Jesus already has my passwords

 The staff here at journeys has started in on a new study on leadership, character and integrity. Here is the first post on digging deeper in.

What are you hiding? What are you keeping in the dark place of your life that you don’t want anyone to see? Are you talking about topics you should not with people you should not? Where is your web browser going and what images you viewing that you shouldn’t be? Okay, so that is the dark side, where is the light coming in to make the darkness flee? Sure the quick answer is that we know that we will all stand and give an account for ourselves before God (Romans 14:12). Next we know that is biblical for use to stand accountable to one another (James 5:16). So it is biblical to have a close friend to give full / 100% access to you that will act in love and grace. So Jud and Mike have this at the fullest level, more than I have with my accountability partner. They have it so that they know all of each others passwords and have software that will let each other know all of the websites they have been on. That is amazing access into ones life and a level that we should all strive for. So why do they do it, why should we do it? For some of those reasons that I started out asking in the begining. Thinks about it, are you going to carry on conversations that are un-godly if you know that someone has access to all of that information at any point in time? Are you going to visit a website that may contain material that you know you should not be viewing if you know your accountability partner is going see that and call you out on it in love and grace? I doubt it, if you have truly given that level of access to your life. So why is that we do not get it that Jesus all ready has our passwords and has that full access to our life? We fail with the One that has the greatest access into our life.

I don’t know how you came across this today, but know this fact my brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ loves and adores you and want to shower you with His forgiveness if you will let Him into your life. Do find that person on this side of heaven that you can give 100% full of love and graces access for your life and remember that Jesus all ready has our passwords…

God’s Blessings,


The joe of salvation

To God be the glory above all. This weekend the Saginaw News ran two great articles on journeys. To my amazement it one was on the front page of the paper and the other was on the front page of the “neighborhood” section, wow that is humbling. The original article can be found here and is reposted below.

