DALLAS, Texas - The first 10 minutes of Dr. Robert Jeffress' sermon at the 10:50 a.m. service at the First Baptist Church in Dallas was dedicated to the week's events. While he never actually said Tim Tebow's name, there was simply no need to say "New York Jets" or anything of the like.
There was not a soul inside this packed, 150-year-old church, or the adjacent sanctuary, who was unaware of what Jeffress was referring to when spoke of Tebow's recent decision to cancel his scheduled appearance at the mega-church late next month.
"It's not about me," Jeffress told the congregation.
Well, yes it is. For a larger piece, I attended Sunday's service to see what this was all about. What I found was just another church, not unlike any other, if only a little bigger. Lots of nice people trying to do the right thing. The guy who played the sax' was great. The sermon was a "Money Sunday" service that every church has to have when it needs some coin.
What separates this church right now is that its leader was savvy enough to schedule Tebow, and then smart enough to cash in when the latter checked out. There are hundreds of thousands who now know who Dr. Robert Jeffress and his church are as a result of this story, and he can easily spin negative media fallout to his congregation, which he did.
"I never realized I was such a bad person," Jeffress said of the massive media attention he has received over the past two weeks. "I'm thinking of getting a part-time job as a sports commentator."
He did take Tebow to task for what is an obvious a bow to public pressure to stay away from a man who has made inflammatory statements about Catholics, gays, President Barack Obama, etc. Whatever you think of Jeffress, he is not changing his rhetoric.
He took a direct shot when he said he wants people "willing to stand up and act like men rather than (cower) when it gets controversial. (He is) not going to kneel at the altar of political correctness."
When Jeffress was finished speaking about the week's events he received a standing ovation from the congregation.
"Don't do that to me," he told the audience.
After the service, I waited in line to introduce myself to Jeffress. He was pleasant, professional and because of the past two weeks I know who he is, and attended his church.
In the end, it seems to be that both Jeffress and Tebow acted in their own best interest.
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