Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Website

Java Journey's website has been updated by co-manager Ben Curfman. Check it out (unless, of course, you linked from there).

This week, we will have an incremental (a consistent JJ pace) "soft opening." We hope to have our POS system up and running and baristas trained. We are still awaiting the service and repair of our main super automatic espresso machine. The delay is related to the ordering and shipping of parts via CA, via Spain. Since it was idle for 2 years, some gaskets and o-rings dried up.

We had a successful Christmas Eve candlelight gathering and a concert on the 26th. We had a nice group of people for both.

Spread the word that Java Journey is in first gear and letting out the clutch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We Are Ready to Open!

On Thursday, December 17, 2009, Java Journey passed final inspection by the city of Hickory, NC and received a certificate of occupancy. We are rejoicing. However, we've still got some tasks to complete before we can open.

The espresso machines are still in Asheville being serviced for operation. The single group machine (Conti) is ready, but still in the possession of co-manager Ben Curfman in Asheville as an uncharacteristic snow storm hit our area yesterday and he is snowbound. The fully automatic machine (Azkoyen Xpression) is awaiting parts for the heat exchange boiler (o-ring leaking). We will have a "soft opening" beginning Monday (Christmas week) and serve regular brewed coffee, tea and baked good. We will also have bulk coffee for sale.

Momentum is building, but as is typical in our joint pilgrimage - it is incremental (sometimes emphasizing "mental").

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Lot of Little Things to do

Most of the major elements of the build-out are completed. We began our lease July 1 hoping to be open by September 1st. Typically, it didn't happen as the "everything takes more time than expected" factor was introduced. Now we turn our attention to moving equipment in (making certain that everything operates as designed), business license, submission of IRS stuff, inventory and other matters.

We still seek financial support, but emphasize that once we get started, we will not ask for any more capital resources. We are praying for an additional $5000 at this time. If you can help, please contact Jeff (javajourney -at- embarqmail -dot- com or 707-980-1783).


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Future Has Become Present

We have had conversations with many people who resonated to various degrees to what Teena and I envision. There has often been a need to explain or clarify some of what makes our hearts beat. Never have we had such free-flowing conversation until we met Ben and Rebekah Curfman. God has bent our mutual paths so that they are now crossed. We are excited and joyful.

Ben posted this on Facebook and I am putting here for other friends and the reading community may see.
Nine years ago I had a unique experience in my relationship with God. Many people interpret their experience as a “call to full-time Christian service/ministry.” The experience is different for everyone. For me, it was at a Christian summer camp during a worship service. I was thirteen years old at the time. I did not hear the audible voice of God. I was not visited by an angel. I just simply became extremely aware of the pain and confusion in this world and my responsibility to share the hope that I had.

Since that time, it has been an interesting road. Because of my religious background, I felt that I needed to find a position or description of what God had set my heart toward. I pursued this calling through bible studies and heavy church involvement in high school, two years of religious education in a liberal arts college, and another two years of religious education at the school I will soon graduate from. During that time the question had been burning in my mind: “What is it I am supposed to do? How will I define myself?” I am finding more and more that God has defined my ministry of His Gospel precisely how he wanted to – namely by creating me the way He did. I am my own definition.

Knowing this, I began to ask myself, “If there were no limitations on where or what I could do to accomplish the mission placed in my heart, where would I go and what would I do?” Sometimes the right answers are discovered only through the right questions. I soon found that I was not most effective in a traditional church setting both because of growing convictions about traditional church practice and limitations on the scope of ministry I felt let to do. I decided that an atmosphere most conducive to ministry was a coffee shop.

After prayer, I began considering opening a coffee shop in Asheville, North Carolina in order to minister one-on-one with individuals who need personal attention and mentoring in their spiritual lives. After all, coffee and Christianity are two of my greatest passions. My wife and I began praying, along with others, that God would open the right opportunity for this ministry to take place. I specifically began praying for someone to handle the shop from a business perspective, so I could focus on my strengths – coffee and ministry.

A few weeks later I was visiting my parents near Hickory, North Carolina where I grew up. The Lord showed me then that the Hickory area is in desperate spiritual need. I had never realized that such a need existed in my hometown. The next question came: “Lord, would you have us begin the coffee shop ministry here in Hickory?” So we prayed again for a few weeks. The next time I visited my parents we went out to eat. Before sitting at our table, however, I recognized a good friend that I used to attend church with. I had shared our vision for a coffee shop ministry with him a couple of months prior to this meeting. He told me about a place called Java Journey that was opening soon. He said that their vision seemed similar to ours and that I should get in touch with them. So I did.

