Archive for May, 2010

You Are Loved and You Belong Here Now

Running to the door, his little voice shrieks in delight with, “Hi, Bill.” He’s only two years old and the friend at the door is more than 50 years his senior but the love in the greeting cannot be missed. He truly is excited and pleased that Bill is in the room. The fact that the best place to practice the one another’s of the New Testament is in small relational settings is demonstrated again. Both know they belong in this place now.

In four different places we are told that when the church gathers we are to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).

The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. – 1 Corinthians 16:19-20  NIV

The “greet” part of these verses is universal for all the believers. The “kiss” part is cultural. We should always greet each other in ways that are culturally acceptable. The “holy” part points to our unity – we have all been set apart and belong to God’s family. No one should be left out.

The central idea is that we are in a special relationship with other members of the church and should act accordingly. Our greetings should demonstrate that we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ and convey that:

  • you are loved
  • you are needed
  • you are cared about
  • you are accepted
  • you are wanted
  • you belong

Our meeting and even our eating will be meaningless if we do not do things God’s way and lovingly “greet one another.” Do you have any “greeting” stories to share?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

The purpose Coffee Cup Conversation Blog is to provide simple ideas and tips to help you with your everyday walk as a Christian. The emphasis is on practice and action but from time to time we will need to examine and explore some key concepts of simple organic church.

That is why I have stated a new category entitled “Key Concepts”.

From time to time I will post articles to this category to help us explore some foundational principles. These posts will not deal with ideas, tips and inspiration as much as they will give us a base upon which our life habits and simple, organic church principles can be built.

If you haven’t taken the time to look around Coffee Cup Conversation why don’t you pour yourself a cup of coffee and check out some previous posts. You might want to start with my About page or 5 Reasons I Started Blogging.

You can get free updates by email so you don’t miss a single post by signing up in the form to the right of this post.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Spreading the generous helping of butter on top of my short stack I remembered some statements from a simple church meeting. One of the traits of facilitating a small group conversation is the art of asking questions. Sometimes those questions seem a little trivial but they can give us great insight into our fellow Christ followers. They can also reinforce God’s truths in every day life situations.

While having a conversation with over a cup of coffee this morning I also had an order of pancakes. They were great and one of the best things is that I did not have to ask for additional butter. Looking at that golden delight, I remembered the responses to a question we considered when looking at 1 John 3:1.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! –  1 John 3:1 NIV

The leader asked the question,

“What is one of your favorite foods that you like to eat topped with lots of something?”

After getting responses from the group he asked us to fill in the blanks to the following statement:

The Father’s love for me is like the ________ on my ________.

Here are some of the replies:

  • Like the butter on my pancakes
  • Like the gravy on my potatoes
  • Like the cream on my strawberries
  • Like the chocolate on my strawberries
  • Like the toppings on my banana split
  • Like the chocolate on my ice cream
  • Like the butter on my brownie

I like lots of butter on my pancakes – but its nothing compared to the love the Father has lavished on me.

What is one of your favorite foods that you like to eat topped with lots of something?

How would you fill in the blanks: The Father’s love for me is like the ________ on my ________.

Grace and Peace,
Terry

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    Sharing Life and Love – Mom Got It Right

    This is a gust post from Kerre Thorne. Kerre seeks to actively live a life on mission with Jesus. In addition to being a great wife and mother, she is my daughter. I was thrilled when she agreed to write a post in honor of her mother (and my wife) Beth.

    Beth and Kerre

    In Elementary school my brother and I were blessed with friends who’s mothers treated us like their own. Even when I was at a sleep over I always had a mommy hug before bed, but I think our friends had it even better than us! My mom always became more than “my” mom when my friends were around. Everyone was loved and cared for (and from time to time punished) equally. At a young age I learned to share my mommy with others who needed her just as much as I did. Her hugs were wide spread!

    As my brother and I got older the concept stayed the same. Reflecting on my teen years, I don’t always remember mothers of my friends that loved me as much as my own did. There were even sad times when my friends moms didn’t seem to love my friends as much I think a mother should. Luckily God gave those friends to me… not because of their families, but because of mine. Especially because of my Mom.

