Archive for January, 2010

8 Reasons to Eat Chili

Last night I spent the evening with a lot of people I don’t know (but my wife does). I went to the PTA fundraiser – a Chili Cook-off. I even took a pot of chili. There are at least 8 reasons why eating chili was pretty cool.

  1. Linking – I was able to link with Beth in her efforts to build relationships with people, many of whom need a walk with Christ.
  2. Linking – I was able to be in close proximity with a large number of people in Beth’s circle of influence. People will seldom come to us so we need to go to the places they frequent.
  3. Loving – Linking with my wife in this mission strengthened our relationship with one another. It showed that I value her and her work and was a way to publicly express my love for her.
  4. Loving – I was able to be loving toward the members of Beth’s teaching team by making and bringing their chili entry.
  5. Listening – I was able to visit with several people, centering the conversation on them and listening to them.
  6. Looking – Being aware that God is always working, I was able to see his activity in the lives of some of the people I met.
  7. Linking – We’re going out to dinner with a couple next week.

Let me encourage you to find some time to join some fellow believers (maybe your own family members) and connect with some people you may not know very well. Spend some time listening to them and look to see where God is working. Who knows what doors of ministry might open.

Oh, I almost forgot #8 – I Like Chili!

Grace and Peace,

Join the Conversation: Have you recently intentionally gone any place to be in close proximity with people with whom you can build relationships? What were the results?

Gathered and Linked

One of the outcomes of the church gathering should be the joy of being linked together. Last night, as we met at the Thorne’s, there was no doubt that our lives were joined with God and with one another.

Let me share a few things that I believe helped this to happen:

  • The hosts as well as other members of the group had practiced the life habit of linking with God prior to our arrival
  • We came with the expectation that Christ would manifest himself among us and we were not disappointed
  • We were greeted at the door with hugs and welcomes
  • Kerre had prepared a great meal and we relaxed after a long day and shared a few stories as we ate together
  • Aaron was prepared and did a great job facilitating a discussion and leading us to focus on ways to bless people in our circles of influence
  • We shared some stories about how God was working in our lives and the lives of people we love and care about
  • We talked about ways that God might link us together with others and how he could use us to bless them
  • We encouraged and “spurred” one another on to good works
  • We shared some deep concerns and prayed for one another and for people we love

We left with the challenge of staying linked together during the coming week by face-to-face contact, phone, text, email, Facebook etc. so we could continue encouraging one another.

Just because a group of people meet together doesn’t mean that they will experience such a union but we should always desire it and trust God to provide it. If you are you part of a group like this put some of the above ideas into practice the next time you meet.

Grace and Peace,

Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a time when you felt especially linked to other members of group? If so, share a story with us.

Linking with God on the Paths of Life

Recently when the church gathered at my house I was so busy getting ready for “the meeting” that I totally ignored the presence of my grandchildren. That is not a good thing. Those guys are the light of my life. How could I be so focused on doing “some thing” that I neglected being with “some one”. When the house was empty and put back in order I realized what I had done. They were gone and I had barely spoken to them. The feeling of loss hit me like a punch in the stomach.

As bad as it is not acknowledging my boys when they are in my house, it’s not as bad as ignoring God who is continuously with me. I mean, isn’t He supposed to be the light of my life?

That’s what my life habit of “Linking” is all about – being aware of the presence of God and others in my life. My goal is to start every day conscious of the fact that God is with me and then to reside in His presence all through the day. It’s amazing that when I get linking with God right how easy it is to link with others.

Let me encourage you to practice the presence of God in your life today.

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t, but I keep practicing.

Grace and Peace,

Join the conversation: How about you? What are some things that you do that helps you focus on the presence of God in your life?

The Father Loves It When You Sing

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not a singer by any stretch of the imagination. I’m one of those guys that people turn around and look at when they hear me singing – – and it’s not because of the outstanding quality of my voice. As a matter of fact some would prefer that I were “outstanding” on the sidewalk.

But I love to sing and sometimes I practice the life habit of loving God by singing to him. Many times I have felt hesitation about singing in front of people but never about singing in front of God. I always feel his love when I praise him.

A while back I was spending some time at the beginning of my day loving God by singing to him that little chorus, Father I Adore You. When I left for the day to be on mission with him I caught myself singing it from time to time in my head and sometimes out loud (in my car). The rhythm of that life habit just kept repeating itself throughout the day and it made me aware of his presence and kept me focused on the mission of loving others.

Put your coffee cup down and spend a spend a little time loving the Father, Jesus and the Spirit and sing along with the Maranatha! Singers’ version of Terrye Coelho’s song Father I Adore You. Pay particular attention the images in the video. Do they give you any ideas about how loving God can affect the way you love others today?

Live the Rhythm,

P.S. Join the conversation. What are some ways you practice the life habit of loving God.

To Pray Is to Change

I noticed something the other night while a group of friends was praying for the needs in Haiti. We were different when we said our amen. Among other things we were less self-centered and more other focused. As I have talked with a some of those who were gathered that night, they have shared how much more aware they are of the situation. Some said they have been looking for ways to be involved in the relief effort.

I often struggle with how to pray. Christine Sine over at GodSpace wrote, “Sometimes we do not have the words within ourselves to know how to lift needs like this to God.”

Upon writing two prayers (which you might like to read), she said,

“. . . you might like to recite these prayers I wrote this morning as I was praying for Haiti.  They helped me to focus my prayers and move closer to God.  I find that the words keep revolving in my mind as I listen to the news and watch the images still flowing out of Haiti.”

I plan to lead our church to pray these prayers together on Sunday as we corporately focus on the needs in Haiti.

My friend Ken Ansell joined the conversation when he commented on More Ways to Respond to the Earthquake. He said,

I feel my role is to pray, knowing prayer is powerful and that God can work where I am not.

Will you join us in praying for Haiti? God will change our lives so we look a little more like Jesus.

“To pray is to change.  Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us.  If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.  The more we pray, the more we come to the heartbeat of God.  Prayer starts the communication process between ourselves and God.  All the options of life fall before us.  At that point we will either forsake our prayer life and cease to grow, or we will pursue our prayer life and let Him change us.” – Richard Foster

Grace and Peace,

P.S. What are some ways God has transformed you through prayer?

5 Purposeful Life Habits

If we take the time to observe our lives we can see how habitual we are.  We do the same thing today that we did the day before and the day before that and so on.  Some of our habits help us fulfill the mission God has sent us on and live purposeful lives and some hinder us.

Beth and I have developed a practice of making a pot of coffee in the evening to enjoy as our day winds down. I know some of you don’t drink coffee after a certain time of the day because it would hinder your sleep, but it seems that the two of us don’t have that problem. So this nightly process has become our habit.

For the past year or so I have become more conscious of some life habits that really help me live with purpose in my walk with Christ. In some way or other, I guess I have practiced these disciplines for the last 40 years or so but I have recently become more aware of how important they really are. Now I try to live my life with a continual awareness of these movements on a daily basis.

As Christ followers we should be developing practices or regular patterns that lead us to be more like Jesus. Here are five life habits that I try to practice regularly:

  • Linking together with the triune God and other people
  • Loving God, my brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are not yet in relationship with him
  • Listening to God through his Word and one another
  • Looking to see where God is working in my life and the lives of those around me
  • Leaving to live on mission with God

What about you? Which of the above mentioned practices would you like to be more aware of in your life?

Grace and Peace

P.S. Many of the ideas and stories you will find here at Coffee Cup Conversation will center on these and other life habits. Specific posts can be found in my category list so feel free to look around.