We contacted Jeff and Teena Stewart, one of the key couples involved in the ministry of Java Journey. I offered my services in the coffee industry and my ministry experience to them as a way of "throwing out the fleece" as Gideon did. “Surely they already had help and wouldn't need someone such as myself,” I thought. Nevertheless, we felt that we needed to at least get in contact in case the Lord was making a way for us. He has.

After some great conversations and a sharing of passions, Rebekah and I have agreed to relocate to the Hickory area and make a serious effort to change the community with the Gospel through Java Journey. We believe that this is what God has been preparing us for. We will be seeking financial and prayer support in order to make this a reality, with the faith that God will provide our every need as He has done in the past. I will be continuing school until the spring of next year when I graduate in addition to helping Jeff and Teena manage Java Journey. We ask for your prayers, gifts, and encouragement as it is an exhilarating and terrifying experience at the same time. We will also be seeking part-time jobs to take care of our living expenses until Java Journey gets off the ground financially.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

News from Java Journey

The Word is Spreading

One thing we have learned is that our ministry isn't necessarily going to wait until we have Java Journey up and running. It's happening now. People keep popping in to ask when the store front will open. Others are curious about the ministry. Quite a few people have inquired about jobs behind the coffee bar. In a couple of cases we were able to "hire" helpers for peanuts in order to keep the work going and help out those who are unemployed. In the process we are building bridges. That's pretty much what we are all about.

In the marketing realm of things, our exterior sign is officially up and it is drawing attention. In addition, Jeff and Teena each have magnetic Java Journey signs on the sides of their vehicles and this has captured the attention of folks. Some construction guys who saw the sign on Teena's car were ready to come down to the store and buy a coffee. We had to break the news--"Sorry, guys, you'll have to wait a little while longer."

We've also been talking with people who are in music groups who might want to perform at the coffee shop.

Ministry Happenings

* We are still holding Christian community gatherings on Sunday mornings at 10:30. You are welcome to attend these informal, interactive gatherings that typically include short prayer and singing times, and a scripture based lesson that allows attendees to ask questions and share insights. We also share prayer requests.
* Teena recently attended a planning session for a birthday party for Foster children. Many Foster children have never had a birthday party. Though we don't have the free time at present to help plan this event which will be held February 5th most likely at the local YMCA, Java Journey still hopes to support this event by selling raffle tickets which will be $5 and possibly helping man booths the evening of the event.Funds collected from the raffle will help pay for this party.

How You Can Help

The opening of Java Journey is just weeks away! Thanks to everyone who has torn down walls, scraped paint off the floor, installed conduit/wiring, framed walls, put up dry wall, painted walls, reupholstered chairs and provided professional services, etc. in support of the Java Journey mission. Even during this time of renovating the space, the "spirit" of Java Journey is being experienced through building new relationships, ministering among people (in expected and unexpected ways), building of community, etc. The stories have been shared through blogs, Facebook posts, conversations as people work side-by-side, gatherings, etc. When open as a coffee shop, this mission will continue with a new chapter being written and new stories being shared as Java Journey serves our community as envisioned!

To open in November, current and new volunteers and professionals, providing services at reduced or no cost, will continue to work together to complete the build out. For those who are not able to be "physically" on-site to assist with the build out, and/or for those who have a desire to contribute beyond their labor, right now there are some immediate financial needs. We cannot do this without your help. Once open, the first two expenses listed below will be met by the coffee shop ministry. The immediate needs are:

Monthly Rent - $1,300.00
Monthly Electric - $100.00
Building Materials - $4,000
Acid Wash Stain - $500 (Lowes gift cards are great!)
Paint - $250
Food & Beverage Inventory (First Month) $1,500

If you wish to contribute financially to Java Journey please send contributions to:
Living Hope Covenant Church ("Java Journey" - memo)
c/o Dennis Cheuvront
573 30th Avenue Circle NE
Hickory, NC 28601

or you can pay online via Pay Pal by going to http://javajourney.org/Supportus.html

All contributions are tax deductible through Living Hope Covenant Church. Additionally, contributions may be made anonymously, at the request of the donor. If you know of someone who might be interested in investing or knowing more about Java Journey, please encourage them to contact Dennis Cheuvront at dennis.cheuvront@gmail.com or 828.270.9877. If you cannot contribute financially at this time, please continue to pray for the ministry.

