The Dream: A Revealed Purpose

In my last blog post, I challenged my readers to think about their priorities, their passions, and their dreams.  I also told them my own which I will restate:

“My priorities would be things that are most important to me, which would have to be my faith, my family, and my girlfriend; to be honest, a “career” to me is simply a way to allow a possible future family to exist…unless I find something I love.  My passions would be things that are at the root of my being, and/or things I get excited about, and they are helping people, building peace & community, and seeking to grow, spiritually.”

The thing is though, I can think of a career I would love.  Several actually. But there is one that hit me this past year that I can’t shake.   So what is that dream, you ask? I’ll get there.  But right now I want to lay out what led me to that dream.  Don’t worry, its just the next two paragraphs.

As I said before, I’m a Christian family man, and less focused on having a career where I make 6 figures but am rarely home.  As I have started to think more about getting married in the future, I realized how ridiculous a 9-5 (or more hours) job is.  You work most of your day because you (in my case) want to provide for your family, but your working takes a lot of time away from them.  There HAS to be a better way than that.  And with all that time working, that leads little time for ministry and faith growth unless I can do that at the workplace.

My passion is to help people. I am a people person.  And I can’t do that effectively by working a 9-5 at a company I am not passionate about.  I desire to be in the front of being able to help, and not the guy working for the guy, who works for the guy, that does more of the relational business things.  I am a youth pastor; I have been able to tell teenage boys an argument against sex before marriage that even made them say I had a point, so based on that event alone, I have some experience.

So where do my priorities and my passions intersect?

What if I could work with my wife in the future? What if my kids could grow up around us as well in that environment? What if I could help people, daily, and give them a place to come?  What if I could help tie families, friends, and even whole communities closer together?  What if I could help people deepen their relationship with the Lord? But for all of that to happen, I would probably have to be “the boss”, or at the very least have a lot of leeway as a manager..

So this is my idea:

I dream to own a coffee house. I like coffee, maybe even love it, but its not my “passion”.  However, through a coffee house, I could do my true passions, and give time to true priorities.  I also enjoy making things that people appreciate.

But the dream does not stop there.  The dream continues to include a coffee shop that operates as a community “hub”; a place people gather.  How often do you really feel comfortable to stay at a starbucks? Its too cold, too industrial…at least the ones I have been to.  What if you went to a coffee house that thrived with events like trivia night, open mic night, local bands, local artists work displayed..the typical great indie coffee shop stuff.  But there is more…

What if that coffee shop hosted a book club that read books that are popular that year? Like in the past year, The Hobbit, perhaps?  What if that same coffee shop also had a bible study?  These two clubs would meet on separate nights, but most likely, some members would come on other nights during the week.  A book club member, and a bible study member could come to the coffee shop on the same night to have a nice caramel Macchiato, and walk out with a new friend, who may have slightly different interests.  Community.

If the book club person is a Christian, the two Christians may have a nice talk on theology and/or Christian living, and possibly how the book the one guy is reading connects to the book the other guy is reading, and both could join the other club as well.  If the book club person is not a Christian, then the Bible study person has an opportunity of sharing they are part of a bible study, that bible study that would equip the person speaking on how to talk to people, share the gospel, and share the love of Christ.  At the end of the day, the non-Christian may have a Christian friend who is one of the few Christians they know, and/or of the few loving Christians they know. Community.

I could then talk to people about their lives, provide advice, or simply listen.  We would also have Christian support for us from the Bible study, as well as kind support from satisfied customers.

That’s the dream. To be an asset to a community. To blend Christian and secular culture, while retaining a common ground on being a family-friendly place to go.  A place not just open on weekend nights, or only geared towards youth (which those places have their place), but a place where all are welcome.  And a place that gives out free bibles to all who want and need one, as well as free soup to families or individuals in need…That’s what i want.

So how does that “dream” become a reality?

I have to practice my barista skills for sure…but there is more than that.  There is practical stuff like budgeting, strategic planning, market analysis, etc..

