Coffee – a gift from God!


coffeetree-2jvxey8I was sipping a cup of Pike Place coffee yesterday morning at a Starbucks in the Miami International Airport. With little else to do while waiting for my flight home to Philadelphia, I mused about the origin of coffee. So, I decided to “Google” it – the scholarly thing to do. I discovered that no one knows exactly how or when coffee was discovered, though there are many legends about its origin.

An Ethiopian legend

According to the National Coffee Association of the USA (, the coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Coffee trees still grow as they have for centuries in the Ethiopian highlands, where legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans.

It is said that Kaldi discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night.

Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and slowly knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would spread its reputation across the globe.

I thought about the energizing power of the Gospel. Does it still energize me so much that I don’ want to sleep at night; or, at least, I can’t wait to wake up to scatter the seed? I mean, do I get a headache or feel sluggish or feel unfulfilled when I don’t have the opportunity or time to meet with Jesus? Does the Gospel still energize me? If not, why? Is the problem with Jesus? No! He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

So…me? Yes.

Then I thought of first love; of a discipline of time spent with Jesus. Of prayer. Of meditation. Of Bible time.

So maybe, for me, that cup of coffee first thing in the morning along with my Bible and dedicated time to meet with Jesus is a good idea. A great way to start the day. To get energized. A gift from God!


3 Reasons Why Social Justice Will Not Change the World

Church Planting, cities, Discipleship, Jesus, Other Authors, Social Justice, Transformation, Urban Ministry, Urban Poverty

You simply cannot separate the Gospel and social justice. Is the modern Church too “social justice” focused? This blogger challenges us to examine our practices or lack thereof.

The Asian Rough Rider

For those of us who followed the news in 2014 it was a depressing year. Images of violence, racism, government coups, injustice and world-wide evil have wracked our brains and broken our hearts. As we look at our lost nations, communities and target people groups we have to ask ourselves an important question. What is it really going to take to bring lasting transformation in our world?

The answer is incredibly simple. Jesus. All the social evils of our world are a direct result of sin. The remedy for sin is not social justice, it is Jesus.

So why then do we fight evil, poverty, hunger, human trafficking and sanitation with social justice? It’s because it’s easy to be a social justice activist. Tell your Facebook friends that you are building wells in Africa and they’ll praise you. Ask your school to join your campaign to end human trafficking and…

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Iraqi Refugees in Northeast Philadelphia

Church Planting, cities, least reached, Notable Blogs, Philadelphia, Uncategorized, Urban Ministry
Iraqi refugees find support from fellows and neighbors in Northeast Philadelphia (via NewsWorks)

Hundreds of Iraqis are building new lives in Northeast Philadelphia. They’re simultaneously trying for a fresh start while holding on to their homeland, and even finding some unusual allies. One of those families lives on a quiet street in Northeast…

I Will Build My Church

Church Planting


“I will build my church.”

This is a momentous statement, for it describes Jesus’ program for the future. At this point in Matthew’s Gospel, the storm clouds are gathering. In the very next paragraph Jesus tells his disciples for the first time about the violent death that awaits him. But Jesus’ vision for the future goes beyond his death. The big plan is to build his church—to gather his people from all over the world to himself.

In the rest of the New Testament, we see this grand purpose begin to be realized. As the disciples scatter throughout the Roman Empire, they take the gospel of Jesus with them. They preach it, and churches are planted (to which the apostles return in due course to appoint elders, as in Acts 14).
We aren’t told about any special program of church planting. It just seems to happen as the gospel is preached and people respond to the message in each place. The believers gather together and a church is born. And each of these gatherings (or ‘churches’) is part of the one great gathering of all Christ’s people.

Evangelism will always lead to church, and church is Jesus’ program. It must be our program too. In particular, given the situation that we find ourselves in, the challenge before us is to plant new churches.

Any discussion of church planting must assume three things:

First, true Christian churches are planted only where the pure gospel of Christ is preached. We must not vary from the gospel of Jesus Christ and him crucified, with its accompanying call to faith and repentance. This is the foundation for building Christ’s church. This is the seed for planting. And we must not think that the church of Christ can be planted by any other method. If we are not preaching the gospel and seeing people come to faith through the power of the Spirit, then we are not planting churches. We may simply be transferring existing believers from one place to another.(This may be a good thing in some cases—especially if they are being ‘transferred’ from churches which are not teaching the Bible. But it is not planting so much as transplanting.)

Secondly, we cannot preach this gospel of Christ without carrying the cross, as he did. This is not optional. We cannot preach Christ and expect to avoid suffering. We cannot preach Christ and be popular. We cannot preach Christ without being willing to lay down our lives for the salvation of others. Very often, the suffering will come in the form of persecution. And most painful of all, it will often be from other Christians. Just as for Christ it was his co-religionists who persecuted him most, so for us it will be members of other Christian churches and denominations who are most hostile towards church planting. Most Christians are all for evangelism and church planting, so long as it doesn’t affect them—the NIMBY syndrome (Not In My Backyard). But, it is almost impossible to plant a church without affecting someone else. And when it does, tension and disagreement inevitably occurs. We cannot discuss church planting, and get involved in it, without being prepared to suffer for it.

Thirdly, any discussion of church planting assumes a passion for the lost. Millions of Americans will be born, grow old and die without ever hearing, in a meaningful way, about what Christ has done for them. The Bible may still be a top seller, but there is little evidence of it being high on the list of what people actually read. The lost are all around us. There are many areas, communities and sub-groups in our society which have little or no Christian witness within them. How can we reach them? We cannot expect them to come to us. We must go to them, and plant churches in their midst. And, as we go, Jesus said, “I will build my church.”