Heard at Café: 02/11/2020

Tonight was Café Unplugged! This meant that everything was done without electricity, from the lights to the music to the desserts. This Café is done once a year (and it's my favorite Café), and it's meant to help us realize the things that we take for granted by doing without the normal conveniences that we're accustomed to.

Tonight's passage came from Luke 4:
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,    because he has anointed me    to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners    and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The passage that Jesus reads from the scroll here comes from a passage in Isaiah, prophesying about what's to come. Jesus, when reading this passage, seems to be saying that these things -- freedom for prisoners and sight for the blind -- are happening right now. He says that this is what happens when light is brought to the world.

Tonight, we also got to hear from four members of CCF who are actively bringing light to the world around us: Katie Carlson, Sam Derry, Kori Alejandro, and Nia Rich.

Katie spoke of simple obedience: this idea of just saying yes to opportunities. Katie has had the chance to bring light to several different countries, and has realized how she has purpose in these areas even when she doesn't see it at first. Through these opportunities, Katie has seen how God can use our yes for a greater purpose.

Sam spoke of his experience with the MLK service trip last year, and how that has influenced his decision to serve in Sierra Leone this summer. He explained that all of the things that we've been given, like time and money, aren't really ours to begin with. To Sam, serving also means trusting God, and he shared Proverbs 3:5-6 with us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.

Kori shared her summer experience in Peru, and how she has had multiple opportunities just this summer to serve God. Kori explained how serving meant helping the community around her and getting to be a part of something bigger than what she sees.

Nia told us about how passions can be transformed by God's intervention. Nia initially thought that service was just something that looked good on paper. She soon realized, though, that she had the opportunity to serve the next generation. Nia is involved with City of Refuge, where she tutors kids every week. She explained that it's her duty to be a role model to these kids, and how showing others love was a direct result of getting to experience God's love herself. Nia also shared Proverbs 11:25:
A generous person will prosper;whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
God sees the darkness in this world, but he offers us hope and light. He tells us to be reflectors of this light and bring heaven to earth. Through the stories that we heard tonight, we are presented with this challenge: to ask ourselves what we are doing to bring the light to our world.

Heard at Café: 01/28/2020

Tonight, we had the opportunity to hear from two CCF alumni: Sarah Harrington and Stephanie Tillman. Both Sarah and Stephanie have spent the last several years as a part of the Globalscope ministry in Mexico, and visited CCF tonight and brought us the talk for the evening.

Sarah and Stephanie spoke on the topic of humility. They helped define humility for us by explaining what it isn't -- that humility isn't just an attitude; it's a practice. This means that it's intentional and takes work. Humility isn't self-deprecating; it's not circumstantial, or dependent on the situation or context we're in. It's not the absence of confidence, but instead, putting your confidence in something greater.

The passage that we looked at tonight came from Philippians 2:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
In this passage, Paul is writing a letter to the people of Philippi, imploring them to imitate themselves after the way that Christ lived. We can see this idea of tangible humility, or risking your own discomfort for others lives. This is modeling the behavior of Jesus. We should use humility as a means for learning: to grow in gratitude, to be more reliable, and to connect with others.

Humility is being able to celebrate others and realize that there's something greater than what we see. Sarah and Stephanie ended the talk by challenging us to think about what we can do to help chart the path for the next, and what we're currently doing to better our community and the world around us.