Sitting in Panera (one of several places that serve as a part-time office). As usual great Hazelnut coffee and pastries. I needed to catch up on a lot of writing so decided I’d escape from “appointments” and have a “me day”.
The past weeks have been filled with those little moments where others have said or done some little tid bit that has caught my attention. I spend nearly two-thirds of my time listening to the visions of others; each vision is unique and each person has little obstacles that keep him/her from realizing their vision. Most of the obstacles are perceived and not real. The only true solution is to help each direct their sights to God’s vision not to some strategy or problem solving scheme.
One special moment was a phone call from a friend who has made some very tough choices in order to be available so He could hear God and let God unfold what was to take place next in his life. His willingness to let God be God and step aside from his own desires has spoken volumes to me about how deep his love is for God. He still hasn’t realized his vision, but God has opened the door to an opportunity that fits so well into his understanding of God’s plan that you know his faithful, patient reliance on God has been rewarded. It’s truly a “God thing”.
My wife knows my friend well. After I shared the gist of his phone call with her she quietly asked “how’s that going in your own life?” Bam! Nothing left to add. Nothing left to say. God has truly blessed me with an adventure, wonderful friends who only care about what Jesus has in store for them, and a super wife!
Posted in Prayer, Share/Declare
Tagged accountability, blessing, Christian, Church, Clergy, coffee, community, friend, God, holy spirit, Jesus, Love, Panera, Pastor, spouse, Washington DC, wife
For the past month, a couple days each week, I have been intentional at picking a spot in NE/SE DC where I could enjoy a cup of coffee and mingle with the residents of those communities. Before I go to DC I always invite various local pastors to meet me if their time permits, have a cup of coffee, and pray for our city. Each moment spent in DC is accompanied with an expectation that God will reveal Himself through the eyes and hearts of those we meet.
A friend always accompanies me; its his way of being supportive of what I am doing. Kind of reminds me of how the disciples always traveled in twos. This trip was no different.
The coffee shop I had selected is new and it is located in Anacostia (The Big Chair Coffee Shop) . Wow, great service and super big coffee mugs! We purchased breakfast (large portions!) and as we chatted with the barista we learned that the coffee shop was a family affair. Police officers and folks on their way to work stopped by and as they waited for their orders we chatted with each of them . I did notice that more women than men stopped by over the two+ hours we were there.
One man came in, ordered a cup of coffee and pulled up a chair and sat right next to us. It was obvious he and the barista knew each other well. I assumed he was a regular customer that came in each day. He casually asked what brought us to the coffee shop and over a matter of minutes we discovered that he was the owner of the building. He is a developer that owns a sizeable bit of property in Anacostia. As folks came in they stopped and chatted with him and it was obviously that he was well-known and respected. Some laughed and told us he was a great guy to know and that he was a man who truly cares about those who rent or lease from him. They had a nickname for him – “The Prince of Anacostia”. As we continued to chat, we learned that he knew most of the pastors in the area and he enjoyed helping them find affordable rental space so they could open child development centers and other community oriented endeavors that would benefit the “poor in spirit”. He seemed humble and it was obvious he loved the community.
The coffee shop has an upstairs room that local companies have begun to use to host staff meetings etc. My friend and I went there to find a quiet spot to pray and at that moment it was empty – perfect.
As we prayed for the city and those we had just met I realized that my plan to meet with pastors wasn’t nearly as terrific as God’s plan for me to meet with other men and women who care for the city. Whether planned or simply something that has evolved, the “Prince of Anacostia” has already begun to build a fellowship of friends who are discovering how they can use their gifts and pour love back into the community.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with him!
I had a cup of coffee yesterday with a friend. We meet regularly to compare notes about our lives. We learn from each other and encourage and egg each other on. I value our friendship!
His blog sparked an inner reflection on “hospitality”. He references James 2: 1-7. Last week another friend challenged me to look at Jesus’ teachings and decide what it meant for me to show my love for God through “humility”. Two different words (humility/hospitality) – or are they? Can you show hospitality without showing humility?
Mother Teresa in her book A Simple Faith reminds us that the “Christian way has always been to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself”. She believed that at some point (either as the recipient or the giver of love) you experience any or all of 5 sufferings: physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual. While we segregate God does not. We are to love our neighbor (rich/poor) equally with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The actions that we take in demonstrating that love reveals our measure of equality.
While researching these words via the internet I stumbled on a church website in the UK that reflects on both humility and hospitality. Great story telling!
Peter Block in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging acknowledges the importance of hospitality: “welcome people personally at the door; restate why you are there; create connection between attendees through initial questions, welcome late arrivals, acknowledge early departures, break bread together.”
Luke 9 advices us: “You become great by accepting not asserting”. Show hospitality through humility – accepting not asserting. Accepting others regardless of status; simply love them.
“May we learn true humility and practise true hospitality by God’s grace!”
Posted in General/Administration
Tagged Christian, coffee, community, God, hospitality, humility, Jesus, Love, Mother Teresa, Peter Block, UK, Washington DC