[TBT] Life Shaping Scripture

Throwback Thursday Blog

Brittany and I were recently interviewed and one of the questions that was given to us was this:

What scriptures has God used in shaping your life?”

During my young life, there have been a few of these scriptures. Matthew 6:33 stuck out to me during my teenage years when I was battling my own desires. Growing up, I remember clearly being rebuked and convicted by Luke 17:2That verse taught me the importance of keeping myself in check around others at a very early age. However, instead of these examples, I referenced 2 Corinthians 1:20-22:

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

This verse first laid it’s roots in my heart when I was playing for a band called The RemnantWe’d recorded a song called Promises. (Click here if you’d like to listen to it.) The first verse and chorus go like this:

God of truth, there are no lies, in all your speech, Your Word is life
Your heart is good, steadfast in love, You’re excellent, in all wisdom

All my trust is in what You have said
Standing firm on all You have promised

…and here we are four years later. I love how in so few words Paul acknowledges such great truth that is used to wipe away fear from the past, present, and future.

So now it’s your turn! What scriptures has God used in your life? What truth are you clinging fast to? 

We’ve got room…

So, we’ve got this room in our home. It’s got a bed; A bunk bed, to be specific. Theoretically the room could fit about three bunk beds in it, although you’d have space for nothing else. (This all to say the room is roughly 8x10ft.) Over the past three years we’ve had five different friends live in it for six months or longer. We’ve had countless other friends spend the night in it, and Brittany and I have even bunked there once or twice while guests used our room!

Part of our ministry in Taipei is hosting people. For this purpose, our tiny room has worked really well. At the start of this month, our good friend, Emily returned back to her home state of Minnesota after spending nine months with us (living in the room). It was quite a treat being able to host Emily. Fresh out of high school, she brought energy and a big smile to our home and our ministry here in Ximen. As parents, we were blessed to have Emily as a unique role model to our daughter, Kennedy. Being the artist that she is, Emily would often show Kennedy what she was making/painting/drawing and encourage her to participate too. Needless to say, Kennedy’s taken up a love for arts and crafts that her mother nor I can really say we have.

However, now that Emily has left, Brittany and I decided to repurpose this room. You see, Kennedy’s shared a room with Brittany and I for the last four years and now we’d like to give Kennedy a space of her own. Not to worry, we have another room just like this one, right across the hall. We still love hosting and will continue to… We just need to make some space. Just like the seasons change, so do our lives, and this seems like the change of seasons for the room.

As we cleaned and moved Kennedy’s things into this room I started to mourn giving up this opportunity. I was reflecting on how we’d been blessed with such a big home (for Ximen’s standards) and how it was so great to be able to make room and bless others with our home. Thankfully, my mourning was cut short by my wise and wonderful wife who quickly reminded me that we’ve been blessed with more than physical rooms. Perhaps the coming months mean making room and letting others into our time, work, day to day? What if we made space to chat with the guy sitting next to us at our local coffee shops? What about the person who’s been begging to have lunch with you? Perhaps I can clear up some room to invite someone into my weekend’s activities?

I know my God has blessed me and so I bless others. Count your blessings and get out there! Fill those rooms up!

Pay It Forward

The past two weeks have been pretty busy for Justin and I! The marketing team at Aroma has been operating on a new schedule this year. We’re following a six weeks on and two weeks off schedule. What that means is that each eight weeks, we spend the first two looking back and evaluating the last six weeks and then brainstorming and preparing for the following six. During the six weeks on, we have a theme, or specific campaign. During the two weeks off, Aroma has time to simply be a coffee shop and cafe. So far, we like this process. It’s allowing us more time to focus on what we’re learning, improve, and reflect. It also allows our campaigns to be stronger and more worthwhile.

Starting April 2nd, our new theme for the following six weeks on is Pay It Forward. Around this time last year, Aroma launched a Pay It Forward initiative that is still going. Initially, it was received with excitement, but as the year progressed, we’ve seen less and less interest. The idea was that patrons could buy anything off the menu and pin the receipt up on a cork board, but despite being friendly and generous to their friends, Pay It Forward isn’t a very known concept here. Giving to a stranger can sometimes seem very odd. Receipts look like, well… receipts, and the path to the board was awkward and not easily accessible.

At the Aroma we believe that taking care of one another is one way for others to smell, become, and spread Christ, so naturally we wanted to take this old campaign and breathe some new life into it. We chose specific menu items to create ‘Pay It Forward meal and drink sets’ and placed the cork board at the front of the store in an area where people often browse the menu. We hope this will make it easier for people who might otherwise feel awkward picking up a freebie and give our customers a better chance to bless others through a simple gift.

Additionally, the baristas at Aroma have chosen three charities they would like to support; The Garden of Hope Foundation, The Child Welfare League Foundation and Taiwan Happy Learning Association. From April 3-28, customers will have the opportunity to help Aroma pay it forward. By using coffee beans, customers can vote for their favorite charity, and at the end of the time, Aroma will make a donation to the winning charity. Part of the donation will come directly from Pay It Forward meal and drink sets that patrons can purchase and hang up, but we’ll also be giving away 15% of our profits from International Pay It Forward Day which is April 28th!

We are so excited to help better teach our community what it means to bless people through paying it forward, and hope that it won’t just stop here. We are also excited to have the opportunity to empower the staff to support local causes they believe in. Hey, we even hope that you’ll get excited about this with us.

Please keep us, and this campaign, in your prayers as we move forward with it! 

* * * Check back in a few weeks to see pictures and results! * * *

He IS Risen!

Today is the day we celebrate the resurrected King. This is what I was reminded of during our Easter service at Aroma Church.

If Jesus had just died as a sacrificial atonement for our sins that would have been enough. Yet, we serve a God who doesn’t settle for the bare minimum. Jesus came back! His resurrection shows us he’s in control. He’s not just here to save us, he’s here to remove our sins forever. Through his resurrection we are continuously transformed from one degree of glory to the next. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

What truth were you reminded of during this Easter season?