The joe of salvation Sunday, July 15, 2007 DENISE FORD-MITCHELL THE SAGINAW NEWS MIDLAND TOWNSHIP – Messiah Lutheran Church’s “journeys” drive-through coffee café – the first such venture in the Saginaw Valley – is the latest twist on reaching the masses. Messiah is among a growing number of churches across the country developing creative evangelism that pairs houses of worship with franchises ranging from coffee cafés to restaurants. The hope is to appeal to younger folks and other individuals who feel traditional religion alienates them. “When we opened in February, we got a lot of feedback,” said Manager Dan D. Lacher, 30. “Some people thought it was really cool, and others seemed puzzled that we would have a drive-through at a church – the first that we know of around here.” Housed inside a 49,000-square-foot (personal correction, was listed as 4,900) section in the front of the church, at busy South Poseyville and Gordonville in Midland County, journeys offers a full line of Italian-style and espresso lattes, mochas, plus frozen drinks, pastries, cookies, Jones soda and bottled water. Messiah is among a growing number of churches across the country developing creative evangelism that pairs houses of worship with franchises ranging from coffee cafés to restaurants. The hope is to appeal to younger folks and other individuals who feel alienated by traditional religion. “People’s lives are constantly changing, so (the church) has to continually adapt its method of reaching them to stay relevant as a ministry in the community,” Lacher said. Family Christian Center in Munster, Ind., opened a Starbucks in its lobby. In Wells, Maine, Messiah Christian Church offers memberships to its fitness center; while Houston’s Brentwood Baptist Church has a McDonald’s restaurant in its adjacent lifelong-learning center, complete with a drive-thru window, according to a Time magazine report on church retailing. “There are a lot of churches doing (coffeehouses), but (drive-thrus) are still very very new,” said Michael Trent, 32, owner of the Birmingham, Ala.-based consulting firm Third Place Consulting. He works with churches, including rural Midland’s Messiah, to design outreach projects that attract the unchurched.Retail extensions such as restaurants and coffee shops represent churches taking community outreach to the next level, said the Rev. P. David Saunders, pastor at Bethel AME African Methodist Episcopal Church, 535 Cathay in Saginaw. “I applaud them for what they’re doing,” Saunders said. “It’s a way of touching people that might not normally be touched.” Hosting some sort of franchise “is not outside the realm of possibility” for Bethel, Saunders said. Bethel already offers day care, activities for youths, and an outdoor carnival to residents who are not church members. “The church has a responsibility to the people who are in the community who are not part of the church,” Saunders said. “They still need to serve the community.” Location is the key to potential success, Trent said. “Every church has a unique DNA. Every church should consider the concept that works for them because what’s not true is if you brew it they will come,” he said. “It’s about creating a spirit that invites people to come in. The coffee is just a tool. You also can’t just do what another church did. It has to help your church accomplish its ministerial vision.” Coffee shops are the malt shops of the 21st century, said Joseph F. DeRupo, spokesman for the National Coffee Association. And Christian coffee shop franchises are gaining popularity as a place to go to meet friends, participate in a Bible study, or just hang out while listening to worship music, said Bishop S. Todd Ousley, 45, head of the 10,000-member Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, based at 924 S. Niagara in Saginaw. “I applaud what Messiah is doing,” Ousley said. “There are right on track with what we are seeing. They’re doing exactly what the Disciple Paul did – meet people where they are and speak the language they speak while proclaiming the Gospel in a comfort level people will respond to. "And traditionally, church coffee is the worst coffee on earth, so for a congregation to get serious about the quality of their coffee is fantastic. If you pay $1.50 for a cup everyday, then multiply that times 52 weeks, that’s a nice amount of money. If you’re going to drink coffee anyway, why not give for a good cause that advances the kingdom of God?” From 1999 to 2004, the number of coffeehouses nationwide increased 58 percent to 19,000 from 12,000, the New York-based National Coffee Association reports. The National Coffee Association has tracked detailed coffee consumption statistics for more than 50 years. The number of American adults who drink the beverage daily also is climbing. It was 49 percent in 2004, 53 percent in 2005 and 56 percent in 2006, to the group’s market research studies show. More young people are jumping on the java bandwagon, DeRupo said. Coffee guzzlers in the 18 to 24 age group increased 15 percent from three years ago, making them the fastest-growing segment of the coffee-drinking population, DeRupo said. However, coffee consumption is up across the board, he said. In comparison, in the 18 to 30 age group, 17.8 percent attend church weekly, while a nearly equal amount of counterparts never attend, the Association of Religion Archives indicates. In that age group, more than one in three say they drink coffee daily. Three out of four pray at least weekly. Messiah sells about 2,000 cups of coffee a month, Lacher said. Prices range from $1.45 for a small cup of coffee up to $3.95 for a 20-ounce fruit smoothie. The java house at Messiah seats 18 inside the 2,300-member church. One full-time and four part-time employees plus a dozen volunteers man the shop. “Making money is not our goal,” said Lacher, who drinks three to four cups of strong black coffee daily. “We cover expenses such as salary and supplies, and any money above that goes back into the church’s outreach ministry.” Churches’ outreach can include mission work, feeding the hungry, hosting self-help groups and community work. “We had two goals when we decided to open the café. The first was to create a nontraditional church setting to connect with people who are uncomfortable in a traditional church setting. And the second was to offer quality beverages to the community,” Lacher said. “We don’t expect to convert everyone, and we don’t hand out religious tracts or shove anything down visitors’ throats. But we know that with conversation, some people will eventually want to know more about Christ.” Denise Ford-Mitchell is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach her at 776-9668.

We are so very humbled to be serving Christ through this out reach. PDF versions of the article are also available here:

God’s Blessings, Dan

Coffeehouse offers nontraditional approach

Hey all, I was able to get a digital copy and the rights to repost the article that appeared in the Midland Daily News.  I have only taken the liberty to add links into a few places that were referenced.

