Monday, April 13, 2009

...evangelism - one cup at a time

Here is some re-heated java for you today. i thought this was timely due to Oprah Winfrey's current fascination with Tolle's tomes and for believers who are being lured by his de-caf spirituality.  

Stay in The Book.

The Way I See It #37

“Embrace this right now life while its dripping; while flavors are excellently wholesome. Take your bites with bravery and boldness since the learning and the growing are here in these times, these exact right nows. Capture these times. Because it will soon be very different." –Jill Scott (Musician. Her songs can be heard on Starbucks Hear Musictm station, XM Satellite Radio Channel 75). (BTW, Jill Scott is an amazing R&B, Jazz singer. If you have never heard her fluid, effortless, velvet vocal talents before, check out some of her free sound bites and enjoy this gifted woman over your favorite “cup of Joe.”)

Cup #37 seems to be drawing from the Eckhart Tolle philosophy (living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment) in his tome “The Power of the Now.” Things such as enlightened relationships, creative use of the mind, impermanence, and the cycle of life are the essentials in this kind of philosophy. IOW - savor everything in its entirety for the present because we will never have these moments again as they are afforded to us "in the now" - right now. Life changes too quickly—so capture the moment to the fullest and drink it to the dregs. Learn to “be”; not just “become.”

What would you say to someone at St. Arbucks if you dialogged with them over “cup #37”?

The Way God Sees It
The biblical world-view is quite different from what is quoted above. Man was created in God’s image to obey, love, enjoy and serve Him--not the self, nor the moment. We were made for His pleasure--not simply our own. It is what Piper calls "Christian Hedonism" (even though
Geerhardus Vos was the original coiner of this view). It is finding your greatest satisfaction in the selfish pursuit of knowing and glorifying God. But when sin entered this world through Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12-18), man then began to serve the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18ff); and there is no greater idol than self, consumed with only savoring to the fullest its present occupations. Unguarded pleasure; unbridled passion and unbroken pride - the unholy trinity of postmodern idealism.

In a small way, we can all identify with Ms. Scott's philosophy; for we also seek to “seize the day”—Carpe Diem, don't we? But Scripture is clear, we are not simply to live with the urgency of the moment just to “capture these times.” We live, as God's creatures, in light of eternity. In Him "we move and live and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We desire to do all things to God's glory (Psalm 115:1). We are to live in light of eternity (2 Cor. 5:11-21). Being a member of “The Dead Poets Society” breeds a romantic, unpredictable, untamed, free momentary “reckless abandon” that is curiously inviting--but doesn't quench the thirst, even for "the now."

But what ignites Carpe Diem and gives substance, meaning, purpose (sorry) and clarity “with bravery and boldness; [in the] learning and the growing; to embrace the right now life while its dripping” (good pun) is living each day Coram Dei – “before the face of God." That is where "the now" finds its greatest fulfillment--its only fulfillment. And this, biblically, is only possible through the gospel by knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and King.

So as Christians, let's not be embalmed with the truth; looking like nothing more than frontal pieces for the book of Lamentations; LET"S LIVE IT! Experience the reality of Carpe Diem in Coram Dei. And do so with joy, living daily in the presence of His glory--being salt and light to a lost world around you.
“Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do; do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Every day we live on "Mars Hill" in some fashion. Every day we have the opportunity to tell others about the knowable Triune God of the Scriptures through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."" -Acts 17:30-31

So when ministering at the Church of St. Arbucks, if you get cup #37 today, biblically encourage those to see the necessity of eternity (Coram Dei), in the now (Carpe Diem). Point them to the certainty that there is a Sovereign Judge to whom we must all give an account one day. That there will be a judgment; and how they live "now," to quote Gladiator, “echoes in eternity.” Will it be for God’s glory, or our own momentary fulfillment?

"What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

-James 4:14b-15

Begin doing evangelism today in your community... one cup at a time.


MarieP said...

I thought of your comments about "St. Arbucks" when I met a visitor at church Wednesday night who recently became a Christian after a girl witnessed to him at Starbucks. I don't think she used the quotes on the cups, but still, I pray that the Lord will continue to give you and others many good conversations about the gospel over a Grande white chocolate mocha :)

What do you think of the "Christian coffee house" phenomonon? From what I've seen, once people realize it is a Christian coffee shop, the believers flock to it (for a little bit at least) and the non-believers stay away.

Jim V. said...

Excellent points. I've been following your blog for some time and have really enjoyed your passion, enthusiasm and clear thinking. (I also like the clever way you've played off the Starbucks name to get St.Arbucks)

Phil Johnson said...

St. Arbuck's! That's good.

Reminds me. I have to get over there and have my morning cup of.... devotions.

littlegal_66 said...

Campi said: "Being a member of 'The Dead Poets Society' breeds a romantic, unpredictable, untamed, free momentary 'reckless abandon' that is curiously inviting--but doesn't quench the thirst, even for 'the now.'"

No, it doesn't quench the thirst. In fact, it has the adverse effect--it increases the thirst to a point that can never be quenched under such self-serving terms.

I'm grateful you gave us a further, specific example of how these cups can be vehicles for spreading the good news.

littlegal_66 said...

Campiism ('kam-pee-i-zem): a method of sharing the gospel by use of coffee beans and recycled paper, which, as a rule, is in the form of a cup, and imprinted with quotes reflecting ideologies of the current culture.

P.S. BTW, Campi, I really appreciate the tip on Jill Scott's high roof--wow! (I went straight to the source--her website--and had a brief feast on her vocal samples). She does go great over a cup of warm java. How warms the mood that seems to accompanying these slightly cooler "precursory-to-Fall" temperatures. (Now I'm going to have to dig out my Ella Fitzgerald CD's this weekend!).

dogpreacher said...

