Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Design to Coincidence

April 6th was my elder daughter's 9th birthday. It was also a Sunday. We had a big Hollywood-themed birthday party on Saturday. My mother was in town and we were having a great weekend. On Sunday morning we gave E-- presents, and my wife made cupcakes for her Sunday school class. It was pretty much all 9 year old, all the time.

As is often the case, I preached the sermon at church on Sunday. In that sermon, I talked about a T.V. show that my family watches. It's on HGTV, and it's called "Design to Sell." While we like to watch the network generally, this is our favorite show. If you are interested in how I connected this show to Jesus, you can listen to the sermon on my sermon podcast. It's over on the right of this blog, and the episode is called "Shine a Light."

After church, Ella wants to have her birthday lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. So we go over to the Green Hills Mall. It is a beautiful day so we get a table outside. My wife and I are there with my mom and the kids. Everyone is looking at their menus. I find what I'm going to order, so I look up.

That's when I see someone I think I recognize walking out of the parking lot towards the restaurant. It was none other than Clive Pearse the host of "Design to Sell."

Now, let's be clear. I have seen famous people many times before, and spoken to many of them. Al Gore, John Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, Shaq, Kate Moss, etc. Not to mention Nashville celebrities in the Country and Christian music world whom we "ignore" all the time. Fame rarely impresses me, and it never impresses my wife who grew up in L.A. and NYC. It wasn't the fame of Clive Pearse that hit us. It was the unbelievable coincidence. I had just spoken about his show in a sermon. That had never happened before. And it was E--'s birthday. And, we really do like his show, and especially like him and another person named Lisa who is on it.

So my wife and I are in shock for a minute, and then we get all giddy. "Let's go talk to him, let's take his picture with Ella." Now, we are not this sort of people. But this just seemed so crazy. We went inside and found him. He was in the bar section with two folks who turned out to be a make-up artist and a camera man. They put up with us very nicely.

I approached Clive, apologized for interrupting, and asked if he would take a picture with Ella for her birthday. He was really gracious and pleasant. We took the pictures, and told him we love his show. My wife told him that I had just preached a sermon using Design to Sell not an hour before. He asked what I had said, and I gave him the ten second version. He gave E-- an autographed picture and recommend a book that the show folks had put together.

We left him alone to his lunch, and were all giddy at the table. We recorded a post on the HajjPod podcast if you want to hear us.

One one hand, this was just a funny experience. On another, though, I have to ask myself "why?" I mean, this is pretty overwhelming coincidence, don't you think? If it happened in a book or a movie, you would never believe it. I preach a sermon using this particular cable TV show as a featured example, and then an hour later I spot the host of said show at the very restaurant we are eating in. And this show is not based here, nor do they even do episodes in Nashville. They were in town only very briefly to shoot some spot or something on their way between other things.

I have not worked out what God was doing, but I have to assume it was something. I do know that it added to the enjoyment of E--'s birthday, and we have been talking about this for two days now.

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