Drinking coffee unworthily

Today we are partaking in communion as a church body. Pastor Joe is explaining why we do this, how we do this, and how to do it well.

Weve been preparing for this. For several weeks we have instructed the church family to clear up their accounts. Because to take the Lords Supper while harboring hate, unforgiveness, and willful sin is to partake unworthily.

Wednesday in youth group we had a lesson on communion. It was from our Orange curriculum. One of the questions from the lesson was “Why did Jesus choose bread?” There are plenty of answers we could argue about.

  • Passover imagery from the OT

  • Words about sin and leaven

  • Insert others here

The lesson however went with the practical answer. This was something they did every day. The remarkable thing about wine and bread was that it was unremarkable.

Jesus said as often as you do this do it in remembrance of me. So as often as you do this thing you probably do twice a day or more. Remember me.

In our youth small groups we challenged the students to come up with daily communion things to tie to remembering Jesus.

I choose coffee and tea which I drink prolifically! As often as I make tea or drink coffee I will try to pause and remember what Jesus has done to make the Kingdom available to me today.

Which means if I am having my own communion every time I drink coffee then I must not do it unworthily. And that shows the true bar of being a disciple of Jesus. Following Jesus is a lifestyle. It is a journey. Will you join me?

Comment below your own daily rituals that help you remember what Jesus has done and is doing in you.

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Fred Rogers got it.


Recently I watched the excellent documentary of Fred Rogers life titled "Won't You Be My Neighbor".

The overarching theme of his show was that kids are people and they have value because they are people. In his last commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 2002 he quoted the lyrics to a neighbor song.

There’s a neighborhood song that is meant for the child in each of us, and I’d like to give you the words of that song right now. “It’s you I like, it’s not the things you wear. It’s not the way you do your hair, but it’s you I like. The way you are right now, the way down deep inside you. Not the things that hide you. Not your caps and gowns, they’re just beside you. But it’s you I like. Every part of you. Your skin, your eyes, your feelings. Whether old or new, I hope that you remember, even when you're feeling blue, that it’s you I like. It’s you, yourself, it’s you. It’s you I like.”

He went on to say "And what that ultimately means, of course, is that you don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you." That is a powerful message that comes directly from Jesus. Fred Rogers was an ordained minister. And he gently demonstrated the gospel over 33 years of broadcasting.

"You are special."

There is a narrative in America that says telling kids they are special has ruined our culture. At times I've believed this. The argument goes:

"If we tell people they are wonderful and special just the way they are, then they will be entitled and expect to be treated wonderful and special everywhere they go."

This worldview believes the world is dark, broken, and dangerous. It doesn't care for you and so you must become resilient enough to operate in a world that believes you are nothing.

There is some truth to this pragmatic worldview. We live in a broken and dangerous world. We must be resilient, or we will not be successful. What this worldview is really saying though is:

"You must be resilient or you will not be economically valuable. Because that is the metric that really matters. If you are not able to generate wealth for yourself, your employer, and your country then you are worthless. It is naive and dangerous to tell children they have value before they have done anything of value."

That might strike you as a disgusting worldview, or you may be cheering because someone actually wrote down clearly what you have felt. Let's be generous and examine the underpinning of this view.

Let's assume the best of this view. We are all created by God to be creators. To build, explore, invent, disrupt and change the world for the better. It is those who are resilient that will survive long enough to create lasting change. So we must teach kids to be resilient!

I think that is a generous and accurate examination of the heart of the argument against telling everybody they are special. I think it really comes from a place of care and concern.

So the end game is to teach resilience and motivate kids to become productive adults. I think we can all agree that is a good goal.

Where does resilience come from?

The worldview we've been interrogating would respond that resilience comes from failure. And they're right. Resilience by definition requires failure.

"Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness."

You can only develop resilience through failure. If you never fail then there is never a reason to be resilient. Grit is forged in the fire of failure. If we constantly rescue children from experiencing failure they will never become resilient. But what drives resilience? Why get back up when you fail?

"I'll prove the world wrong!"

The first source of resilience is the montra:

"I'll prove the world wrong! You say I'm worthless and a failure, but I'll show you! And you will eat your words!" Brene Brown has coined the term "Hustling for your worthiness".

