the benefits of drinking coffee

I've been preaching the virtues of drinking coffee since I was in the sixth grade. My mom and dad brewed their coffee in a percolator that sat on the stove. Myself, I've graduated from a Mr. Coffee to a french press and am loving every minute of it.

So ... today I'm browsing through Google News and find this story about how coffee has the most antioxidants of any food or beverage. And it's a legitimate study, too, not one funded by Folgers or Howard Schultz. It was done by an outfit known as the American Chemical Society. Sounds good enough for me.

Sitting there next to this story is a sidebar link entitled, "Coffee: The New Health Food?" Of course, I had to click there as well. Here's what I found ...

  • Drinking coffee cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes. "After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders."
  • "Consider this: At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones. "
  • Meanwhile, Italian researchers credit another compound called trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, for having both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties to help prevent dental cavities from forming.
  • "There recently was a study from Brazil finding that children who drink coffee with milk each day are less likely to have depression than other children," he tells WebMD. "In fact, no studies show that coffee in reasonable amounts is in any way harmful to children."

How much more evidence do you need! Drink it hot, drink it often!

great preview service

Our last and final preview service for LifePoint was this past Sunday morning. We had 50 people show up with little to no advertising. Our one-week-old band played a great set of music and the morning flowed really well. With the gathering set to start in about 15 minutes, I finally was able to get MediaShout working on their projection system. No sweat :-)

We now have one "down" Sunday left and then our Grand Opening is September 11. It's been exciting to see how God is arranging the parts of the puzzle.


i'm starting to get gray hair

I can only remember my dad having gray hair. As the youngest of five boys, I came along when dad was 42 years old. My little league buddies would ask, "Hey, is that your grandpa?" But in spite of the hereditary propensities and having two small children, I've been blessed to have avoided the gray hairs ...

Until deciding to plant a church. Lately I've noticed a few stray grays shooting up above the ears on both sides. I've had hints of gray in my goatee for quite some time, but that doesn't really count.

It might be the result of all the little details that a pastor takes for granted when serving in an existing church. Details that a church planter cannot take for granted. LifePoint made the decision not to use the typical metal communion trays many churches use. It's not our style. OK, so what is? You have to use something! And it has to be fairly easy to pour, not too messy to clean up, and look "cool." Just kidding about the cool thing ... but serving it in a Winnie the Pooh pitcher is not an option.

I whittle away at my "to do" list but somehow it seems to regenerate itself, not incrementally but exponentially. If only church growth were so easy.


are you religious or spiritual

Newsweek just did a feature on the state of American faith and beliefs ("Spirituality in America"). One of the distinctions that surfaced was how people view being "religious" as opposed to being "spiritual." Sample:

The NEWSWEEK/Beliefnet Poll found that more Americans, especially those younger than 60, described themselves as "spiritual" (79 percent) than "religious" (64 percent). Almost two thirds of Americans say they pray every day, and nearly a third meditate.

Many people view being "religious" as a public, formal expression of faith. On the other hand, being "spiritual" is a personal matter or search. Being "religious" is seen as rigid, dry, old. Being "spiritual" is new, meaningful, and fluid. In our contemporary setting and experience, this may be true. Historically, the words were used fairly synonymously. Click here to cast your own vote.

Another important distinction that surfaced is that being "religious" often has to do with the search for truth while being "spiritual" is the search for experience. Given that, I'm not surprised that the number of those who consider themselves spiritual has outgrown the number who consider themselves to be religious.

Here's an interesting sidebar from Martin Marty:

The American spiritual journey can best be understood if we chart three of its sometimes parallel but often divergent routes.

First, most people pursue their search in traditional sanctuaries, though often in untraditional ways. Thanks to Vatican II, many walls separating Roman Catholics from other believers turned porous. Now "ecumenical" Protestants and Catholics—often joined by Jews and now Muslims and others—share prayers and work together as we saw them typically doing after 9/11. They rework traditional liturgies or sing old songs to a new beat. Many sober Fundamentalists mutate into exuberant Evangelicals, while spirit-filled Pentecostals challenge staid worshipers.

A second path takes the spiritual-minded into activism. If in the years immediately before "Protestant-Catholic-Jew" many sat back in comfortable pews, now their heirs are challenged to take political stands, pro and con. Some claim that theirs is the only true American way, and that those who take other paths must be "secular humanist" or nonreligious. The accused rail against those they call theocrats. If the midcentury revival represented an era of spiritual good feelings, in the new millennium ill feelings test the hospitable spirit that should characterize the religious quest.

The third path would have been the biggest surprise in 1955: millions speak of their being "spiritual but not religious." They shun the disorganized fronts of what they call "organized religion," and go their own way, sometimes finding new company. You will find them at retreats or book signings where the Tibetan Dalai Lama is almost as recognized a figure as the pope or Billy Graham. Devotees of alternative medicine speak of their disciplines as spiritual. To their critics these all look unmoored—reckless adventurers on stormy seas under foggy skies. The adventurers consider themselves pilgrims on solid ground, joining all the others on the paths of the never-ending, newly prospering spiritual journey, and they keep inviting more company from among their compatriots.

