Meet the Team // Sydney the Intern // @TinkerCoffeeCo

Sydney is working this summer in Indianapolis as she takes summer classes at UIndy. She was able to connect with a local coffee company – Tinker Coffee Company – and is working as their intern. Recently they featured her on the Tinker Coffee blog. It was a brief interview with some fun info about what lead her to Indy and to Tinker. I especially like her response to What got you into coffee?

You might have noticed that some of our Instagram posts are looking A LOT better recently, and we have one very special person to thank for those upgrades: our illustrious intern Sydney Brackemyre! Syd the Kyd is a dynamo and has been doing awesome work with us for the past month and we wanted to give folks the chance to get to know her a bit better. We sat down with Syd and asked some questions about where she’s been, where she’s going, and what drew her to the coffee industry in the first place.

Read the entire interview on the Tinker blog!

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Do Your Children Believe // Terence Chatmon

Read the Bible.

Go to church.

Pray.

Some pretty standard answers that are given when asked what we should do to grow in our relationship with God. All are pretty good indicators that we are moving in the right direction and are generally accepted as steps all followers of Jesus should be taking.

In the opening pages of his book Do Your Children Believe?, author Terence Chatmon shares this statistic:

“. . . the hard truth remains that fewer than 10 percent of Christian families ever really engage with one another for the express purpose of encouraging or informing their growing faith. And not 1 percent could show you any kind of written plan that even briefly describes the spiritual direction they’re praying for and working together toward.”

So while we know we should read the Bible and pray, it seems that the majority of families do not practice those things together.  Into that gap of knowing verses doing (especially in the context of the family), Chatmon offers his insights.

Now normally the emotion that is associated with Bible reading and prayer seems to be guilt.  Guilt that we don’t read enough.  Guilt that we don’t pray enough.  Guilt that we aren’t consistent in either arena. Chatmon doesn’t pile onto that feeling of inadequacy.  Instead he shares his journey of how this became a priority in his life, even admitting that for a number of years he was not actively involved in doing what he writes about. He mentions multiple times that he doesn’t have it all figured out nor is he an expert. He confesses that he is not a Biblical scholar, but has in recent years taken seriously the role of leading his family.  From that experience and obvious passion he offers his thoughts.

In the chapters of the book the author offers ideas on identifying each family’s values, crafting a vision and a mission along with other steps to help families achieve a written plan for family faith development.

One of the things I appreciated as I read the book was that while Chatmon offered direction and shared many personal stories, he didn’t give too many specifics on what his family put together.  He didn’t want someone to fall into the trap of simply adopting what his family did.  He stressed the importance of each family identifying their own values, their own mission, their own prayer focus, ultimately making their plan their own.

While he shared some good insights and clear steps, there were a couple of phrases I highlighted that I considered memorable.

Near the end of the book Chatmon was expressing a long view of his family’s faith development plan.  He painted this picture:

“The thought of my kid sitting around a table with their kids, teaching and training them how to sit around with their kids – my great-grandkids – learning and living the ways of the Lord . . . I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”

His vision reaches beyond even his own lifetime.  The generational impact could move far beyond his own years on this earth.  A pretty powerful picture.

In the final chapter he concludes the book by underscoring why he is passionate about families developing a written plan:

” . . . my most direct route to fulfilling this enormous calling of mine (and ours) is to live it and share it and instill it within those who are closest to me:  my family. They are the essential starting point where any hope of my being effective, any hope of becoming my very best for the kingdom, must begin.”

Chatmon offers practical tools to help families (especially fathers) to become intentional about a faith development plan and create specific steps to leave a spiritual legacy.

Weddings, God and Covenants

As we move into the season of summer we also move into the season of weddings.  For the past few years I have had a couple of weddings on my calendar each summer.  This past weekend my wife and I attended a wedding and in a couple of weeks I will be performing one. I know of the three other weddings in our immediate sphere of relationships that will take place this summer.  Summer seems to be synonymous with weddings.

As I think about weddings, especially as I officiate any of them, I think of the word covenant.  When a man and a woman stand together on their wedding day, they are entering into a covenant.  There is a difference between a contract and a covenant.

The world in which we live in operates by contract relationships:  I am going to give you certain things in exchange for something else.  If I give you those things, you are obligated to provide certain things to me.  If you break your end of the contract, then I’m able to simply walk away from our agreement.

If I live by a covenant, it’s different.  Even when you don’t keep up your end of the bargain, I continue to be faithful to the relationship.

I was reminded of the idea of covenant as I have been reading the book Do Your Children Believe? Author Terence Chatmon talks about the idea of covenant and how God shows us what it looks like to keep a covenant.  He writes this in one of the later chapters:

“. . . as you read the grand sweep of the Bible – God’s covenants with Adam, with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses, with David – you keep seeing this theme emerge.  His people forget what He’s done for them. His people are contentious and inconsistent. His people sometimes even stumble into outright rebellion . . . yet He keeps reaching out and redeeming a remnant.  He never stops seeking His people.  He always remains faithful to His covenant.”

It’s a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father and a great picture for a marriage relationship.  To never stop seeking.  To always remain faithful.  Even when the other blows it.

What a good reminder for those who are getting married.

For those who are already married.

For all those who are contentious, inconsistent, even outright rebellious.

