A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

October 31, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

By Martin Luther

1.      A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing

Our helper He amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe – His craft and pow’r are

Great, And armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

 2.      Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing,

Were not the right man on our side, The man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He – Lord Sabaoth His

Name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle.

 3.      And tho’ this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph thro’ us.

The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him – His rage we can endure,

For lo, his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him.

 4.      That word above all earthly pow’rs, No thanks to them, abideth;

The Spirit and the gifts are ours Thro’ Him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also – The body they may

Kill; God’s truth abideth still: His kingdom is forever.

(7)The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

(10)Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm 46:7, 10

Coffee Review: 35 North Coffee Co. Sumatra Organic

October 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Kim and I were recently on a nice vacation, visiting family and friends, enjoying some good conversations and sights, and tasting some good food and coffee. One of the things we got to do was be part of a bbq/picnic on a cool Saturday afternoon. No need to wonder, I did take a couple of different coffees and brewers so that I could make good coffee for everyone to try. One of the coffees we shared was a Sumatra Organic dark roast from 35 North Coffee Co. (www.35northcoffeeco.com).

Of the coffees we shared at the bbq this was the sure favorite. They put the roast date on the bag, something that I appreciate, and we brewed this coffee in its prime flavor time. I passed the bag around so everyone could smell the aroma from the beans. Those who were in the kitchen area with me got to smell the aroma from the fresh ground beans also. Everyone appreciated the good fresh aroma.

First up was the auto drip and there were some high expectations from some of the coffee drinkers. We were not disappointed because this Sumatra has a deep roast flavor that is somewhat fruity and sweet. It was not over roasted at all and has a little bit of a tart aftertaste. One person who is not a coffee drinker tried it and said that if they were going to drink coffee this would be the one.

I also took my Chemex coffee maker and Clever Coffee Dripper for folks to try the taste of different brewers. Neither brewer disappointed any coffee drinker. The CCD produced a somewhat deeper roasted flavor with a fuller body. The Chemex produced a clean, smooth, mildly tart flavor. One person thought they tasted a bit of Concord grape.

Times like these have become pretty fun for us. We enjoy the conversations about the coffees and brewers. I try to ask questions and let people talk. People are finding out how easy it is to grind whole beans and brew a good cup of coffee. We are getting good feedback about people going out and buying specialty ground coffee or buying grinders and whole beans.

Kim has also been using our coffee drinking time to try pairing the coffee with different foods or flavors. She thought this coffee paired well with both chocolate and vanilla. She thought it paired very well with lemon and that the lemon helped increase the brightness of the coffee. We could say that this was a very enjoyable cup of coffee. If you would like to try a dark roast coffee we highly recommend this one. We received this coffee for free and offer an objective review.

What may be even better than the good coffee from 35 North Coffee Co. is their involvement in the Baby Safe (www.thebabysafe.org) program. They have this to say on the back of the bag; “We’re not only passionate about seriously good coffee. We want to help others. That’s why a portion of our net proceeds go directly to Baby Safe, an organization helping abandoned children and at risk mothers in South Africa.” The following comes from their website, “It is our aim is to advocate for a voiceless generation of children within South Africa, both the born and unborn. We seek to rescue the unwanted and abandoned baby, offer support and hope to the pregnant mother in crisis, and empower and equip the new mother in need. Baby Safe is committed to offering life, hope, and options as an expression of Jesus’ desire to intervene on behalf of the helpless and we are devoted to seeing God supremely glorified through our mission.

“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name, also welcomes me.” – Jesus”

Here is another example of coffee roasters not only producing good coffee, but also trying to help improve the quality of life for others; in this case, children and mothers. We would encourage you to check them out. Until the next time, remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Contentment with Changes in Providence

October 26, 2010 at 9:06 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Skillful swimmers are not afraid to get into water over their heads, whereas young learners feel for the ground and stay close to the bank. Strong faith does not fear when God carries the creature beyond the depth of reason: “Neither know we what to do,” said Jehoshaphat, “but our eyes are upon thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12). It is as if he had said, “We are swallowed up in a sea that is bigger than we are. We have no idea how to get out of this trouble, but our eyes are upon You. We will not give up as long as there is strength in Your arm, tenderness in Your heart, and truth in Your promise.”

