"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Taking My Cue from a Brewmaster

As has become the custom on the 2nd Friday night of each month, my husband and I went downtown this past weekend to Food Truck Friday. As one would guess, food trucks line Carroll and Washington Streets as a local band plays and residents engage in a fair-like atmosphere of standing in lines and/or visiting with family and friends. There’s even snow cones and a bouncy house for the kids. 

On this particular evening, Eagle Creek out of Statesboro was having a tap takeover at our local Bodega Brew — a hot spot for coffee, wine and beer along with a short list of menu items. Ever since our oldest son Charles became a brewmaster a couple of years ago, we have tried to support the local industry of craft brewers. We met the young brewmaster named Zack and tried his Tea Party Red Amber. It smelled of herbal sweet tea, but with a medium feel, it tasted of rich, malty caramel, finishing dry with a subtle tea note. And I liked it. [I know my son is quite pleased that I actually know what all that meant. He has taught me well.] 

We also made the connection that Zack and our son had met earlier this year at the Macon Beer Festival. But before we left, he said, “Tell Charles if he’s interested, let’s do a collaborative.” Now a collaborative is when two breweries meet and “collaborate” on a new beer. In other words, they create a recipe, get together and brew. Makes sense, huh.

My husband and I moved back out into the street, leaving the air-conditioning for what had become a very pleasant 88 degrees, thanks to the earlier rain, and found our way to the Piedmont Brewery “food” truck. There we met the owner/brewer Brian Whitley, a friend of our son. What a treat to engage with him and hear again the camaraderie that exists between brewers. They had already collaborated on a delicious hibiscus and mango Belgium Wit, appropriately called, “Syncopated Strangers.” Great for a hot summer afternoon. As we parted company, Brian headed to Bodega to greet Zack ... and to buy one of his beers.

But even before all of this, I had already begun to notice the fellowship between brewers. When one has a tap takeover at a particular brew pub or taproom, the others show up in support — and often help out. Or when one brewer runs into a problem with a particular brewing process, he will call another for advice, and it is given liberally.

Yes, I walked back to my vehicle Friday night marveling again at this fraternity — this sodality. When I was able, I texted Charles and told him I had just met Zack and Brian, and his response was, “Awesome guys! It still amazes me how much community there is in this industry.” 

You might be interested to know that before our son became a brewmaster, he was a youth pastor — for 13 years. When he tells people that, their eyes often get wide. But he follows it with, “I do the same thing I used to do ... just in a different arena: I still try to create an experience of oneness.”

Maybe these guys have discovered something that the church is still trying to figure out.

“And I ask not only for these disciples, 
but also for all those who will one day believe in Me through their message.
I pray for them all to be joined together as one
even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one.
I pray for them to become one with Us
so that the world will recognize that You sent Me.
For the very glory You have given to Me I have given them
so that they will be joined together as one
and experience the same unity that We enjoy.
John 17:20-22

Just an ordinary moment... 


Thursday, July 12, 2018

What Does Your Joyometer Read?

Part of my husband’s early morning routine is to walk out and greet our 10 year old red heeler named Rusti. Her little nub of a tail shakes so hard, you would think it’s 3 feet long — and in her mind, it probably is. She follows him inside, staying close to his heels, because that’s what heelers do, and she proceeds to greet me with the largest smile a canine can produce. She’s a happy dog. It shows in her face, her body, and her ... “tail”. 

She exhibits joy.

In one of the last sessions with my Tuesday morning Bible study ladies, I posed the question, “On a scale of 1-10, what does your joy-ometer read?” Most said about a 7 or 8, but without a blink of an eye, one of the women said, “Over the top!” And she was right. If there is anyone who exudes joy, it’s Liz. Even with the history of being abandoned as an infant, of having several bouts with cancer and of losing a husband, she bubbles joy. You can see it in her eyes, you can hear it in her voice, you can read it in her writings. Even her body language, the way she uses her hands, the way she worships, shouts, “Joy!”

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a product of any one who has God’s Spirit resident within them. It is not something we should have to “conjure up” or force ourselves to be. Joy is a natural outflow of abiding in Him.

Then what’s the problem? 

Bill Johnson says, “How we see God defines how we think and how we live. The way we understand Him is the way we will represent Him.” Could it be that we have an inaccurate view of God? Or maybe that we have forgotten (or maybe never even been told) the truth that God is a joyful God? Who taught us that the Holy Spirit gives to us a spirit of sadness, sour attitude or woe? Heaven forbid. The Spirit does not war against the Father. He is an exact representation. He is the “another” that Jesus said would come. He reveals the Son and the Father beautifully. Among other things, His fruit and His expression is joy.

But I guess we still have a choice to make. We can choose to bow to and emit the chaos of life that surrounds us, or we can commit ourselves to living from the place of joy within and cast the glory of God to a world who needs a fresh revelation of hope. The latter just might be the greatest gift you give to someone today.

So what does your joyometer read? The first place we might want to look is in the mirror. 

Moses came down from Mount Sinai ... 
the Israelites would see the FACE of Moses, 
that it was radiant ...
See Exodus 34:29-35

And as my precious daughter would say, “Don’t pout. It doesn’t look good on you.”

Just an ordinary moment...