    I never gave too much thought to sharing my mother’s love. It was always a natural occurrence and not one that bothered me, but one that I was overly proud of. Her kitchen or living room floor were always open to any friend that needed food and a place to crash, and her arms were always open to a child that needed her love and support.

    Beth, Kerre and David circa 1979

    I’m grown now, with a 2 year old and a baby on the way and not much has changed. Except that instead of a lot of extra “hey Mom’s” it’s now more often “Mamoo” (our families version of Grandmother). I’m always more than thrilled to walk into my parents house to gather with the church on Sunday’s and Tuesday’s and watch her arms fill up with hugs from little ones that have come to know her as their own.

    Even before our simple church experiences Mom “got it.” The concept was never something that she had to learn. And I’m so blessed that she worked to instill it in me. Community and family and sharing life and love. That’s what my Mom has always done and could probably never not do!

    Thank you Mommy for loving my friends as much as you love me!

    Kerre

    My Mother taught me a lot of the things I learned about living on mission with Jesus. Here are a few of the things she modeled for me while I was in High School:

    1. Serve others – If you drove by our house after our weekly high school football game you would see my uniform hanging on our cloths line to dry. But it would not be by itself. There would be two or three more next to it. You see, she would wash the uniforms of a couple of my friends to help their moms. Not only did she wash them, she scrubbed out the grass stains on white pants with a bar of soap.
    2. Eat with your friends – The guys (and sometimes the gals) ate at my house often. We ate a lot of chicken fried steak! She would feed us before our ball games, after our ball games, on Saturdays, on Sundays . . .
    3. Do life with others at your house – Our house was always open to others. If we were not hosting my friends, they were my brother’s or some group from the church. It seems like someone lived with us almost every summer.
    4. Notice the unnoticed – My mom was always doing things for the kids on the fringes, the ones who often went unnoticed. (see #1 above).

    I could keep the list going but you get the picture. Mildred has reached the age of 80 and still teaches young children in Sunday School. She and Dad traveled 200 miles a few weekends ago to lead a lay renewal weekend. They will be involved in another next weekend – its more than 300 miles from their home.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

    The Sanders - Jerry, Alton, Millie, Terry - January 2010

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry

    Have A Sandwich And Listen

    About a month ago I stopped to eat at a local restaurant I had never been to before. The accent of my server was one that was unfamiliar to me so I simply asked the nation of his origin. He came from a country about which I know very little. In the matter of a minute or two I learned a few things about his situation. We exchanged names and I went on my way.

    Yesterday we were able to speak again.

    It was about 1:30 p.m. and I had missed lunch. I was driving by the restaurant and heard the Spirit of God prompting me to stop. Once again, he was my server. I ordered something light to eat and looked for opportunities to continue our conversation from a month before. I called him by name and he shared that although he served many people he remembered my previous visit.

    One of the great things about this encounter is that the restaurant was almost empty. He was able to linger around my table and talk. I mostly asked questions and kept the focus on his life. In the matter of a few minutes I learned about his journey to this country, his wife, and 6 month old child. As I listened I also discerned that he was a little lonely.

    When he went to get my check, I wondered what type of friends he had made.  Is his wife lonely, too? Does he have a relationship with Jesus?

    When he returned I asked a final question.

    I said, “I don’t know much about your native land. I was wondering if we could have coffee sometime and you could tell me about your culture?” Smiling from ear to ear he replied that he would love to have coffee with me. He even extended an invitation to his home. Before I could ask, he wrote his phone number for me. It’s on my desk in front of me right now.

    I look forward to seeing him again and the possibility of forming a new friendship. I also get to learn a little about a place far, far away.

    Let me challenge you to be aware of those around you today. Take a little time and listen. Ask a few questions. I have found that most people will engage you in conversation if you ask a few simple questions. You just might make a new friend and get to drink some coffee.

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry