A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Continuing the Entrepreneurial path ...

“That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, [Gal. 1:10; Eph. 6: 5, 6.] and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

Hello Sistren and Brethren!  On our paths mountains suddenly come up to us...we look at it...analyse it...plan a path around or over it and then......The Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus said...about Faith...and mountains...and a groovy Worship song...that has a line 
"And this mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea..."
So as we rightly ponder...we come to the logical and wise conclusion that...We need help!  And so we approach this next step in our walk with Christ,yoked, armoured, and Graced the fact we are co-creators with God...and each day each step gets us closer and the works we do in faith move that mountain...and as co-laborers with Jesus, the work we engage in on a daily basis ought to be done in a particular manner. and Bro Lawrence reminds me of "Excellent"! And Paul reminds me of "Enthusiastically"!  For we believe that when we put our hands to the proverbial plow, we are indeed cultivating and renewing parts of creation. We are the workforce of God’s restoration project. Thus, the work we do should be done with the utmost excellence!

In a way, Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 2:10 when he says that, “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” We are the First Entrepreneur’s masterpiece in the sense that we were created to reflect who He is. We are His image bearers. But when sin entered the picture, it marred His image in us. It darkened the reflection. So He sent His son Jesus to destroy sin and death and recreate us—a renewed humanity. Now, we can once again reflect and re-present His Light...His presence on earth...who He is in His creation. We do this by seeking to accomplish the good things He planned for us to do long ago in the garden. Things like ruling, creating, building, and growing. Things that are excellent. Things that rightly picture the very nature of God.

Therefore, if our work is to be a reflection of the First Entrepreneur, we must strive for excellence in everything we do. Our work is too important to be mediocre, or drab, or half-hearted. Our work is the work of royalty. Our work is a representation of the King. It is bound up in what He is doing in this world.

So, as we take to the streets, the public markets, the halls of power, or the corridors of knowledge, all of our endeavors should be oozing with excellence. We, God’s masterpieces, should be the most creative, most useful, most life-giving purveyors on the planet! Our work is for the Lord and thus, it is never useless. It is restorative, life-giving, and good.

This should motivate us to pursue excellence in all areas of our endeavors. Nothing about our work should be slighted or handled flippantly. In everything we do, everything we produce, everything we create, we should strive to make it worthy of Jesus, the King! In doing this, we properly reflect who God is to a watching world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. captured this idea well when he proclaimed, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
A couple questions to ponder...
Why should we as Christian entrepreneurs and creatives be more motivated to do excellent work than non-Christians?
How is excellence defined in your chosen work?
How, practically, can you become more aware of the areas of your endeavor that need more work to become truly excellent?  PRAY!
Ask God to help you see excellence in your work as a means to reflect Him and His excellence to the world. Pray that God would grant you motivation and strength to pursue excellence in all areas of your work...in excellence being a mountain mover...in, with, and for Him.

A groovy thing to do...to meditate on areas of responsibility in your business or life that you feel you do with excellence. Then, identify areas that you know are not done with excellence. As a relationship builder think about maybe asking a close friend for feedback on the list and work to find the resources you need to work towards excellence in the latter three areas.

Now...we have a very busy rest of the week and weekend...Working with Christian Chefs International in catering The Fish Fest Concert event in Salem this weekend...we will be catering the "Green Room" feeding of the musical guests and their bands and staff...with Friends, supporters and Alumni of CCI and CCA...and also presenting the Christian Culinary Academy at a booth there!  Sharing the Good News that God loves those who love to cook and has provided a Cooking school just for those who love Jesus and those called to a deeper relationship and purpose to seek Him first...and to cook!  Just like Jesus did...in excellence.  When I think about that  AFTER Jesus was resurrected ...he cooked for the disciples!  I bet it was Gooooooooood!
And Pray for us please! As we certainly have an opportunity to share excellence in what we teach and present.  And pray for the 7000 plus who will attend to be encouraged by excellent music and Worship!
We also will be feeding the hungry at the "Sunday Supper"  event sponsored by the community at Our Lady Of Victory church in Seaside, OR.  And other God appointments also....We are so blessed to be called to be the hands and feet, heart and Light of Our Father 

