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Coffee Shop Joe

29 Aug
The night he shared his heart with all of us.

The night he shared his heart with all of us.

“You believe in God and read the Bible right?” The piercing question rang heavy, spoken by my old co-worker and friend Joe Burns on the other end of the phone. “Yes” I hesitantly muttered, my mind swirling trying to discover the possible motivation behind this question. “Well, I’d like to discover what Scripture says and explore that more with you if that’s ok??” I think I dropped my phone. I was stunned. I was grateful. Mixed thoughts and feelings coursed through my body, I had no idea what to do and yet I knew exactly what was next. And so our journey began.

With the poised wisdom and aid of my community mate, dear friend, and brother Derek Rice, we, along with the rest of our greater community, have been walking with Joe this last year. We have read Scripture together. We have prayed. Confessed. Laughed. Cried. Broke bread. And found Jesus.

Joe is discovering how he wants to live. The kind of man he was born to become.  He recently joined us for our annual Life Compass process- a powerful tool for that offers us a framework for navigating our lives. We create post it note timelines of our past, giving us meaning and clarity for today with hope and direction for tomorrow. We dive into our personalities and love languages, clarifying our unique wiring and gifting’s.  But Life Compass really culminates with this icing on the cake- cherry on top experience, the vision statement.

Joe’s vision came from wrestling with some essential questions. What does my heart yearn to accomplish?? What so grips me that I can barely talk about it without affecting me? Vision is bigger than yourself, it engages your passion and it’s tangible.

As I reflect on Joe’s journey, it is an honor to participate in God’s beautiful story for him. I am reminded that the gospel is profoundly experienced and expressed in the context of community. That we were born for moments and stories like these. To help leaders move from where they are to where they need to be. To find, activate, and launch leaders into their unique calling so the Church can be all she was made to be.

Joe bravely breathed his vision into life with all of us last week. May you be blessed with this special gift as we all were…

“I believe that the love of God can be experienced through quality food, honorable business practices, profit generosity and welcoming cafe experiences. Using my God given gifts of hospitality and teaching, and my learned ability of the pastry arts I will give my life to stimulating healthy, positive changes in the lives of my family, friends, co-workers and patrons, especially in the context of opening and running multiple cheesecake cafes around the nation. I desire to change the injustice of the food service industry by creating a place of equality, from dishwasher to chef.  Places where all will have a sense of ownership and buy-in with opportunities to share in the profits of the business. As a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, I want to take a portion the profits and feed it back into the community, creating a better place to live.  I envision cafes of comfort and serenity;  places filled with the love and peace of Jesus.  I desire that others will experience my life and business and see a difference in me, to see Jesus in me. I want to inspire and motivate others to change the way they engage life and stimulate a new way of doing business.


kid professor’s

25 Apr

Anika+ Naomi- these are my teachers.

And he said:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
-Matthew 18:3

When I think of adulthood often the first word that comes to mind is responsibility- getting things done. We pass through the streams of adolescence and enter the gates of obligation at some point. Lists are formed. Expectations are looming. Papers and deadlines are due. There is always something. The minute we strike through one chore another is knocking on our front door.

It’s no wonder one of the first things to go is our playfulness as adults. We as grown ups can increasingly feel like life is “all work and no play.” Play feels wasteful. Purposeless. Irresponsible. How can you justify playing a round of golf when you haven’t finished your reports? Or how is that you want to dig your toes in the warm sand or hike up a fresh spring mountain trail when the garage still looks like a toronado ran through it?

What did Jesus really mean when he told his most trusted friends + followers they must become child like to enter the Kingdom of God? Are all the other virtues of children- wonder, innocence, trust, curiosity- so severed from playfulness??

When I rush to get my neighbor’s little girls out of my house because I don’t want to read them a Disney story, or when I don’t believe I have time to play with my wife because it is a “waste of time” – then I’m afraid I am living like I am almost out of time. Time becomes limited rather than abundant. It becomes a possession rather than a gift. I cling to it. Hoard it.


It says in the ancient texts,

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

This changes everything.

The playful moments to tickle my wife, laughing till our hearts crackle with joy, or the pitter patters of little feet coming up my stairs -wide eyed wondrous 3 and 5 year olds wanting to hear about Simba and Cinderella, are invitations. To play. To trust. To follow Jesus.

When we realize that play nudges us against heaven, where we lose track of time and trust in a God who is Lord over every hour and moment of our day, we learn we are actually NOT short of days. “We are heirs of eternity.”1

In God’s Kingdom, maybe we need to “waste” some time in order to redeem some.

I have been reading a great book called The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan(1). Much of this post is influenced by his writings and teachings for which I am grateful. Check out more of his book here.

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