17 May, 2007

Confessions of a Coffee Snob

It's an aquired taste.

That's what people used to tell me about about coffee before I had ever tried it. Anything that smells as good as roasted coffee beans has to taste just as good right?

My first experience with coffee was a large styrofoam cup full of "silver tanker" coffee. Silver Tankers are the large silver pots that you find in churches filled with Folgers (if you are lucky...) or some other inexpensive grocery store brand. I tried a sip, made a grimmace at the bitter yuck in my mouth, and headed straight for the cream and sugar. Contrary to my efforts, copius amounts of cream and sugar added to the yuck coffee only made it taste like sweet creamy yuck. This memorable event took place sometime in 1994.

After that, I avoided coffee for the most part. Engaging only in the occasional cup socially at get-togethers. That all changed when I met the woman who is now my wife. While we were dating, she opened my eyes to a world of coffee I didn't know existed. Starbucks. Now I am not even talking about going to the cafes and ordering drinks, she just made some drip coffee from purchased starbucks beans. She persuaded me to try a cup. I couldn't believe my mouth! No rancid bitter after taste! No yuck! It tasted like it smelled!

And so began my journey into the world of good coffee. I wonder how many other people there are in the world that say they don't like coffee, whose only experience with the savory beverage is Silver Tanker Folgers?

A friend of mine who is a far bigger coffee snob than I am recently suggested I try drinking my coffee from a French Press. He said this is the way to truly enjoy the full flavor of the coffee bean. Initial reports are: delicious, much better, full bodied flavor.

Try a cup of the good stuff. But be careful, it could change your life... :-)

09 May, 2007

My Mind is in the Gutter

Here in Kansas City we have been having rain. Lots of rain.

During one of the downpours we experienced recently, I noticed that the gutter on the back of our house was routing the rain water effectively. The problem was it was effectively routing the water up and over the end of the gutter instead of into the down spout.

Yep. Clogged up. When you can't remember when you cleaned the gutters last, that is a sure way to tell it has been WAY too long.

Being up on a ladder is not my favorite thing in the world to begin with. My comfort level in this activity drops dramatically when it is outside in the rain. But like it or not, the clog had to be cleared. So up I went.

The trees that provide wonderful shade to our house in the summer are the same trees that contribute a plethera of leaves, twigs, and seeds to our gutters. It's a love-hate relationship...

So upon reaching the top of the wet, mildly stable ladder, I found that the down spout was completely clogged with a lovely smelling combination of decaying plant matter. Pulled it out, and watched the trapped water quickly escape down the newly opened channel.

This gutter experience got me thinking about how as Christians we are supposed to allow God's love, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to flow through us into the lives of others. But just like the gutter, we can become clogged with things not of God that keep what has been poured into us from flowing into someone else. So what is the answer to keeping our lives free from clogs?

Frequent cleaning. If I had been diligent to empty my gutters of debris on a regular basis (when it was not raining yet), then I would not have experienced the clog during the heavy downpour. In our lives as Christians, we must be diligent to allow the Word of God to cleanse our lives on a regular basis. (Ephesians 5:26) This consistent cleaning by our Lord will allow our channels to be clear, and his goodness to pass through us into other people.

Are your gutters clean?

02 May, 2007

Intentionally Intentional

Last week we had an awesome Discipleship Conference at our church. On Wednesday night, our Senior Pastor Jeff Adams was talking about the importance of being intentional in our making of disciples of Jesus Christ. I really like that word, intentional, and it got me thinking about how it applies in all areas of our relationship with the Lord.

intentional - characterized by conscious design or purpose

Here is short list of things that came to mind that I need to be intentional about (not exhaustive)
  • Spending quality time in the Word of God
  • Spending quality time in prayer with God
  • Sharing with others what God has shared with me
  • Time to really talk with my wife
  • Time to play with my girls
  • Telling the people I love that I love them
  • Being the kind of friend to others that I want them to be to me
In our busy lifestyles it isn't enough to just hope things will end up happening on their own. We must be intentional about the things that matter. One of my favorite quotes is, "There is always time for what is important". The question we all have to answer for ourselves is, "What is important?" Our "list" of priorities will determine how we spend our time, because we are almost always intentional about the things at the top of that list.

Far too often one of the top 5 on my unwritten list of priorities is: self. Wouldn't it be great if we could permanently kick self to the bottom of the list, or remove it altogether?

What do you make a priority to be intentional about?
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