Rock and Roll!  Jesus is the Rock and we Roll!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Practice the Presence...called to co-create part deux

God morning Sistren and Brethren! As we go through an entrepreneurial stage in our walk in the Lord just wanted to share some insight and encouragement...Especially from the Word and from others gone before us i.e. Brother Lawrence and the Apostle Paul...on the Co-mission, the Co-creation, and Co-mmunion....We seek Him in every aspect of our businesses and ministries...God is so good...in ALL things, in ALL ways, and ALL the time!
Perhaps Bro Lawrence was pondering Pauls writings when he wrote:
“That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that GOD would give him somewhat to suffer, when he should grow stronger.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

...As we begin to integrate our faith and our works, we must be prepared for the journey that will most assuredly follow. A journey marked with highs and lows, good and ill, abundance and want...it's called life! A journey that at times is our greatest joy, and at other times, our greatest sorrow. For the decision to operate our ventures in accordance with the principles of God’s Kingdom will undoubtedly bring with it unique challenges. However, to not do so would be to deny our very responsibility as those who have been called to create.  Look and ponder the lives of the Apostles..each uniquely affected, effected, and changed....becoming a living stone, a beacon, and a testimony to the changed life that comes from a living relationship with the Lord Jesus!
For this reason, it is important that we understand our calling to create as also a calling to faithfulness. Every good endeavor that we take up is a work that is to be done unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). As Christians, we recognize that profit is not the only bottom line of our ventures. We are followers of the First "Entrepreneur" if you will. We reflect Him in our creative endeavors. And like Him, we create, build, and nurture for the sake of His glory and the good of others. As such, our labors and practices ought to function out of our deep faith in God and in what He is doing in this world—building His Kingdom. This is to be our faithful practice and as Bro Lawrence calls our "common service".
“That our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for GOD’s sake, which we commonly do for our own. That it was lamentable to see how many people mistook the means for the end, addicting themselves to certain works, which they performed very imperfectly, by reason of their human or selfish regards. That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men,1 and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Accompanying this faithful practice will be a whole gamut of experiences. Some will be what appear to be blessings and God’s favor. These will be seasons of growth, joy, and exhilaration. It will seem that all is right with the world and that God is on the move in and through your work. However, there will also be those experiences which appear to be the ill favor of sin and evil at work against you. These will be times of sorrow, hardship, and doubt. It will look as if God has withdrawn from your labors. All might feel lost.

These are the realities of living and working in a world that is fraught with sin. A world that is in desperate need of reconciliation and restoration. A world that needs the faithful practice of those who have been called to create. God has gifted us and placed us to be culture-creators and attitude testifiers who faithfully practice God’s justice, goodness, truth, and love in all that we do. Our entrepreneurial endeavors become outposts of the Kingdom of God. They are places where people see and feel the presence of God in everything we do and in everything we create. This is why we remain faithful through it all...

How might we start to see our work as a faithful practice?  Start by praying! Pray that God would give us an understanding of His calling on our lives as co-creators and practitioners of faithfulness. Ask that He will help us see the need to remain faithful through every season. Ask Him to grant us strength to endure the highs and lows of following the call to co-create.

We are writing everything down as much as we can remember to...Writing a set of goals for our work that are not focused on outcomes, but are instead focused on faithful practice regardless of circumstances.
Stay faithful...Stay Strong...Stay Faithful...
Did I say Stay Faithful?  ;)

Rock and Roll!
Jesus is the Rock...and we ROLL!

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Practice of the Presence...Called to Co-create...Entrepreneur

Hello Sistren and Brethren! After seeing and hearing about the entrepreneurial adventure of our graduated student Anna...I was inspired and edified as to the ventures so many of us desire and as the Lord inspires and leads us into...and knowing that ALL things work together... and for His glory as His gifts in us are revealed ...manifested...into the world we are placed in...Wow going into "Business"! Whew! Thats being called to create or rather Co-create with Our Creator.  I was also reminded of our past Brother in Christ and in the kitchen Nicolas Herman AKA Brother Lawrence ( see previous blogs about him). Love this pic...

