A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 2014

From the Burner
 Life Lessons from Christian Chefs?

"When you work, you work hard!
When you PRAY, God works."

                              - Hudson Taylor

    "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." -James 15:16

Boy, I know about "WORK," as I am sure you do too. I have always been a 110% person. What do you think Hudson Taylor was talking about? I know my Lord has directed, and continues to direct, my life and career as a cook and as a servant of Christ. But, I must confess, an awful lot of my work was done by "self" at work. I knew my Lord was my strength and source of wisdom BUT I often was so BUSY I left Him on the back burner, so to speak. How easy it is to skip that one quiet time and most of all the precious time of prayer. How PRIDEFUL it is for us to think WE can move in our own power. Only the Lord can give us the wisdom and strength to carry on.

I have a prison story to share to illustrate my point. I retired from being a Prison Chef a few years back. I used to work with up to 70 inmate workers and maybe, if I was lucky, a fellow paid cook. We had no guards in the kitchen with us. Needless to say, this was a very stressful job at times. Consider what it would be like in this kind of setting if shipments didn't arrive on time, workers rioted, food did not get out on time, or equipment malfunctioned. So many factors can affect the stress level in the kitchen. It was MY job to keep things running smoothly.

One day, it seemed everything that could go wrong did. Then to make things worse, my boss was having a real difficult day himself dealing with all the challenges. He got on my case. Well, I just could not take anymore pressure so I slipped into the walk-in and started to cry out of pure exhaustion and frustration. I have been a Christian for many years, but I had been too busy to spend time with my Lord that day. Low and behold, the Lord sent my fellow cook in to me. My dear friend, Cory, was also a Christian. He whipped out his trusty New Testament with Psalms and began to read to me. He gave me a gift of scripture which was just what I needed to hear. As Cory read, he would stop after each verse and say a sentence prayer about the content. This incident changed my life. Let me share that precious gift of scripture with you.

    "1 I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
    2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
    He is my shield, the strength of my
    salvation, and my stronghold.
    3 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    for he saves me from my enemies."
    -Psalm 18 (New Living Translation)

Since that day, I carried a pretty little polished stone in my uniform pocket to remind me of Christ, my rock. When I would be dealing with the various situations at work, I would often have my hand in my pocket and hold onto that rock, my reminder of who my real boss was. Jesus Christ!

Have you ever prayed back scripture to God? What a blessing it is. Have you ever thought of sharing scripture as a "GIFT" with a fellow worker? He might be a baby Christian in need for just such a gift. Or, he could be a mature Christian like me, in need of encouragement at that moment. What Cory did for me that day was a "gift" beyond measure. We were allowed to carry little testaments in our uniform pockets as long as we did not bring up the subject. The inmates always wondered what made Cory and I so different from most of the other "paid cooks." We could then share and pray with them when they asked questions, as long as it did not interfere with getting our job done in a timely manner. Often my men would ask me about the pretty shiny pebble I always carried. Word got around about my faith in Christ. I prayed with many men in that walk-in myself.

"Thank you Jesus, for your gracious, faithful, care of this servant of yours."

Diane Boone

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 2014

From the Burner
Life Lessons from Christian Chefs

When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like "What?!"
When life gives you lemons use as an all-natural, organic astringent…
When life gives you Lemons make…a world of fantastic things! 

Wow…as my mind reels and my taste buds begin to drool, I think of how immense the smallish fruit can be. It’s like the ant who can lift 50 times its body weight, and we gain a respect for that little creation. As a food lover I see God’s creations in all its diversity of texture, color, and flavor.  When we look at the lemon, it is beautifully bright and yellow; the healing color of the sun, the color of brightness, and inspiring lemon flavor. Yet, beneath the beauty, the freshness of aromatic brightness is the taste of….sour. A flavor profile that moves the very muscles and tendons in our faces into a scrunch, and yet, in the twitching musculature, a smile usually erupts.

Yes the lemon is a source of an acid—ooooo… sounds dangerous! Citric acid, sharp and powerful; yet, even before the knowledge of vitamins, lemon juice was a known source of healing. No scurvy no more! It cleans, it whitens, and brightens! It cooks proteins like fish to make them tasty and safe!  Vitamin C has shown cancer healing properties! The lemon was used even by the ancients to lighten, exfoliate, and tone skin. I’m beginning to wonder, is there anything this fruit can’t do? 

Yet, when we get a “lemon” the association is something that leaves a sour taste in our mouth, but why is that? It seems to me that ALL things work together for the good for those who are called to His purpose, amen?  But sometimes we have to go beyond the many levels of who, or what, we are. So much of the lemon is on the surface: scent, flavor (in the oils), color (that pleases the eye). Similarly, also we have a “presentation side,” and our attitude becomes a sweet smelling sacrifice unto the Lord, and the essence of flavor seasoning, and infusing those around us.

