
        • Goran, first let me say that Inge has it correct, but let me add that there are no "good" people in this world apart from Christ. All who are IN Christ will live "soberly, righteously and Godly" in this life, proving the good and acceptable and perfect will of God in words and acts of goodness. The "bad" people are simply those who refuse the blood of Jesus which cleanses from all unrighteousness, just as Inge pointed out in the quote from the gospel of Matthew.

          Jesus saves bad people from their sins, and makes them good through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. They won't count themselves as good, but as redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and will give God all the glory. So there are no good people, only those who through faith are saved, who "go and sin no more" by the grace of God.

          Perhaps this is what you were saying in different words?

          Like(1)
  8. Jeanny, many are led by the Holy Spirit who have yet to meet Jesus in the lives of those who serve Him. Paul wrote of the heathen "without the law" who, by the Spirit fulfill the law. The world has many honest souls, seeking for truth who respond to the Holy Spirit's leading while they lack contact with God's people or His Word.

    Like(1)
  9. Inge,
    that could be truth that I dont understund, but what he write looks to me black and white perspective.
    Every argument has a counterargument.
    Goodness if not measurable then is just an excuse for arbitrary condemnation of those who we do not like.
    That is why Jesus said, "What do you call me good? Only One is good."
    We feel the call of the living Jesus in the Adventist church. Response to this pleasant occupation, suffer reproach and live with hope in justice that was promised.
    In practice we are sinners as others,(or we can argue in %, like 80 % beter?) but as EW writte, we are not overwhelmed by lawlessness, we are like a needle to the north, we're back on track.
    To see even in church some peoples to be "bad" is arbitrary. In finale yes, but we are answering to Jeannys question and I understund it takls about present and not finale.
    Why not pray for those that sin, and not to death?
    1 John 5:16
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God[a] will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
    Look the word "brother". Brother is not unbeliever!
    Is "brother" born again son of God ? I think so.

    Like(0)
  10. Thanks to our mom and sister Lillianne for such inspirational message. I bought potato chips yesterday and I really enjoyed the taste. I even desired to have more but it was unfortunate I wasn't having much money on me.
    If we Christians, especially Seventh-Day Adventists. want to become potato chips Christians so that we would leave good taste in the mouth of our neighbors. Then we need to be kind to them, generous to them, love them us ourselves and above all, share God's message with them. In that way we'll become very good potato chips Christians.

    Like(2)

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