It starts first with the sound, the sound of the vacuum sealed bag as I open it, the cacophony of the pressure as it releases is a distinctive sound that brings extreme pleasure to my ears and brain. This mystical music has a way of awakening my nerve endings, and it makes my mouth water. Immediately after the riveting racket from the bag, I experience the rush of fragrance that overtakes and invades my olfactory senses, scrambling my anticipation, my pulse rate increases, I am committed, I am in this for the long haul now, no turning back as the aroma permeates the room. I am speechless as I consider the outcome and carefully pour the wonderful, beautiful beans into the grinder. I press the button, the electric motor comes to life off balanced and rough at first, but as it continues to decimate the flavorful fruit the machine finally steady’s out, revving to a smooth motion that turns the raw bean into a finely ground powder.
I love to dream!
I sit here this morning overwhelmed at the news coming out of Las Vegas. I am shocked and drawn to prayer. Words come slowly, I try and understand why someone would do this. My heart goes out to all of the families. My heart goes out to an American city. We know now that 58 people have lost their lives while enjoying a concert. We also know that over 500 people are injured and transported to the Hospital. This event is the worst mass shooting in American history. Processing this horrific event will take time for many Americans. Our freedoms are under attack. Large entertainment venues are the norm in the Home of the free. This madman for some reason thought this through for maximum effectiveness. Perched high above the festival with fully automatic weapons reigning terror on innocent concert attendees below.
This morning as I prayed for our country, I went back and carefully read the words contained in The Pledge of Allegiance and The National Anthem. In re-reading these beautiful works of words, I have determined that these writings were never meant to be divisive. These compositions were written to unite us. This morning as a Citizen of the United States of America, I can rejoice knowing that I have a voice. As a Christ follower, I should recognize the responsibility that I have and always give an account for the hope that I have because of Jesus. I am to do this with gentleness and respect.
I have been disturbed recently by the obnoxious post finding their way to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I understand, and champion peoples need to express their views and thoughts. As Citizens of this great country, our founding fathers recognized the need for free expression and wrote into our Bill of Rights the first amendment, which affords us the right to speak out on any subject that we so choose. The question that I want you to consider as you read this post is “Do we need to respond and express our views on everything?”
Today I finish up our acrostic for SERVE teams. Our fifth letter is the letter E. This E stands for EQUIP. My hope in writing these blog post is to help those who belong to the church that I lead to an understanding of the requirements needed to SERVE! I pray that each of our members takes on the challenge and finds a place of service. At the POINT, every member is a minister so applying these requirements is paramount in answering the needs of our guest. To recap the acrostic, we have the words Smile, Encourage, Reach out, Validate and today Equip.
Over the past couple of days, I have been listing qualifications that I believe we all possess. These same qualifications are those needed to serve on one of our SERVE teams. We pick up our requirements for a SERVE team member with the letter V. For our purposes is stands for Validate. I believe our guest at the Point wants to be validated. It takes so little effort to tell someone you are glad that they joined us for worship. We validate someone when we let them know that they add value to our lives. I am a better person because of those God puts on my path. I am thankful for the people that God loves. God loves all people, so the least that I can do is let them know how much I appreciate spending time with them.
I love living in Jacksonville! Greater Jacksonville has much to offer! Our weather does change enough for us to have some seasonal effects without the continuous frigid temps that winter further north can bring. September through December is pleasant for those who enjoy being outside like I do, it is easy to find plenty of activities to involve my family and friends. The cooler temperatures in January and February lead into a beautiful and warm March thru May. North East Florida has much to offer for the adventuring heart. We have more green space than any city of our size in the country. Jacksonville’s beauty and diversity make it a great place to live 12 months a year.
We pick up our post this morning continuing to develop the acrostic about SERVE teams. We feel that to serve, you must have these qualities. The cool thing is that all of these qualities are already in each of us. We will highlight the second letter E this morning.
Sleep came easy for me after an exhausting 186-mile trip through heavy south Florida traffic from Jonathan Dickenson State Park in Jupiter Flordia, to the Long Key State Park in the middle Florida Keys. Awakening to a new day came much easier as I knew that I would be waking up to a spectacular Long Key sunrise. I had anticipated this morning for many months. After stepping out of the frigid pop-up camper that we call home while camping, my glasses immediately fogged as I moved out into the thick humid air common to the tropics. Six months of planning and dreaming, I can tell you that I was not disappointed at what I experienced.