And guess who is doing a strategic plan for the company he is interning for? Yep. Experience.  I also drafted an estimated start-up capital needed spreadsheet, including an estimated 3 month advance in rent, as well as started brewing coffee and tea to sell in mason jars last year, making a website: http://www.baumanbrewers.webs.com.  I had/have a successful little business selling to college kids. Marketing and a good product will do that.

When is it (the big dream) going to happen?  I am shooting for 10 years or less from when I am 22 (next February, 2014).  I want to be young enough so that I can be with the business to see it grow, and financially suited enough to take the risk, or to find potential investors.

That’s my dream. And its a real dream. A dream that CAN happen. A dream that I am working towards, even now.   What is your dream?  What are you doing to work towards it?

-Jon

Dreams, Passions, and Visions

I apologize to my followers for not writing a blogpost for a while.  I guess I have been busy with my internship, as well as my personal life.  But today, I have a thought that I wish to share with you, and that is this:  Do not settle for mediocre, or average.

I’m not going to be like a post-modern parent and tell you that you can do anything you want to and that there is no such thing as failure, but I am going to tell you that there is validity in goal setting, and even dream setting.

Recently I have been reading a book called “Start.” by Jon Acuff.  He’s the guy who wrote a funny blog and book called “Stuff Christians Like”, the best selling book “Quitter”, as well as being a public speaker, working for Dave Ramsey.  You can see his blog here:  http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/

To be honest, I dislike most self-help books.  To me, the general feel I get from them is that they are composed of a lot of cliche sayings that really don’t get you anywhere; its all stuff that I would deem as “common sense”. But this book is different.  Instead of force-feeding you ridiculous advice and tasks that you know you would never do, it causes you to think about what matters to you; what your passion is, and what you can do to “Start” that passion in a real way in your life.

This blog was named “overcometheapathy” because it was made to discuss things that we need to move forward with, things we dismiss, or simply a place where I can invite you into my thinking so that you can overcome your apathy about seeking to know a person better.

So what I have learned from reading “Start.” is that I need to know what my priorities are, what my passions are, and how my priorities and passions collide to form goals (taken from chapter four of “Start.”)
My priorities would be things that are most important to me, which would have to be my faith, my family, and my girlfriend; to be honest, a “career” to me is simply a way to allow a possible future family to exist…unless I find something I love.  My passions would be things that are at the root of my being, and/or things I get excited about, and they are helping people, building peace & community, and seeking to grow, spiritually. But what about you?

Ask yourself these questions…
What are your priorities?  Things that you would regret not doing, or not being able to continue to do if you died tomorrow.

What are your Passions?  What do you LOVE to do? Things that you couldn’t stop doing.
How do these two items collide to form a dream? I have what I believe to be my answer…but I will leave you in suspense.

The purpose of this post is to get you to think about what your priorities are, what your passions are, and what you are doing with your time to give into each of them.  I highly recommend the book i mentioned, but if you don’t, at least get the point from my summary…START on your passions, your dreams, or as Acuff calls it, “your awesome”. What can YOU do, or continue doing, to make some of your passions and dreams a reality?

Ideal Church

For the past two years, I have felt a steady pulling on my life to be more open to the idea of being a pastor someday.  The thought scares me, and honestly, I don’t wanna do it.  But I feel like God is leading me in that direction(sorry for the Christianese, but when I use it, I mean it).  I have preached at my home church when my pastor was on vacation, and in a few weeks, I am preaching at my grandmothers church, and I was just going to sing there, but the lady asked me if I wanted to preach too.  Its been crazy how things just seem to be heading that way.

For the past week, I have been thinking about my ideal church, if I could build any church I wanted, and if I could operate it how I wanted it to be operated…how would I do it.  I have a few ideas.  Its a long post, so if you really care, read, it was fun to make!

