Posted in bible, Ministry, questions

No more ________.

Every Thursday morning between ten and twenty men from our church gather for breakfast and bible study at a local restaurant. This group has been meeting for close to thirty years, longer than I’ve been the pastor at our church. I’m not going to mention the name of the restaurant, unless I feel kind of snarky a little later in this post.

Within the past year, the franchise has eliminated certain items from the menu. The first item to go: raisins. Raisins were no longer available for the guys who ordered oatmeal for breakfast. Dried cranberries, yes. Raisins? Nope. Next, no more Tabasco. OK, I realize this is a niche market. And they did offer a cheap imitation hot sauce. But if you want the good stuff, too bad. One day, we were told, “No more English muffins.” You could choose from white, wheat, sour dough, or rye bread. Or a couple of pancakes. Biscuits? Yes. All of a sudden though, one day English muffins reappeared in our choice of breads. Nice.

So I’ve been wondering, “Who makes these decisions?” I doubt that the franchise owner is fretting about dried fruit or bread. But at the corporate level, in some office somewhere, someone is pondering, “What can we do to increase our profits? Where can we cut the fat?”

Last week, one group member lamented a local Subway’s decision to eliminate Swiss cheese from the menu. Really? Cheese with holes is a staple of deli sandwiches. What happened? Tariffs on imported Swiss? Shortages and price spikes? Who knows.

I’m just curious. Who makes these decisions? And why? I’m no dummy. I know it’s the bottom line. Follow the money. Some bean counter somewhere decided that millions could be made with a simple adjustment to the menu. Whatever. We can always bring our own Tabasco. Or get our subs from a different fast food restaurant. Or boycott until they meet our demands.

So far we can still bring our bibles. That’s the important thing.

Posted in Life, Ministry

A new chapter for the men’s bible class







As soon as I arrived in Palm Coast to begin serving as pastor at Shepherd of the Coast seventeen years ago, I was informed I’d get to lead the men’s bible study that met on Thursday mornings. At the time, we met at a little diner-like place at the Flagler County airport called “Wings,” where the standard breakfast fare was a “hockey puck” (Fried egg on an English muffin with your choice of bacon or sausage patty). One bite and you know how it got it’s name. That and coffee cost you $1.99 plus tax.

After a few years, though, the restaurant closed and we moved our study up to Perkins restaurant, where we had a back room to ourselves and a larger choice of breakfast specials, including muffins and pie. I generally passed on the coffee, which I suspect was also used to clean the grill. But some of the heartier souls were able to down cup after cup. This past Sunday I heard the rumor and got the official news on Monday that Perkins had closed. Just like that. Our Waitress of many years, Jennie, left a note for me at the church. An era had ended.

But a new one begins tomorrow, at Bob Evans. I stopped by to see if they had a spot for us on Thursday mornings, and was blessed to know the manager there, the daughter of a woman I had visited many years ago in the nursing home. She hooked us up and we are ready to go.

I believe this group has been meeting for over twenty years. Numbering anywhere from twelve to twenty men, I believe we have studied nearly every book of the Bible, watched a number of Bible videos, and in animated conversation, solved most of the world’s problems. We have said farewell to a few who have gone on ahead of us to glory, but new faces have soon filled out our group.

I appreciate this faithful group of men, whose faces I see each Sunday in worship and at breakfast on Thursday mornings. If you’ve ever needed prayer, chances are we’ve prayed for you. Our list is formidable, but we’re undaunted, for we hold to the promise that the prayers of righteous men are effective.

If you are ever in Palm Coast on a Thursday morning, stop in and see us from 8-9 am, now at Bob Evans (next to Home Depot).