Weak faith that gropes for some footing for reason to stand on tries desperately to reconcile God’s promises and human reasoning. And weak faith asks many questions. When Christ says, “Give ye them to eat,” His disciples ask in return, “Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread?” (Mark 6:37). As if Christ’s bare word could not spare them that cost and trouble! “Whereby shall I know this?” says Zacharias to the angel, “for I am an old man” (Luke 1:18). His faith was too feeble to stand up to such wonderful news.

The more contented the Christian’s heart under the changes which providence brings on his state and condition in the world, the stronger is his faith. Weak bodies cannot tolerate changes of weather as well as healthy ones. Heat and cold, fair and foul weather cause no great change in the strong man’s constitution. But the weak person complains of them. Thus strong faith can live in any climate, travel in all weather, and handle any unpredictable condition. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” says Paul (Philippians 4:11). Unfortunately, however, not all Christ’s followers are like Paul in this; and weak faith has not yet mastered this hard lesson. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, October 20. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

Himself

October 24, 2010 at 7:26 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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I was away for a week on somewhat of a vacation with limited internet access. I’ve enjoyed some time with family and friends, some beautiful fall weather and scenery and local attractions. I will write more about this during the week. I’ll give you a heads up; if you are ever near Cleveland, Ohio take the time to visit the West Side Market. You won’t be dissapointed. Plus if you get the chance to sit by a fire on a cool fall evening with some family and friends take advantage of it. I almost forgot how fun that can be. Toasting marshmallows and/or making smores can be fun too.

This old hymn  by Simpson is a favorite of mine. Simpson was a man that was radically changed by the power of God. He was not afraid to live by his convictions and faith. He trusted God to lead and provide for ministry. He went against the status quo in the church. He reached out to the forgotten or overlooked people. He was not afraid of difficulty or hardship and trusted a miracle working God. I hope you enjoy this hymn and take the time to learn a little about A. B. Simpson.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow laborer)

Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18

Himself, Sunday’s Hymn

By A. B. Simpson (1843-1919), sung in 6/8 time

1.      Once, it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word; Once His gift I wanted, Now the Giver own; Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

(Refrain) All in all forever, Jesus will I sing; Everything in Jesus, And Jesus everything.

2.      Once ‘twas painful trying, Now ‘tis perfect trust; Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost! Once ‘twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast; Once ‘twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

(Refrain)

3.      Once ‘twas busy planning, Now ‘tis trustful prayer; Once ‘twas anxious caring, Now He has the care; Once ‘twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says; Once ‘twas constant asking, Now ‘tis ceaseless praise.

(Refrain)

4.      Once it was my working, His it hence shall be; Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me; Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One; Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

(Refrain)

5.      Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine; Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine; Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail; And my hopes are anchored Safe within the vail.

(Refrain)

The Chief Objective of a Minister

October 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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The Chief Objective of a Minister
Let it never be forgotten that the chief object of a minister of the Gospel is to set forward the salvation of souls. I lay it down as a certain fact that he is no true minister who does not feel this. Talk not of a man’s ordination! All may have been done correctly, and according to rule. He may wear a black coat, and be called a “reverend”. But if the saving of souls is not the grand interest—the ruling passion—the absorbing thought of his heart—he is no true minister of the Gospel—he is a hireling, and not a shepherd. Congregations may have called him—but he is not called by the Holy Spirit. Bishops may have ordained him; but not Christ.
~ J.C. Ryle
Old Paths, “Few Saved”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999], 68.

Here is another good quote from: www.jcrylequotes.com. It gives us something to think about, pray about and be about.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

Power from on High

October 16, 2010 at 10:47 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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I may not take the time to post tomorrow so I thought I would give you a good old hymn today. It would be well worth the time to learn about A. B. Simpson if you don’t know anything about him. He was quite the godly man. Some of the hymns he wrote are hard to sing but they have good words. I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

Power from on High

By A. B. Simpson, sung in 2/2 time

1.      Gracious Heavenly Father, Hear Thy people’s cry; See us! How we languish! Help us ere we die! Send us by Thy Spirit Power from on high.

