The Parable of the Coffee Shop

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a world in which coffee is universal. That should not be too hard in our day and age. Everywhere you turn, there is a new coffee shop serving various forms of those roasted beans and with drinks foaming and frothing with sweetness.

Now, imagine with me once more, a world where those cups of coffee all have things added: chocolate, milk, cream, sweeteners of every form and flavor. In fact, it is impossible to find a coffee shop that even offers you the option of coffee served black. Who would order such a thing anyway? In fact, imagine such a culture where generations have gone by and no one has ever tasted coffee without such sweeteners added.

Continue to imagine with me the startup of a new coffee shop in town…one that made the conscientious decision to serve coffee strong and black and nothing but coffee strong and black. You might imagine that people would visit at first to try out the new coffee shop, but people who are used to sweetened coffee would quickly reject it as distasteful and unpleasant. Who would want to drink that nasty, black stuff?

Yet, there would be a few, who would discover something that they knew deep down was out there, but they never could find. They knew that deep down under all of that sweetener was something that they craved, but they could not get. Here, in the new coffee shop, their instincts were confirmed and they found that for which they had been looking. 

It would not be too hard to imagine that these “black coffee drinkers” would soon be ostracized by all of their sweetened-coffee friends. In fact, some might even be bullied to return to the sweet stuff for a season. But once you have tasted what you have been craving, how can you walk away from it again?

Such black-coffee drinkers would likely become labeled as intolerant, especially if they took the position that “sweetened coffee was not really coffee at all.” They might even be railed against as arrogant when these black-coffee drinkers proclaimed themselves to be the “true coffee drinkers” in a world of pretenders.

Nevertheless, these true-coffee drinkers would ever be on the search for others whose hunger for genuine strong and black coffee had been awakened…

At Light of Resurrection Reformed Church, we aim to be that coffee shop that serves theology strong and un-sweetened. Truth is Truth. We will offer it lovingly, but we will not water it down. That is our DNA as a congregation; that is our aim as a church.

TOPIX Resumes!

On May 31st, we are able to resume TOPIX. It has been some time now and I am sure that the theological questions and thoughts have accumulated; so bring your questions, your Bible, and your mind as we chase the questions wherever they lead.

“What is TOPIX?” you might ask. TOPIX began with the conviction that seminary-level training should not be limited to the academy, but that it belonged to the churches and to those who sat in the pews, who lead the congregation, and who will disciple others in the faith.

TOPIX was originally designed, then, to fill that gap. There are no questions that are considered “off the table” and we dig into any and every question as far as we need to do so, to give an understanding to all. We will not always agree on an answer, but the Bible is our absolute rule and the Confessions are our guides as we think and reason together. Sometimes we pursue a specific topic in more depth for a period of time, but often, we go “from Dan to Beersheba” exploring theological topics and ideas that people have encountered during the week.

The format is casual and conversational in nature. Its purpose is not to be a time of theological debate but of theological exploration. One need not be a member of LORR to be part of TOPIX and one will not be pressured to join LORR through TOPIX (though inquiries are always welcome). Those who have been a part of this group will readily attest that some wonderful friendships have grown around the Word of God through this gathering.

We meet at 7:00 PM at Grace Bible Church in Middle Lancaster: 602 Perry HighwayHarmony, Pennsylvania. We normally wrap up at 9:00 PM (though if you need to leave earlier than that, no offense is taken).

About Pastor Win

Pastor Win and his wife Denise grew up in the little town of Jarrettsville in the hills of rural Maryland and they began their married life with Win installing carpet and Denise as a Kindergarten teacher, but God had other plans for these two. Shortly before they were married, Win was licensed to preach in the United Methodist denomination in which he and Denise grew up. Yet, after 5 years of preparing sermons and preaching, Win’s theology did not remain Methodist, but he became Reformed in his thinking.

That led Win to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, where Denise was able to reconnect with one of her childhood friends living just outside of the city. During Seminary, Win and Denise joined the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and Win found himself doing ministry with the homeless men of Gateway Rescue Mission in Jackson. Win also preached in PCA and OPC pulpits during his years in training.

Out of Seminary, Win was called to serve as the Discipleship Director/Chaplain for Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville, Florida where he also took on the responsibilities of serving a PCA church in the neighboring town of Milton. At the school, Win was a senior administrator, head of the Bible department, Boy’s Counselor, and was in charge of leadership development and K-12 chapel services. Win also taught Bible, Systematic Theology, and Philosophy to students.

After 5 years in Florida, the Leadership of Westminster Presbyterian gave Win permission to begin seeking a call closer to his and Denise’s aging parents. That led him to serve St. John’s (Burry’s) Church up the road, with both sets of parents moving to Passavant in Zelienople to be closer to Win and Denise. Yet, after 9 years at St. John’s (Burry’s), Win and the leadership there came to an impasse as to the direction of the church, Win seeking to see a more narrowly Reformed spirit in the congregation and the leadership wishing to be more broadly so. The decision was made that an amicable separation could be achieved, with St. John’s seeking a more suitable pastor to reflect their vision and Win leaving to found Light of Resurrection Reformed Church in Butler County. It is the stated intention of this church, once fully formed, to enter into the Reformed Church in the United States, the denomination in which Pastor Win is ordained.

Win is committed to the principle that church unity can only be found in the pursuit of doctrine that is Biblical and consistent with the Creeds and Confessions of the Church. He also believes that the mark of a mature congregation is one that is theologically sound and well educated in the doctrines of the church (Ephesians 4:11-14). Thus, theological training is not just for the pastorate, but for all members of the church, especially for those in leadership. He believes that churches should essentially be “little seminaries” where the next generation of leadership is always being instructed and trained.

Win also spends a great deal of time teaching on the mission field and mentoring pastors in other parts of the world. Since 2005 he has taught Systematic and Historical Theology for two-weeks out of the year at the Reformed International Theological Education seminary in Ukraine (originally in Donets’k, now in Kiev). He has also spent time in Nairobi, Kenya, working with pastors enrolled in the Rabboni Leadership Institute. Win is also on the Oversight Board for The North American Reformed Seminary. He has also published a number of books on theology and the Bible. Check out some of his writings at preacherwin.com.

Win enjoys reading, is especially a fan of the writings of C.S. Lewis and the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. He likes gardening, making his own salsa, and loves his food very spicy. He and his wife, Denise, have two teenage children (Paul and Chloe) and the four of them are excited to see what God is going to do with them in this new season and stage of their lives.