Written by: Ferdinando Turkovich
The hurt and pain that often leads people our way lends itself to the delight of freedom and community. It has been my experience that in this freedom we (as the newly freed) have the ability to now see the world through new eyes. With new eyes, we begin to see new possibilities to life. Life is no longer the life that we knew, but is becoming the life that we once dreamed of.
These transitions can seem at times like fragile sprouts, coming out of the new spring soil. In some of our lives though, the winter has been long and our roots (unbeknownst to us) do go deep. Our friends (myself include) have come through many a cold night on the edge of winter’s breath. Sometimes wander from place to place wanting to find a home.
The cafe has become a home for so many people. For some, it is on a Thursday Night to play a song on the stage. For others, it is Tuesday Mornings where one finds some soul-full conversation early in the morning. And for some few, it has become a place to give back, to fight the good fight, to have fanned into flame the gifts of God deposited in them by the Laying on of hands.
As time ebbs and flows transitions happen in the lives of the cast and crew. Some move on, some fall away, and some will resolve to stay. It has been said that “in the Kingdom of God we learn to give away”. In the terms of relationship it sometimes means giving our friends the permission to strike out, forge a new path, but with a promise of a place to always call home.
Written by: Tessa Sentell
As a newer staff member at the café, I feel like I get to see and learn about a new aspect of God and His character on the daily. This week brought a new light to God as The Provider.
We’ve been learning in our Tuesday morning bible study on 2 Peter that God has given us everything we need to live a life of Godliness; there are things already deposited in us that equip us to respond to His work. So aside from any physical things that he blesses us with, we ALREADY have the truth and the hope of the gospel that is not only bigger than our feelings or opinions, but is outside our current reality. This means we can offer hope to those stuck in addiction or poverty, because we know that even if God doesn’t provide for physical needs (which we’ve also seen Him do)—he’s already deposited a way out within them.
This week God provided experiences that could be used as fuel to recognize other people hurting, and provided words to extend to them through the truth of this gospel. Because my own experiences of isolation, I was able to recognize a hurting heart in isolation and invite them into adoption and community in the body of Christ. I was granted the ability to hear when a regular expressed the same mental struggles I’ve been dealing with, and God provided the experience of a conversation I had the day before to remind me of the truth this person needed to hear.
I also had a material need cared for this week, by the grace of God. I wrecked my car on Friday, and not only was I miraculously unharmed, but I was blessed to receive a car donated on THURSDAY. God provided a car before I even knew I needed one! His provision is real, you can’t make this stuff up!
Even bad situations are turned around to be used for good in future ones, so that more people would benefit and even receive life (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28). Because of this we can praise in our current circumstances and keep a close watch for how they are being used even in the present--because He loves us.
So keep watch. How is He providing?
Written by: Scott Colburn
Henry Adams, an American historian and the grandson and great-grandson of U.S. Presidents, once wrote that “Politics is the systematic organization of hatreds.” Even a casual look around at the national scene today would seem to confirm that. Can Christians do anything to change this, or should we just disengage?
A group of Church Army and Cafe folk were in the Washington, D.C., area in February for a “Matthew 25” conference. We met a lot of other folks who are also answering calls to love and work for the least, the last and the lost. There were great speakers, great fellowship and lots of worship and prayer. Thanks to anyone who sponsored us or prayed for us while we were there!
For me, one of the highlights was a “field trip” by bus to the National Mall and the surrounding area where many of the nation's monuments and government buildings are. On the way back to the conference we stopped by the Capitol and the White House, and prayed for congress and the president. I think this is how Christians can best be involved in politics. We vote and donate and canvas, as citizens should, but we also pray. As I prayed, knowing I was setting aside my partisan political views, my “organized hatreds,” I felt genuine concern for people who bear the weight of government, and real love for other Americans who answer that call. It doesn't diminish my sense of justice, or my sorrow when some of our leaders use their offices to harm others, even in the name of the people. It does kill my experience of politics as a blood-sport my side must win at, and gives me patience, and I hope, God's perspective.
As we go into Lent I repent of my political partisanship and my need to be right, even when it is supposedly for the sake of others. I am not my own savior, and I'm not the savior of the country. I'm resolving to pray for our leaders daily. I'll still vote, of course. I just won't vote from hatred, or fear. I'll also “vote” by continuing the work of bringing Jesus to the marginalized, and by living in the margins myself, to seek humility and solidarity.
Uncommon Grounds Cafe