My place is a little bit different Steve. Since the closest St. Arbucks is 60 miles away, I have been going to the small-town cafe, or to the "corner-store" where the highways meet in my little east Texas town. I have become known for reading my Bible or some theology book at these places. It's truly amazing how God brings people by who want to talk. Must be that sovereign thing.

There are other pastors in town who come to these places also, but leave their work at the office. Not just pastors, but many from the local churches stop in, but very rarely stop by (though most all know me...[small town]). It's the strangers passing through, and the locals from the "other side of the tracks" who stop by more. They want to know why I love God and His word so much.

I started pastoring a church last year that only had 9 members left, and now we have 50.

Witness while you're out there in the world, and see what God will do.

Joel said...

St. Even, I finally get to agree unreservedly with you on something! Exccellent post!

SJ Camp said...

Starbucks... the great Ecumenical healer! Thanks Joel... we do agree on something after all.

Q- Is there a Starbucks in the Vatican? What do you think they might have printed on their cups?


littlegal_66 said...

Campi asked: "What do you think they (the Vatican) might have printed on their cups?"

Is this a rhetorical question directed at Joel, or are you opening the door for us to brainstorm some more.......because I think we'd be up to that challenge (especially "pilgrim.") :-)

Unknown said...

The Vatican cup would read: "As soon as the cup with the coffee zings, The soul from Purgatory springs."

SWilson said...

Thanks for your continued insightful comments ... I've been a member of St. Arbucks for over 2 years now and am convicted I have been less than faithful to work the field of souls that gather daily.


David said...

Like dogpreacher, I too do a lot of reading in St. Arbucks and other Java venues. I have had one employeee borrow Piper's "Don't Waste your Life." and another, a seeking agnostic, quizing me almost daily on God and his attributes. In his providence, God has place me in temprary employ, just feet from St. Arbucks, so I carry on these gospel conversations almost daily. Praise Him!

Mike Perrigoue said...

You've got a good point about keeping the cups. While just a few days before your post a couple from the LifeGroup I lead was all up in arms about a particulary objectionable cup...Boycott was a term I heard kicked around for a few days...

On a lighter note:
I don't even like coffee...and neither does my wife. Our dilema every Christmas season is what to do with the Starbucks gift cards we get...I can't stand Cranium anymore and they no longer sell the Pink Cookie. What's a guy to do? Maybe I should mail the the unused gift cards to Sledgehammer and Pyromaniac...?

Sam said...

Steve (and all),

Did you catch also that Starbucks will be putting contemporary Christian and those of other religions' quotes on cups next Spring?,12271,1598086,00.html

A coworker pointed this out to me and your blog entry is timely. The folks at Starbucks may afford you many another good entry by next Fall. :)

donsands said...

We need all the encouragement and building-up we can get to share the gospel in this age.
Thanks for the wholesome words.

I have a pastor freind, who works at Starbucks, and shepherds a small church in Delaware. he does a lot of sharing the good news while he works to support his family.
His name is Doug.

~Mark said...

I had to read this post about 6 times before I understood what was going on! Lol! That probably stems from the fact that I don't spend time in any coffee shops.

This isn't meant to insult anyone who does, but I'm just completely uncomfortable around the "coffeehouse type". I'm not going to get into any descriptions because I don't want this to feel like an attack, but be they unsaved coffeehouse folks or saved, the majority I've met are almost the same person, just in different bodies.

Most have made me feel like I should be like them and do things the way they do and that's just kept me feelign like an outsider. Even the men's group I belonged to met in a coffee house and the effect was exactly the same.

Heather said...


Great post. Oddly enough, the Lord used a coffee shop in Mobile, Alabama called "Carpe Diem" for me to hear the Gospel preached. Instead of me seizing the day, he seized me!

Thanks for the good article!

Hayden (accidentally posting on my wife's account)

Unknown said...

Jill Scott is turning out to be a talented actress as well. She pretty much upstaged everyone in the movie, "Why Did I Get Married?"

The scene near the end of the movie, (in the ladies' dressing room), in which she practically had a monologue, literally brought me to tears. Interesting flick.

RonaldJ said...


Thanks again for re-provoking thoughts on being a light in the darkness. None of us is lacking in opportunities, are we?

Happy Birthday, by the way.

Darrin said...

We are Coram Deo indeed, brother Steve.

One inspiring elaboration of this term I've read is, "Coming face to face with Christ, pouring out our vain pursuits before His feet, filling up on the gospel of His glories, and then going out into the world with faces shining".

BTW, we see the reversal in our postmodern culture, where it is often said that our destination doesn't matter, just whether we are enjoying the journey. The church has also embraced this to an extent.

Truth is, how much we "enjoy" our journey isn't ultimately so important, but the destination means everything!

SJ Camp said...

You correct. We all have ample opportunity to declare His gospel and share the faith.

May we each... redeem the time where the Lord has sovereignly placed us.

Thanks for your comment.

SJ Camp said...

Well said.

The destination is our hope - "forever to be with the Lord."

Great thoughts and thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

"So as Christians, let's not be embalmed with the truth; looking like nothing more than frontal pieces for the book of Lamentations; LET"S LIVE IT!"

i am going to start a small group very soon and have been asking the Lord to grant me willing disciples. this is a great reminder not to just talk about the Truth but to actually live it. i'm psyched! thanks for the reminder to live a genuine Christian life. may we all live the faith and not just talk about it.

Diane Shiffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Shiffer said...

i read your comment over at stacey macdonald's place and followed you home;)

i look forward to reading more of your commentary!

Rick Frueh said...

The challenge is to hold the gospel message in its purity as it is served through a host of conduits. The success of the church in that endeavor continues to be extremely mixed.