Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pulling My Hair Out

Working at the coffeehouse helps me to do a lot of thinking. Thinking about what makes people tick, thinking about what makes me tick, thinking about the kind of music that MOST people like (as if that were possible) and wondering how the coming Easter season affects different people. For some, Easter is just another holiday that allows people to decorate in some fun sort of ways. For others, Easter takes on a religious meaning on par with Christmas.

The question perplexing me this morning is this: how to make the Easter message of redemption and hope in Christ, relevant to all? For the seasoned Christian, how do you make this message fresh? For the new believer, how do you share this message in a way that informs without giving too little meat to the maturing Christian? For the non-believer, how do you make share the message in a way that's attractive? All these questions and yet I don't have a lot of answers. But then I'm reminded of the fact that it's God's job to stir the hearts of the people. It's not what I say or do that will have any lasting effect. It's God's work on the people that will have a lasting effect. I'm only a vessel being used by God who is doing His work through me.

When you think about things that way, it does take a lot of the pressure off. Knowing that what I need to do is be faithful to what God has asked me to do. Knowing that what God convicts me of sharing is really all that matters. Instead of focusing on meeting everyone's needs, then, my prayer is that God would help me find the one message to share and then share it.

There, now I feel better!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A huge thanks for all of those who made it out to Tower Coffee for our first ever night time opening! It was a great time and the place was packed to say the least! Also, we've got some big things planned for Tower's Grand Opening Week beginning on Monday, April 13. We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tower Coffee Open Tonight!

Don't forget! Tower Coffee is open tonight in celebration of St. Patrick's Day! Come and join the fun beginning at 6 PM - we'll be open until 9 PM.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Loving What You Do (or Doing What You Love)

We we're talking about the difficulty of school with our kids this afternoon over lunch and also about the reality of what comes after school--a job of some sorts (although in today's economy that's not even a certain thing anymore). On the surface, it would seems like life gets tougher and tougher and that one's learning while in school never really ends as an individual finds themselves in a job which requires some form of continuing education. The idea of more school for my kids is especially repulsive as of late. So, what's the secret to getting through life if this is the way it works?

It's finding something that you love to do. Another way we could say it is that it's doing that which you love the most.

God has wired each of us a certain way and I'm confident God want's us doing that one thing that gets us up in the morning and that keeps us up late at night sometimes too. And I'm so thankful that I've found that! I honestly love what I do. I love pastoring. I love preparing weekly sermons. I love meeting new people. I love leading and being part of small groups.

I've had much and I've had little when it comes to money and I would much rather have little and love what I'm doing than to be miserable and bored with much. I think that's a valuable lesson for any kid whose pursuing their vocation after school. Find something your jazzed about, not something that you think will make you the most money. While money does help pay the bills, it truly isn't everything and it certainly will never be the "final answer" in life.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

U2's latest: No Line on the Horizon

Leading up to the latest release from legendary rockers U2 there was a lot of talk about how they were 'experimenting' in the studios like never before. However, after a couple of listens, U2 seems like the same old U2 here, picking up where they left off on their last recording, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." The craziest sound here is on their opening single: "Get on Your Boots," but even then we've heard such ear candy before from this Irish foursome.

Honestly, I'm not sure u2, and the talented crop of musicians that make up the band, not to mention the acclaimed producers that they manage to find (i.e. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois), could ever make a bad record. Even their worst effort would be better than much that is peddled today as music. Nevertheless, I think it's fair to say that this isn't their strongest effort. While I'm confident the sound will grow on me with repeated listens, what this album seems to lack are songs that make you want to listen again and again and again.

Yes, there are some. For instance, Magnificent is the best song on the album and probably should be their next single. It's a great song on many levels. Musically, it just sounds good- even adding a few synthesizers at the beginning to wet my appetite. Lyrically, it seems to lift up God as "The Magnificent," as Bono sings: "Only love, only love can leave such a mark / but only love, only love unites our hearts / Justify till we die, you and I will magnify / The Magnificent." Good stuff to say the least. Still, I'm left wanting more.

In a recent article that I read, one theologian has called this the 'Most Thoroughly Christian' project by U2 to date. It seems like they say this about every U2 record that comes out. In fact, Christian bookstores have carried U2's music for the last several years. But, suddenly they're gone? Why? Could it be the "s...." word in the final song here, Cedars of Lebanon? (more on this later)

But, I'm curious what you think. Is this the most Christian of all the U2 recordings to date? Have a listen and let me know. You can find it for as little as $3.99 on Amazon as a download or $9.99 for a hard-copy from Best Buy.