Marty is a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught religious history.

LifePoint's full name is LifePoint Christian Community. We intentionally choose not to call ourselves a "church" although we are a church. We will do our best to function as biblical community of Christ-followers, or what the New Testament refers to as a "church." But we also understand that the biblical definition of "church" is not what most people think of when they hear "church."

Perhaps a new perspective is needed, one I call "Christian spirituality." In other words, the individual's search for meaning can best be discovered inside a community of people who operate within the boundaries of truth. This is not a formal, dry process but a tapesty of relationships that have been bonded by a shared experience with Jesus.


great reference in another blog

LifePoint just got a great plug from another blogger. Here it is:

Saturday, August 20, 2005

If you're in the San Diego area or plan to be, don't forget the grand opening LifePoint Church on Sunday, 11 September.In the interim, Pastor Ken will be guest speaking at Pomerado Christian Church in Poway on 21 August. They meet at 12708 Stone Canyon Road at 9:00 and 10:30.

A preview service at LifePoint's new building is planned for 28 August, starting at 10:45. This gathering will feature an original drama by Ricky Allen, LifePoint music, and a special guest artist. The September 11th services are at 9:00 and 10:45. They’ll provide a children’s program at the 10:45 gathering only.

Pastor Ken is looking for an "extended" LifePoint network to consider attending both services for the first two months. We're tied into Shadow Mountain, but will be over at LifePoint for opening day.If you can't get there, please pray for these folks, especially for Pastor Ken and his family, and pray that God will use this new church in a mighty way.

They have 60,000 direct-mail postcards printed and in the process of being shipped from Chicago to San Diego. Please pray that these will get to the right folks.Lots more info at lifepointcommunity.com.Have a great weekend!

Grace and peace,



Here's Don's blog: http://www.evaneco.com


last preview service / open house

LifePoint will have our last preview service on August 28 at 10:45. We'll be gathering at our new worship space at 4698 Alvarado Canyon, Suite A and childcare will be provided.

This will also be a great opportunity to see our space before the crush of grand opening weekend. Come early and get some coffee, lounge on a couch, or shoot a game of pool ... ten percent of any money won while shooting pool must go into the offering.


is lifepoint a seeker-driven church

I was asked recently whether or not LifePoint would be a seeker-driven church. Great question. In church parlance, being seeker-driven means designing everything about your worship service around non-Christians. The idea is to make non-Christians feel comfortable and non-threatened. It also involves making the service understandable and even enjoyable (imagine that -- a church service being enjoyable!).

In some cases, however, being seeker-driven means removing any hint of Christian spirituality from the environment or experience. In other words, some seeker-driven churches do not have any visible crosses on display. The idea is to create an environment much like you would find at the local movie theater, minus the popcorn. The audience is not expected to participate but to observe. The goal is for the seeker to remain anonymous.

I guess I draw a distinction between being seeker-driven and seeker-sensitive. To me, a church experience should be understandable and even enjoyable. We should avoid losing people with jargon and should give them permisison to explore at their own pace.

With that being said, I believe we are dealing with a different kind of seeker today. They come to church already considering themselves to be spiritual and expect church to be a spiritual experience. When a church service feels like a meeting of the Rotary Club or a visit to Wal-Mart, they sense something is missing. And they are right. What is missing is an authentic experience with a living God.

Rather than reducing signs of the spiritual, LifePoint will attempt to create an environment that communicates truth verbally, visually, interactively. We will not apologize for worshiping God creatively or passionately. When people go to a restaurant, they're not surprised when the menu features food. Likewise, today's seeker is not surprised when the church community offers spiritual food ... as long as it's prepared and presented in a relevant manner.


direct mail proofs

As many of you know, LifePoint is planning an 80,000 piece direct mail campaign to start next week. We contracted with a marketing firm from Chicago that mainly works with for-profit companies like Sony, ReMax, etc. We're about to go to press!

Here's a link to our final proofs.



A little background will help you appreciate this even more. We (LifePoint) applied for a non-profit mailing permit in early July, told it would only take about two weeks to receive approval. We have 80,000 direct mail pieces in the process of being printed for delivery next week.

Two weeks came and went and I decided to stop by to check on the status. Local post office says it has no way of checking; everything is handled in Memphis. So ... I leave for Atlanta and return to local post office again today hoping the regular clerk is back from vacation. No such luck. So ... I call Memphis.

And ... THEY HAVE NO RECORD OF OUR APPLICATION. None. Not even a whiff. I'm told to overnight another application, with supporting documentation, and hope that the supervisor can do a quick approval. My credit card was charged $300 back in July but no record of the application ever being received exists. Our local post office has a photocopy of our application, seemingly indicating that the original was mailed. But it got lost in the mail.

It's no wonder they say planting a church increases a person's ability to trust in God.

nifty new blog

Actually it's an older blog than mine but new to me. A few weeks ago I rambled onto a blog called "The Evangelical Ecologist: A Christian EcoBlog" by a local San Diego fellow (Don Bosch). It's a virtual treasure chest of information, including a link on how to brew beer in your coffee pots. Ironically, I've just switched to a french press ...

