Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ahhh, The Smell of Starbucks!

I am a lover of good coffee. I’ll drink almost any coffee, as long as it doesn’t come out of a vending machine. There is just something gross about getting my coffee out of the same spout that hot chocolate, mocha, cappuccino and tea come from. It can pollute the otherwise wonderful taste of a good cup of coffee.

Last month, I celebrated 31 years of life on this planet. My parents had us over to have a birthday dinner complete with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake (my favorite cake!), and some apple crisp, by special request of my daughter, Machaela (she just loves Grandma’s apple crisp). After the dessert, I got to open my presents. Oh, how I love my birthday! One of the gifts I got from mom and Don was a 40 ounce bag of Starbucks House Blend whole bean coffee, and a very nice coffee grinder. Knowing my love of coffee, they knew just what to get me. That evening, once we got back home, I immediately set up the grinder, and reached for the big bag of heaven we call Starbucks. I remember opening the bag up, and being greeted by a wonderful rush of aroma! There is just something about opening that bag up the first time that is great. All that vacuumed-sealed smell comes rushing out and the smell envelopes the whole kitchen.

You know, it’s kind of an analogy of the Christian life. As I sat here this morning drinking a coffee, I recalled that day, and the fresh aroma of those whole beans. It reminded me of a passage in the Bible, told actually in 3 of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark and John. It was just days before Jesus would be whipped beyond recognition and nailed to a cross. While sitting in a house with his disciples, and his friend Lazarus, who he had just raised from the dead, and Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, something odd happened. Let’s read it:

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” Mark 14:3 NIV

The Gospel of John tells us that it was Mary who brought this alabaster box and poured it on Jesus. I won’t get into all the discussion that goes on about this passage. I want to focus on one thing only-the box. You see, she had to break it to get the scent of the perfume out. I believe that God wants us to be like that box. He wants us to be broken, not in the sense that we must need to be fixed, but opened up for the aroma of his life in us to flow out to those around.

You see, life has a way of dishing out hard times and struggles. It can deal out painful blows like the loss of an innocent child, or cancer. Yet, the promise of God is that he will somehow work all things out for good to those who love him. You can come through your storm stronger than when you entered it. And when you come out stronger, with a stronger faith, it is like an aroma that others around you can smell. God has used the struggles of this life to “break” you, and his work in your heart is evident. Trials can either make you better or bitter. Let God use them, and you will be better!

You know, for those beans to be of use to us, they had to face the heat. They had to be roasted. So, friends, submit yourselves to the heat that you face, and let God break you. He will use that beautiful scent of Christ in your life to touch those around you. God bless!


Darrell said...

Hey, that was very good my friend. The shame is that most of the big name, flashy preachers are not preaching about the need to be broken and go through the heat. Today, it is all about what we can get rather that how we can be used for the glory of our King.

Now I think I will go make a pot of coffee.

michigan preacher said...

Enjoy that coffee, bro! Especially since the temps have cooled down a few degrees, at least in Michigan.

If no one else preaches it, I know several preachers who will join me in preaching it.

God bless, Darrell!

Henry Haney said...

Good word today!

hey on a lighter note- my father in law just brought me back some coffee from Honduras (he went on a mission trip)- that stuff will give your Starbucks a run for the $$$

Preach on Brethren- it is truth!

ruthrap said...

I love my coffee too! and ya know what? You're one smart preacher!!!
Great message!

Neil said...

My wife bought me a cappicino maker several years ago...I've never used it! Happy belated birthday...young man!

Good stuff!

JimmyBob said...

Jeff, great post. I enjoyed that illustration. Last night we had a service at church that was like that. I am a youth pastor and I was praying for people around the altar area. A couple of my teenage boys were broken before God. They have been struggling with anger issues and laziness (typical teeanage male stuff). But, they had hands raised and heads bowed as they prayed and asked the Lord to help them change. Awesome stuff! It was humbling for them, but they are better for it this morning.

And for myself... I am working on being a better husband and father. Yesterday was my 12 year anniversary and we had a good talk about spending more time together. It was a reality check for me, but now I am excited for today and tomorrow.

I noticed you are an associate pastor from your profile. What church are you with? If you don't mind me asking.

I have been part of a circle of friends that blog, but I'm looking for new friends. I'm looking for some people who like to encourage and discuss issues pertaining to the church and Christianity.

I noticed you like Frank Peretti. He is one of my favorite authors. I really like Monster and The Oath. My other favorite writer is Ted Dekker.

Anyhow, sorry this was so long. It's just refreshing to say anything to a brother with an encouraging word. Take care!

Oh, Happy Birthday and you have a beautiful family!

michigan preacher said...

Thanks on all your kind remarks, Jimmybob! It's always refreshing to hear what God is doing in his people, and teens especially. I have a heart for youth, and have been in youth ministry for some years now. I am not the youth pastor, but I am kind of a "go-all" associate that fills in wherever I am needed. I am actually in the planning stages for a new church that we are planting. Pray for us, this is something totally different. I know the work that goes into starting up even just a simple youth ministry, and that was tiring. But God is good and I know that He will give me the strength.

I am at Victorious Life Church of God in Ypsilanti, MI. I am an Ordained minister with the Church of God. I also love to talk, and I have a great group of friends that I have met in the blogosphere. Check out those that I link to. And we all feel that the more, merrier. We preachers can get lonely at times, as I am sure you know, so it is good to have some bretheren to talk with.

Yea, I like Frank Peretti, but I am ashamed to admit that I have only read 2 of his books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkeness. I enjoy hearing him speak. He is a tremendous speaker.

Well, God bless, my new friend! I look forward to hearing from you soon. God bless!

JimmyBob said...

Thanks for the kind welcome. It's exciting to meet new friends. And thanks for posting on my site. I'll definitely check out some of your links. They all sound like great guys.

Oh, I will be praying for your new church plant. My wife and I attempted church planting back in 2000-2002. So, we understand the difficulty and hard work that it is.

If you hadn't already seen, I'm an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God...great sister of the Church of God. I already feel a kindred spirit between us.

Have an awesome day in the Lord!

Anonymous said...

IM roasting IM roasting BELIEVE ME I'm ROASTING rofl

thanks for the little blurb :)

Anonymous said...

oh ... and Peretti rocks.. The Oath is my favorite. I havn't read monster yet.... there was only one that I was disappointed in and that was the visitation. I jsut couldn't get into that.

I heard they were making another one of his books a movie, I jsut don't recall which one. Probably the visitation.

michigan preacher said...

Hey, Exqsme, I read that they are making a movie out of the Present Darkness series, actually read that on Peretti's website.

Anonymous said...

THAT would be a movie to see!

JimmyBob said...

I think Peretti is trying to make Monster first and then This Present Darkness. How exciting!

Twentieth Century Fox made The Visitation. I bought it and showed it to my youth group. They were screaming! It was so much fun. Peretti's movie The Hangman's Curse had the same effect. All those spiders, ewww.

Do any of you read Ted Dekker?