We also have an Wish List contributors can help with. To view the most current list
visit http://www.javajourney.org/wishlist.html

Thank you and God Bless
Jeff and Teena Stewart and the rest of the Java Journey Ministry Gang

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleared for Drywalling

I got to Java Journey shortly before 8 am to let 82-year old volunteer, Joe Guthrie, in so he could frame the doorway for the French doors. I knew the city inspector was coming later and I had to finish what he was going to review. We met Joe when he stopped by on a Saturday morning on July 18th when the youth from Trinity Church in Greensboro were volunteering. He told me he loved to work on things as a volunteer and gave me his number. After he finished the French door frame he asked: "What else you got?" I told him the other 3 door frames needed wood added, so he did that!

The inspector arrived while Joe was working on the other doors. I fully expected that we would be told to make a few adjustments and then call for a subsequent inspection. I was making haste taking into account the work to tweak everything and then be ready by the end of the week to be given a green light. The concern was brought on by the fact that 20-30 volunteers are scheduled to gather at 2149 N Center St on Sunday to put up sheetrock.

What a joyful surprise when the inspector spent about a total of fifteen minutes before saying: "I'll let you move on with this." Part of the time he looked at plans, wiring and plumbing, and asked a few questions. The rest was filled by conversation of our mutual enjoyment of music (I told him he looked like Peter Yarrow and found out he plays the drums).

Today was another big mile-marker day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Great People

How blessed we are with the new friends we have made. In another context of "building" I would merely consider the people who are involved on a professional level as - well "mere professionals."

But God has brought some special folks our way who possess gifts and talents that are enhancing the actuality of our vision and dream.

Here (in cinematic format) are the names of some great people.

Architect - Ed Lunow
Contractor/Plumber - Mike Taylor
Construction Specialist - Matt Taylor
Electrician 1 - Vernon Moyer
Electrician 2 - Mitch Hollifield
Men's Group Leader - Eddie Broussard
Framers - The Men's group of Trinity Fellowship - Hickory
Painter 1 - Amber Abel
Painters 2-5 The Women of Safe Harbor
Scrapers - The youth of Trinity Church - Greensboro
Material Liaison - Jeff Hines

Forgive me if I missed others - but these are those who stand out in my recollection.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In More Ways Than One

People often ask what Java Journey is. And we stammer and mumble as we try to find the words to describe this hybrid of day to day ministry via a "business."

We are a coffee shop and being such we are dependent on the element of H2O in order to operate. What does that have to do with the tea...? nevermind. I think it will click.

Our chief "M.O." is developing rapport with society in order to establish relationship and community. Once we do, we believe we are free to minister the purpose of God among the masses. We believe that folks will discover the love and grace of Jesus Christ and experience the redemptive transformation God intended for all people.

So what is Java Journey? Thanks to a book I'm reading, I can now say with confidence that we are a "Liquid Church."

Here is what Tony & Felicity Dale/George Barna have observed in the book "The Rabbit and the Elephant - Why Small is the New Big for Today's Church"
"Liquid church happens when we stop inviting others to come to church and instead we go out into every sphere of society as the Lord leads. We reach out to our neighbors or our coworkers, and instead of asking them to come to church, we get together with those people right where they live and work. In this way, segments of society that might never have experienced church life are affected by the Kingdom of God."
That's what Java Journey is!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Actually "Moving Along"

The new door is in; the sign is up and the framing is nearly completed.

It was a very joyful thing for me to hear someone energetically say at our organic gathering yesterday (which is gaining momentum itself): "This vision is becoming a reality!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Awaited Milestone

A very busy day today.

In the midst of all my activity was a phone call I received from Hickory city planning department. They called to inform me that our plans had been approved but they needed an estimate on the cost of the project. I basically wet my finger and pointed up in the air and came up with a number. They also informed me that I had to have a licensed contractor sign the application. I didn't think we needed one as I was told that only a licensed plumber and licensed electrician had to sign off on the mechanical requirements of the build out.

I called one of our friends (Matt Taylor - the worship leader at Trinity Fellowship) whose father is a licensed contractor and had looked at our space in the past to offer advice. He told me to call his father and that he would call him to let him know I would contact him. Mike (his name) agreed to sign the application and will meet me tomorrow morning at the city planning office.

So after tomorrow - we are cleared to start the major work to transform the space into an operational Coffee Shop and intentional ministry. We are rejoicing.