For quite a while, evangelical Christians have been silent when it came to matters of the environment. That was considered the turf of liberals and radicals. Much of the evangelical concern was over the temptation to worship the creation rather than the Creator -- a very real temptation that many of the extreme groups gave in to. But if you love the Creator, doesn't it make sense that you would love the creation, too? The Biblical concept of stewardship includes more than how we handle our money.

Check out Don's blog. You'll find it interesting and he has a ton of other links as well (including a nice little LifePoint logo on the right column!).


made it safely to atlanta

I'm sitting safe and mostly sound at a friend's house in Covington, surfing a wireless connection. Yesterday's travel was largely uneventful, which is what you always want on a plane ride. I connected through Phoenix and enjoyed a wonderful salad and bottled water.

One piece of interesting trivia: as I changing terminals in Phoenix, who do I happen to walk up behind but none other than Will Edwards! Will is a San Diego-based musician who plays at Cosmos' open mic on Tuesday. Just a week or so ago I went to one of his shows ... and he has agreed to be the first local artist featured at LifePoint. LifePoint will have a local artist showcase during our Sunday morning gatherings where we will feature the work of local artists (musicians, painters, etc). Will has graciously agreed to perform a few songs at our grand opening September 11 (9:00 and 10:45).

So ... how providential that we should meet miles from home in the Phoenix airport.


lifepoint's new location -- in living color

As promised, here are a few digital pictures of our new worship facility. Any blurriness is the product of too much coffee.

side view of couch lounge

entry pillars

the sanctuary

couch lounge and old tv's

straight at the stage

overview of sanctuary

the coffee bar

inside the roll-up door

the stool

it's a pool table


the cross

Click here to view a map. The address is 4698 Alvarado Canyon, Suite A, San Diego, 92119. And don't forget ... our grand opening is September 11.

music with spiritual underpinnings

In my role as "pastor of the open mic," I've been able to experience a number of really good artists. Because it's often in a small environment, it tends to be acoustic-driven (which I like) and more personal (which I like as well). The artists tend to get there early and stick around after they play. Since they are much like church planters -- trying to gain as many contacts as possible -- I've had the opportunity to get to know many of them.

While it's not true of all artists, there is a growing undertone of spirituality among younger artists in San Diego. It's music with a message, and not the old worn-out "down with the machine" type of stuff. It's about life, making choices, exploring mysteries, and wrestling with doubt. It's sometimes subtle and sometimes not.

As a person of faith who believes in engaging culture rather than withdrawing from it, I find this to be encouraging. Art has a way of surfacing questions and conversations ... questions and conversations that the church needs to be a part of if it is to speak to this generation. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves answering questions nobody is asking.

So what do we make of this resurgence in spiritual matters? On the one hand, we could easily dismiss it as too fuzzy and ill-defined. We could feel threatened because it's not always from a Christian perspective. Or, and this is my preference, we can be confident in the power and veracity of our message and wade into the waters ... starting with what we have in common.

A few artists

Michael Tiernan
Will Edwards
Jason Turtle
Annie Bethancourt

I'm not saying these artists classify themselves as "Christian artists," but their music has spiritual underpinnings that are worth listening to.

today is "get everything done day" before tomorrow

Tomorrow I leave for Atlanta to perform the wedding of the youth pastor from our former church in Covington. The wife and I kids went ahead to visit family and friends, meaning that I've been in charge of the house for almost two weeks. I've concluded that I'm a minimalist at heart -- I've used only two coffee cups, two plates, and the same fork and spoon for two weeks. Don't get me wrong, I wash them in between uses. Most of the time (just kidding).

But here's the deal: our launch team for LifePoint uses our house for our Sunday night gatherings. That means I need to get everything in order (i.e., clean) before leaving in the morning. And who knows what kinds of messes our pesky cats will leave in my absence!


our new worship space

It's true ... we have finally secured a place to gather! The physical address is 4698 Alvarado Canyon, Suite A, San Diego. For those of you familiar with Mission Valley, it's on the eastern edge of the valley near Mission Gorge Road and I-8. For those of you even more familiar with the area, it's behind the Adventure 16 and FujiColor buildings. For everyone else, there's always a Google map.

Indulge me as I describe it to you. It has high ceilings with exposed pipe and a roll-up door. It's already staged with a complete sound system and projection system. The sound system features a mixer with digital faders. There is a pool table and couch lounge. And, lest we forget the essentials, a coffee bar with stools. Since the seating capacity is 150 people, we will be launching with two services -- 9:00 and 10:45.

Look for pictures to be posted soon (probably early next week).

plane crash in canada

As many of you may know, there was a plane crash in Toronto early this afternoon (PST). The cable news guys were all over it, as would be expected. And, unfortunately, they covered it in much the way you would expect them to. I generally like Fox -- and Neil Cavuto -- but he began discussing the financial impact before talking about the potential loss of human life. Is that what we've become -- market-driven?