A cup of friendship and fellowship


I love coffee. It is a documented fact that from the time I was ten years old I grew up making, talking about and drinking coffee. As a teen the best moments I had with my parents was that it was my job to make the coffee in the morning and for an hour before I went to school and my father went to work we caught up with a cup of coffee.

Church planting
As a church planter I like to speak to churches and ministries as well as supporters with a common love for really good coffee. When my friend Brett Bixler asked me to be part of Mission Coffee and Church Coffee I jumped at the chance. No not some kind of caffeine induced shaky jumping, I’m talking about opportunity to share the gospel, raise some friends and sharing a good cup of coffee together while being in fellowship, in prayer and raising voices in praise of what God is doing.

Blended family!

The Costa Rica is a medium roast, with chocolate notes, and a near perfect balance of body and acidity. We know the farmer who taught the natives to start growing coffee beans in this rich land. They no longer work in slavery but are free entrepreneurial farmers. Brett is a fair-trade roaster and I’d like to say that he is even “more than fair.”

The Honduras is a slightly lighter roast, bright acidity but not bitter. A great traditional American cup of coffee that would please most coffee drinkers as a daily cup. The fact is that Mission Coffee and Church coffee are always roasted and delivered fresh for a just in time experience!

The French Roast is a dark roast, but not burnt or over roasted. It has amazing bitter sweet notes, with a full body, and very smooth finish. Again most of what comes from Mission Coffee can be an everyday brew. Part of what makes coffee a great fundraiser for Friendship Fellowship is that every pound you buy helps to support Friendship Fellowship and helps us to reach more people with Intellectual Disabilities in Denver and in Colorado Springs! It also is a common bond with the Caregivers and families of our special needs congregation, and it helps us train and develop mentors for our churches and in our community.

Calm down!

I don’t know about you but after 2 in the afternoon I prefer decaf! Up until now I have had a problem with the taste of decaf and that freeze dried-cleaner aftertaste. All that is different with a cup of friendship!

The Fair Trade Swiss Water Process decaf Mexican is from Chiapas Mexico. It is so good most have a hard time believing it’s a decaf. Chocolate notes, mellow acidity. Truly delicious.

Pricing

We charge $ 12/bag for the regular and $ 14/bag for the decaf (though Whole Foods Markets carries out coffees in Maryland and charges $ 13.99/bag for them). The discount is good and if you commit to buying a bag a month you become a supporter of Friendship Fellowship. What’s more is that I will be glad to set up a coffee night at your church where we will do a coffee-house night explaining what we are doing, leading worship and giving your church an insiders look into the ministry of Friendship Fellowship!

$ 4 to $ 5 per bag of coffee goes to Friendship Fellowship.
One other thing that we have done in the past when we sell at farmer’s markets and church bookstores and cafes, is to offer a discount if you buy two bags, “one for $ 12 or three for $ 33.”

I invite you to be a part of our “friendship raiser,” where message, music and mission change lives, one cup at a time.

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Invitation is nine-tenths of Friendship


If “Possession is nine-tenths of the law” then invitation is nine-tenths of friendship.” There are so many stories of Jesus inviting people to the table. Jesus invites people to the feast, he invites people to work with him, he invites everyone to the banquet, and he invites us all to communion. The bottom line is that many are called and receive the invitation but few are chosen to accept the invitation. On this Thanksgiving I think it’s good to reflect on how many invitations we receive from God, the percentage of what we reject, and what we fully embrace. There is the invitation to celebrate, to come unhindered, and to work for God’s purposes. There are other invitations to give, to receive,  to mourn, and to follow.

Invitation to all

26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. Luke 4:26-28

Why were they angry? The Jews were jealous that God’s invitation was for everyone including the Gentiles. Jesus quotes that many of his “listeners” were as unbelieving as the people of Israel in the days of Elijah and Elisha. People heard the message of God but they rejected it. When the invitation is given many hear but do not listen. The invitation is for all and when he was not the political ruler that they expected his invitation was not accepted.

Invitation to heal

40Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. Like 4:40 

At the time of Sabbath the time of healing would have been at the end of the time of rest. As the sun is setting on Saturday evening people began to travel to meet Jesus accepting the invitation to be healed. Luke points out that they came “with all kinds of diseases,” and he healed everyone.

Invitation to work

1On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon,”Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

Did you get this invitation? I can speak from experience that I have and I have not always accepted it. When you get an invitation to drop everything and follow Jesus, and that you will use your skills for “Kingdom purposes” most send their regrets. You know that part of the invitation where it says “Regrets only?” Can you think of a time when Jesus was calling you, inviting you to be a friend, to be in fellowship, to work for him, to be healed by him and to live for him? The invitation is for everyone, come join the party and don’t send regrets! Give thanks for the invitation it is nine-tenths of Friendship and Fellowship.

