Coffee & Questions

coffee-with-the-pastorOne of the first things I started doing when I arrived at Bethel Assembly of God was to start going to Starbucks every week. (Just to clarify: I still do not drink coffee, but I do enjoy their green tea frappuccino blended with ice and their iced black tea is also delicious.) I wanted to hang out at Starbucks just to build some relationships. Almost a year after starting this, it is still one of my favorite times of the week!

I have loved getting to know people in a more casual setting — both folks who attend Bethel regularly, those who attend occasionally, and those who have never attended. But the part about the getting-to-know-you time I really love is the questions. Some questions are lighthearted, and some are very deep and challenging. Here’s just a sampling of the questions I weighed in on this morning:

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    • How can I get my wife to respect me?
    • Is Allen Iverson going to be a good fit for the Pistons?
    • Did God just create the universe and leave it alone, or is He still involved in our lives?
    • How did you decide who to vote for?
    • Did all of humanity really just come from two humans?
    • What does it sound like when God ‘speaks’ to you?
    • Is that a good book?
    • How do you spell “questions”? (Seriously, I was asked this today!)

I love questions! Questions keep me sharp… questions give me an insight into the motivation of the questioner… questions keep the dialogue interesting… questions move people closer to Truth. If you are around Burton/Flint on any Tuesday morning, please stop in the Starbucks at Center and Court from 7:30-9:30 am (or later if the questions are still flowing).

We Are The Light

Light The Night 2008

Light The Night 2008

In In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Not “You are like light” or even “You will shine like a light,” but “You ARE the light.” Last night we had an opportunity to put this into action in a very real way.

Our church hosted our first Light The Night event. We turned the yard next to our church into a carnival. A huge inflatable slide, an inflatable bounce house, a cookie walk, carnival games, coffee and cookies for the parents, and an opportunity for someone to win a family pass to Zehnders Splash Village were just some of the ways we wanted to light up a usually dark Halloween night. These events were great, but they were just events.

We WERE the light last night.

I couldn’t be prouder of the lit-up folks from Bethel who became light last night. From the moment the first guests showed up, our worker’s smiles were already shining. One loaned out his cell phone for a scared teenager who had ‘lost’ her mother to call home, one got two packages of diapers for a family in need, one ran to get a Band-aid for a young girl with a boo-boo, one offered to give a family without a car a ride to church, and one let a little boy dressed in an oversized frog costume play his game again and again and again until he hit the target. We had at least 90 students and their families attend last night. Each visitor was treated like they were the only visitor, and the last guest was treated with as much love and respect as the first guest. Once I stood back on the other side of the driveway and beamed with pride watching these lit-up people truly become light in the Burton community.

Whether one of our Light The Night guests ever attends our church or not was not the point of last night’s fun. The point was to shine… and that they did brilliantly! My prayer is that the glow from last night will continue to shine a way to Jesus for all of our guests.

I am an extremely proud pastor!

You can see more Light The Night pictures on Flickr.

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