Heard at Café: 1/24/2017

This week Café had an extra cozy vibe, and Lauren Lillquist was the guest speaker.
We talked about feeling cozy and how taking it easy is sometimes necessary, but that God ultimately calls us to do a lot more than just feel comfortable. In the past few years it's become common for phrases like "you do you" to become life mottos for people, but this is not a new phenomenon because people have been living with mentality for millenia. 
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus, a man named Paul made it his life's mission to tell people about Jesus. He eventually made it to the city of Ephesus and spent 3 years there making friends and helping start the Ephesian church. A few years after Paul had left the Ephesians, he was in jail for telling people about Christianity when he heard about his old friends in Ephesus... Paul was not happy with what he had heard, and decided to write the Ephesians a letter:
Ephesians 5:1-20 NIV
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.....
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
While this letter seems harsh, it's important to understand "the why" behind the letter. From this text, we can gather two themes:

  1. Paul knows you have to earn the right to be heard.
    • Paul had known the Ephesians for years, and had developed a strong friendship with them.
    • Paul, the first and only the Christian the Ephesians probably would've met, took his role as a Christian model very seriously.
    • The Ephesians trusted Paul because of the example he set for them, and they would've taken his words to heart. 
  2. Paul tells the Ephesians to do everything in love.
    • Though this letter comes across as Paul scolding the Ephesians, he begins this part of the letter with the words "follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children."
    • Paul loved the people of Ephesus. He was their role model, but he was also their friend. And as their friend, Paul told the Ephesians as straight up as he could that they were missing the point. 
    • Paul challenges the Ephesians to stop doing these things because they were keeping them from drawing closer to God and keeping others from seeing who God really is.
We closed out the evening by listening to "Sigh No More" by Mumford & Sons and reflecting on the lyrics,

"Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be."

Heard at Café: 1/17/2017

Bop Bahhhhhhhhhh

This week at Café, we talked about what it means to settle. Settling isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as Christians we are urged to do more than just settle when it comes to our faith. Paul says something similar in one of his letters to the people of Corinth:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The Corinthians, people who prided themselves on athletic competition, would have related to what Paul was saying here. Instead of undergoing strict training to represent their hometown in "the games", Paul tells them to work just as hard towards a more worthwhile goal - representing Jesus with everything they do.

Heard at Café: 1/10/17

To kick off Café for the Spring 2017 semester, Jeremy introduced the idea of creating a soundtrack for our lives. Every Tuesday night this semester, we'll be talking about something from the Bible and connecting it with a song as to further understand what Scripture is telling us and how it applies to our lives today.

Although it's now January and Christmas decorations have come down, we talked about letting the spirit of Christmas dwell among us. John 1:1-14 tells us,
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
We all have people in our lives who have been with us through it all... those dependable people who have been present through the bad times and the good, who know us well, who are trustworthy and consistent, who have chosen to dwell in our lives and be fully there. God chose to do the same when he came into the world through his son, Jesus. These verses are the Christmas story in summary, but they tell us that Jesus is still present with us. The words of John were written decades after the death of Jesus, and even after all those years the light/Jesus had not left & still has not to this day.

The song featured this week was "Christmas Lights" by Coldplay. It was chosen because it is a good representation of that feeling of loss, but realizing that we have reminders of hope all around us. The light dwells among us, full of grace and truth.