I too can relate as my wife and I are broken more and following His lead into the work He would have us do in the entrepreneurial spirit of co-creating with Him Our Creator in the Holy Spirit Power of Grace as Jesus manifested for us and gave us Himself for us to role-model and follow The Way...in Spirit and Truth...being real, and being honest...I came upon a like minded Sistren and Brethren who celebrate this aspect of who they are in Christ...As I share the ALL things...Its a Love thing its a God thing! 

Its an ALL thing...  All in? All or nothing?...hmmmm...Its ALL His "business"...Amen?

Brother Lawrence once wrote: 
“Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity. ” ( From the Practice of The Presence of God)

"All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need." Acts 4:32-35 (NLT)

For those who are called to create, our faith should impact every aspect of our entrepreneurial endeavors, from our motivations for creating, to the products we choose to create, to how we operate our ventures. As we set out to be an influence in culture through the vehicle of work, we must do so in a manner that captures the heart of God and stitches it together with all of our practices, products, and procedures. Thus, the entirety of our enterprises serve as beacons for a Kingdom that is very different from that of this world.

Obviously, this is both a counter-intuitive and a counter-cultural effort. However, that is what our faith is all about. It’s about living into a reality that is beyond our senses, but is, at the same time, no less real than the air we breathe. As the writer to the Hebrews explains, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). Our faith, put into practice in all of our work, brings to life the realities of God’s unseen, but very present, Kingdom.

This is the picture we get of the Church in its infancy from our text above. In these early Christian communities, much was being done that spoke to the realities of God’s Kingdom here on earth. For they believed that God had done something amazing in the person of Jesus Christ. They believed that He was the Messiah—the one whom God was sending to reorder the world and all of history. As such, they began to live out that reality. Their faith informed everything they did. It led them to sell all they had and share it with one another. It led them to give sacrificially and generously. It led them to care for those less fortunate than themselves.

This ought to serve as an example for us today. As our faith is integrated into every aspect of our life, works, and entrepreneurial endeavors, it ought to transform how we work. For it is not enough that we put a Bible verse on our packaging or an ichthus on our website. The integration of our faith must go deeper than that if we are to be His Light to a watching world. We must be willing to enter into the nitty gritty of our organizations and ask tough questions about faith and practice. Questions such as, “Does our belief in justice play a role in how we choose pay, benefits, and even health care options for our employees? Is the compensation we offer in-line with our understanding that ‘those who work deserve their pay’ (Luke 10:7b)? Are we making ethical decisions when it comes to the materials we purchase? Do we truly care for our employees? Do we have their best interest in mind (Philippians 2:4)?”

All this we do for the sake of modeling the Kingdom to a world without faith to see it. In other words, our work makes visible a Kingdom which is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. This cannot happen if our faith is not fully integrated into the entirety of our work. Work to be Salt and His Light for the Kingdom today! 

How have you seen the Lord use your work in the past to reveal the Kingdom to others? 

How might the Lord be calling you to use your creative endeavors today to more clearly reveal the Kingdom to your customers, employees, and partners? 

“God, help me to see the need for all aspects of my life, job, ad-venture to be touched by my faith. Help me to see what I am doing as communicating the reality of who You are and what You are doing in this world. God, strengthen me to ask tough questions of my venture and to respond in faith. Amen.”

Rock and Roll!

Jesus is the Rock...and we Roll!

Friday, June 23, 2017

The practice of the presence...Acts...Amen?

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
Brother Lawrence

     One of the special things I love about my wife...her continual conversation and verbal communication and as a co-Chef our conversations are like those we would have in the kitchens of our world...things said...understood, and celebrated as we come together in co-creating culinary memories...giving praise , honor, and glory to Our Father Son and Holy Spirit...It is like a soundtrack of our lives...
     So I just want to encourage you all to keep in communication...Communion if you will, With, For and Of Our Lord and Master...and let it lead into actions...Words alone...thoughts alone...are not enough...Actions...all that leads to the fruits of our connectedness in the Vine...Good Fruit.  Taste and See!  I do pray that I can recieve words to share, thoughts an prayers to share...actions...to share...that lead to Fruit...to share...
     The fish and bread that fed the multitudes were things...stuff...but when the Words of the story, the recollections (thoughts) of the events, and actions when we re-create that moment in our community sharing celebrating of the meal He wanted so much to share with His friends...He continues to want to share with us...
     It's groovy Summer time schools are out, vacations are being planned and enjoyed...respite and rejoicing are all over.  God's nature...the beauty of the world and the miracle of creation we get to walk in each day...the moment we get to breathe in His presence...and exhale His Life present in us...those who chose!  For those who chose the relationship with the Living Son of God Jesus there is not just an eternity but a Now...THIS is the day...Amen?
Choose wisely chuckling...I am reminded by that line from a movie you all may be acquainted with and as summer time is one for movies as many  are off for the summer looking for entertainment...(and hopefully some groovy missions work  ;)
     ...Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade  where the search is on for the Holy Grail...in the ending scenes the hero and bad guys encountered a Grail Knight who spoke the line..."But choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you..."

