Heard at Café: 9/4/2018

We began with the first passage from the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of Jesus's famous teaching found the the book of Matthew. This section has a well-known name, often called the Beatitudes. This come from the word 'blessed' in Latin, 'beatus.'

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jeremy talked about how a lot of these things aren't worthy of celebration - ideas that seem pretty negative or describe people who are easily taken advantage of. It feels backwards. It's counter-cultural. And you want to ask the question, is it just about suffering in this life, only able to look forward to heaven? But we need to apply these ideas in our lives today. So where can we find encouragement? Where can we be challenged?

Honestly and humility show up in a lot of these statements. Jesus isn't trying to glorify the pain that people feel, he's offering hope that something better is coming when we do, at some point in our lives, feel that way. The broken heart, being in the background, pursing God and things that others may mock, it will pay off in the end. Jesus is not just a teacher wanting to give us information, show us the rules, and move on. He wants to align what we love with what He loves. "He isn't content to simply deposit new ideas into your mind; He is after nothing less than your wants, your loves, your longings." We should love the things that Jesus loves, that he speaks about in this passage, for that is the world God envisioned for us. There are bigger and better things in store for us.

Kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with precious metals, is a great illustration of something becoming more beautiful because of its brokenness. We are made better by going through trials and pain, we turn out greater for it. When we feel alone or forgotten, when we're feeling pain of grief, God can put us back together. There is hope for a better tomorrow, in heaven, but also here on earth. It's our job to create that peace, to strive for this world God wants for us.

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Heard at Café: 8/28/2018

Welcome to Café! This was our first full Café of the year, and we are so excited to be back.

This semester, Jeremy will be going through the Sermon on the Mount. It's a collection of Jesus's teachings found in Matthew. For this week, Jeremy talked about what happens right before, when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness. 

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

In this story, the devil appeals to Jesus with illusion and lies, poking at self-doubt, and trying to make Jesus prove He's who He says He is. And the shortcuts He's offered, the shortcuts we can take in our lives, are tempting. We discussed the classic fable, the tortoise or the hare. In this world of needing instant gratification, how do we fit in? If Georgia Tech came and offered you your degree today, would you take it? It's hard to say 'no' when things feel easy, it's hard to remember to think about whether saying 'yes' would be good for you in the long run. But we don't want to skip to the end. It's why we watch movies, read books, and watch the game and not just learn the final score.  Jesus calls us to take the longer, the better, the truer road. Focusing on building character and letting integrity shape our path, rather than taking shortcuts or the easy way out.
And maybe it's not all about choosing good verses bad. It might just be between living to be 'okay' and living for 'better.'  We shouldn't settle for less than the love and patience that God can offer. Jesus wants deeply loving and passionate followers. So the question we need to ask ourselves at the end of the day is, "Who are we becoming?" It's not just about where we want to end up, but the kind of person we are when we get there. This semester, we're going to look at the way Jesus calls us to live deeper, fuller lives, as we grow, learn, and experience truth together.

Café Recipes: Fall 2018 Desserts and Drinks

Texas Sheet Cake (September 18th)

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 shortening
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Icing:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 16 oz. package of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan.
Sift together sugar and flour in a large bowl; set aside. Combine butter, shortening, cocoa, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat and pour over sugar/flour mixture. Cool slightly.
Stir in buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla and pour into prepared jellyroll pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Spread warm cake with Chocolate Icing.
Chocolate Icing: Combine butter, cocoa, and milk in medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until butter melts, then bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, and pecans. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and sugar dissolves.

Shirley Temple (September 18th)

Splash of grenadine over ice
Fill cup with Sprite

Baked Apple Fritters (September 11th)

1-1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
6 tbsp. cold butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (6 oz.) container Yoplait very vanilla yogurt
1 cup chopped apple (about 1 large apple)
1/2 cup shredded apple (about 1 small apple)
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/3 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-muffin pans with non-stick spray.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until coarse crumbs form.
Whisk together the egg, vanilla, and yogurt. Add mixture to flous mixture and fold in apples.
Place a few teaspoons of batter in each muffin cup. Bake for 15 min until they start to brown.
Remove fritters from the oven and turn the oven broiler on high. Transfer the fritters to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of apple cider. Brush glaze over each fritter.
Return fritters to oven and let broil for 2-4 minutes until glaze starts to caramelize.
Remove from oven and whisk remaining powdered sugar and apple cider into leftover glaze and brush over broiled fritters. Let sit until glaze hardens, about 15 minutes.