If you can lend your support in any way by locally volunteering, supplying materials or supporting us financially (tax deductible) we would be very grateful. Please contact one of us so we can give you further information.

Thanks and keep up your prayers. Blessings!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Plans Resubmitted

They went to the city yesterday with 4 days left of free rent.

We're hoping that we can still pull off launching before the end of October.

Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Think We Pass the Muster On This One

From Andrew Hetzel's blog

What's in a Coffee Shop Name?

What should I name my coffee shop?!? It’s one of the most popular questions that I am regularly asked and surfaces with alarming frequency and urgency on online discussion boards like CoffeeForums.com and Specialty Coffee Retailer’s Online Forum. First things first: don’t panic!

The trend in coffee shop names these days from “cutesy” to outright absurd – are you naming a business or a boat? I suggest that rather than come up with the latest coffee pun, consider something that more appropriately captures the essence of your business and tells potential customers what they are likely to expect when they walk through your doors.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular categories of coffee shop names and their representative examples (these are REAL):

Medical Side Effects

* Trembling Cup
* Permanent Addiction
* Jitters (also, Jitter Bean, Jitter Java, Jumpin’ Jitters, etc.)
* Diuretic Delights (okay, so I made that one up)

The Puns

* Bean Around the World
* Daily Grind (also Back to the Grind, Nose to the Grind Stone, Breaking Ground, Sacred Grounds and so on)
* Brewed Awakenings
* Brews Brothers
* He Brews (a Christian Coffee Shop – this one is growing on me)

The Crowd that Misspells Espresso with an “X”

* Premium Expresso
* Heavenly Expresso

The Unfortunately Named

* Mud Puddle
* River Brew
* Java Trout Expresso Internet Bar & Gifts (I attempted to contact this company and congratulate them on their naming achievement, but alas, they were out of business or perhaps operating under a different name)

All of the frustration associated with naming a business is probably the result of competing in an escalating battle of wits; let’s think about this rationally, consider:

* Who are your customers? With proper business planning, this one should come rolling off your toungue. Are your customers morning commuters? Students? Couples out for an evening of entertainment? Office workers? All of the above? Knowing who your customer is will help you to understand how your name will be perceived.
* What is your business identity? What do you want your customers to think about when they read your name? (coffee – doh!) we’ll get to that in a moment: IN ADDITION TO COFFEE, what do you want your customers to think about? This is a question only you can answer: is it an emotion? a place? a memory? There are plenty of words other than “bean” or “cup” or “java” that you can use to get your point across.
* Now we can tell them it’s coffee. You should always keep the image of coffee present so that customers can quickly identify what you do. Picture driving by a business at 40 MPH and seeing the name or logo – in the blink of an eye it should be readily apparent that you serve coffee as a primary business. On the topic of that logo make certain that the logo is clear, not overly elaborate and has a crisp and easily identified color scheme.
* Make it unique – Unless it is your intention to masquerade as part of some large chain (such as a coffee shop I once visited named “Starbean,” written in bold green and white text), you’re going to want a brand name that can be uniquely associated with your company and product. Do a little search on Google for “Daily Grind.” Go ahead – I’ll wait. At the time of writing this article there are over 1.4 million mentions of the words Daily and Grind, and nearly 700,000 for the phrase “Daily Grind”; I can identify about 150 unique listings that are coffee shops or other coffee and tea related businesses. How will your business possibly be identified, recognized or remembered through all of that noise and confusion? Also consider possible legal setbacks to having such a similar name; Daily Grind-A is not going to be very happy when Daily Grind-B opens up down the street and will probably have something to say about (or, more likely, their lawyer will do the actual talking). Always have your attorney research your prospective name(s) for possible infringement on another’s trademarks or business names – you can do a cursary search through the US Patent and Trademark Office website and the corporation or business division of your Secretaries of State offices.

Oh, there’s one more category that I failed to mention above:

Popular Culture and Literature Names

* Bean Me Up
* Hill of Beans
* and Starbucks

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So I Didn't Set Myself Up for Disappointment - and it Worked.

So the architect was correct. The city has to justify its existence. Got an e-mail from the city. IOW: "Planning and Zoning - Approved;" "Fire Status - Approved;" Building Status - Disapproved." Round 2.

11 more days of free rent anyway.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Java Journey will be a “Third Place” and “Social Condenser” -or- The Mars Hill Approach Continues

Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) – Acts 17:19-21

The Cheers song has been overused for illustrative purposes, but for good reason. The part of the lyrics that states “You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name…” is, without question, resonant to a majority. “Cheers” (the fictional tavern itself) is a “social condenser.” It is a “third place.”