Choose wisely seek Wisdom from God...Lady Wisdom is calling out to share it with us...

Rock and Roll!

Jesus is the Rock and we Roll!

OK here's a couple clips Pass the Popcorn! Enjoy!



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Call for you...line 1...

God Morning! Our Father doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED! funny after I wrote this down I got a un-requested confirmation from Chef Patrick on the faces book...We just gotta be willing...and like Our Father who's yes is Amen....So this morning as I have my Coffee with Jesus I say " OK what are we gonna do today?" I hear "Just be ready, I go before you"...
So Blessed this "Our Father's Day" Created in His image got a word today about that...We were created with His nature so to speak His DNA coursing through us spiritually ...in our relationship with the person Of God Jesus who put His "touch" on us ...New every day as I was reminded by Pastor Lovelady this morning...
Wow lots of good encouragement including encouragement about beng an encourager! Wow JOL! ( Joy of the Lord)
Pondering God's creative spirit in us as He speaks and leads and guides us into a ministry....Yeah Groovy Graham Cooke posted this which was...encouraging and edifying: Your testimony is the beginning of your ministry. Every time you set someone free, that’s revenge. The enemy has to live to regret that he ever messed with you. You have to make him pay again, and again, and again, and again. You have to rub his nose in it! That is really what generates our ambition in the Kingdom.
(from Living Your Truest Identity)
So I just wanted to encourage you to read the Acts of the Apostles....trying to keep up with some other brethren and Sistren who are doing likewise...its good to read learn and share...I am hoping that may happen here...

Oh! Also wanted to start posting some groovy quotes from the "patron Saint" of food service folks. Brother Lawrence from "The Practice of the Presence of God" ( that's what its all about amen?) Try this one on for size...
“Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity. ”
Brother Lawrence

Rock and Roll...!...Jesus is the Rock!...and we ROLL!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summmmmer tiiiime and the livin' is eas...er Buzzzzzy!

That is a groovy old song

Ella and Satchmo...grooooovy (link)

thinking about for some...the lazy hazy days of summer vacations and warmer weather....well for some it is a time to get busier! God has us on a Co-Mission! He never changes, stops, or as Jesus showed us He is the Lord of the Sabbath! I love the Acts it is a spiritual and historical heritage of what obedient servants did committed to His working through them. Not just 24-7 more like 25-8! Haha that is how I describe having/running a restaurant...can I get a big Amen?

...So...I encourage you to read the Acts....I am sharing a little word about them as we Rock and Roll along on His Path, His Way, and in His Light, Truth and Life ....lets roll to Ch 12...

and ponder ( Thank you Pastor Kelly!)

"Acts 12. satan is active. He gets some licks in. But God ultimately wins and wins bigly! James is killed by Herod. Peter is arrested and is scheduled to die next. God's people pray. An angel is sent to miraculously deliver Peter. Herod is killed by God for his pride and blasphemy. Don't quit when Satan gets a few licks in. Pray and keep pushing forward. We will ultimately win. Go get your next victory!"

Amen and Amen! Go!.. the first two letters in GOD...and get it!

Rock and Roll Sisters and Brothers!

Jesus is the Rock...and we ROLL!

Chef Leo

In times like these its good to know there have always been...Times like these...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Summer everyone!