Guess that’s all of us.

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”
(2 Timothy 1:9)

 

Reason #199 Why We Love Small Groups

A few of our 2017 grads. Photo credit to one of our moms for snapping and sharing the pic.

Earlier in May we honored the class of 2017. It’s an annual event we do in our services where we bring our high school seniors on stage and recognize them for graduating. While it’s a regular thing we do (along with churches all across the country), each year is as unique as the members of each graduating class.

For the past few years we have asked our grads to fill out a brief questionnaire so we can make the recognition a bit more personal. Not all of our congregation knows every graduate by name so it’s an opportunity to highlight what our grads have achieved and what they have planned.

The last question for them to respond to was this: What is Your Best School Memory?

A couple of their answers show just why we love small groups.

I anticipated that our grads might point to homecoming or prom or an athletic or academic accomplishment. Some did. In fact, one of our grads was Homecoming Queen this year. Two of our grads finished #3 and #4 in their graduating class. Others enjoyed some athletic success.

But what two of our grads put down as their best memory had to do with their experience in small groups.

Here are the grads own words:

“I loved being kidnapped . . . by my small group leaders. It was always fun being surprised and spending the day with my small group.”

“My favorite memory is having our annual small group Christmas party/sleepover.”

Just another reason why we love small groups.

To the small group leaders out there: You are making an impact. You have influence. Sometimes we just have to wait until they graduate (or later) to see it or hear it.

To the small group leaders out there: Thank You!

Honoring the Class of ’17

 

Every May we take a few minutes in our services to recognize and honor our High School graduates. Since graduation season is typically a busy time for the families, we try to make it simple while also giving honor where honor is due.

This is the video we showed during our Graduate Recognition time:

Many of students from this class grew up here, so it was extra special to see them in their caps and gowns. Below are a couple of pics that demonstrate that.

Three of our grads that were honored Sunday were in the first class of our Sonshine Preschool.  Our director obtained copies of the graduation pictures from the first morning and afternoon classes. Perhaps those from Wilmington will recognize a familiar face or two.

 

Swipe Right @LeviLusko

Sometimes we think we’ve heard it all. We don’t think new information will surprise us or grab our attention. Then, in the introduction of his book Swipe Right, the author writes about the impact of the internet. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard most of the stats. Then he writes that “dating apps such as OkCupid, Grindr and Tinder have poured gasoline onto what was already a hook up culture. Tinder alone has more than a trillion swipes now.”

More than a trillion swipes? I would have never guessed a number like that.

Then more stats: “There are now more than one hundred million people on mobile dating apps; half of those are on Tinder.”

More than one hundred million? Perhaps we don’t know as much as we think we do about the current state of relationships and all the ways that people are connecting. Into that setting Levi Lusko offers his latest book.

In Swipe Right Lusko offers practical, direct and Biblical teaching on the subject of purity and relationships. I appreciate his willingness to speak directly to a subject that people sometimes like to gloss over and speak in vague generalities. It can be uncomfortable to enter into a conversation about sex with someone else, especially if that someone is your child or youth group student, but Lusko offers a great tool to help do exactly that.

Lusko has the ability to connect truths from God’s Word in a way that captures the reader’s attention. Here’s one of my favorites from chapter 5:

“God, too gave us guidelines, but people think he is a prude and a killjoy. It’s ridiculous, really. Do you think Apple is a buzzkill because the instructions tell you not to take your iPhone swimming with you? Are they phone-o-phobic? Of course not! We understand the rules help us get the most our of our phones. Far from proving He is against it, the fact that God tells us how to do sex the right way shows he cares about it.”

If we care that much about our phones and want to take care of them, how much more should we take care of the gift God has given to us?

In his writing Lusko speak to those who don’t think they need these principles in their relationships. He recognizes that there will be some readers who think “this doesn’t apply to me” or “that might be true of other people, but not me.” He writes with both truth and grace recognizing that people won’t always listen the first time. In a culture that continues to move further into an “anything goes” approach to intimacy, Lusko offers enduring truths that individuals and couples can return to when the current approach leaves them empty.

An added bonus of the book is that he added a section at the end called Things I Really, Really Want You to Remember.  In that section he gives a quick rundown of the principles from each chapter.  It’s a great way to refresh your memory and even share that information with a friend.

Swipe Right is a good tool to use for both individual reading and group study.  I think it would be helpful not only for those who have struggled with purity issues in the past, but also a good conversation starter for those who are just moving into the time of dating and relationships.

You can get more information at the Swipe Right Book website.

She’s THAT Mom // Cheryl’s Latest Post @DaytonMomsBlog

Cheryl’s latest post on Dayton Moms Blog took her on a little journey down memory lane as she thought about when her big boys were little.  She is now THAT mom.

As moms, we all know what kind of mom I am referring to……..

The mom that looks at the young mom and gives a little smile.
The mom that sweetly smiles and giggles as you discipline your child in the store, and just watches you.
The mom that offers to help you with your bag, when you look like your about to drop said bag.
The mom that asks if she can help you out the door, when you have a cart in one hand and a car seat in the other.
The mom that seems to be watching you as you multi- task.
The mom that looks at you and pats you on the shoulder and says, “Enjoy these sweet moments, they grow up so quickly.”

Read the rest of the post on the Dayton Moms Blog