preacherpen

The Preacher and a Coffee Club

In A Christian Life, Family on February 4, 2009 at 10:52 AM
Coffee Cup

Coffee Cup

There’s a morning routine at our house that is good for everyone involved. Our two granddaughters live with us and go to a great public school nearby. It is my distinct privilege to take them to school most every morning, and sometimes pick them up in the afternoon. This has been going on for several years, and the girls love “Pappy” to be involved in their lives like that.

A little over a month ago, I had just come home from a hospital visit when one of the pastors in my Pastoral Covenant Group called to ask if I would ride with him for a visit. One of the pastors was in our group was having some tests run, and we were going to visit. Naturally, I said we would go, so he came by and picked me up. The pastors in our group really care about each other, and have been building our covenant relationship for several years.

On the way to the hospital, we stopped at a particular gas station that has quite a large variety of coffee to choose from. Normally, when I drink coffee, it’s black with just a little black thrown in for good measure. This time, however, the Pumpkin Spice called pretty loudly, and I was hooked. Filling my stainless steel travel cup for $1.06 (including tax) felt pretty good, and was greatly appreciated seeing how my friend paid for it.

In the days following, I had to visit that gas station again … again … again. One morning, after dropping the girls off at school, I decided a cup of coffee would hit the spot, so off I went. This time I was greeted by a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant (still teaching, BTW) and some other guys of like ilk. It wasn’t long until we had introduced ourselves, and a friendship began to grow. We see each other pretty regularly now, as that stainless steel coffee cup needs to be refilled from time to time.

We talk about a variety of subjects, but one of them really catches my interest. You see, there are Florida Gator fans, and some stealth Florida State University fans, too. The discussions are interesting, but never get out of hand. One of the guys wears an Auburn phone case, but his heart is purely Gator. One of his daughters went to school there, so I can understand the display of the Auburn symbol. Now, the FS-who? guys are an altogether different matter.

In the last couple of visits, I have seen something new take place in this small coffee club. Now when I walk into the place, they say “you better be good, the preacher’s here.” I appreciate the sentiment, but I would rather them not have to say that in the first place. Today, for the first time, they said I was part of their club, and that made me feel good. I never asked, but just wanted to hang around them and share the love of Christ while sipping on a cup of coffee. We all have fun and sometime I get to answer questions of eternal importance – how awesome is that?

I love to read about the Apostle Paul. This man knew what it was to present Christ to those who wouldn’t listen, and to those who received his message. He knew what it was like to be beaten, mocked, snake-bitten, left for dead and how to walk in faith. One of my favorite scriptures is what Paul wrote regarding his witness to those who needed Christ:

I Corinthians 9:22-23 ESV
22  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel,  that I may share with them in its blessings.

There is a wonderful book written by our General Overseer, Dr. Raymond Culpepper, entitled No Church Left Behind, which uses an acrostic for a G.R.E.A.T. church. One of the letters represents a relational church, and is part of what makes a church relevant in today’s society. Relationships are built over a period of time; they are not always instant successes. Followers of Christ must develop relationships if we are going to be a positive influence in the world we live in.

What about you? Are you building relationships in your “coffee club?” Tell me about them.

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  1. That’s a great story, Ron! It’s wonderful when we can find unexpected relationships that bless both sides of the equation (I bless you; you bless me).

    Me … I’ve started helping a quadriplegic who attends my Hebrew class. She joined later than the rest of us and is wanting to catch up. It’s interesting, because I have never felt a pull towards handicapped people before … but I want to help her. She’s got a sharp mind, and is very intelligent (she actually has a degree from Stanford) … it just requires patience and kindness working with her 0 to go at her speed and understand what she’s saying. She seems to enjoy working with me, which is something that is blessing me a lot. She gets so excited when she sees me, and has started looking to me to assist the class in understanding her (she has almost no use of all motor skills including talking). That also feels good. So … I think that’s my ‘unexpected’ source. :) I’m very much enjoying it.

    • You know, Annie, sometimes we have such a heart to help someone, and in the process, we’re the ones who get so very blessed. Yours is a wonderful story, too.

      There’s opportunities all around us; we just need to take advantage of them. The book quoted in my post is so revealing about how the early church ministered to people. It wasn’t with fancy programs – it was disciples building relationships, which is exactly what you’re doing. Thanks for being involved.

      BTW, I can imagine when you first see her face, the smile alone is worth your effort.

  2. [...] was pleased some of the guys from “Club Mobil” came by and visited a while, too. There were people from area churches who bought BBQ and [...]

  3. [...] been planning on taking my pet mongoose to the coffee club today; it should be lots of fun. I wish you could be here with us. Larry, if you’re reading [...]

  4. [...] of the members of the coffee club I’m part of happens to be the coach of the Mount Dora Bible Bulldogs girls softball team. In [...]

  5. Hi Pastor Ron,
    Thanks you and Susan for the wonderful time we spent together on Sunday! I too have some people that I am close to that are not Christians. It has taken over two years of loving and not judging them to see little changes come into their lives. I am most likely the only Christian they come in contact with. For whatever reasons sinners always seem drawn to me and it will eventually wind up with them giving their hearts to Jesus. I had one of them ask me last week if I could make them a small loan and I was glad to do it. She gave me a check to deposit this Saturday. She wound up in the hospital for a few days last week and lost hours at work. I told her Monday it was a gift and that the check had been torn up. She was shocked and asked me why would I do that. I told her because I loved her and if I gave a gift in the Name of Jesus he would bless me back abundantly, so really she was doing me a favor. She got up with tears in her eyes to hug me. She will never forget it was given in the name of Jesus. The only way the world will see or feel the love of Jesus is when it is manifested in the life of the Christinas in their midst.

    God Bless,
    Connie

    • That is such a powerful testimony of what “coffee clubs” are all about. Fellowship is great, and we’re not about judging anyone. Christians are to carry the message of the Cross wherever they go; we are to make disciples of people we lead to Christ. What a privilege to represent the King of kings and Lord of lords to all the world. BTW, we enjoyed your visit tremendously.

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