Iced Spiced Apple Cider (September 11th)

8 parts apple juice
1 part orange juice
4 parts ginger ale

Poor Man's Toffee Bars (September 4th)

35 saltine crackers
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the crackers with the edges touching in a single layer in a small baking pan.
Cook the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan until butter is completely melted and mixture comes to a rapid boil.
Pour hot mixture over crackers and spread evenly.
Bake for 5 minutes or until topping is golden brown, then remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips and put back into oven for 1 minute to soften chocolate.
Remove pan from oven and spread chocolate evenly over crackers.
Allow mixture to cool completely until chocolate has re-solidified and break into pieces.

Chai Tea (September 4th)

Brew Chai tea with 8oz. of boiling water and add sweetener as desired.

Café Recipes: Spring 2018 Desserts

Flamingo Planets/Strawberry Cake Balls (6 February):
1 box Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix, prepared and baked
1/2 can Strawberry Frosting
1/4 can Cream Cheese Frosting
6-8 ounces chocolate or 1 package chocolate bark
1-2 ounces white chocolate for garnish (optional)

Prepare cake mix and bake as directed using a 9 x 13 cake pan.
Let cake cool completely. Using your hands, remove cake from pan and crumble into a large bowl
Add frosting and mix until a pink dough forms.(you can use a fork or electric mixer, but I like to just use my hands, squishing it between my fingers to fully incorporate).
Roll in 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Freeze the balls for at least 1 hour, until firm but not frozen. Right before removing from freezer, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted completely. Using a fork or toothpick, dip balls in chocolate and gently move it around, just until coated. Lift it out, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. Place on parchment lined pan. Push off fork using a spoon, or remove toothpick. Decorate with sprinkles while wet. Drizzle with melted white chocolate once dry.
Refrigerate immediately to set.

Sweet Potato Latkes (13 February):
3 pounds of shredded sweet potatoes pressed to removes as much water as possible (you can place them in a towel and wring them out to make them super dry.
2.5 cups of pumpkin
4 eggs
0.5 cup honey
3 tablespoons cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut oil
1.5-2 cups rice flour

Mix together well. drop spoon fulls onto parchment paper and flatten a bit. bake at 425 for 8 minutes. flip and bake for another 4 minutes. allow to cool on pan.

3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon lemon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons of salt

Combine & whip together.

Chocolate Chip Brownies (20 February):
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
MELT 1 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking soda. Stir inremaining 1 cup morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.
BAKE for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (20 February):
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 -6 teaspoons of natural creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together melted butter, and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla, stir.
Mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Pour brownie batter into a 11x7inch pan.
Drop teaspoons of peanut butter onto the batter.
Using a butter knife swirl peanut butter in a figure eight pattern.
Make sure to incorporate the peanut butter through out the batter, but DO NOT over mix.
Over "swirling" will mix the batter and you will not get the visual peanut butter effect.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut and enjoy!

Red Velvet Cheesecake (27 February):
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for pan
Red Velvet Brownie Layer:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: In a saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Remove the butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Stir in the walnuts and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

Thai Mango Sticky Rice (27 March):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt; bring to a boil. Stir in the mango. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork. Place a clean, dry dish towel over the pan, cover with the lid, and let steam for 5 minutes before serving.

Berry Spring Cupcakes (3 April):
Lemon cake mix, made into cupcakes

1 cup berries
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the berries and sugar together. Use a wooden spoon to break the berries apart. Simmer until significantly reduced — you should have about 1/3 cup of liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool before proceeding.
With a mixer, cream the butter together with the cooled berries and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until completely smooth, then add the vanilla and remaining powdered sugar to your desired consistency.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (10 April):
1.5 C Butter at room temperature
1 C white Sugar
1 C brown Sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon (I like to put in more)
2 tsp Baking Soda
.5 tsp Salt
2 C flour
3 cup oatmeal
2 cups chocolate Chips

Whip the butter in a mixer for 60 seconds. Add the sugar and mix for 30 seconds, add the next 5 ingredients and mix well. Mix at low speed in the flour, then the oatmeal. Finally add the chocolate chips. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 or until they begin to brown. Let cool for one minute on the pan and then remove to a towel or cooling rack.