Building:

Sanctuary:  Octagon shaped building with stone-laid walls and a smooth concrete floor. The pews will be made of wood, with kneeling fold-out attachments, and they will be set in a semi-circle formation with a platform in the front center.  Behind the platform will be a plain wooden cross against the wall with white AND purple/crimson linen draped in the center, to represent Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Fellowship Hall:  This would also be stone laid, and will shoot out from the octogonal sanctuary at the wall behind the podium.  This hall would be large and rectangular, and its purposes would be for games, sunday school lessons, fellowship dinners(held every week), and for the other uses.

Ordinances: 

The Lords Supper- Our church will partake in the Lord’s supper by going into the fellowship hall and breaking multiple loaves of bread, and giving each person a glass of grape juice.  We would celebrate it as a real meal, had together, and with one or more presenting the symbolism in the bread and juice.  I would want it done this way because it seems like this is what the Lord’s supper originally was intended to be, and what it started out as. Also, in my experience, I feel more reflective when I have more bread or juice to consume, rather than the one piece of bread that is over in a few seconds.

Baptism – Baptism would be for professing believers, and it would be done as soon as a person expresses interest in becoming baptized, or upon their salvation.  The individuals would meet with one of our pastors for 15-30 minutes before, during, or after a service so that they and the pastor can discern if their desire and faith is sincere, and would thereafter be baptized in front of the congregation on that day.  Baptism would be done by either sprinkling or immersion, whichever the individual choses, and they would also have the option of wearing white baptismal robes if they so chose.

Church Leadership/staff:

Pastor: There will be 3-4 pastors(1 being me) of our church, each having the same rank and title, and the same responsibilities.  Preaching the sermon would be rotated to each pastor week by week, and congregational visits or special ceremonies would be done on whoever would be available, or whoever is requested.  These pastors would not have a salary  because they would be working their normal jobs during the week, or will be retired.  Each will use the same email account, which will be the main form of contact within and by the church.

Sunday School teachers: All volunteer.  No Salaries.

Youth Pastor: There will be 2-3 Youth Pastors who would operate along the same lines as the pastors, and will have regular jobs during the week as well, and will also not have a salary from the church.

Janitorial:  All church members(including staff) will sign up for days where they and their families can come into the church and clean.

Why no Salaries?

Although getting a salary for your ministry work is not wrong, and is, in fact, completely biblical, I feel like a church could operate on volunteer work, and therefore, the money normally used to pay salaries can be used for improving the community, aiding missionaries, supporting children in third world countries, aiding local city missions, helping the homeless, caring for the sick, and many other much needed things.

Music:

Hymns would be sung a lot, and amplification for instruments would not work well in a stone and concrete building, so any instrumentation will be either unplugged, or very little amplification.  We will NOT split into two services for different types of music, it will be blended.

Theology/Creeds: 

We would adhere to the Nicene Creed, and our theology will be influenced greatly by anabaptist/mennonite foundational beliefs, especially regarding a Christ-o-centric view of scripture and way of living.

The wood pews, and kneeling fold-out attachments are little ways that would cause us to sacrifice our comfort so that we would be reminded of what great a sacrifice Christ gave for us.

The church will Not take any official position on the questions of election, eschatology, who “Israel” is, on dispensational or covenantal theology, or any other complex, gray-area, theological concept. This would be done to avoid unneeded devisions.

Anyway, thats all for now; I may edit and add on to it later.  But yeah, let me know what you think.

What IF everyone went to heaven?

If you knew that all go to heaven anyway, would you still be a Christian?  

Would you still follow after God like you are now? 

I believe that Christ is indeed the way, truth, and life, but the thought dawned on me that the ones who believe that all go to heaven, and still make an effort to serve and follow Christ…are displaying some awesome faith, even if I may disagree with their theology.

In their thought, if they didn’t follow God, they would still go to heaven, but they still follow God because they Love and want God for who he is, not what he will give them.

>> By the way….The title was to get you to read the post 🙂

Are we following God because we want Him and Love HIM, or are we only loving because of what we expect to get(eternal life)?  

