Passing the Baton

“What me…a leader?  But I’m not qualified”  This is the response I often get when I speak with someone about being a leader in the church.  This brings two things to my mind.

The first is that EVERYONE is a leader.  I don’t think we have a choice of whether or not to be a leader – we only have the choice of whether or not to be a GOOD leader.  Someone is always watching us and looking to us to set an example.  This makes us leaders to someone, somewhere.   The ideals we have for “leaders” should apply to all of us.  Not everyone will hold a leadership title, but everyone is in a position of leadership so the big question if we feel we aren’t qualified is what are we going to do about it?

The second thing that comes to my mind is that this means I have work to do.  When someone says they are not qualified to be a leader, I take it personally.  It is my job to equip people to lead in the church.  I don’t understand when pastors complain about not having quality leaders in their church.  If there are no quality leaders, then it’s the pastor’s job to do something about it!

A very good friend gave me a relay baton with the verse reference “2 Timothy 2:2″ printed on it.  In this passage, Paul tells Timothy (a young pastor) ” And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  Paul trained Timothy and he is telling Timothy to train others.   Godly church leaders don’t just fall out of the sky, they are built up, developed, and trained over time.

If you feel that you aren’t qualified to be a leader in the church, what are you doing about it?  Someone is watching you and probably even following your example – this makes you a leader so be the best one you can be.  Who knows where it may lead?  You might just be passed a baton that puts you in some official leadership position. Are you ready?  If not, then let’s get training!

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alarm clockIt’s 6am and the sun has not come up yet.  My wife and kids are still sleeping.  It is very still, except for the sound of the furnace waking up.  I wonder what the day will hold?  

Father, help me take everything in this day and use it as an act of worship to you.  I want to do more than just get things done.  I want to live in prayer and worship.  It is easy in the stillness of now to say this, but soon the battle will begin to get little eyes to open and little feet to move.  In the rush, may my children know that I love them and, more importantly, that you love them.  Then, as I stare at my long list of things that I should do today, may I see each one as an opportunity to point others to your infinite grace.  May I grab hold of each opportunity and recognize the choice inherent in every moment to either rely on my smallness or to point to your greatness.  May the alarm be my call to worship each day.


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Home-Roasted Coffee

coffee roasting levels

I love coffee.  It has gone a bit beyond just drinking coffee and has become a sort of art.  A couple of years ago I saw something from a friend saying he was roasting coffee.  I immediately did what I always do when I am curious about something – I googled it.  Turns out, roasting your own coffee is actually fairly easy.  For years people roasted their own coffee.  The cowboys would carry unroasted, green coffee beans with them and roast them in a cast iron skillet over an open fire along the trail.  If a cowboy can do it, surely I can.  (This has yet to lead me to try cattle herding.)

This fed an addiction of mine and I’m not talking about a coffee addiction.  I have an addiction to learning to do something myself.  This has led me to learn how to program web pages, change my own oil and other car repairs, cook, do woodworking, and many, many other “hobbies.”  In fact, that’s how I started to play guitar – but that’s a topic for another day.  I guess I am a learning junkie and Google is like my heroin.

I got a popcorn roasting pan with a hand crank and found a website to buy unroasted coffee.  I had ideas of the wonderful aroma of freshly roasted coffee wafting through the house.  It turns out, fresh roasted coffee doesn’t actually smell that way until a few hours after it’s roasted.  While it’s roasting it smells a bit like burning dirt.  Not exactly a candle-worthy fragrance.  It doesn’t take very long to roast – maybe 8-12 minutes on the stove – but you have to keep the beans moving so you crank, and crank, and crank…. and quickly because you don’t want beans with burned spots.  On a steak the “grill marks” (burned parts where it touches the grill) add great flavor.   Unfortunately, burned spots on the coffee beans taste like licking an ashtray when you brew the stuff (and no, I have no plans to try that myself).

It’s also messy.  After the beans are roasted, they have chaff that has to be removed.  The chaff is small flecks of papery material.  I put the beans on a pan with little holes in it (made for cooking pizza) and set that on top of a box fan pointing up.  I have to move the beans around on the pan to get the chaff to release which basically puts my face in the path of the flying chaff.  Typically, I’m a bit sweaty after the hot stove and all the cranking and the chaff sticks – in my face, my ears, down the back of my shirt, in my hair…  Then, after all that work you would think you could brew a pot and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right?  Nope.  The coffee needs to sit for about a day before it reaches its full flavor potential.  It’s not bad right away, just not great yet.

