First Church of McDonald's

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.   Matthew 5:6

Kurt Garland is a skinny guy -- but don't be fooled by his trim appearance. He's aggressive on a basketball floor. ("The guy's all elbows!" says a friend who guarded Kurt once) and a fount of seemingly endless energy when pounding the drums for his church's worship band.

Kurt's favorite fuel for all that energy is burgers and fries. This kind is hungry all the time. He's always happy to eat your leftovers and has no trouble eating a meal too big for most guys twice his size. As a young teacher, he often left a sign in the middle-school cafeteria saying, "Please leave all uneaten sandwiches for Mr. Gar- land."

"I'd feast on roast-beef day!" says Kurt, "None of those kids liked the sandwiches, so there was always plenty left for me."

With such a healthy appetite, Kurt thought he'd found the perfect job; manager at a local McDonald's! "Anything left over at the end of the day was fair game. I never went home hungry."

Unfortunately, Kurt also had unhealthy appetites. "I was a pretty hard person," he admits. "Drank a lot. Did drugs." He hungered for something more in life, something deeper. He tried to fill that hunger through partying, but he wasn't satisfied.

That was when he noticed something at work -- strange people working with him. He confronted his coworkers. "What makes you so different? You're joyful, you're happy. You don't cuss, you don't drink, you don't really care about peer pressure. Why are you so different?"

These strange people had only one explanation: Jesus. They were Christians, and during shifts at work they befriended Kurt and told him more about Jesus Christ.

Kurt was interested but unwilling to make a change. Still, he found something very attractive about these Christians. They all started spending time together after work, building friendships beyond McDonald's.

One night they were relaxing, hanging out at a friend's house. The conversation turned to Jesus, and eventually one friend asked Kurt if he wanted to become a Christian.

The hunger burned inside Kurt's soul. He desperately wanted what these people had, but he wasn't sure Jesus was truly all they said he was. He mused for a minute, "OK. I'll try Jesus for thirty days and see if it changes me."

Two decades later, Kurt laughs when recalling the "Jesus trial period." Obviously, I kept on going. It was a very exciting time for me. It reached a point where I was actually telling customers at McDonald's about Jesus -- I almost got fired for it!"

Each day of that thirty-day trial (and each day since it), Kurt found him- self irresistibly drawn to the Bible. He read it and asked many questions of his Christian friends. During that time he discovered more about Jesus. Jesus Christ truly was the nourishment his spirit had been craving for so long. "I felt an overwhelming peace during that time. I was loved by God, and it didn't matter what else people thought."

Twenty years later this skinny guy with a giant appetite still remembers how he ate at McDonald's for fuel but found nourishment for his soul in the Bible.

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:33-35

[ by Mike Nappa & Dr. Norm Wakefield, 'True Stories of Transformed Lives' -- from ]


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