I've always dreamed of opening up a pizzeria. As a wannabe urbanite, the location of my pizza joint would in a downtown location. In addition to pizza and a full-bar, the restaurant would also offer a full coffee bar and bakery. This would allow traffic to flow into my establishment from the early hours in the morning to the latest hours at night. The pizza would be cooked in brick oven, exposed for all to see. The interior would be dimly lit. The walls would be the original brick. In addition to a dining area, there would be living room furniture scattered across the board. If you would like to eat your pizza on a couch, so be it!
I wouldn't require any of the employees to wear a uniform. They could wear whatever they please. All I ask of them is that they wear an apron, to differentiate them from the customers. They'd still be able to choose their own apron. A personable staff is a must.
Similar to some other establishments outside of Southeast Kansas, there would be many activities through out the week to bring people in; Game Night, Trivia Night, Karaoke Night, book reading clubs, and live music!
There are three things I like to do; plan, plan and plan. That may be an exaggeration, but I'm trying to stress that I am a planner. There is just something about knowing all the details before they happen that just makes me feel oh so secure. It doesn't matter how small or how large the event is, I just have to know what is going to happen. Even my job consists of constantly sending out production plans.
Saying all that? What can I remember from all those times that things went exactly as planned? Almost nothing. The most memorable moments of my live are from times that didn't go exactly as I had planned. They weren't pleasant experiences one hundred percent of the time, but something positive always came out of them. I was able to learn more about myself, the people I was with, and God.
Pslam 33:11 states, "but the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." I'm thankful that God is willing to expose the cracks in my plans. It's at these times, I remember how dependent I am in Him, and also how good He is to me.
I misunderstood grace for the longest time. I grew up thinking it was a single piece of a larger puzzle in the Bible. I believed grace was something we occasionally had to earn. It was a good thing to practice grace, but only go so far with it. If some one dug their own hole, it was best to let them dig their own self out. That would teach them a lesson. That would bring them closer to God. Grace was balanced with all the other parts of the Gospel. I heard this taught. I saw this practiced. I'm guilty of practicing it myself.
During the past couple years, my perspective has been changed. There's not a single event that flipped my switch. Maybe it was me seeing people left out to rot, because grace couldn't be offered to them. Maybe it was when I looked in the mirror and saw how ugly I was when a close friend needed grace. I had allowed my piousness to bring out the worst in me.
Here's what I've learned. Grace isn't a piece of a larger puzzle, but it's the entire story. It's how we get from Point A to Point B. How does the fallen man in Genesis transform to the man who fellowships with God in Revelation? Grace. There's nothing man has done to make him worthy. Why should we restrain the grace we extend to others for any reason? Paul said his life would be worthless if he didn't testify to God's grace (Acts 20:24). I don't encourage you to practice grace. I encourage you (and myself) to live it with no limits.
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.