Below is an excerpt from A Multi-Site Church Road Trip (Zondervan 2009) edited by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird. “Third place” is very well defined.

Ray Oldenburg is credited with coining the term “third place” in his book The Great Good Place. A third place is somewhere outside the first two spaces in our life: work and home…

Ray Oldenburg believes that bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other third places are central to developing a vital community. Some call such places “social condensers” – places where community is developed, cohesion is retained, and a sense of identity is created. In the business world, the third place concept has become a buzzword for retailers as a “place to aspire to become.”

Oldenburg lists the following eight characteristics of third places:

1. They are located on “neutral” ground.
2. They are “levelers” where rank and status don’t matter.
3. Conversation is a main activity.
4. They are easy to access and accommodating.
5. They have a core group of influential regulars.
6. They have a low profile instead of being showy.
7. The mood is playful.
8. They feel like a home away from home.

Ed Stetzer, president of research with LifeWay Research, in a February 2008 study conducted for Cornerstone Knowledge Network, asked, “What kind of places do the unchurched like to come to?”…

According to the survey, the reason why people choose particular locations to meet with their friends is because these places are relaxing, casual, and fun. When asked to describe in their own words design features of the kind of place where they’d like to meet a friend, responders mentioned a quiet environment, comfortable seating, and a spaciousness and openness.
This is precisely what drives the vision that Teena and I share, along with a “core group influential regulars.” Our design is purposeful so that folks will walk into the place to meet a friend, of just sit comfortably. Our mission is stated as being a place which: “provides hope and restoration to the hurting and broken by sharing Christ's story, showing His love and by empowering the restored to serve others.” We believe deeply that the only way to do this is to gain a trust and a rapport with fellow human beings – and the means to establish that is provided by an environment that maintains “a low profile instead of being showy.”

We grow more and more excited each day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Plans Dropped Off

The Architect completed the plans with the details requested by the city. I dropped the required 5 sets off Thursday morning. When he handed them to me, he gave me a heads-up about what the city seems obligated to do (being elected/assigned folks). "It most likely will be rejected at first" says he. "I've never seen anything fly through in one try."

It takes wisdom in knowing how to follow up. Do we become pests if we call too much? Do we risk the left hand and right hand not communicating if we lay back? We have 3 weeks left of free rent, but are not allowed to build anything until the city says "ok." I'm looking for heart here since we are non-profit and dependent on donations and volunteers. But reality and a few places in a book I read often suggests that it's not to be expected.

The last word used there has been a lesson in faith for us. The depth of faith nearly always challenges our "expectations." Everything to this point has clearly been a result of divine design. The reason we can say that is because almost nothing we imagined has taken place. Yet, the development and process that has led us to this present point is far superior to anything we could have envisioned or schemed.

Thanks for your prayers. Continue to pray for patience and resources. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like to support us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One More Month of Free Rent

Looks as though we may run into September and part of October. We have an architect working to help us finish the "mechanical" (plumbing/electricity) portions of our plans for submission to the city. We can't start putting things in or up until they have been approved.
We are still tearing away at old stuff. The biggest challenge has been scraping away nearly 40 years of floor crud. Since we want to restore the original slab to a stained/polished look, we've worked extremely hard at peeling (actually "chipping") away the layers: Indoor/outdoor carpet on top of adhesive on top of latex paint on top of oil based paint on top of adhesive. We've had lots of advise on the best way to do it, but we've found that a heat gun and a sharp scraper are the most thorough.
We have had 2 people donate significant amounts toward the build out. If you would like to help financially - your gift would be tax deductible. Just send me a private e-mail using "javajourney (at) embarqmail (dot) com." (Be sure to remove the spaces and replace the symbols). We would be very grateful.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dancing Over a Drain

Day 2 of the lease, I woke up at about 2:45 am thinking of the things that need to be done. Yesterday I had torn away a small bit of carpet and sprayed WD40 on the adhesive to see if I would be able to scrap it off. I came back today and found that the adhesive is easily broken down by this method and easy to remove.

One of my primary concerns is getting the old crap carpet up to find if we can use the slab as our floor, to see if the adhesive will come off ok - and - - perhaps, maybe hoping that I might find a drain close to the front of the store.