(Refrain) Power, power, power from on high, Send us by Thy Spirit Power from on high.

2.      Oh, how long we struggle! Oh, how hard we try! Helplessly we labor, Helplessly we sigh Till Thy Spirit gives us Power from on high.

(Refrain)

3.      Send divine conviction, Bring salvation nigh: Curcify and quicken, Save and sanctify. Blessed Spirit, bring us Power from on high.

(Refrain)

4.      As the heavenly sunshine Bringing summer nigh, As the showers that water Deserts parched and dry, Quickening Spirit, bring us Power from on high.

(Refrain)

An Attitude of Gratitude

October 15, 2010 at 5:50 am | Posted in Devotional, Names of God | Leave a comment
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One of my favorite studies over the years is the Names of God. I have a number of different books by various authors on this subject. I have a couple of favorites that I have read a number of times. There is one that I picked up in the early 1980’s that I used to read once a year just to keep reminding myself of who GOD says HE is. But that is not the focus of this post.

Because of who Jehovah, the triune GOD says HE is, there are certain things we can know. We can know if we have assurance of salvation. You see, a person is either saved or unsaved. A person is either in Christ or not in Christ. A person’s name is either written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or it is not written there. There is only one way to know this truth and it is by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

If we have come to God in humble repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we should be glad. We should have the joy of salvation. We have become adopted into God’s family. We have been placed in Christ. We can have assurance of eternal salvation. We have become a part of His Kingdom. Because of those truths we also have a responsibility to have an attitude of gratitude.

(28)Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (29)for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29 English Standard Version)

Think about these things today. Are you grateful for what you have received and not earned? Are you offering up acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, to God? If not, why not? What needs to change? If you are, please continue to do so, because He is worthy!

Begin to prepare yourself to attend and serve at your local church this Sunday. Don’t be a spectator, be a participant. Part of acceptable worship is service. Think about these things.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13, 12:1-2

P. S. – here is a ministry and websites I encourage you to check out: www.igniteUS.net and www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. I have found them both encouraging and challenging.

Book Review: The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook

October 14, 2010 at 5:26 am | Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment
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Book Review by Kim Mazey

Currie, Robin. The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook. 2008. 32 pp.

 Basaluzzo, Constanza. Illustrator

The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook is one book in a series of books written for children ages birth to three years old.  It is the first one I read in this series.  Its sturdy construction and compact size (5 1/8” x 6 ¾” x1 1/8”) make it easy for little hands to hold and carry. The illustrations are simple and colorful making them appealing to children.

The Biblical Christmas story is divided into thirteen chapters. The fourteenth chapter portrays a modern day Christmas celebration. Each chapter is two pages; one containing an illustration and the other containing a title, scripture reference, four simple sentences that tell the story, action idea for each sentence and a basic prayer. 

The book can be easily propped up or set on your lap while you read it and do the actions for one or a group of children. The prayers are varied from thanksgiving to God, prayers for self and for others. They assist children in talking to their heavenly Father in everyday language.

Children and adults should enjoy this book. Teachers, parents and grandparents should find this book useful in telling the Biblical Christmas story to young and active children.

I received a free copy of this book from www.davidccook.com and offer objective feedback for this review. 

What Makes a Good Coffee Shop and Sunergos Coffee

October 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Coffee Shop Reviews | Leave a comment
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After moving to Louisville and getting settled as to where things were I thought a good date with my wife would be to visit every coffee shop and try their coffee. I literally tore two yellow pages out of our phone book and proceeded to pick out shops, go to them and write notes on how the experience was. I would tell my friends about this and recommend coffee shops to them. I did this before I ever started blogging. These dates quickly got narrowed down to coffee shops that roasted their own beans. I do believe that we made it to every coffee shop in town.

Now you can find a lot of opinions on what people think makes for a good experience at a coffee shop and I want to add mine. First, the coffee, it has to taste good. We are learning about cupping and the art of tasting coffee. We can experience the aroma, flavor profile, aftertaste and body. I understand different roasts. So this may be over simplifying by me, but after the first couple of sips, does it taste good?! Would I buy a bag of this to make at home? Would I want to share this with my friends because it is that good? A good coffee shop has to have good coffee, period.

