Monday, 22 April 2013

Thoughts from a Coffee Drinker

Like every other morning he reached for the grinder and pushed the  on button, spooning in several tablespoons of beans into the hopper, the grinding sound of the burrs chopping the beans was something he was used to. After a minute he scooped the grounds into a cloth filter and reached for the hot water, carefully pouring the hot liquid over the grounds. The two are married and what happens next is the most magical thing that can happen in any coffee house, the brown liquid we call ‘coffee’ is produced. From these two simple ingredients, coffee, and water. Who would have thought that such a good taste could come from so few ingredients? He takes a sip as usual, the steaming liquid swirling just a little as he brings it to his lips. He tastes it, takes a drink, and swallows. 

But something happened. It started when the coffee was roasted a little too dark. No, it wasn’t charcoal, but Starbucks would have been happy to brew the coffee I’d roasted. Sure, it was coffee, it was fresh, but it was missing what makes good coffee rounded and full. Instead of 3D it was 2D at best. Just two dimensions instead of the three which I was used to in a well roasted coffee. I drank it for several reasons, I’d brewed it and didn’t want to waste it, and I knew that given enough time I would have a headache knocking on my skull asking me why I hadn’t drunk any caffeine earlier. I didn’t enjoy it though, not like I enjoy good coffee. I was also solo drinking it, which never helps anything, as much as I’m not a social drinker (I will not drink at my church ‘cause they use Maxswill) social gatherings, usually involving extended family entices one to drink. So when I do drink it alone it has to be good, I mean really good, like me looking forward to it when I get out of bed, imagining the smell of the coffee as I open my ceramic jar, and then as I grind my beans, and then as I brew them and drink the wonderful beverage. I have to enjoy it. The following morning I had some other beans I’d roasted, which were lighter, but it didn’t taste all that great, everything but the brewed liquid was good. This happened the following day as well and I was beginning to think it was the coffee not me.

So what happened? I don’t know. I do know that I went off it for two days, switching my usual caffeine from coffee to yerba mate. Breaks are essential I think, at some point, even if you drink it everyday, three times a day, at some point you need a break. It’s human to have to take a break and just stop for a little while, even if it’s just a day or two. Next, instead of the electric grinder, this time I used my hand crank grinder, which resulted in a small arm workout, and a little extra time from whole bean to pouring water over the grounds. But it involved more of me and my time, making it mean more to me. Just like when you grow your own food, grind your own wheat, when you are more involved you enjoy it more, or you should. Instead of the typical cloth filters, which are reusable I used a paper filter, which resulted in a cleaner cup. The cloth filters add more body because they hold the coffee for just a little bit longer in contact with the grounds. Thirdly I roasted lighter. Just like if I have a weak cup of coffee it makes me want a strong cup, so having a dark roasted coffee a lot makes me want a lighter roast. 

What have I learned? Learn to take breaks, even if it’s not a break from caffeine, take a break from the same liquid. It helps you appreciate it that much more, like a three day fast from food, the food tastes better. Grind by hand if I have the extra minute on my side. Change up your roasting style, go for acidic every once in a while because that makes you appreciate the better roasts even more. And of course, use a good method for brewing, paper is my preferred method if I’m brewing into a carafe for more than 6 people, but otherwise I often use a filter. But I’ve learned to even change up that, I have about 5 brewing methods to choose from, and varying them helps keep things fresh. 

English Vintner

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

From ONE7

Here is a blog post written by someone at ONE7 and I thought I would reblog it.

My struggle in my walk with Christ is this; If the Bible is true and Jesus did all that it says he did, my complete devotion is required. Devotion that goes beyond Sundays and Wednesdays. More than the occasional planned outreach or mission trip. More than just trying to be a good person and checking behaviors off the list. More than lip service and the accumulation of Bible knowledge. It requires my complete devotion. My resources, my time, my family, my money, my relationships. All of it goes on the altar before God as an offering. I want my life to look like Isaiah 58:6-9.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, 
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
I want my life to reflect the one who paid it all. And if I lose it all, so what? If it costs me everything in this world I still have the promise that The Glory of the LORD will be my guard. 
Do I know what this kind of life looks like for other people? No. But I do know what it looks like for me and that’s why I’m at One7. Everyday I am presented with a choice to live his word to the fullest extent or to live it to the extent that I am comfortable with. I am stretched and forced to apply the principles and teachings that I have known my whole life. We cannot keep accumulating knowledge of God’s word without application of it. Its like looking at a set of weights and expecting to become huge without actually picking them up. It doesn’t do a darn bit of good to look at them. It also doesn’t do any good to just lift them a couple of times with whatever is comfortable. You have to feel the burn, you have to feel the tremble in your muscles as you push yourself. A deeper relationship with God doesn’t come from knowledge, it comes from application. I want to see my generation lose our entitled attitudes and put all of ourselves on the table. Lose the comfort and chase after God. Push ourselves farther than we think we can go. Do things that others say are crazy. In the words of David Platt, “Let’s risk it all”.
Just a quick update on life at One7. It’s coming up on 4 months at the ministry full time as a staff member and the summer has flown by. We have a lot on our plate for this fall though. David and I are coaching at Garinger High School this fall in addition to having our U11, U13, and U17 soccer teams. This is an awesome opportunity to take the Gospel into a dark place and be a light to a lost generation. Lots of tutoring will be going on this fall as well and if you are interested in tutoring please contact me. Follow One7 on facebook if you want more info and a post specifcally about One7 life is coming soon!
  • I have to start paying back student loans in November and I’m still looking for people to be members of my support team. If you want information on how to support me please email me at 
  • Vehicle- I still don’t have a vehicle of my own and I’m growing weary of driving 15 passenger vans. Nothing says stud like pulling up in a big white van by yourself. Please pray that I would be content with this situtation until God provides.
  • Pray for endurance. We work long hours to care for kids in all aspects of their lives. Pray that when my strength fades that Christ’s strength replaces it.
  • Pray for the kids. We seem to be having a youth movement coming through One7, a new generation that is still getting to know who Jesus is. Pray that they come to understand his sacrifice and start to desire to live for him.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Are you willing?

