roasting coffee beans at home

In my life with coffee, there have been several significant hinge moments. The first was being given my very own Mister Coffee maker when I went away to college (thanks to my brother, Rod). I could brew my own coffee in the convenience of my dorm room. Thankfully the water from the sink wasn't toxic. The second hinge moment came when I discovered a coffee grinder and began grinding my own beans - first with the aforementioned Mister Coffee and then with a Krupps machine. The next hinge moment in my coffee story was the birth of the coffee shop and espresso drinks.

Thanks to a friend of mine (Tina), the most recent improvement in my quest for the perfect cup of coffee has been the use of a french press. She came to a Bible study at our house for LifePoint and nearly fainted when she saw me using a regular coffee maker. The next week she brought over her french press and I've not used a coffee maker at home since.

So ... today I'm reading our local paper and there is a story about local coffee roasters. I've been to one -- Caffe Calabria. But what caught my eye was the mentioning of a man who has developed a home roasting machine. It's the Behmor 1600 and it was invented by a local San Diego guy. You can roast up to a pound of coffee at one time.

Now all I need is $300 and a way to find green coffee beans ...


held hostage, the graphic

held hostage

I was a youngster in elementary school when several Americans were taken hostage in Iran. It was the late 1970’s and I didn’t pay much attention to the news. I was drinking coffee, but watching the news was not high on my list of things to do.

But I do remember when the hostages arrived back on American soil after being freed by their captors. I remember watching them and wondering what it must have been like to have been help captive for so long -- and then to be set free.

There are hostages all around us. In fact, you may be a hostage and not know it. Or maybe you do ... but don’t know what to do about it.

The type of captivity I’m talking about is spiritual captivity. Although there are no visible chains around our ankles, the captivity is just as real. That’s why we’ll be starting a new teaching series on March 1 entitled “Held Hostage: How to be set free by the power of Jesus.”

We’ll walk through together what the Bible says about five common battles that have the ability to hold us hostage:

  • bitterness
  • worry
  • addictions
  • anger
  • lies

The message of Jesus is one of hope and redemption. The power of the Holy Spirit is available to help us overcome the chains that seek to bind us. The Word of God not only offers encouragement but guidelines as well. The bottom line: there is hope.

If you or someone you know struggles with one or more of the above topics, then make sure you’re at LifePoint over the next five weeks.


divine appointments

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to jump start things at LifePoint and have been brainstorming ideas. As I was in the midst of typing out an email to someone about LifePoint, I received a phone call on my cell phone from a young lady who works with Acquire the Fire, a ministry geared towards teens. My first thought -- Uggg, a telemarketing call.

Instead, she simply asked if there was anything they could be praying for in regards to our church. I shared two things and she asked if it would be alright if she prayed right then! Who can turn that down?

I hung up the phone and nearly cried. God's timing is always perfect.


stand up and take your chance

As a general rule of thumb, I’m not a big fan of musicals. There is just too much singing. Of course, that’s why they are musicals. There are a few exceptions to my rule of thumb and among them is “Les Miserables.”

It’s the story of a man seeking to redeem himself for his past sins. Jean Valjean, a former convict, is given a second chance on life by the forgiveness of a priest. Later in the story, Valjean finds himself keeping a promise to dying lady to look after her daughter. This promise takes him to Paris, a city that is in the midst of the French Revolution. Cossette, the daugther, falls in love with one of the Revolutions’s student leaders.

Surrounded by the French Army, the student revolutionaries vow to fight on. The spirit is captured in the song, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Suffering losses as cannons explode all around them, a single leader steps out and sings:

Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!

Will you stand up and take your chance? It’s a call to risk, to sacrifice. It’s also a call to experience life in a way that you can never experience by staying on the sidelines.

The path to spiritual maturity is simple: get involved. Get in the game. Start praying on a regular basis. Set aside time to read and meditate on God’s word. Begin inviting people to church.