This mantra believes that you must prove to everybody you are something or you will be found out as nothing. It is fueled by fear and shame. Fear of being found out and constant shame that you're not enough. You are not enough to earn love and belonging today because you didn't meet expectations. Let the pain of this failure fuel you to try to be enough tomorrow. And one day you will be enough to be loved and belong. And when that day comes, and you finally earn the acceptance you crave. Then you can throw it back in their faces so they feel the pain too. It is a warped justice fantasy. If you have bought into this system of "Hustling for your worthiness"; it is a slap in the face when someone just expects to be treated with respect without earning it. When a person just assumes belonging and acceptance it feels like a gross presumption.

Presumption: behavior perceived as arrogant, disrespectful, and transgressing the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.


The rage is real. The emotion is real.

"I have had to prove my worthiness day in and day out! How dare you presume you are something when you are nothing. How dare you feel worthy before it has been earned! You need to feel very small and worthless so that you will be motivated to be productive! Then when you have proved yourself, and put in your time like me you can feel good about yourself."

The problem is that we don't feel good about ourselves. Fear and shame cultivates anxiety and depression not love and belonging. In the justice fantasy we become the rejectors not the accepted.

Love and belonging can never be earned.

You can not produce enough to earn love and belonging for a lifetime. At some point your economic productive output will diminish and become obsolete. If I spend my life hustling for my worthiness then when I am old I will have to write worthiness checks on the achievements of my youth. Rates of loneliness have doubled over the last 50 years. If worthiness was really tied to productivity then wouldn't we expect to see less depression, and loneliness correlating to increased economic productivity in our economy? Instead we see baby boomers delaying retirement. It’s true that some can not afford to retire, but I suspect that for many it is because our culture ties worthiness to what you do rather than who you are.

Mr. Rogers Understood that your worthiness is a constant truth.

"You don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you." - Fred Rogers

Worthiness can't be earned. It has to be exposed. The problem of childhood is not that kids feel too worthy. It's that they don't feel worthy at all. Mr. Rogers got this. He understood that the speed we adults run is a symptom of fear rather than resilience. Kids are slow. So he was slow. In the commencement speech he gifted the audience one minute to remember someone who believed in them. A whole minute of silence where Mr. Rogers didn't say or do anything. True resilience is not built on fear and shame. True resilience is built on love and belonging. I have made a mistake, but I am not a mistake. I will get back up not because I have something to prove, but because that's who I am. I treat others with respect because I am a respectful person. Respect isn't something I trade. It is something that flows from the source of worthiness deep inside me. My worthiness was bestowed to me by God at the moment of my conception. It is guaranteed by the demonstrated love of Jesus on the cross.

In Luke 10 a man comes to Jesus and asks:

“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus then tells the story of the good samaritan.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

And then Jesus asks him a question.

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

“You go, and do likewise.” -Jesus

Mr. Rogers took what Jesus said "You go, and do likewise." as a literal command. When Fred Rogers said "Won't you be my neighbor?" he didn't mean won't you be kind to me? Won't you accept me? Won't you love me? He meant it like Jesus did. "Won't you let me be kind to you?", "Won't you discover acceptance here?", "Won't you let me love you?" Because this is what a child needs to become resilient. It's what I need. And I bet it's what you need too.


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Accountability is simply your ability to be accountable.

There are lots of people you will meet in life who have never developed the ability to be accountable. These people instead have cultivated the ability to avoid accountability. This is a choice every one of us has to make. “Do I want to be accountable, or do I want to avoid accountability?” You will realize later in life that this choice is actually “Do I want to show up and be seen, or do I want to be fake?” Choosing to be accountable is choosing to be seen. You will never have true connection with others unless you are vulnerable enough to allow yourself to be seen, flaws and all.

You will always fear being found out until you allow yourself to be found out.

You cultivate your ability to be vulnerable through practice. I’m sure by now you have experienced betrayal. It really hurts. I don’t know anything that hurts more than being vulnerable and having someone use that against you to hurt you. In this pain, the dangerous lie you’re tempted to believe is that nobody deserves a window into your heart. The truth is that not everybody deserves to have a window into your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

If nobody has a window into your heart then you can not feel connected. You can not feel loved unless you are completely revealed. This is why we all need accountability. Until I became accountable to others in my life I always felt like a fake. This doesn't mean that you have to tell your boyfriend your deepest darkest secrets. That’s probably a bad idea. But you need to tell somebody. You need to have a friend that will show up and listen to you tell how you totally screwed up. If it’s the right kind of friend then they will not say “You poor thing”, or “Come on it’s not that bad”, or “That’s nothing one time I did this . . .” The right kind of friend will say “Wow you really blew it, give you a hug, wipe away their tears, and say ok what’s your plan to make it right?”