Smalternative thinking nets big results


As I walk down Main and Wall Streets I know that smaller budgets and profits are the thoughts of the day. Yet working in ministries it seems that smaller is better or at least more creative. For instance when we use our heads and not so much our wallets an authenticity, a creative fusion, and an intimacy take us to a place that becomes less “the best show in town” to the deeper meaning of message, music and mission. How does “Smalternative” play out on  Church Street? Quite well thank you.

Digital Means Deeper

For instance you can store a whole library of theological and biblical thought on a cell phone, a thumb drive or a dashboard. You can start a coffee house at your church where small groups can gather during the week and where intimate worship can happen unplugged. Smaller can be better for all of us. Digital downloads, can be so much more interactive than a commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

Meetings and Mission

Church Coffee and Mission Coffee Roasters offer fresh roasted coffee by an expert coffee roaster and Barista, that a church could put a coffee house in any corner from a bus station to a resort in any town! A portable coffee house could be set up in any meeting room or convention center complete with a study, music and ideas that would help any community and also be a fundraiser for missions. There’s a lot of  “smalternatives” that I don’t have room to put into practice here but I would love to hear your thoughts!

One lunch fed thousands

At Friendship Fellowship we know there are thousands of people who have intellectual disabilities. We reach a handful every week and we also know that there is a mentor match for each of those people. One Friendship Fellowship Church Plant is multiplying into two and maybe by next year three or four. I believe that by practicing to be a smalternative church we can reach thousands in the next five years. I also think that there are thousands of people who are being called to mentor each one of our friends with special needs. Jesus was looking at smalternatives when he needed to feed the multitudes. He found what he was looking for and in some kind of miracle one lunch fed thousands.

“Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat, to a deserted place apart. When the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot from the cities. 
Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When evening had come, his disciples came to him, saying, “This place is deserted, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food.” 
But Jesus said to them, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 
They told him, “We only have here five loaves and two fish.” 
He said, “Bring them here to me.” He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes. They all ate, and were filled. They took up twelve baskets full of that which remained left over from the broken pieces. Those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

Matthew 14:13-21

Do you love that as much as I do? If our obedience is to serve people in need then we can do this without a lot of fanfare. A simple  bag of lunch was used and there was enough for everybody-and more. Our idea at Friendship is simple, invite friends, caregivers and families to be part of the church and you have thousands doing life together. You make people aware of the care that is needed to spiritually care for individuals with disabilities than you have thousands who have joined the church, and started another church. There is a mathematical phenomenon called the “rule of 72.”

For instance, if you were to invest $100 with compounding interest at a rate of 9% per annum, the rule of 72 gives 72/9 = 8 years required for the investment to be worth $200; an exact calculation gives 8.0432 years.

There is also a Biblical Rule of 72.

1 After this the Lord appointed 72 others. He sent them out two by two ahead of him. They went to every town and place where he was about to go.

17 The 72 returned with joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we speak in your name.”

I think Jesus came to show us that with a little “smalternative” thinking, we get big results. And since that seems to be the case Jesus associated with the people who are considered the “small people” in our culture.

If you would like to hear what “smalternative” thinking can do for your church or ministry, Church Coffee can help. With studies, relationship building and outreach options and really good coffee Bret Bixler and Richard Beattie would love to show you how message, music and mission can offer the right blend of intimacy that can change lives one cup at a time. Call 800.724.1839 or write Friendshipfellowship@juno.com.

Proverbs 1 10-19- Wait


Come, let’s lie in wait, and from this gate

we will murder.

Come let’s do him in, the price of sin, is murder.

The innocents will tell you out, they mean no harm,

but that’s in doubt.

Well man are you in or are you out?

the treasures great, what’s won in bout,

So come on- throw in your lot, with us you’re not,

irreplaceable.

Father: Son – don’t listen to them

Stay clear of their ways, they’ll do it their way.

And son, they lay a net for innocence,

they’ll trap you in

Come, let’s lie in wait, and from this gate

we will murder.

Come let’s do him in, the price of sin, is murder.

The innocents will tell you out, they mean no harm,

but that’s in doubt.

Tag: Father: This is their fate – these men in wait,

who will kill and rob for ill-gotten gain.

They may rob and they will kill, but  death comes slowly to

the heartless unnamed.

My son, my son, bad men will come and tempt you in

the shedding of blood.

Proverbs 1: 10-19

Proverbs 1- Wisdom’s Gate


Chorus:
Handed down from father to son
from King to prince, David to Solomon

Handed down from man to man at
Wisdom’s gate, it’s God’s plan!

