Welcome and thank you!

Welcome! And thank you for your continued support!

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's a heart issue

I have been daily, and even more frequently, reminded that when it comes to searching after God, being transformed into His image with my desires being His desires, and seeking wisdom that it always comes down to the heart. Psalm 139:23 & 24

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
How beautifully simple, to realize what I should be praying for is that he takes my heart and works on it... and that is my prayer.

My brother and sister were home for the Memorial Weekend. It is difficult being away from them... they left me here in Greenville, to take care of the parents. Ha! Everyone knows they still take care of me. I had some good sibling time with them... and as I slept on the floor of my room, with my sister up in my bed, we both shared the same vigor and complete joy that we have found in our walk with Christ. We both expressed the same feelings of how this journey on the narrow, difficult road should be looked at as an adventure. Our lives are so boring and mundane... but with Christ, the day-dreamer wakes up and is brought to life. As we work out the calling to not conform to the ways of the world, being set apart by Christ, it can get very difficult and be very burdening... but when we begin to cast out troubles and our worries on Him and truly trust Him in all the ways He wants to provide for us, it's very adventurous. James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
As we talked I was comforted that I get to live out this adventure with my family and my friends.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Update May 2012

Hello! God has been doing a lot here... a lot. We have raised all the funds for our elevator campaign! We are still fundraising for the completion of the construction upstairs... which includes a 23,000 heating and cooling system. But I have faith that God will provide. We are planning a great event though to help raise funds... an art auction! It will be July 5th starting at 6pm. We already have great pieces to be auctioned off, I am really excited about this event, and the Greenville Heritage Days is sponsoring us as their kick-off event for Heritage Days (Greenville's biggest community event).

I am still learning to be patient and fully trust in Him, that His ways are good and His timing is perfect. Especially with finances... I am still very low on support and am really struggling to meet all of my debts (my only debts being $75,000 of student loans). I am really trusting Him on this! I will be revamping my support soon, so I hope when you get info in the mail that you take the time to check it out! Especially now that we have online donating!

I have been incredibly busy... but it has been so good. Not only with everything that has been going on at Fresh Grounds... but there have been many other opportunities that have presented themselves. Such as, I am now serving as the Youth Leader for my church, alongside my best friend Terra. It is completely volunteer, but I love our youth in the church and couldn't be happier to serve in that way! I also started a young adult bible study at Fresh Grounds on Tuesday nights and we went from 4 people to an average of 15 if not more! And boy has God been moving in our hearts! It has been very challenging for all of us and it has allowed for some great growth! I absolutely love the fellowship that happens... we usually start at 8 and we are struggling to say goodbye and go our separate ways by 11 or 11:30!

I also founded the Greenville Opportunities Team (GO Team) and serve as President. The group was formed to get younger people involved in whats happening in the community. It has already out grown meeting in the conference room that we have at Fresh Grounds and we were given the opportunity to program and host the 175th anniversary of Greenville, September 2013! Me and my GO Team have also joined in with recent initiatives to bridge the gap between our local private college, Thiel and the surrounding communities. In addition to that I am also serving as President of the Penn-Ohio Collaboration of the Arts (POCA), which is an over-arching committee to help connect the disconnected artist individuals, artists groups and organizations in our region.

A lot of work is being done... I am strangely calm about it all... I am finding strength and peace from God, which gives me assurance that everything that I have been getting involved in are within His will... and I really pray that God can use me in those places and groups to glorify Him! I ask that you continue to pray for the ministry that is happening here at Fresh Grounds... and that you continue to pray for me and my heart, that I am able to continue to serve God and be honoring to Him. Thank you! If you want to know more about the things that I am doing, feel free to shoot me an email! ben@freshgroundscoffeehouse.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week 2

Here is a list of what I will be focusing on during each day this week:
Sunday: Adoration
Monday: Time of Confession
Tuesday: Time of giving thanks
Wednesday: Supplication - Praying for finances (continued financial support, finances for Downtown Ministries, and more specifically for the Art Program and Elevator fund) Also praying that we are good stewards of the finances he has provided us.
Thursday: Supplication - Praying to always remember not to approach anything in our own strength, but in His.
Friday: Supplication - Praying for someone to step up and offer assistance in the growth of the art program
Saturday: Listen

I had the opportunity this past Saturday and Sunday to visit my old church in Michigan, Northridge. I got to go to a service on Saturday night and Sunday morning I went with my best friends from Michigan, the Roughley girls, back to Northridge for a prayer meeting for Rachel Roughley who is going to Togo on a missions trip for 18 days. During that prayer meeting one of the leaders read from Luke 9. It was awesome that I got to go, and that I was able to take so much from it as well. Here is what it says, verses 1-6
; "And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them. And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere."
Later in the same Chapter verses 37-43: "On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out. 'Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.' Jesus answered, 'O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.' While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground, and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God."
Several things that I pulled from this: He has equipped us to do his work so that all are astonished at the majesty of God... how sad it is at how often we forget this, which is why the disciples were unable to cast out the demon in the boy. I pray constantly that I remember the strength is in him and that he has given us his Holy Spirit, who has the power to move mountains.
Although I am not leaving the country to do missions, missions is what we are all called to, as believers. I like the beginning of the Chapter where says to take nothing for your journey and it begins to list material things that we often think we need to do his work. This is a great reminder that he is sufficient and challenges me to continue in faith that he will provide.
I had a good time visiting family in Detroit... and now I am ready to continue to serve him in my community of Greenville, Pa.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