This has been an amazing winter and fall seasons all folding into a new "season" of life...or lives conjoining together as mine and my new Wife Chef Lissette have been growing into...God is Good! And as many know Chef Ira and new Wife Abby were married this spring also!  Making ALL things New!  ...and our ultimate testimony is that we are living proof of that...This would not be... unless God was wholeheartedly in it!  Wow...amazing...Just as the Christian Culinary Academy Class of 2016-17 steps into a new season  we rejoice with them and with you who have supported continue and pray for all that Our Father is doing in lives and through the gifts He gave us to do that...If any of you has not received a recent CCI Newsletter in your email we are using a new server.  This is also a reminder to resubscribe to the Newsletter and to be encouraged that your prayers for us have worked!  And will continue as God never changes His Love ...
So ...as we continue to seek first the Kingdom of God...and of Him first in our lives, our relationship with Him grows exponentially as does ours in our marriages...
Praying you all are being touched and held in His Love...Just wanted to share some good words from His Word...We thank you for being ..co-believers and co-"missioned" with His Great commission to "God and make disciples..." In our going and coming we all know the importance and blessing of running to and diving into the Word of God and as we "Act" on our parts it is good to read of those "Acts" of the apostles...We encourage you to do so... Taste and See!  That God is good!  
From Good input from Pastor Kelly Lineberry on chapters 9, 10 and 11 of Acts ...God Bless and Rock and Roll!  Jesus is the Rock and we Roll!
Acts 9. What do you do when you realize you are wrong? I'm thinking there are areas in our life where we are wrong and God is trying to get our attention to guide us into truth and a better way. We all need to be teachable. Saul was so wrong and so blind to it that God had to knock him off his high horse, shine a bright light in his eyes and physically blind him to get his attention! 
Sometimes we are so entrenched on a certain position with people and situations. Sometimes we are stubborn at the wrong times and in the wrong ways. Sometimes we are fighting God and His will.
When Saul (later named the Apostle Paul) finally realized he was wrong he asked this amazing question, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" We might want to ask that as well. Jesus is Lord and we should acknowledge that. Then we should discover what He wants us to do, and then we should do it. Give God your yes! It is the very best thing you can do with your life.
Acts 10. This chapter gives us the details of a huge and controversial shift in the church. God uses Peter and a Roman soldier to declare that the Law and the Old Covenant have been fulfilled. There is a new covenant and a new way now. The blood of Jesus cleanses all, and anyone, who believes on Him. It took people of prayer and fasting, angels appearing, visions and Holy Spirit speaking clearly to get this to happen. When Peter entered Cornelius' house he began to teach them about Jesus, His love, His power, His death and resurrection ... then Holy Spirit came and filled them all and they all began to speak in tongues and worship God. That was the big evidence that Gentiles were included and accepted in the church without any works of the law. Still today the anointing and presence of Holy Spirit reveals many things to us. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and He dwells within us to lead, guide, comfort and empower. Anyone can be saved! Anyone can be filled with Holy Spirit!

Acts 11. Contention arose in the church against Peter. Tradition was broken and some Apostles and brethren were concerned and wanted to defend tradition. The great thing is they had a conversation with Peter and listened to his explanation. After hearing about the vision, the words of God, the angel and the baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied with speaking in tongues ... they stopped the contention and glorified God for the work of salvation He was doing in other people groups!
That is a great pattern still today when contention arises in the church or even in relationships. Stop, have a conversation or two, or three ... listen to each other's heart. Consider the motives and what God is doing, and work it out until you have unity again.
It took many more conversations, prayer meetings, experiences, adjustments ... but eventually the church grew, people came together, ministry expanded and they continued to work on unity and the progression of God's will. God is moving. He does new things. He reaches out to all people. He has new emphasis and new methods quite often. It is true that God doesn't change personally but we see in scriptures that His methods and movements and directives change quite often. Think about the differences from Adam to Abraham to Moses to David to Isaiah to Jeremiah to Daniel to John the Baptist to Jesus to Paul to Constantine to Martin Luther to Azusa Street to all the changes in the last 100 years ... (I know I skipped a bunch but you get the idea)
Core Biblical doctrines never change but many other things do, traditions sometimes change ... keep having lots of conversations. Don't allow contentions to grow. Work hard to understand and be in step with God. Work hard on unity. Don't change because of emotions or society but do change because of the Holy Spirit's directives and leading.