This friend trusts you. They know you made a mistake, but will never see you as a mistake. They trust that you will do the right thing, that you will get back up, that you will courageously face the pain, and they are committed to walking through it with you.

I prayed for 23 years to find a friend like this. I have one. You’ll probably only have one in your lifetime. To prepare for this friendship I had to learn to be accountable to others. I had to learn to confess my faults, admit I was wrong, and to make amends. I had to learn to be vulnerable. I had to learn it is better to have authentic connection even if it means betrayal sometimes.

So start praying for that friend now. Start cultivating the courage to be honest, and vulnerable or you will miss them when God sends them into your life.


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I Made This

I just finished building my second scratch built quadcopter! It took about 12 hours to build and configure. I loved every second. I loved getting the stuff from the postoffice, opening it up, taking inventory, making a plan to assemble. I loved figuring out what I should do first. I loved the serindipity of wires that were too short becoming a stylistic feature. I even enjoyed the few hours spent troubleshooting why the motors weren't spinning correctly.

I made this thing. I loved making it. It is mine! I'm so proud of the thing I made because I made it.

Your Father in heaven feels the same about you. He made you. He loved making you! He is proud of his design!

I took my "Maiden flight" with my newly built quadcopter Sunday morning before band practice. I excitedly coerced Chris(Sound Guy) to come outside so he could witness the awesome!

It flew magnificently! Chris even said "Wow!" And then it plumited to the ground from about forty feet in the air. Smoke began poring from the top of my brand new just built quadcopter!

When my creation malfunctioned I didn't hate what I had made. I was concerned it would be damaged further. I just wanted to rescue it from the fire. This is how God feels about me when my decisions cause damage in my life. God is disappointed, but He want's to rescue me.

God wants to rescue you because he made you.

Chris and I were able to get the battery that had caught fire off the quadcopter. There's some burn residue on the top plate of the frame. It will have a scar, but everything else looks good. I ordered new batteries, and we should be back in the air in just a few days! I'll fix it, because I made it!


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Driving While Black

I'm sorry you have to talk to your son about the danger of his skin color. I'm sorry for the systemic brokenness of our criminal justice system.

I also tell my two sons they must comply and be super polite to police and any authority even if they're wrong, because otherwise it will go really bad really quick. It's pragmatic parenting. You are a good parent for having this difficult conversation.

Now let's talk about solutions.

I'm reading "We Real Cool" by Bell Hooks. She writes "Cultures of domination like the United States, are founded on the principle that violence is necessary for the maintenance of the status quo." Pg 49

That blew my mind. I can't say I agree with everything she writes, but I do see a culture fixated on violence. Many of the young men I minister to fully believe that compliance with any authority valid or not is giving up their manhood. They see violence as necessary.

Bell says that Orlando Patterson "emphasizes that long before any young black male acts violent he is born into a culture that condones violence as a means of social control." (Meaning America)

This is truth. Our culture believes that the only way to deal with certain things is to do violence, and if you're unwilling to do that violence when the "time comes" then you are weak.

But if we imagine the Kingdom of God "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" do we imagine a citizen of God's kingdom needing to be ready at a moments notice to do violence? No. Violence will be completely unnecessary in God's kingdom. We will not need police. Police Officer is a job that will be unnecessary in the new earth.

Police are a duct tape solution to an impossible problem. If society was going well we wouldn't need them. Think about that, the only reason police exist is because we can't manage treating each other as human beings. They are given a mandate to show up and make people do something, or make people stop doing something. They are given two tools, words, and violence. Some are trained from a child by their families and community that to have respect requires violence. Many are more experienced and know how to deescalate. But they are mandated by their job to do violence as necessary to achieve compliance. God even makes allowance for this because our world is broken.(Rom 13). I believe it is possible to be proud of the way they do their job as Police Officers and simultaneously sorry they have to do it. Possible yes, but gut wrenchingly difficult. There are many that walk this line everyday, and I'm grateful for them.

The issue is that black or white much of our culture believes that the way to fix somebody is to disrespect, hurt, or kill them. And the willingness to do violence proves you are strong and not to be messed with. We see this from Cowboys, to Gangstas. It's as old as America. It's not a color thing it's an American thing.(see movies, games, music etc)

Jesus said "34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

The measure of a man or woman is not our capacity for violence or disrespect. It's our capacity to love. The only way we can demonstrate love is when we are faced with those who do not seem to deserve love.

If any solution includes disrespect, or violence it can only maintain the status quo.


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