If we got to heaven and we saw ones who did not believe in Jesus while they were on earth, would we rejoice that they were there?  Or would we scorn and say how they don’t deserve to be there?  And if we would say that…then are we really serving God for God, or just God for Reward?

I earnestly wish with all of my heart that all could go to Heaven; that all could be saved.  And I firmly believe that God desires this too…because its in Scripture: 

1 Timothy 2:1-4(NASB)

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2  for kings and all who are in [a]authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and [b]dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [c]knowledge of the truth”

2 Peter 3:9(NASB)

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

And That is Why Christ came – 1 Timothy 2:5-8(NASB)

5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at [e] the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle ( I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

 Christ is the only way, the only path, and the only Truth.

So if God desires all to be saved…shouldn’t we?  

Sometimes we can grow bittier towards the non-believer, and we look on them with scorn.  But shouldn’t we desire them to come to a saving knowledge of Christ instead of pointing our finger in accusation and disgust?  Evangelism has become mainly represented in the World’s eyes as a guy standing on a street corner saying “Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a Lier! And liers go to hell, but Jesus came to save us, and all you have to do is believe in him”, and the reality is that the world may not even give you that nice of a summary.  In the standard Gospel outreaches, little is said about who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he has done in our own lives.  Instead, Jesus is preached as a “get out of hell free” card that players of the monopoly of life can pick up at their leisure.  A standard Gospel presentation may be effective for some, but it needs more than a bulleted list, and it needs to show who Christ actually is.

God does desire all to be saved. I desire all to be saved.  But not all will be saved, for not all will accept Christ.  What are you doing to spread God’s message?

Are you in Love with God so much that if there was no heaven you would still follow him?  Are you in Love with God so much that you would rejoice to see others in heaven who you did not think deserved to be there?

Heaven and Hell are real, so we should take them seriously. But are we at times slighting the Glory of God by diminishing Christ to a checklist?

These thoughts have made me think, reflect and grow, and I hope they will for you as well.

My thinking has been brought on by the discussion of the mindset of the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Son, in the Book, “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller.  


Memories Left Unfinished.

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, my grandfather passed away.  His name was J. Walter Hackman.  He was an entrepreneur, salesman, church planter, prison missionary, theologian, camper, cook, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend.

I was the youngest grandson, and because of this, I do not have as cherished memories as I could have had, simply because I was too young to remember. But I do remember some things.

One night, I slept over at grammy and grandpop’s house in allentown.  I remember watching the classic “herby” movie with both of them and laughing together at whatever that comedic automobile was up to.  I also remember the snacks offered to me: triscuits, pretzels, a diet coke, and if I was lucky…. Cantaloupe and vanilla bean ice cream.  After the movie was over, I remember sitting together and having a devotional just before bed.  This happened another time when I was older and slept over at Grammy and Grandpop’s apartment at Souderton Mennonite Homes.

Looking back at this, I really think that the devotionals that they would have every night was a great way to spend time with your loved ones.  I hope that someday I am as blessed as they were to be able to do the same with my wife, and possibly our children if and when they come along.  Obviously, I have a long ways to go until either of those things become a reality, but it is something good to aspire towards. To be able to discuss things with your wife and children about what you just read is something that must grow the family closer together in so many ways.

I also remember Grandpop grilling quarter pound hotdogs, burgers, steaks, and sausages on the grill. He loved to grill, and we were all aware of this.  The evidence was in the excellent taste in the meat which we ate, which experience could only make his skills all the more better.  I too have a love for cooking; my family can attest that I always have, although I may not have always made the best meal choices.  Today I can pan-sear chicken, cook pasta, make Alfredo and red pasta sauce from scratch, add ingredients to any type of “cream of..whatever” soup to make it taste great, and I can make many other concoctions on the whim, with no recipe. Maybe its just in the genes.