Heard at Café: 3/13/2018

Café this week resumed with some amazing apple pie-like desserts and a talk from a few of our interns!

Mason, Helen, and John spoke to us all about the importance of going above and beyond to show the people we love that we care deeply about them, which was a conversation spurred from this story in John 12:
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” 9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
The interns went on to talk about how Mary's act here was one of extravagance, selfless love, and intense devotion. Mary - who had just seen Jesus raise her brother from the dead - wanted to show Jesus that she loved him and believed in him. She understood the gravity of his existence and knew how important he was, but she could also recognize that the local leaders were growing more and more frustrated with the way he was challenging societal norms and the overarching religious leadership. She could probably sense that tension and knew Jesus wasn't going to be around them for too much longer, so she wanted to honor him as the person she believed him to be - the Messiah, the king of all kings, the son of God. Although it could be easy to write off Mary as careless or racy, Mary's act was reckless, brave, and well-intentioned. When Judas questions her motives (and her sanity, in a way), Jesus is quick to jump to her defense and justify why her actions were honorable and truly loving. The perfume was expensive and could have been used in a different way, but Jesus encourages Mary's sacrifice because he recognizes that she truly loves and values him and her remaining time with him.

With only 5 weeks left in the semester, our time is limited too. The evening ended with a challenge to fully embrace this idea for the rest of the semester - to show God and the people we care about most that we love them and value our relationships with them.

Heard at Café: 2/13/2018

For Fat/Phat Tuesday, we celebrated both Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras through Café decorations, drinks, and desserts. We also had a guest speaker - our very own Lauren Lillquist!

She began by talking about family, and how we are largely influenced by the people we grew up around and who raised us. After seeing a clip from the movie Coco and after the retreat this past weekend, there was a recurring theme of family and its importance in our lives.

We then read from John 7, and discussed how family played an important role to the Israelites of the 1st century, too.
John 7:37-44 (NIV)
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
The scripture starts by mentioning a festival - the Feast of the Tabernacles - which was an 8-day celebration that the Israelites observed in order to remember the great exodus. This festival was meant for remembering their ancestors who were part of the great exodus, as well as remembering how God led them out of Egypt and eventually into the promised land.

For the Israelites, family & lineage meant everything. They saw it as a way that they could look to the past and see how God had provided for their ancestors, how God was currently present, and how He would continue to works through their families and their offspring. So when they heard Jesus speak, they understood that he was special.... but there was some confusion - they probably knew who he was (or at least recognized him), and they knew he came from Galilee and from Mary & Joseph. They expected their Messiah to come from a great family line, maybe of royalty or at least of good social standing. But here was Jesus - a carpenter from Nazareth.

The second discussion was a time to analyze this painting:

This painting, done by Tom Root, is called "Flight to Egypt" and is meant to be a modern-day interpretation of how Jesus would've been raised, and how his family would've been perceived, culturally, as a part of East Tennessee-Appalachia... coming from a little podunk town that people don't expect much out of.

"The people were divided", but Jesus was trying to tell them "Anyone who is thirsty... whoever believes in me....come to me and drink." Everyone is welcome, and maybe if you're trying to scrutinize all the details you're missing the point. The ironic part of this story is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and came from a great line (Luke 3:23-38), but people were unaware. Everyone at the festival was looking at the words of Jesus through a different perspective, and were missing the importance of who he was and what he was saying.

Heard at Café: 1/23/2018

Jeremy gave the talk again this week at Café, and started by talking about the idea of seeking. What are we seeking, who are we seeking, how are we seeking, how does seeking help us get to where we want to go? We decided that seeking is part of any learning process, and is usually a worthwhile endeavor because of how it challenges us to grow by giving us new ideas and new things to think about.

This semester at Café we're reading through the book of John, and this week we looked at Chapter 3 - an example of someone seeking truth and answers to some of life's toughest questions.
John 3:1-13
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
Jesus says a lot of things here that seem pretty confusing, but were probably especially confusing to people who didn't fully understand who he was or the gravity of his existence. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, clearly wanted to meet up with Jesus to ask him some follow-up questions, but was probably very secretive about it because his peers weren't the biggest fans of Jesus.

So here he is, in the middle of the night, asking Jesus questions and being berated for not understanding Jesus' cryptic responses. Jesus is trying to explain his purpose and significance to Nicodemus, but their communication is a bit jumbled until Jesus challenges him to think bigger than just earthly-things because Jesus is not of this earth. 