Three of Dan Lacher’s passions in life are Christ, coffee and computers.
He’s found a way to combine the three at Journeys, a coffeehouse in the building that houses Messiah Lutheran Church.
Church leaders considered the addition of a coffeehouse for two to three years before Journeys opened. They contacted Third Place Consulting, which guides people interested in setting up coffeehouses in churches. Lacher and his wife had joined Messiah Lutheran in 2002.
“I was just going to be a member of the building committee. ‘I’ll pick colors,’ I thought,” said Lacher, who ended up leading the building committee and now volunteers as manager of Journeys. It’s what he calls an “extreme hobby.”
Lacher is a software engineer who can work from his laptop – which means, since Journeys is WiFi, he can work while at the coffeehouse.
Journeys opened in last February. It’s part of Messiah Lutheran’s latest building expansion. The church building – which was new in 2000, was 36,000 square feet. Almost 50,000 square feet was added, with Journeys in the front of the building, allowing people to access the drive-thru or walk in the coffeehouse door and never enter a church lobby or sanctuary. That was part of the plan, Lacher said.
“The goal of the coffeehouse is to offer a nontraditional church setting…for people who are anxious about being in a traditional church setting,” he said. “We don’t want a coffeehouse in a church. We want a coffeehouse.” People who stop by for coffee and are not threatened by the people or the atmosphere, may eventually ask questions about Messiah Lutheran or Christianity.
“It’s helping people get that one step closer to having that relationship with Jesus Christ,” Lacher said.
Journeys employ four part-time workers. Sixteen others are volunteers. A search is on now to replace a worker who is leaving for a full-time job. “We’re hiring people who already know Jesus Christ and are not afraid to show it,” Lacher said.
At the same time, no one who stops at Journeys will be subject to high-pressure Christian sales tactics.
“It’s just a cup of coffee. No tracts. No ‘Do you know Jesus?’ No ‘You’re going to find salvation that day,’” Lacher said. “We’re not out to convert people with every cup of coffee.”
But when the subject of God comes up as “inevitably it will…it becomes a natural part of the conversation,” Lacher said.
For instance, he said, if a customer has had a bad day, a barista may simply ask if he or she can pray for the person. That may lead to a longer conversation at another time.
Lacher said the addition of the coffeehouse also has created a space for church members to reconnect with each other.
“We knew it was going to happen. It was still amazing to see it happen,” he said. “People come early (before services) to hang out and people stay (after services) to hang out.”
Journeys is open every day: from 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Lacher said live music soon will be added to the coffeehouse a few nights a week. The music will be of any genre, not just what is traditionally thought of as Christian music.
Profits from the coffeehouse – beyond operating expenses – go to Messiah Lutheran Church.
By Sandra Sutton of the Midland Daily News

Volunteer or Servant?

volunteer: a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service

servant: a person working in the service of another

I was struck yesterday by these two words will listening to teachings by Pastor Chris.  He was teaching on a prayer of making us servants.  The key background was from John 13.  The part that really struck a key with me in relation to journeys was the difference between a volunteer and servant.  I have to say now that I don’t want any volunteers in this ministry, that is right, we don’t want volunteers.  If you have a servants heart and have been called by Jesus to serve him through the ministry team of journeys then welcome aboard and let us release you to do what the Lord is calling you to do.

I have from the beginning tried to not call the staff that gives freely of their time volunteers but staff.  I made this a very intentional effort to let everyone know we were one as a team.  I will be changing that statement now, I feel that we are all called to be servants in the ministry team of journeys.  I believe that for all of the servants currently serving.  It is more than a cup of awesome coffee, it is about a changed life.

Thank you to all of the servants who serve.  I have a tough question though, if you are a fully devoted follower of Jesus and you are not serving, are you fully devoted to the cause of Christ in this world?  I urge you to seek your heavenly Father and ask Him to place upon your heart where He would have you serve for His kingdom.  I also pray that you don’t volunteer to fill a position but to serve as our Savior did.