Grandpop also loved to sing, and he also loved to hear people play musical instruments and sing as well.  As soon as my grandparents found out that I could sing in an operatic style(I was classically trained in high school), my grandmother would attempt to draft me multiple times to sing a song(or two) at family gatherings, and at the retirement home.  I was always reluctant to accept because singing classically makes me nervous, especially if it is not at some sort of a recital or something, but grammy won out quite a few times anyway.  The last time was when I sang at the retirement home because Grammy wanted me to sing for Grandpop because, to be blunt, we didn’t know how much longer he had left, and what my schedule would look like later on.  I sang “O Holy Night”, which I also sang at the family Christmas dinner.  And I am so glad that I did sing it.

The day after my Grandfather’s death, the family had to meet to discuss the details of the funeral.  It was a sad time for me because it only proved to sink in the fact that my beloved Grandpop is no longer living on earth.  My grandmother, in front of the family present, turned to me and asked if I could sing “It Is Well” as a solo at the funeral.  As soon as the question was uttered, I already knew my response, but I said that I would think about it to be polite in front of the family.  When it came up later in the discussion, I just came right out and said that I couldn’t do it.  This broke my heart.  I looked over to my mom as she was mouthing the words, “It’s okay” to me, but in my mind all I could think of is how disappointed I must have made Grammy.  After I said no, Grammy offered that I could just lead the hymn in congregational singing…but I could not even take up that offer.  The hymn “It is well” was one of my late Grandpop Bauman’s favorite Hymns, and it still makes me cry on occasion.  To have to sing that in front of a congregation that has gathered in memory of my Grandpop would absolutely break me before I would get past the first verse.  It was a terrible experience to say “no”, but it may have been worse if I would have said “yes”.

My Grandfather was a great man who stood by his principles, who was willing to listen, who was a model on how to love your wife, children and extended family, and who always seemed to have a witty saying.

One of these sayings was this:  “Service is the rent we pay for our stay here on earth”.

Well Grandpop, you paid above and beyond what was owed, its time to collect on your investments.

Love,

Jon Bauman

Blessings in the midst of frustration.

Today I had to call AAA(triple A) TWICE.

I got into my car after my ministry I am involved with, and it won’t start.

Now, this “wasn’t my first rodeo”.  This has happened many times before, and usually I just had to pop the hook and use a ratchet to tighten the connections on my battery to make it start again.  I tried doing this and other methods, but none worked.  I even had my car battery jumped by a friend who happened to be with me.  After much trying to no avail, I decided to call AAA, using a card that I never thought I would have to use.

After about forty minutes they arrived, and the driver asked if we could try jumping it with the tow truck, and so we tried, but alas, the old car didn’t seem to want to start.  So the driver called another driver on duty who had a bigger truck and better jumper cables. The driver of that truck(we will call him driver 2), arrived and he hooked up his truck to my Buick Lasabre, and it finally started again.  This was great.  I didn’t have to have it towed, AND I wouldn’t have to have to worry about it.  Wrong.

On the way home I realized that I had not eaten anything since about 12:00pm(it was about 8:30pm).  I decided that I would go through the Chic-fil-a drive through, so I headed there, but upon turning onto the street parallel to the chic-fil-a, my car completely shut down; fan, radio, lights, motor, power-steering, EVERYTHING.  I was thankfully able to make it on the road I was turning onto, but I had to get out and push it to a parking lot nearby, with the help of a kind stranger during a turn that I had to push it through.  I then called AAA the second time, and within 40 minutes, the tow truck was there and he then took it back to my hometown to my local auto shop guy.

It was a frustrating night.  It still is a frustrating night at the time of writing this.

But there were some blessings:

-I was with someone when my car would not start the first time.

-AAA were there in less than one hour both times.

-A kind stranger helped me make the turn I needed to make to get me into the parking lot, away from traffic.

-My friends happened to be at the Chic-fil-a I was stuck at so they gave me a ride back to campus.

-My parents knew what to do.

-I have friends and family that care about me, and who were concerned for me.

-I AM ALIVE.

