International Blend

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Maybe God Can Use Baristas

Over the last couple of years I have come to believe that there is a balance that we too often upset.  Either we try to accommodate the culture and compromise the message, or the other way around.  I recently came back from Europe and have found an interesting phenomenon happening in mission work, coffee.  I know that there have been Christian coffee shops open in the states, and I know that this is not a new idea.  The idea of a barista getting in front of an evangelical congregation and telling them that the answer to reaching a country for Christ is coffee seems a little humorous on the surface. 

Leonard Sweet talked about how (rhymes with Farm Trucks) has created a culture of coffee, and that we as Christians can learn a great deal from how Farm Trucks (I refuse to mention their name, and I might get in trouble) has marketed and changed culture.  Coffee does not mean coffee, it means community, it means an open door to dialogue, it means opportunity. 

Sending baristas is not a bad idea I think, lets do there what we should be doing here, engaging the culture on neutral ground.  If we continue to believe that the culture will come to use, we deceive ourselves.  People seem to always fear that the message will get lost if we engage people on neutral ground, or if we use worldly means to win heavenly gains.  I say be shrewd, never lose track of what the ultimate goal of the gospel is, and please remember the only true coffee order is “black”.

Work Without Baggage

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I recently went on a trip to a country that is not open to the gospel being preached.  Because of the persecution that they are under, I would consider anyone that works for the gospel to be missionaries.  So in honor of those that I had a chance to support for the last two weeks I would like to tell you why I think that missionaries are awesome.  Missionaries have generally given up on things like retirement plans, investment portfolios, comfort food, and 4 bedroom/2 bath homes.  If that were all that I appreciated about them, that would be enough.  They have decided that their comfort and their future is only found in Christ and that is something that I struggle with daily and people still call me pastor.

What I appreciate most about missionaries though is the conversations that I have with them.  They don’t have time or space for baggage, and by that I am speaking of religious and theological baggage.  We, behind the relative safety of our religious freedoms (dwindling as they may be) seem to find time to argue about things that seem relevant to us, but only serve to try to account for our differences or our pride.  There is only one thing that is important to a missionary and that is to make the pure and simple gospel relevant to the culture that they serve.  Muddying the waters with theological or religious dirt simply confuses a message that would be lost in translation.

An Opportunity to Delete

I have been faced with many idiosyncrasy’s about myself over the years, and as someone that has a job that involves meeting and working with many people I feel as though there is one in particular that I need to reign in.  I am really good at making the awkward comment, not the obscene, just the awkward.

I love the being able to type out commentaries, blogs, texts, and emails because I have the information right in front of.  I can backspace anytime I want, and frequently do.  If you think my blog is awkward, spend an evening at my house and see how long you can make it without finding a reason to excuse yourself so that you can process the possible meaning of what I just said.

I am not naturally extroverted but I love people, and I think that is the problem.  I made a comment the other day to a friend that I am pretty sure made her unborn child say “you said what?”

No matter how awkward I get I still would rather spend an evening with friends and strangers than by myself.  I know that God intended us to be together in all of our awkwardness, stupidity, and vulgarity.  It is in these moments that we are called upon to remember that we are not all the same, and that none of us (except my wife) are perfect.