We've done everything we can to find the original plans for this space which seems to have been constructed in the late 60s to early 70s. No one knows where to find them and a woman at the city informed me that they were likely tossed. Our focus on finding the drain is based on concern that we would have to either run pipe the full length of the store (with no guarantee that we'd meet the pitch requirements), or have to excavate a lengthy trench to the back where drains are known to be. Finding a drain near the front would save us much money, labor and time.

Teena and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 32nd anniversary. We decided to go by the property to assess other tasks that need to be accomplished. While we were there I was tearing up the first part of carpet and some paper-thin linoleum near the front door, I discovered that the slab was covered with a layer of sealing paint on top of which previous tenants painted a tacky design with latex colors. Teena suggested I hammer at it to see if it would loosen. Sure enough some of it came off and I was able to take a wide blade putty knife to scrap more up. As I hammered and progressed, a rather large and thick chunk loosened with the putty knife. I grabbed the piece (which was about a foot in diameter) and pulled it up by hand.

All of the sudden I heard angels singing? They really didn't - but should have. VIOLA! A DRAIN!!! And one about 10 feet from where we need to tie in.

I am not one who worships very demonstratively, like some. IOW It's not often that I do a pentecostal boogie. But all of the sudden the fire of God's Spirit started singeing my soul as I was dancing over a drain shoutin' out: "Thank ya JEEE-sus! Thank ya JEEE-sus! Hallelujah - huh! Thank ya-Thank ya JEEE-sus!"

I'm starting to get this sense that there really is a God and we're really going to be taken care of.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Unforeseen Networking

The fellow "visioneers" are coming out of the proverbial woodwork! (I need to ask that foxy lady with the accent where that term comes from). I took 2 calls yesterday from people who had heard about Java Journey's mission etc. Neither of which were a result of any proactive promotion or recruitment.

One was from a Christ-follower in Chicago who will be visiting NC next week. We will get together to talk about our mutual dreams of day-to-day ministry. Without going into detail, let me say that this person has worked in high-scale institutional settings doing restorative type ministry with hurting people. I'm curious and excited to see what develops.

The other was from a Christ-follower (part of a couple) in the area who was involved with another missional endeavor in Hickory about 3-4 years ago. For various reasons (timing, preparation, etc.) the effort was abandoned. Again, without going into detail, I knew about this particular venture before I even left California. Both are very eager to explore what Java Journey is doing and ready to become part of the network.

It's dazzling me how this divine reinforcement is taking place after we courageously (and "stupidly") signed a lease that had "the numbers" crying out against us.

That "Indiana Jones" bridge is really there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Move In Date Set

We have signed the lease on the storefront property on N Center Street and will take possession on July 1. Our goal is to work on the build out along with a crew of volunteers and do a soft opening in September. A soft opening is where we are open for business but don't make a big deal about it. This allows us to work out the bugs. We plan on having a grand opening in October.

How's that going to work if we can't pay any employees? Our plan is to move our home church into the facility and focus on ministry. We will work on the building as money and volunteers permit and open to the public as manpower allows.

We already have a crew of volunteers coming from Greensboro who will help with the tear out and perhaps some of the upfit. God has also provided a project manager and an architect/interior designer to help us complete the build out plans.

Jeff will work behind the counter in the morning hours and we will train volunteer counter workers too who will go through our certification program. If you wish to train and volunteer in this area contact us.

Things are really starting to sizzle as different members of our home church plus volunteers from a variety of churches and ministries climb on board to help in various ways.

One of the plusses of changing from the charitable business model to the non-profit model is that people are more willing to contribute time, goods and financial contributions which is imperative at this point if we are going to close the financial gap.

Pray for God to raise up the qualified experts and resources we need for the build out and for those who work the counters.

Leap of Faith

In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jones must get to the other side of a great chasm in order to save his dying father. But there is no apparent way to cross the divide. Heart hammering, Jones closes his eyes and steps out into what appears to be thin air, but amazingly his feet land on solid rock. What he hadn't seen before was a narrow bridge that was present but camouflaged. He safely crosses to the other side.

We can identify with Jones. A little over a month and a half ago we came to an apparent end of hope. In one last effort Jeff met with yet another banker. After looking over the business plan the banker informed Jeff that he could not provide the remaining money we need for the coffee shop start up. But then he spoke some profound words. He informed us that the gap between what we still needed and what we had on hand was almost the exact amount we needed to pay for salary. He suggested that if we could bypass the salary, then we'd be able to swing the coffee shop until it started turning producing cash flow. This also helped us to make the decision to run the coffee shop as a non-profit through Living Hope Covenant Church.