Sometimes it's really hard to understand what Jesus is trying to tell us, but often it's because we're looking at it through our own perspective. We each bring a different lens when it comes to understanding faith because of our own background/history/lifetime, but Jesus challenges us to think bigger... to come up to an entirely different playing field and look at the words of Jesus through a lens of heavenly things.

Café Recipes: 1/16/2018 Dessert

Polish Tea Cakes
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp almond flavoring
  • Filling
  • For lemon cookie: Add in zest of 1.5 lemons and juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup more flour.
  • For chocolate cookie: Replace ¾ cup of flour with cocoa powder.
  1. Cream butter and sugar together
  2. Add in everything else except for flour and mix well
  3. Gradually add the flour. Dough will be very stiff
  4. Roll dough into 1” balls. Place 2” apart on a baking sheet. 
  5. Put indentations in center of the balls with a small cylindrical wooden or plastic handle
  6. If filling the cookie with jam, or some other cookable filling, fill the indentation using a piping bag with the desired filling, other wise bake the cookie as is.
  7. Bake cookie at 375 for 8-10 minutes until cookie springs back when touched.
  8. Take cookies off of pan, and allow to cool for 15 minutes
  9. If filling with caramel, during this time you can make the caramel. After the cookies are cooled, you can then fill the cookie with caramel.
Caramel Filling
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream
  1. Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter in small saucepan. 
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. 
  3. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, 1 minute. 
  4. Remove from heat. 
  5. Stir in whipping cream. 
  6. Cool caramel mixture about 15 minutes.
  7. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture into center of each cooled cookie. 
  8. Let caramel set about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops of each cookie lightly with sea salt.

Heard at Café: 1/16/2018

Welcome to 2018, everybody! Our first official Café of the year has come and gone, but its memory lives on... as does this summary of the evening!

Jeremy talked last Tuesday, and began by talking about celebrations - holidays like Christmas & Thanksgiving, random things like National Pickle Day & Talk Like A Pirate Day, and once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings. He eventually went on to talk about a wedding that Jesus attended about 2000 years ago with his mom and his disciples. At this point in Jesus' life, the only significant thing he had done was pick some disciples who had yet to see him perform any miracles, preach, or raise people from the dead. But then something happened...
John 2:1-12
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
So Jesus, his mother, and his disciples were all hanging out at a wedding, and then the wine runs out. Weddings were a huge deal in Jewish culture and often lasted days or until the wine ran out, so with all the wine gone, the festivities probably would've ended soon after. And after some initial reluctance and hesitation, Jesus' mom prods him into fixing the problem. He looks around, sees some stone water jars, and invites the servants to be part of making his first miracle happen - turning water into wine. This is really interesting to me for a few reasons:
  • Jesus' first miracle is done to keep a party going.
    • He could have done anything, but he chose to keep this wedding celebration alive. I think it can be easy to think of God as a scary, all-powerful being who will smite you at the first given opportunity, but I really like this imagery instead - a God who loves us and wants to celebrate with us, just because. He wants the best for us, and he cares about the little & big things that make up our everyday lives. 
  • Outside of his mother and disciples, the servants are the only ones who witness the miracle occur.
    • Jesus cares about people, but specifically makes a point to include the people who essentially fall into the background of this story. The miracle is about the bride & groom, but it's also about the less-noticed people who are just there to make the event happen. Regardless of our social standing or financial worth, Jesus invites us to be part of his story.
  • Jesus turns something often used for removing dirt and grime to create something new and special. 
    • When Jesus sees the six stone water jars, traditionally used for ceremonially cleansing, he uses those to create the new wine. What might've been seen as gross/dirty is used by Jesus to make the best wine that the wedding-goers had probably ever tasted. He makes all things new, and is a God of transformation.
After this event, the next time we see Jesus drinking wine with his disciples and pointing out its significance is at the Last Supper. Jesus begins and ends his ministry by celebrating with the closest people in his life and by using wine as a symbol of remembrance and cleansing.

We ended Café by taking communion together, and remembering Jesus' ultimate gift to us. We hope this semester will be one of celebrations, both big and small, and we invite you to join us as we celebrate the everyday joys of life together at Georgia Tech and at CCF.