Aaron Summers

3 Tips on Coffee and Relationships

In Chrisian Life on September 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

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Whether it is Costa Rica to Cambodia, or Ecuador to Ethiopia, I have probably drunk it.  Coffee is as natural in the morning as the sun rising.  From Keurig at home to Campfire coffee in Africa, I have enjoyed cup after cup, though, not all coffee is good.  With hundreds of coffee options and thousands of coffee-making options, what makes a good cup of coffee?  Rather, how do I avoid making a bad cup of coffee?  Here are a few tips on making a good cup of coffee.

Water

The water is really critical.  One day I was making coffee and noticed a particular smell.  I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I felt that the feedlots must have spilled into the water system somehow!  I got a glass of tap water and tasted it.  Needless to say it was nasty!  I had just received some fine coffee from a friend and was glad I did not waste it by letting it soak in the water!  I understood later that day that the water supply was from a lake that was “turning over” and caused the water to taste funky for about a week twice a year.  Now I knew about the smell, but now how to get rid of the “floaties” in the water?  I bought a water purifier!

In the same way we don’t want our coffee to be brewed, or pressed, in tainted water, let us be careful not to taint those around us because of our pungent moral smell or floating moods.  Let Christ purify you each morning so that you can enhance the flavor of life around you.

Strength

I have always said that if you can see the bottom of the cup through the coffee then you really just have dirty water!  I recognize that I enjoy stronger coffee than others, but not as much as my Eastern European friends.  While on mission in Hungary I was introduced to “sludge”.  I believe my army buddies would even cringe a little at this strength!  The coffee was so strong that it felt like hot melted creamy peanut butter as you swallowed it.   You have to find the right balance.

Some people you see right through and others you couldn’t hack your way through.  I believe, no matter the personality type, one must find a balance in dealing with people.  If we come off too weak we will we discarded and disregarded.  If we come off too strong we can alienate and become alone.  The strength is important when it comes to dealing with people.

Filtration

In Africa, or on the range, campfire style coffee is often made from mixing coffee and water and then boiling it together.  What happens here is that, unless you have way to filter, it all gets mixed together.  In desperate moments, this coffee will do, but not every day.  Every morning, I would get up and make the coffee.  Every cup would have grinds in the bottom and it would be a little bitter.

When we do not filter ourselves, bitterness results.  Other will look just like the face you make when drinking bitter coffee or when trying to pick grinds out of your teeth, if we do not learn to filter what and how we says things.  Not everything that hits your mind must leave your mouth.  Not everything you hear has to be repeated.  Learn to filter.

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.    No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.    In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Maleficent and the Post-Modern Church

In Life and Culture on September 13, 2014 at 8:28 am

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So, I took the family out for a movie night and watched Maleficent at the cheap theater.  As we watched the movie I could not help but try to figure out where the differences were going to be.  Of course, the largest difference was the back story given concerning the fairy whose wings were stolen.  The story we grew up reading and have read 1000 times to our children is Sleeping Beauty.  The writers of Maleficent provide a redacted version of this beloved story.  In it we see the villain become a hero.  Before you think the narrator is Maleficent, think again.  Before you think you know who the true love is, think again.

Good so far…

Our culture certainly enjoys rewriting that which has been known and beloved.  In an effort to be fresh, hip, and exciting a trend in writing is to change up what we know and create new twists and turns.  In this example, Maleficent is not just an evil witch.  She is a misunderstood and heart-broken girl.  Due to the way Stefan treated her, left her, cut her wings, and did not invite her to the baby celebration it is no wonder that she is fuming by the time she arrives.  At this point, I did not find concern.  The anger we have all seen in Sleeping Beauty is simply explained.  Good so far…

Wait…What?

As Aurora grows Maleficent is involved in her life.  She watches over her.  She saves her.  She loves her.  As she approaches 16, we find Maleficent turning tender, sort of, as she expresses the reality of evil.  She tries to revoke the spell but cannot.  Later, we find that the Prince did not wake her with a kiss.  Maleficent is the true love and her kiss awakens Aurora from the death sleep.  The dragon is not Maleficent but her sidekick slave.  Aurora becomes queen of both worlds and Maleficent is happy once again.

The significance of this twisting movie is that we are being presented with the “real” story.  Beloved for years, Sleeping Beauty, is now being touted as the royal version while the truth is now being released.  Those in charge created a story and propped it up with money and power.  Why would Disney take the chance of tarnishing its name by changing such a beloved story?  Money.  We do anything for money in this culture.

The Church should be scared…

What this means for the Church is that our culture is being deprogrammed from holding anything as sacred.  I understand both of these stories are fables.  However, what happens when God-fearing people are presented with the arguments of our day that suggest the historic Jesus and the Biblical Jesus are two different people?  This is exactly what Zealot is all about.  Educated folk are challenging the long-held beliefs of Christians.  One argument is that the Gospel writers simply wrote a story about this man Jesus in order to fulfill prophecies and further their needs.  Other arguments include that Paul actually started a cult rather than the Christian church.   James and Peter were the real leaders and Paul was a rebellious type who created a cult of personality and education.  Thus, the Bible cannot really be trusted scholars would say.

Maleficent was a fun movie.  I enjoyed the twists and turns because I knew it was not truth that was being changed.  We simply went from one fable to another.  But the trend of challenge and change will creep into the church and we must be prepared.  We must read, study, and know our Bible.  If we believe it to be truth, then we must also be able to defend the truth.  Sure, it all comes down to whether you have faith or not, but we can, at least, act like we know what we are talking about.

Fulfillment, Family, and the Multi-Tasker

In Family on September 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

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One of the joys of being a kid is singular focus.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember having to worry about juggling responsibilities.  As an adult, I have various responsibiities that demand attention.  Such responsibilities include: Husband, father, pastor, preacher, son, son-in-law, friend.  Involved in each of these responisbilities are vows/promises that have been made.  Some of these are not issue, some require time and attention, and others are downright difficult at times.

Husband – at our wedding 20 years ago, I vowed several things that will continue until death parts us.  Such things include love and honor.  However, unwritten promises also include provision of food, shelter, clothing, and shoes.  I promised to listen.  I promised to fill the gas and mow the yard.  I promised to take care of Dulcie and her needs.  Every spouse has the vocal and unwritten promises

Father – every father has made promises simply by being a parent.  We have promised to feed, clothe, and nurture them.  For someone with a teenage boy that ets all the time and grows constantly that can be difficult to maintain.  We have promised to listen, love, and learn with them.

Pastor/Preacher – I combine these here, but there are differences.  The preacher has to get sermons and presentations ready.  The pastor must shepherd.  Whatever your vocation, you have promised to fulfill duties, have integrity, work hard, be on time, and more!

Son/Son-in-law – Regardless of being in my 40’s, I am still the child of my parents and my wife of hers.  We have promised to h is more thaonor and respect.  We also have promised to call, help with computer needs, cell phones, end of life discussions for will and testiments, and other as needed items. 

Friend – everyone has friends.  We want to connect, communicate, and spend time with them.  We Facebook, Instagram, and more to stay in touch.

Most of you will have all of these same types of responsibilities in your life, written and unwritten.  How we go about fulfilling these promises is important.  The Psalmist writes,

Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.

Did you realize that as you go through your day fulfilling your vows that you are praising God?  Did you know that you are worshipping God as you do this?  Worship is more than the 75 minutes we spend in the sanctuary on Sunday.  In fact, that time should be “game time” for all of the practice you have done through the week as you have worshipped God by obedience.  Let us consider that what we do in church is not to fill the tank for the week, but to perform for God in the best way possible.

You will play no better than you practice.  Practice hard today!!

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