 

So, even though this night was not the best, it had some blessings within it. God IS Good.

-Jon

 

Sacrifice.

“They say that you can’t give your whole self away
So why am I finding it hard to tell some pieces to stay?
My life, like a living sacrifice, is offered to all
Until nothing is left, it is then that I will fall?” -Jon Bauman

Sacrifice is something that not many people “get”.  Sacrifice does not mean doing something to benefit yourself, it means doing something to benefit another.  It means giving up things yourself, to make things better for another.  It means true compassion.

I do not claim to be a fully sacrificial person; I am also selfish, stubborn, prideful, arrogant, ignorant, and may other not-so-attractive attributes that can define some things that I can be and that I can do.  I strive everyday to go against these attributes and live more humbly, honestly, sincerely, and lovingly.  Now, it is not so much of an effort as it used to be, I barely think about it because the positive attributes have become who I am, and the bad attributes come more sparingly, and all credit goes to God.  But thats what college can do to you; it changes you because for the first time – you are yourself, you can make your own decisions, and you start seeing the effects of your bad ones.  Instead of not doing something because you were told not to, you don’t do it because you do not want to do it.  God has really used college to shape me into the man I am today, and I am so grateful.

That being said, I will do so much for people because I want to, and because I have a better mindset of what the right thing to do is, than I used to.  Some call it maturity, others sanctification, I’m just thankful that it happened, and is continuing to shape as I grow in faith and age.  During a semester in college, I went to a homeless living community in Bristol, PA once a week to just communicate with the guys there, and be real with them.  People may give them clothing, food, etc., but few actually stay and talk, and come back week after week to build relationships with them, and I am so thankful that the church I went with, Redemption, does that, and has let me join them.  After I got to know the guys better…I found it hard to call them “homeless”.  They have tents, family, friends, food, clothing, and all of what they need to live, and most of it is self-sustaining, but God’s Church through Redemption and other churches have given them what they don’t have, what they need.  And that…is really, really awesome to see.

Sacrifice can be done in many forms.  We can sacrifice our time, money, efforts, houses, cars, and many other things; but the largest sacrifice we can make is our life.  Would you be willing to die so that others may live?  Would you be able to die for your faith?  These are questions that are hard to answer.  The answer we know we should say is “yes”, but there is always a part of us that says “no”, or “I honestly don’t know”.

A few years back, I was at the beach.  And at this beach, a friend and I saw two girls by the rock barrier, in the water, at high tide.  We shouted to see if they needed help, and they did so we swam over and we each took ahold of one.  Because of the high tide and the struggle of trying to swim with another person, I got separated from the girl that I was trying to save.  I then got pushed into the rock barrier and was stuck there for a few minutes, and after I got away from it again, every foot I swam, I got sucked back another two feet; I was making NO progress.  This went on for a few more minutes(which seemed like hours), and my breaths kept taking in more salt water as I was getting more fatigued and the tide was continuing to rise.  Finally, I looked up at the sky and prayed in my head, “God…I’m ready.  Take me now, I’m ready to go”.  In that moment…I was SO content about dying, I was OKAY with it.  Then immediately after I prayed that prayer…my feet felt sand, and I was swimming towards shore and I was completely safe with just a few minor scratches on my ankle from the rocks.  That event taught me that I was okay with dying, and that God had a plan for me.

But that event taught me something else too.  Since I was okay with dying, I would be okay to die in order to save someone else.  I would be willing to make that sacrifice for others, and for my faith.  To me, to live is to make others’ lives enriched.  To me, sacrificial living is the way to go.  People that know me know that I am a pretty peaceful guy, but they also know that I am very protective of my friends and my family.  I will do anything for them.  but as stated before…I am NOT perfect, and therefore, I am not a fully sacrificial person, but in most cases, I yearn to live sacrificially.

How do you view sacrifice?  Does love require sacrifice? Would you Not sacrifice something?  These are questions to think about and to ponder.  And that is what i will leave you with.

God Bless,

-Jon