Are you willing to surrender? Are you willing to surrender your will to the will of someone else? Are you willing to lose sleep, put off even good things, for the sake of someone else’s will? Are you willing?

We have to be willing to say, God first. Your will be done. We have to put our wills aside. First follow Him and he will set your paths known. Strive first for Jesus and everything else will fall into place. I’m not saying it will be easy all the way, He made lead you through times of trial, loss of friends or loved ones, but if you follow Him first, then He will bless you. He will make His way known to you.

You won’t change on your own, and you can’t change by changing your surroundings. Your heart has to change. If there is not a change of heart than it will all become like before, your second marriage starts to look more like the first, your church that you are now attending is becoming like the old one you left. No, you need a change of heart, if your heart is changed, than you will changed. We can’t change ourselves by changing our surroundings, the landscape around us. So don’t bother getting a new marriage, don’t try a new job, don’t find a new church until your heart is in the right place. We need first a change of heart.

So be willing to lose sleep and work. Be willing to sacrifice your evening to minister to the kids down the street. Be willing to do what God wants you to do. Follow Him first, seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and God will take care of the rest. 

English Vintner

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

ONE7, my friend Annette

I arrived to ONE7 shortly after 5pm. Traffic had been heavy, but I was in no hurry and didn’t have a deadline, so I was cool with that. I had my music turned up and fresh air coming through the windows, I was pumped for my opportunity that night to be with the kids. I arrived and pulled into the parking lot, taking care not to drive into the 1ft deep pot holes riveting the far left side of the parking lot. But that’s what I like about it, it’s not about the outside, it’s about what is happening on the inside. It’s not about how we look, it’s about where our hearts are at. Maybe at some point they’ll get money to fix the parking lot, but for now they’re more concerned about living in among the poor and homeless, becoming one of them for the sake of the gospel. 

I walked in, recognizing several faces and said “Hi!”. I was pumped to be here, a place of love, that makes it hard not to be in a constant state of smiling. To watch these kids play. Not only because they’re so good, but because they’re different than other kids on the street playing. They are living for something greater than themselves. You talk to just about any of the kids they can tell you a situation they were in when it was turning into a fight, but they remember that they are living for Jesus Christ, and He doesn’t get into fights. So they resigned to let the other person have their way. They resign to submission, because they seek to glorify God. Not to say they don’t have little disputes about soccer or octa ball, but they have a sense of who they’re living for, and you can see it in their lives. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

I can’t even remember how we first met, but a little girl with a white t-shirt and tan capris came up to me and asked if I wanted to do something. The beginning of a friendship is always blurred, at some point you realize you’re friends, but you can’t pin point a beginning. She sat next to me on the wall as we waited to play soccer. We talked a little bit, I asked her what her name was, she said “I don’t have a name.” I said my name was Zach. After that she told me her name was “Annette”. I wasn’t sure at that point whether that was her real name, of if she didn’t have a real name, considering the state of some of these kids I wasn’t making an assumption. Later I found out that’s what everyone calls her, so it’s not just a name she picked up for the conversation. 

After playing soccer we talked about being hot and thirsty and she went to go get a drink. When she came back she had two cups, one for her and one for me. After that we did everything together. We circled up and welcomed the new people (this was my second time, so I was already part of the family). I met a few new people, every time I go I introduce myself to a couple dozen people, I’m not super good with names, but it’s fun to get to know these kids. 

Annette and I teamed up for a soccer tournament of four pairs of two kids each. We played soccer which was fun, but Annete is only 9 and I’m not a superstar myself. Most games we went out at 2:0 but occasionally Annete would score a point. It was just a game to me, not something to get upset over, I wasn’t here for the game, I was here for the kids, I was here for Annette. 

We split up for small groups and I helped lead one of the younger groups, ages from 5-9 years old. It was amazing to hear how much the kids know at such a young age, hear them talk about the work Jesus is doing in them. Most of their personal lives are not great, they go to school and then come to ONE7, but go home at night. Most homes are either broken or not in good situations. These kids need Jesus to help them through life.

After small group it was getting close to 9pm and it was about time to go home. I said good bye to a few kids and then searched for Annette. I gave her a hug good bye and left, hoping to see her again on Thursday. 

I made a friend that night, God was doing things in my life. I was ministering to these kids, and they were ministering to me. I love ministry, so much. I want my life to be centered around ministry to people, whether it’s in a foreign country, or here in the US. 

English Vintner