V8 and some focus

In the past I used to forget about the horrible taste of V8, and get a weird sudden craving for some Tomato Juice. I would buy a can, take a sip, and instantly remember. Gross! I have been drinking it every day now since I began the fast, and it is quickly growing on me. It is important that I still get the nutrients that I need to continue living, and V8 in its %100 goodness does the trick. Yesterday I got so excited when I got a little chunk in the juice that I could chew on!!

I am starting to experience some haziness... I think I need to drink some soy milk for proteins. Oddly, even through the haze I am finding extreme clarity through prayer. Through this, I am able to be extremely intentional in my prayers and what some times tends to be out of focus, is not coming clearer. I am actively seeking God's will right now, and trying to remind myself constantly to put aside my selfish desires, in order to bring glory to Him through what He has me doing at Fresh Grounds.
I am so appreciative of those who have joined me in this... I really am praying to that I am able to continue to eat healthy and exercise regularly so that my previous lack of physical fitness does not negatively effect my ability to do God's work. It is relevant even in a physical aspect that when you put garbage in, garbage comes out.
I continue to look forward to what God is doing in my heart, and how He is drawing me closer to Him. How exciting it is to have the Hope of Christ! and what a privilege it is to be used by Him!
I wont be in the coffee shop this week due to my Grandmothers passing. I will be up in Detroit for the weekend with my family. I am excited for this time that I get to spend with them, I don't get to see this side very often. Thank you for your prayers for my family. I have been reflecting on how much God can use someone to show others who He is, like He did with my Grandma and Grandpa. I want to be more like that.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

3 week fast

Today marks the beginning of the three week fast! (I am not going to realize how hungry I am until probably tomorrow or Tuesday) But I am excited for this time of prayer.
Here is a list of what I will be focusing on during each day this week:
Sunday: Adoration
Monday: Time of Confession
Tuesday: Time of giving thanks
Wednesday: Supplication - Praying for unity and wisdom for Downtown Ministries
Thursday: Supplication - Praying for guidance and his will for the Art Program
Friday: Supplication - Praying for the preparation of my heart for His work, and for the hearts of those who will be apart of what He can do through the Art Ministry
Saturday: Listen

I would love to hear back from anyone who is joining me on this! Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I must start off by saying Thank You! to everyone who has supported me through prayer and finances throughout this pass year! I am so incredibly thankful for you. I am preparing for another year at Fresh Grounds. I am so amazed at what God has done this past year, that there is no possible way I would ever want to be doing anything else. God has allowed me to become a missionary to my community, and it is the greatest thing that I have gotten a chance to participate in. I am still becoming fully immersed in this life of servitude and because of the One I am serving, it has been most fulfilling.

This past year God has allowed me to bare witness to countless people in my community and surrounding communities. I have taken many of the youth volunteers here under my wing and have enjoyed every chance I get to spend in fellowship with them. I got to take on a youth worker, who is also a talented artist, as an apprentice this summer and then onto a week long educational trip to Washington D.C. As an artist, I love being around these extraordinarily imaginative and creative students and it is such a blessing.

We were able to put on a successful Arts Festival and will be magnifying it this upcoming year. Fresh Grounds was able to play a role in our communities Heritage Days. We have hosted the local community theater to several benefit performances, I was able to complete 10 successful art courses through Fresh Grounds and also through the local college, along with so many other programs and events throughout this year, and the community has embraced this ministry. We give all the Glory to God and we do what we do so that our town may know who God is.

There are so many stories we get to share with the people who walk through our door, but always the greatest of these, is the story of our Lord Jesus. God is doing some big things here in our small town. A couple from Hermitage came into the coffeeshop the other day and shared this with Marty, my boss. They were down in Pittsburgh at a doctors office, after being referred there from a local doctor. As they were in the waiting room they met another couple from Youngstown who had also been referred by the same doctor. After realizing this, the two couples decided to meet up again after this appointment. The couple from Hermitage suggested a coffeeshop in Greenville called Fresh Grounds that they could meet at the next time they had an appointment with our local doctor. The other couple looked surprised and excited as they exclaimed that they knew exactly of Fresh Grounds! To both of the couples surprised another couple waiting in the same waiting room chimed in that they two knew of Fresh Grounds.

I ask that you pray for Fresh Grounds, that we may continue to stay faithful to our purpose, and that God continues to use this place for His glory! I also ask that you please pray for me as I jump into another year, and that He may use my talents for His grater purposes. I am still teaching classes and continuing to grow the Art Program here with the hopeful intent of doing Art Ministry at Fresh Grounds full-time, stepping out from Barista as full-time evening manager. We are still in need of an elevator which will allow us to use the 2nd floor, which will be for the Art Program studio and gallery. We had a gentleman come into Fresh Grounds a couple months ago with the intentions of donating the rest of the $18,000 needed for the elevator, but a month later, this was no longer the case. I am continuing to stand faithful and I am always praying that my desires line up with God's desires and that He will be able to use me in the ways that He has gifted me. So I am taking this discouragement and allowing God to use it for His grater purpose of patience on what great things He can do.