Second, is the staff friendly and knowledgeable? If the place is not too busy, I will ask questions and I would like good answers. I go as a learner. The more I learn about coffee, the more I realize I still need to learn. I want baristas who know how to interact with me without acting like a snob or like I am a pest. Will they help me learn about their coffee and roasting methods and brewing styles?

Passion is a word that is both over used and misused too much today. Here’s a word I like better when talking about coffee, enthusiasm. Is the staff enthusiastic about helping me learn about their coffee? Here is an important lesson; if the coffee is not that good the first time, I will go back and give them another chance if the staff practices good customer service.

Location is the third component in making a good coffee shop experience for me. If I am on a date and exploring with my wife, I really don’t care where it is located. But if I am going to go back regularly I would like a location with good parking. It doesn’t matter if it has a parking lot or you park on the street. Does the shop have good access?

The fourth component for me is atmosphere. My wife will walk around and look at the art and I will look at the coffee bags. So put the roast date on the bag. Anyone who knows anything about coffee will not buy a bag of coffee without a roast date. I personally don’t care if the furniture is old, new or borrowed. I don’t care how many tables or couches are available. I like background music, but not overly loud music. When I am out with Kim, I want to be able to hear what she is saying to me across a small table. I’m somewhat flexible about the atmosphere because I’m going there with my date (wife), I like to explore new places and I want to try your coffee and sincerely hope it is good.

Now when you put all of that together in Louisville you come up with Sunergos (www.sunergoscoffee.com). They have good coffee. My wife and I have not had a bad cup there. We liked some better than others, but there coffee is good. We have purchased it by the bag and shared it.

The baristas are friendly, knowledgeable, and patient. They like to help customers learn. They know how to make good coffee drinks too. I had my very first cappuccino there last week. Kim and I shared two, the first one was a Costa Rican Don Mayo and the second one was the Sunergos Blend. They were better than I thought they would be. Kim really liked them. The barista’s artwork was pretty good too. We also shared an espresso; it had a slightly sweet and sour taste to me. I think it was a Nicaraguan and it was very intriguing. Then we took home a cup of their Peruvian Centrocafe which was their daily offering.

Their two locations (Preston St. and Woodlawn Ave.) are convenient and the atmosphere is good too. We can sit down and talk and like looking around. It is a pleasure to go back there and enjoy some coffee and conversation. I’ve even taken out of town guests there too.

There you have my two cents on what makes a good coffee shop and a coffee shop that lives up to that. If you are ever in Louisville or driving by it I would encourage you to stop and try the coffee at Sunergos. Until next time, remember to stop and enjoy the coffee.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (Kim)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Faith Frees Us From Fear

October 12, 2010 at 8:56 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Faith supplies all the graces with work. Faith is like a wealthy owner of wool who supplies material to men who weave cloth. When the tradesman does not furnish supplies, the spinners must stop their production. They have nothing to work with except what the tradesman gives them. Thus faith gives out to each grace what it must have to act upon.

Let us review one or two graces as an example of all the rest. Repentance is a sweet grace but faith has to make it work. For instance, Nineveh’s repentance can be traced to faith: “The people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth” (Jonah 3:5). Their repentance may have been nothing more than legalism, but it was as good as their faith. If their faith had been better, their repentance would have of a deeper quality too.

In the same way as light causes the eye to focus on an object, faith uncovers sin in the conscience. Thoughts soon arise like clouds and thicken into a storm until they fill the soul with heavy black horror and trembling for sin. But at this point the person is at a loss and cannot go any further into repentance until faith sends in more support from the promise of pardon. When the sinner hears and believes the promise, repentance can continue. And finally, the cloud of terror which the fear of wrath had gathered in the conscience dissolves into a soft rain of evangelical sorrow.

Love is another heavenly grace, but faith finds the fuel that makes it blaze. Was your soul always flaming with love for God the way it is now? Undoubtedly there was a time when our hearth was cold – not a spark of this fire could be found. How is it that you love God so much now? Surely you have heard some good news from heaven!

Faith is the only messenger which can bring good news from heaven to the heart. It is faith that proclaims the promise, opens Christ’s riches, and pours out His name to increase love in believers. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, October 6. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

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