It's funny how God uses the most insignificant people to convey messages to His people. The path we were to take was suddenly quite clear. He wanted us to open the coffee shop on blind faith, switch from a charitable business model to a non-profit and secure volunteers to make up the workforce and to help with the up-fit.

Making this shift has opened the door to all kinds of possibilities and it has rounded up interested workers who care about our mission. Yes, it feels very much like stepping out into thin air, but our footsteps feel amazingly firm and we believe God is blessing this "leap of faith."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sharing This Sunday at Trinity Fellowship

I drove by a church yesterday and noticed the marquee. It said: "Free Ticket to Heaven. Details Inside." As I thought about someone who may take a serious interest, I couldn't help but also notice that there were no cars in the parking lot and the doors were more than likely locked - being a Friday morning. I guess the person(s) who put up the letters imagined someone looking at the service times on Sunday and writing it down in their calendar?

Barna wrote an article in 2006: "Spirituality May Be Hot in America, But 76 Million Adults Never Attend Church." In the article he presents statistics from various people with differing spiritual backgrounds. Despite the variety, the main point is that a majority of people are going about their day on Sunday as if it were any other day of the week.

This fuels the passion we want to communicate as we challenge the churches where we are sharing the vision of Java Journey. We are not in a westernized "competition" with local parishes (sp?) or even coffee shops. We hope to compliment both endeavors, espcially the former.

In short, ministry opportunities have a daily - even hourly frequency. One building on one day at one location for an hour or so will not satisfy the demand presented with such a frequency.

Which would you rather say when you have an opportunity on a certain Wednesday of the week: "I'll pray for you and I'll like to encourage you to come with me to my church this Sunday. I'll pick you up." Or: "You have time for a cup of coffee right now? I'm buying." Which scenario do you think has a beater chance?

That's part of what we want to provide through Java Journey. We'll be there "any other day of the week."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lease Application Submitted

The next step will be our meeting with the landlord and the realty company to sign the lease. In NC, that involves the meeting with an attorney. That's how it happened when we bought our house. For us, NC is unique as any other time we closed on a property, it was just the parties, Realtors and title company present.

The terms were changed a bit since we received the lower price on the space. We will begin, July 1st and will receive only 2 months free. The lease will be for 18 months.

Thanks for those who take the time and interest to read and pray.

Bless you!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ready to roll up some sleeves

We're hoping to sign the lease this week. We've already got a youth group coming for 4 days in July from Greensboro. They might possibly bring a licensed electrician and plumber.

Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

July 1!

The landlord agreed to allow our lease to begin July 1st. We will get 3 months free since there is much work to do.

I've scanned a picture of the rough plans (click on it to view a larger version). The biggest project will be building the handicap unisex bathroom. Another big challenge will be running drains and supply, as well as 220v power from the back of the store to the "service" area.

The youth group from Trinity Covenant Church in Greensboro will be in Hickory for 4 days in July to help us.

Continue to pray that we will find a licensed plumber and electrician to help us out pro bono.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The bigger space has more potential. We'll just beef up the PR that we need lots of help.

Please pray that we find a licensed electrician and a licensed plumber who will work pro bono so that we may get the space ready for launching.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The commercial realtor called Friday informing me that the landlord had a change of heart. He wants to rent the smaller space to someone in retail. But he will allow us to have the larger space under the same terms. Hmmmmmm.... There is much more work to be done on the larger space costing more money, but it does hold greater potential.

What is God up to on this? I guess we're going to find out. There is so much meaning to the "journey" part of "java!"

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Major Step Within Reach

I just went by and spoke to the landlord of the place we would like to lease. He has agreed to our terms. Our one-year lease will begin June 1. He has given us a month of free rent so we can make the transition in the space. This will be Java Journey (javajourney.org) under the umbrella of Living Hope Church. Thanks for your prayers - keep 'em going.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Please Pray

Four of us met with the landlord of the space we've been looking at. The place right next to where we were looking is just now opening up. It's about 500 square feet smaller but has most of the work done.

We all had dinner afterward and agreed that I will call him tomorrow and ask for $200 less per month for the smaller space than he is asking, one month free and a one-year lease beginning June 1.

I'll post the result when I found out his response.

Friday, April 24, 2009

GPS "God Possesses Sovereignty"

"Recalculating route. Make the next legal U-turn."

For those of you who have been following our very deliberate process, you will recall how we wrestled with the issue of either going non-profit or for-profit. We initially chose the latter.