But then we go a level down, to the fruit. Now there is another wow factor. If I had tons of room to talk about the fruit mentioned in the Bible, we’d be here for quite a while. I encourage you to look up fruit and marvel at the depth of teaching and lessons; from the very beginning of the Bible to the very last book fruit is mentioned. Jesus Himself mentioned it with a depth of meaning. One example is in John 15:16:  “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.”

Let’s go back to our lovely lemon. As the old song bespoke, “Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.“  We shouldn’t say impossible, for as “With God ALL things are possible,” we can make that sour fruit and use it, create with it, sweeten it.

Fruit is the describer of what the Holy Spirit indwells us with. The Fruit of the Spirit sweetens all things with love. And so when life gives us lemons, don't ask why, but ask God how He can use them to cleanse and exfoliate us of the oily, greasy buildup in our lives, and sweeten us with Love. 

"I'm never quite confident I can do what God wants me to. In fact, I'm certain I can't unless God does something. But the beautiful thing is, he does do something. … Time and again. -- Carol Cymbal

Chef Leo Griego

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 2014

The Soul of an Apprentice 

We all know people who are difficult. We meet them where we work and where we live. They make everything, well, difficult.

It is hard to get things done when we have to work with difficult people. Instead of smooth sailing, our boat seems to be stuck in a perpetual storm, and we have to spend inordinate amounts of time keeping excess water out of the boat, lest we drown. 

What causes people to be difficult? The Bible identifies two reasons: self-seeking and envy.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive [literally, easily entreated], full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:13-4:1, NIV).

Those who are self-seeking think about themselves more than others, and as a result they are unwilling to help others when needed. Instead of being easily entreated and considerate, they consider their own interests above all. It is not a recipe for harmony.

Paul provides a solution how people can become easy to work with:  

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Phil 2:1-5, NIV).

Humility is the answer to self-seeking. Humility causes us to consider the interests of others and as a result we become one in spirit and purpose. Thus united, we are always ready to help others as we seek to maintain that unity, instead of seeking to please only ourselves at the expense of others.   

Susanna Krizo

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 2014

Blessed and Prosperous New Year! This coming year here on Master's Apprentice we will focus on discipleship and becoming more like our Master in both body and spirit. We will go through the Sermon of the Mount verse by verse, for it is here we find our Master's instructions to us in the most precise and concise form. 

We'll begin with the Beatitudes. 

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. 

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. 

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.  

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God. 

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matt 5:1-12, NIV)

This list is often considered impossible, a standard that is too high. And it is, from a human point of view. But we are no longer mere humans (1 Cor 3:3); we have been born again and become new creations, holy within and without; we have crucified the flesh with its desires, and live now by the power of the Spirit who dwells within us (Gal 5). That which is impossible for humans is possible for God (Mark 10:27).

What is required of the disciples of Jesus?

1. Poverty of spirit. This does not refer to a gloomy disposition. Instead, the one who is poor in spirit recognizes his own insufficiency wherefore he seeks wisdom and understanding from God.

"This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word (Isa 66:2 NIV).

Those who are poor in spirit, will receive the Kingdom of God, which God promised to those who love him (Jas 2:5).

2. Those who mourn. No, we are not attending a perpetual funeral; those who mourn, mourn because of sin.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (Jas 4:6-10, NIV).

Those who mourn will be comforted, their tears will turn into joy, for our God is a God of comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4).

3. The meek. Meekness isn't equivalent to fear or timidity; those who are meek trust in God. 

But I will leave within you
the meek and humble,
who trust in the name of the LORD 

(Zeph 3:12, NIV).

Those who trust in God's promise, and patiently wait for the promise to be fulfilled, will inherit the New Earth (Heb 6:15).

4. Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. Ever been so hungry that you felt like fainting? That's how we should feel about God's righteousness. We should seek to fill ourselves with God's righteousness, instead of all the world has to offer.

 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:31-34, NIV).

Those who seek righteousness will be filled.

5. Mercy.
A popular misconception is that being merciful is optional; it isn't.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (Jas 2:12-17, NIV).

Those who show mercy to the poor and the hungry will themselves receive mercy from God.

6. Pure in heart. The moment we came to God and confessed our faith in Jesus, our hearts were purified by the Holy Spirit. 

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith (Acts 15:6-9, NIV).

Those whose hearts are pure will see God. 

7. Peacemaker. Our Master is the Prince of Peace; he called us to create peace.

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Cor 13:11, NIV).

Those who create peace will be called the sons and daughters of God, for they live according to the Spirit instead of following the flesh.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom 8:12-14, NIV). 

8. Persecution. That you don't get your way doesn't mean you're being persecuted; it means you are being selfish. Real persecution is always a result of godly living.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings-what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:10-12, NIV).

If you endure persecution, blessed are you for yours is the kingdom of Heaven.

In conclusion, disciples of Jesus are humble, they do not rejoice over evil, they seek righteousness, they are merciful, they love from a pure heart, they create peace, and they endure persecution blessing those who hate them. 

Susanna Krizo