So why all the trouble?  Several reasons – First because I’m cheap.  I can get a pound of  really good coffee for about 7 bucks unroasted while I was paying about 10-12 of the roasted stuff (note: the stuff that comes in cans does not qualify as coffee!).  Sure, I’m not going to put my kids through college this way, but it’s something (and there’s the addiction about doing things myself…).  The other reason, which has really taken precedence over any other reasons, is that it tastes amazing.  Coffee that has been roasted in small batches within the past day or two is the smoothest, most flavorful, least bitter coffee you can imagine.  You know how coffee gets gross as it cools – not this stuff!  And I can make it strong – really strong – and there is still no hint of bitterness.  I can roast dark or light and make my own blends.  Also, I get to pick exactly where my coffee comes from.  I don’t mean just the region or the country.  I get to pick from a particular farm in a country.  How’s that for control?  I researched growing my own coffee once but quickly decided that was way too much work.

So now I roast coffee about once-a-week.  All total it takes about 20 minutes from set up to clean up.  It’s a rewarding addiction hobby and if you come over to my house I’ll share some with you.

My next project is to make yogurt at home.  My wife, Becky, started making homemade granola which is amazing and it needs a friend.

What have you learned to do or make yourself that most people buy or pay others to do?

Edit: Turns out today is National Coffee Day! I had no idea. How’s that for timing?!

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The Plan (for this Blog)

I didn’t want anyone to think I was giving some big theological overview of God’s plan in Scripture or history.  No, just my plan for this blog.  I like to plan and know that what I’m doing is accomplishing something.  I don’t want this blog to become a random collection of funny sayings and cat pictures.

So here is my plan (which is subject to change at any time).

Mondays will be a post about the previous day’s sermon.  I hope to link to the recorded sermon on the Orchard Community Church website, but right now we are a bit behind in getting the sermons online – which is understandable because the guy who does it is taking care of his wife and newborn baby!

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be random posts.  They might be something about me or my family.  They could be something serious or humorous (again, no cat pictures, I promise).  These posts might be something happening at Orchard.

Wednesdays will be ongoing series on a particular topic.  I am going to start with the Mission Statement and Core Values of Orchard Community Church.  Another series I have in mind is on the topic of church membership.  These series will probably go on for several weeks.

Fridays will be a sneak peak at the sermon for the coming Sunday.  I think it is good to come to worship with your mind already engaged so a little “warm up” is good.

I do not plan on posting on Saturdays and Sundays.

A few other things to know.  I won’t actually be writing posts everyday.  Some will be written in advanced and scheduled to go live on a certain day at a certain time..  Fridays are my day off so those posts will be written during the week and will go live on Friday mornings.

Comments are welcomed and expected!  I would love for this to be a dialogue.  Just in case you aren’t into the blog world that much (I’m still trying to figure it out myself!), just click the “leave a comment” link at the bottom of a post.  Anyone can post a comment and I will try to reply as soon as I can.  I welcome requests for certain topics or questions relating to a sermon or post.

I consider it my great joy and responsibility as a pastor to teach and disciple people as they follow Christ.  This blog is one way I hope to do that.  It is a tool and nothing more.  If nothing else, it is a great tool for me to constantly be thinking and evaluating what I am doing for God.  Maybe it will spur others on as well.

photo by Dunechaser

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Why do I want to Blog?

When I first approached a friend about helping me to set up a blog, she asked me a very important question – Why do you want to start a blog?  This was a great exercise to me as I thought about starting this blog.

First, I want to be able to have more of an impact on people throughout the week by getting them thinking about God and His Word as often as possible.   Second,  I want people in the church and visitors to be able to get to know me and my teaching better so that they can be comfortable coming on Sunday and already feel a connection.  Third, I just like teaching and I like writing so it seems like a natural fit.   I don’t want to try to make money off of it or get famous or anything.   I’ve gotten to a place in ministry where I believe that the size of impact is totally up to God and my focus should simply be on the depth of my faith and obedience.  I’m totally fine if I do this and only a handful of people read it.  I have a feeling it will be good for me no matter what.

The last phrase I wrote to her has really stuck in my mind and I’m curious to see what happens.

photo by Baddog_

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