Now that we've hit a giant stone wall of the banking industry freezing loans (we applied to 6), we've discovered that in the time-period, we saw community and like-minded vision develop with different fellowships. This was a surprise we did not anticipate or foresee. Our organic (house) church has been fortified by the strength of trust and intimacy that we did not have the first 12 months of living here. The support of what we want to do has flourished into the hearts of those who are part of our bi-weekly gatherings. Other followers are hearing the heartbeat too. On Sunday, May 24th, we will share our vision with Trinity Fellowship Church in Hickory. Our prayer is that we will appeal to those who can help us upfit the location for reaching out to the community through Java Journey.

So as it stands presently, we are going establish Java Journey under the umbrella of Living Hope Church (an established non-profit). LH will eventually buy the equipment we have purchased and will oversee the JJ ministry and operation.

We will provide more details as we travel down this artery.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Long Hiatus

Sorry about the large gap. We've gotten to a critical turn. The following post(s) will detail.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back in the "glimmer of hope" mode

As of this writing, we are about ready to mail an application in to a cash-source entity outside of the conventional bank. We are operating on guidance from a recently made acquaintance. Stand by - - -

Sunday, February 15, 2009


"Dead in the water" - as far as the "coffee shop" goes - - - I learned that term in the Navy. It means that there is no wind or engine to drive the boat/ship. The only thing that can move the vessel is a current. That's where we're at right now. It does not mean that we are not moving. It just doesn't feel like we are. We're fine with that as the strong sense (sorry - can't find any other word) of God's presence prevails.

We had our initial house church gathering last week and it went very well. We will gather every other week - as the community has requested it. It's no cooincidence that a fellow follower I crossed paths with just prior to our first gathering handed me a book with a very red cover. It's called "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola and George Barna. Funny - I had not heard of it as it was published in 2002. I am now devouring it and strongly resonating with what I had always suspected about why "we" (the conventional church) DO the things we DO. I hope to provide excerpts in this blog and my personal blog (http://differentcloth.blogspot.com). In short, the writers have the courage to do what many think should not be done. They actually throw the baby out with the bath water." All the time I assumed the baby was a "Christian" one - but it turns out that the baby is (this word has been used so derogatorily but it fits here) PAGAN.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A glimmer of hope

Among the handful of private lenders we have approached, only one has reflected a generous demeanor. "The economy" is causing balking on the part of others. The one is praying about what can be done on our behalf and will get back to us.

Sunday is Day 1 of our community of followers. We will gather at our house from 10:30 - Noon. This will have an open-paticipatory context and not the conventional "this is how you do church."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Do You See?

We've applied to and been turned down by nearly a half dozen banks for an unsecured loan to give us the last 1/3 of needed capital to start. So we are both "seeing yellow" right now. What do we mean?

Take a look at the traffic signal in the accompanying graphic. What do you see? How do you interpret it? It's a still picture so you really can't tell what action is occurring. Most often the yellow light is the warning to communicate to automobile operators that a transition from flow to stop is about to occur. According to the North Carolina Drivers manual: "A circular yellow signal means 'caution' and indicates that the signal is about to turn red." Everyone knows that red means STOP. But the illuminated light could also be flashing. The NCDM makes that distinction in stating: "The flashing yellow signal has the same meaning as a warning sign. Slow down and proceed with caution."

Which one is it? That's what we want to know. God is either telling us to be ready to stop or to proceed slowly with caution.

We've both determined that unless we are able to have the last portion of the resources needed to launch, then we cannot proceed with what we dreamed and imagined. We're not afraid to come to that conclusion for fear of creating an impression of "failure." But (as we've learned over and over and over) there are always the possibility of "God-surprises" along our path.

To be upfront with you and according to the business plan ("counting the cost"), we need about $30k to lay the groundwork. We've got about $60k either available or already invested at this writing. We've avoided asking friends and family to help fill the gap as we are aware of the cultural track-record of damaged relationships that can result. But perhaps it is time to ask others to take a risk. All we can guarantee is that this portion would be our number priority within our budget to compensate. We have a very high credit score and have never been in hot water with excessive debt. That's just what we're thinking primarily. Perhaps 3 could help us by providing 10k each; or 6 with 5k; 10 with 1k...

If we can approach this route, we would find someone to collect our payments and distribute them on a monthly basis with agreed interest and late fees to facilitate prompt disbursement.

We'll visit this and proceed if we determine that the light is flashing and not about to turn red.