I ask that you please continue to support me in prayer. Starting January 8th, my parents and myself will be fasting for three weeks in prayer for the Art Program. I would ask that anyone who is interested please join, even just in prayer. My friend Terra will be fasting for a couple days with us, and I am greatly encouraged by this. I will be sending out a daily prayer request each day of the three week fast. We will only allow ourselves 100% juice (and possibly pita bread). Recently, I was able to join in on our tri-county area's first ever Artist Round Table. About 20 artist from the surrounding areas came together to discuss the arts in our community. I was the only representative from Greenville, and I got to meet a lot of new people. A lot of the people at the meeting have heard of Fresh Grounds and specifically my plans for the art ministry. This meeting was so very encouraging and I have good hopes for what can come from our gathering and future gatherings. God has definitely placed these things on my heart and so that is the reason for me coming to Him through fast and prayer.

Financially, God continues to show himself and provide, and what a huge faith booster this has been. This is probably the most dreaded part of my "job". But I am still in need of financial backing and support for the ministry I have been called into. I ask that you would pray over this and if you are able to support me in this way, please contact me at: ben@freshgroundscoffeehouse.com for more information on how you can donate. I am also looking for donations for the art program, we have received some great material donations, I am still looking for a large printmaking press, potters wheels and a kiln. I realize how big these items are, but we have been surprised many times before, so I am just throwing that out there!

Thank you for your help in making this year at Fresh Grounds the huge blessing that it has been! And thank you for your future support!

Monday, September 12, 2011

God is moving

I have been praying for patience. I need it still, but God has certainly been working on me and giving me opportunities to be patient and to wait on Him. I am a product of our culture: not only are we naturally impatient... but as American's we are all about instant gratification and "I want it now!" mentality. Maybe through no longer eating fast food, and having to walk or ride my bike everywhere (or even hope for a ride) God has sped the patience process up through allowing me to live a slower life. (Those of you who know me well might get a kick out of that! But seriously guys!) I know I am still no where near the patience level that I still pray for, but I am a work in progress.
In addition to patience, I have been praying that God continues to show me what it is He wants from me. I am not going to lie, I had been feeling some discouragement, still trying to figure out my role in God's work and waiting on Him to show me.
So, some guy walks into Fresh Grounds, first time in. He gets to know whats going on with Downtown Ministries through Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse. Then he leaves. But before he leaves, God did something, I believe, miraculous.
Our elevator campaign was started in February. I had this campaign idea of 500 $100 dollar donations which would equal the $50,000 needed. We have been writing down on a chalkboard, near where the elevator doors will be on the first floor, the progression of the campaign. It has been showing the number 214 (214 $100 donations left) albeit with fun chalk explosion marks surrounding the numbers. Just sitting for months.
This elevator is what was keeping ministry at Fresh Grounds on the ground level. I do not mean that any other way than on the actual ground level of the building. The ministry at Fresh Grounds is so not ground level... it seeks to be a place where God's presence is tangibly felt... and it is! So what a compliment to the ministry to be utilizing all four levels of the building for just that!

For me in particular, the second level has been on my mind constantly. We have planned for it a gallery for local and non-local artists to display there art and a studio where the Fresh Grounds Art Program can hold classes and do ministry through Art! This is my passion, this is what God has equipped me with and blessed me with and I have been itching at the moment when the space can be utilized.
And that elevator is needed for just that. Not only has the Art Program already had handicap students participate, but it is also needed according to local building codes.
Again, I have been praying for patience. Fresh Grounds is a huge testimony to patience. It took 3 1/2 years of waiting on God to provide again and again (when He provides like He has here, it makes it even easier to wait, because He is good... and provides even better than what we can imagine!)
When this man left Fresh Grounds, there was no longer a need for any numbers on our elevator campaign chalkboard. He left and has promised to help with the rest of the funds for the elevator through donation. Praise God from whom all blessing flow.
This man doesn't even know me, I wasn't there when this happened. But God used him in my life, at a time when I needed encouragement, when I needed to know that God has me where He wants me, and when I needed reminding that He will provide.
Not two days before I got an encouraging and up-lifting letter from someone who I don't know that well, but knew exactly how I was feeling. In this letter this person reminded me to, "Delight yourself in Him and don't be discouraged. He is sufficient and will satisfy all your needs". Wow!
I love seeing God move, sometimes I get distracted, but He knows how to shake me to keep me focused. I ask that you pray for Fresh Grounds as we take a big step with getting these other areas of ministry ready. And may all the Praise and Glory be to God!

Update: The Joe to Show: A New Brew was very successful and my buddy Kyle was able to sell 5 of his pieces, which will be a huge help for us on our trip to DC at the beginning of October!
I am still currently at least $500 short on my monthly goal for support. I have had to let a few debts go unpaid.
I start teaching a new batch of classes a week from today!