You’ll experience a new level of spiritual growth.


working for the Man

We returned to San Diego to start LifePoint Christian Church in 2005. In 2007 I began working a second full-time job in order to allow the church time and space to grow without the burden of paying for a full-time pastor. Since then I have worked as the ecommerce manager for Blue Haven Pools and Spas Supplies Direct. I thought I would share a few random observations, for my three readers out there ...

1. Working two jobs is tough. Physically, emotionally, etc. I have a much greater appreciation for those who must work two jobs in order to make a living wage. I also have a greater awareness of the need to be in better physical shape.

2. Working full-time outside the church means less time devoted to church stuff
. It's basic math. Working 45-50 hours at a day job means that much of my pastoring must be down at night and on weekends. This includes writing my messages on Saturday, something I never would have done otherwise. It also means that I feel unable to do all the things necessary to help the church grow.

3. Working full-time outside the church can be a blessing
. Being an "undercover pastor" in the workforce has its benefits. I get to hear how people really feel about church without them dressing it up because they're talking to a pastor. I also have the opportunity to show how a Christ-follower handles stress, challenges, and opportunities.

4. Being bi-vocational requires a good team of volunteers
. Church plants live and die with volunteers. Working outside the church means that I must be able to effectively recruit and inspire volunteers.

5. Working outside the church is a low-cost way to plant in high-cost areas
. If a pastor is able to work in the marketplace, it dramatically reduces the amount of seed money needed to start a new church. This can allow for more churches to be started where working capital might be limited.

6. Working two jobs is not a long term solution
. Ideally, I would like to be a full-time pastor again. For the church to move through different stages and into greater growth, full-time attention will be required.

7. Wherever I am working, I am working for God
. Having been in the marketplace as well as the pastorate, I can see this principle at work in both places. I choose to make the most of every opportunity.

Well, I told you these would be random.


hulu dot com

OK, maybe I'm a bit slow but I finally visited hulu.com today after our drummer at church told me that's where he watched episodes of shows he missed at their regular schedule. Last Monday we flew back from Denver and I was a bit wiped out ... hence, I fell asleep before 24 came on. No worries -- I watched the entire show (and only about 2 minutes of commercials) this afternoon on my laptop. The sound and video were excellent. Next step? Buying an S video cable to run from the laptop to the HDTV. I may be hooked on hulu.

In the spirit of Guy Kawasaki ... I may become a hulu.com evangelist.


wild, random updates

It's been about a week or so since I've last posted anything so I thought I would fire wild and random updates at all of you. Tonya and I went to Denver for the weekend and I was the guest speaker at Mountainview Community Christian Church in Highlands Ranch. You can find a podcast of my sermon on their website (you'll even see a small mugshot of when I had glasses). I preached at all four of their weekend services -- once on Saturday and three times on Sunday morning. Each sermon was a bit different ... I'm never quite sure what's going to come out until it comes out.

Mountainview is a church plant that began in the 1990's and has grown to well over 1,000 people. The founding pastor, Jim Phillips, is still there and the church continues to move forward in reaching people for Jesus.

While in town, we ventured up to downtown Denver and took a few pictures of Coor's field (the home of the Colorado Rockies). Since it was closed, all we could do was take pictures of the outside of the building. Downtown Denver has a lot of public art on display. It's a pretty downtown.

On Sunday night I was able to meet up with an old high school buddy that I hadn't seen since graduation (1987). He's bald now but by choice. We had a good time remembering old times and talking about our lives since high school. We played on the high school basketball team together and our dads would sit next to each other and talk. It was good to be together.

Tonya's parents came out to watch the girls while we were gone. Hannah spent Friday night at the junior high CIY (Christ in Youth) conference in Anaheim. That meant Hope got Nana and Grandpa all to herself, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

I'm going to post a few pictures below that I snapped with my phone. I might post a picture or two of Coors field if I gather the emotional courage to do so.