Listen son to what your father says
Do not reject the teachings from your Mother

Words like garland will adorn your head
a chain of honor will adorn your neck
(Chorus)

Chorus:
Handed down from father to son
from King to prince, David to Solomon

Handed down from man to man at
Wisdom’s gate, it’s God’s plan!

Bridge: The fear of the Lord is the start of knowledge,

Yet fools at the wheel will sing out- scorn!

Listen my son and understand
the foils of man footing on quick sand

Listen my son and calm your soul,
remember that life is filled with parables.

Chorus:
Handed down from father to son
from King to prince, David to Solomon

Handed down from man to man at
Wisdom’s gate, it’s God’s plan!

Proverbs 1: 1-9

Action taken on Church Street


While many of the churches in our cities are occupied by night clubs and galleries, the church has moved from Church Street and has instead occupied suburbia. Too many churches who at one time were the lighthouses of their neighborhoods have caused map confusion by moving to abandoned shopping centers or erecting new steel while keeping the name of the neighborhood. A case in point is Vista Grande Baptist in Colorado Springs.

Suburbia cometh

The neighborhood church on the move heads closer to where the land is more expensive and the building can grow. Vista Grande is a neighborhood that has been in decline for a decade. It was one of Colorado Springs suburban neighborhoods in the early seventies. Church plants were ripe then for the community and Vista Grande Baptist grew pretty fast. At the same time builders built shopping, more tri-levels and fast food joints. When it came time to bump out there was no room to do so and the elders voted on moving to Powers and Dublin. If the mission was in the name of where the church was planted why didn’t they change the name? Powers Baptist has a nice ring to it yet Dublin Baptist might be an oxymoron!

The main point
I’m sure that the church had pure motives for moving. They have grown since the move and they have more room to do so. But the main point is this, if the church is the first to abandon Church Street then all that’s left is converted real estate. While the Great Commission has conversion in mind it’s hard to justify who we are called to reach.

City Streets
This series is also to point out that the church needs to get beyond Church Street. There are people in urban areas that might not ever want to head back to Church Street. These people live on Main Street but in cities like Denver, watered down messages, and the erosion of the gospel within their own four walls have caused the re-configuring of building usage. We have witnessed a great Renaissance in night-clubs; in art galleries and even law offices that are currently in residence in our smallest chapels to our biggest cathedrals. The movement to house churches, to gyms at the YMCA, and even coffee houses are the places where the church has been moving. While the mega church had an uprising for the last twenty years, those missional churches are not so much growing new church buildings but instead they are sending forth men and women to “go and tell” on Main Street, Wall Street, State Street and in some cases getting their light from Church Street.

If you want to know more call Friendship Fellowship at 800.724.1839 or e-mail Friendshipfellowship@juno.com

Occupy Church Street


The waste of time, talent and resources of occupying Wall Street is getting tiresome. The movement is not united and watching the threads on blogs and websites is only serving to be buying into a system of “haves and have nots.” Most of the occupiers would be competing for jobs and some might even be starting companies and putting the occupiers to work. I was thinking about how “Occupy Wall Street” is playing on Wall Street and how it is playing on Main Street and from what I can see the only hurt that the movement is leaving a mark on is the continuing sluggish Jobs Index. I have a solution for the occupiers- Leave Wall Street and head on down to Church Street. Occupy Church Street, your prayers will be answered.

The Occupy Church Street

There are hundreds of people worked for ministries who were laid off in the past few years. Some are still collecting unemployment, others have gone to work for a fraction of their pay and others have started something new and have employed people. Still others are missionaries and have always relied on support. They didn’t blame the greed from Wall Street, they didn’t picket the White House or the Capitol, they decided that the best place to be in a crisis was to head straight to Church Street! What did they find?

1. 24/7 Prayer Support (Mark 6:41-46)

2. Free Skills Assessment (Romans 1:11)

3. Counseling (Acts 5:21)

4. Fellowship (Acts 2:42)

5. Commissioned and sent (Luke 6:13)

On Church Street you are not slaves to Wall Street or Main Street, you are considered friends who will be compelled to live in a community where people will give, will work with you and beside you. Your gifts and talents, your education and your qualifications are noticed. You will have to raise support and while that may be challenging it is also a new dependence, not on government, not on retail and not on Wall Street. There will always be greed and there will always be injustice, but when you rely on God only for your sustenance then you will find your needs are met, that justice is given and you will be treated with respect and dignity. So take your tents and move to the nearest church you can find and occupy Church Street 24/7. Be prepared to pray, be prepared to worship and be prepared to listen to the message God wants you to hear.

If you would like to find out more about the Church Street Movement call 800.724.1839 or e-mail friendshipfellowship@juno.com.