Welcome and thank you!

Welcome! And thank you for your continued support!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Arts Festival!

Please pray for this event! This will be a unique new opportunity for us at Fresh Grounds to minister to our community, build relationships and get a different crowd in and involved in the art programs we have to offer!


I have been on a documentary watching kick for the past couple of weeks. A week ago I finally found on our Wii Netflix a documentary that I have heard a lot about from people in my small art sphere. Exit through the gift shop is this 8 year span project documenting the lives of a few street artists with the bulk of the film focusing on the guy behind the camera... It ends with a twist that would leave any artist watching the film both inspired and upset. I thought to myself at the insanity of the reality that so much of the contemporary art that we see in our museums today (the common blank white canvas for example) really gains its value from a small elite group... and because they say it is the next biggest thing or an amazing work of art it becomes the next biggest thing or an amazing work of art. The documentary was pretty good and any art enthusiast or artists reading this blog should check it out.

So as I continue to make art, teach art and criticize art with the hope allowing God to use my talents for His glory, I am strengthened (even in what some might consider an artistic hopelessness) by the idea that no elitist in the world has quite the power that my God has. I am not looking for God to criticize my art, but rather my heart. No documentary will ever be made of Ben Beck (the artist), a sad reality. But that sad worldly reality it not sad when looking beyond these worldly accomplishments or sense of success, in fact they are meaningless. Therefore, I simply pray that God uses my talents for His glory and that it will be pleasing to Him.
Another documentary that really got me thinking was I.O.U.S.A.(long overdue, but I finally watched it). It is a depressing story of our wonderful nations deficits. This shocker of a documentary will hopefully wake up "we the people" and really work on fixing our BIG debt problems, both as a nation and as individuals. Fortunately, with how scary and depressing the film may be, I have a hope that is great in the Lord. For those who might watch the film with their faith in anything other than Jesus Christ... the hopelessness in our world is too overbearing.
I am what some may call aliterate... I will wait til the book is made into a movie. All this docu-watching was accomplished during my long recovery from a horrible virus that left me 10 pounds lighter and unable to eat food for 5 days. A much needed break from my busy schedule and ample time to catch up on my Psych marathon.
This past Sunday at my church (Youngstown Metro Church), sans pastor, we watched a... documentary. Only half of it... we are continuing next week... so this post will be (to be continued...)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Lulls

In retail, January and February are the slowest months of the year. The weather, the money crunch after the holidays and the high number of Americans that suffer from seasonal depression all factor into the low volume of customers retailers experience. Fresh Grounds has been able to keep a steady influx of customers throughout January and hopefully it will continue throughout February as well... however, there have been some lulls. What a blessing these lulls have been! Because of the slower business, it has really allowed for some great conversations with customers which has been really encouraging and has been playing itself out outside of Fresh Grounds as well.

Fresh Grounds really lends itself to conversation with our customers and allows for ministry to be carried out in such a relaxed way... a very relational way. These God conversations that I have been having with customers and with volunteer Baristas have happened so naturally, I am very excited to be where I am at, here in this amazing ministry, continuing to grow as a believer and seeing God work in the lives of those in my community!

Becoming so comfortable in the Fresh Grounds environment talking about God, what He is doing in my life, about His Love and Grace and about the Truth in His Word with both believers and those seeking has started happening more and more outside of the Fresh Grounds environment. Although I was able to have such conversations outside of my home, or church, or church group I was never really the person to start the conversation or really speak up... and I am starting to become this person. I am excited to see God working my job in Ministry outside of the building in which our ministry takes place... and this is what He calls from all those who believe! I am thankful that He has been revealing this to me the past year.

I ask for your prayers and I continually pray that the Holy Spirit is with me as I have these conversations that I step aside and am able to listen when I need to listen and speak Truth when I need to speak Truth, because it is only through the Holy Spirit that God will be glorified in these conversations. I am so thankful that it is not what I can do, but it is what He does, because sometime I get freaked out!

Pray that God uses me and Fresh Grounds to bring Glory to Him so that He may be known and that the people who I have these conversations with do not see Ben, but that they may see Jesus. I am so thankful of the work that God has done in my life and how He has brought me to this ministry that happens to be a coffeehouse. And I am thankful for the blessings, for the support from other believers!
Thank you for your prayers! Stop in and lets have a God conversation!