God is good, all the time! As you may have realized, The Coffee Shop is operated by Good Hope Family Fellowship (www.ghff.net) and we are going to be moving into a facility that has more opportunity for blessing our community. So, The Coffee Shop will move, too! We will soon be located at 6611 FM 115 Scroggins, TX, just 1/2 mile north of our current location. This is a great location just next door to Vinyards and conveniently close to the entrance to Kings' Country. We are excited about the new amenities (including a fenced in playground for the kids to enjoy) and we are working hard on renovations to accommodate the coffee service. We will be closing up shop late July to make the move and hope to open by mid August in the new home. To make the move as timely as possible, we will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays through the summer. Stay tuned for updates.
We're doing something different this year as a family. We have always been intentional about holiday celebrations. We want our kids to know why we celebrate the various "special" days throughout the year and provide a context for how we celebrate in light of our faith. Because, let's face it, the meanings behind our holidays are being eroded by commercial interests in the public square. I'm not bemoaning holiday-themed marketing; people need to make a living. I'm just more aware than ever that it is my job as a parent to teach my kids why turkeys go on sale in November and briskets in May. Otherwise, we can become a culture that celebrates celebration instead of days of remembrance to be grateful for the many blessings that we receive.
I heard a lot of talk last year about liturgical practices surrounding the theme of Advent: the coming of Christ. So, this year, we found a "Reading Plan" for Advent in the Bible app put out by LifeChurch.tv. It's a very simple plan that involves a few key elements. We light a candle each night and let it burn down to a mark representing each day of December until Christmas Eve. We read a passage of Scripture (most of which refer to some promise of God which was fulfilled by the Messiah). We worship with a hymn. (We don't know all of the words and we were unfamiliar with a couple of the tunes, but YouTube is a great resource. Just search "Song Title Lyrics") And we pray thanking God for His promises and the ultimate gift He gave in Jesus Christ. It takes about 8-10 minutes, and we do it just before bed time. The younger kids enjoy the songs and are excited to see the candle getting shorter, and the older ones are getting a broad overview of the promises of Scripture. And I am blessed with a daily reminder of the reason we celebrate Christmas. We can all get caught up in the hustle to decorate, buy gifts, make it to parties, prepare for time off work, and traveling to see family and friends. It's good to have something that helps us to daily return to the true theme of Christmas.
So what do you do to keep yourself focused?
JP is the head barista at The Coffee Shop and the pastor of Good Hope Family Fellowship.
Recently, my five-year-old son found out he was going to die and he was very upset about it. He wasn't dying any sooner than the average kindergartener, but he had become aware that he would, in fact, like everyone else (save a couple of men from the Bible), die. His agony over the thought would make anyone believe that his death was imminent. In fact, he bawled inconsolably every time the subject was brought up--and he was the only one bringing it up. His sisters tried their best to tell him not to worry about it, but it didn't help. They even tried to encourage him by telling him about going to heaven and being with Jesus, but he was still despondent. "I don't want to go to heaven!" he would protest and then beg to get to stay 5 forever. Several times over the next couple of weeks, events would trigger this thought in his mind again and it would take several minutes to calm him down.
I had several rounds with him on the subject, and nothing seemed to pacify his mind. "We don't have to be afraid of dying," I'd say "God will take care of us." "I don't want to die!" he'd repeat. When he begged me to let him stay 5 or even, "go back to 4," I'd try to remind him of the many things he'd never be "big enough" to do. No deal. I tried to tell him how beautiful and awesome heaven would be and how he'll get to meet Noah and Moses and Daniel, but he just wanted to "stay here." We were all becoming exhausted by his preoccupation.
Finally, during one of these circular discussions, one of his responses gave me a clue to help settle his young soul on the issue. "I don't want to go to heaven; I want to stay here with y'all!" I explained to him that we would not be here forever, and that one day we would be in heaven, too. "So, we'll be in heaven together," I explained. I could see the peace sweep through him. He wasn't upset about going to heaven; his five-year-old mind has very little capacity for understanding what heaven will be like. (In all fairness, so does mine.) What upset him was the thought of being separated from the ones he loved. The fact is, that's what is most appealing about heaven. It's being united in perfect fellowship with the One we long to know more but can't yet. It's about the community of saints coming together with the One who sanctified them. It's the bride being joined to the Bridegroom.
One of the worst things about this cursed world is broken relationships. The divisions among mankind wreak havoc--breaking hearts, destroying lives, and tearing apart families, communities, or even nations. This brokenness touches the life of everyone who walks this planet and it can leave us feeling lost and alone. The Church is intended to provide a little bit of heaven on earth--a taste of divine fellowship. We are not perfect and the Church often reflects our individual brokenness, but we seek to love each other as Christ commanded us. The fact is, we need each other. Facing this broken world is a daunting task, we need all the help we can get. That's why God through his Word instructs us not to forsake the assembly. We need to be connected in order to "bear one another's burdens"
Even as young children we crave and depend on life lived in community. Some of us forget about the need for community. Independence is often praised and encouraged. Many of us have been burned by community and we're not ready to open ourselves up to receiving those wounds again. But to refuse to assemble ourselves with friends and family is to refuse a taste of heaven.
Who do you need to connect with again today? Maybe it's time to buy them a cup of coffee?
As our main barista is a part-time school teacher, we will be modifying our hours as follows. We will have morning hours throughout the week from 6:00am to 10:00am, so you can count on us for your morning coffee. We will also maintain some evening hours for that afternoon pick-me-up: Monday - Thursday 3:00pm - 6:00pm and extra hours on Friday evening going from 3:00pm to 9:00pm. Saturdays will go from 6:00am to 6:00pm.
As always, if you have suggestions, or if you need to use our space for a party or get-together, don't hesitate to call and make arrangements or message us on Facebook or just stop by to schedule your event.