Our New Communication Platform Launches Next Week

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One of the major challenges we’ve faced as we work to re-merge our congregations is our use of different communication platforms. Right now, 2 Pillars Near South uses a tool called The City while 2 Pillars Northeast uses Church Community Builder (CCB). 

This all changes next week as both congregations will be moving to a new platform called Realm

Don’t Miss Your Realm Invitation

Invitations to Realm will go out on Monday or Tuesday of next week. You’ll want to make sure you don’t miss this! 

Before then, please log into your City and/or CCB account and update your email address. This is the address to which your Realm invite will be sent, so make sure it’s an email account that you actually check regularly.

If you have both a City and CCB account, your invite will be sent to the address attached to your City account. 

A Note to City Users

Realm is a product from the same company that owns The City. Essentially, it’s a new platform that leverages what they’ve learned since they acquired The City from Zondervan in 2011 as well as features and functionality from some of their other products.  

When you log in for the first time, you’re going to notice that Realm has a familiar look and feel. I think you’ll find that most of what you’re looking for (messages, groups, giving, etc.) is, more or less, in the same place. There are many features that have been brought over from The City, some that didn’t make the cut, and still others that are completely new. I’ll do my best to highlight the most important changes over the next couple weeks.

One of the benefits of moving from The City to Realm is that much of our data will be automatically transferred over to Realm: profiles, family, groups (though discussion threads will not transfer), giving history, and online giving information (including recurring online giving). If you already have a City account, then setting up your Realm account will be very simple. 

A Note to CCB Users

If you’re a CCB user, I think you’ll find Realm to be a pleasant change. The interface is simple and intuitive and, unlike CCB which is built primarily for leaders, Realm is designed to serve the average church member and make communication with others simple and easy.  

Also, did I mention that Realm has a mobile app?!

Unfortunately, if you give online to 2 Pillars Northeast (through our provider,  Pushpay), your giving will not be automatically transferred. You’ll need to set up online giving through Realm after you create your account. We’ll post more information about this next week.

Finally, most of the groups that you are in on CCB will be replicated on Realm.

Stay Tuned

I’ll continue to post more information here about Realm over the next several days. 

I’ll also start a thread on both The City and CCB where you can post any questions that you might have. Please let me know there how we can help make this transition as smooth as possible for you.

Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition Partnership

We are thrilled to announce the official partnership of two organizations that we are already a part of as a church: Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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Acts 29 is a diverse, global family of church-planting churches, characterized by theological clarity, cultural engagement and missional innovation. Currently consisting of 676 churches in 11 networks around the world, it seeks to facilitate and catalyze church planting as congregations drill deep into their contexts and reach wide across the world to where Jesus is neither named nor known.

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The Gospel Coalition is is a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing their faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming their ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. Amongst other activities it hosts a series of blogs, media and resources to help congregations achieve the same.

This partnership makes Acts 29 the primary church planting resource of The Gospel Coalition and brings together two organizations we are actively involved with and love!

For more on this partnership, check out the December 6th post on the Acts 29 blog (which will now be hosted on The Gospel Coalition site).

There is also a wonderful, long-form article on The Gospel Coalition site titled, "How Acts 29 Survived—and Thrived—After the Collapse of Mars Hill" that is worth the time to read.

What to Expect: Little Pillars

The following post is from Jenae Tegtmeier, one of our Little Pillars Leaders:

I'm sure there are lots of questions around what to expect as we move into Piedmont Park SDA as a temporary space for the next few months, especially pertaining to kids on Sunday morning. This post will hopefully answer most of your questions so that you're familiar with what to do for the kids on Sunday mornings in the new space.

Parents:

For the most part, everything will function as usual. Wee Pillars (kids age 0-3) can be checked in before the service. Little Pillars (kids age 3-6) will be released prior to the sermon. As always, kids of all ages are also always welcome in the main sanctuary space.  

We will have a sign-in table and name tag station at the front of the hallway as you enter the building. The two classrooms are slightly down a side hallway but we'll have the sign-in table in the more visible spot at the front of the hallway. When in doubt, look for signage and smiling faces sitting at a pop-up table!

Volunteers:

We will have two rooms for the kids. Wee Pillars (0-3) and Little Pillars (3-6). How you serve and what age group you're with will not change if you've been at Near South. For Northeast, be sure to reply to Hannah's survey about what age room you would like serve in now.

Please plan to arrive at 9:40 am on the Sundays that you serve. This will give the point people (Jenae, Stephanie, or Chelsea) time to give everyone a quick debrief on the rooms, what toys to use/not use, bathroom set up, etc. before the kids begin to arrive.

You'll begin to see schedule requests in Planning Center coming your way again soon. Please respond to these in a timely manner as we begin to build back up to being planned 2-3 months in advance.

Feel free to reach out to Jenae Tegtmeier or Stephanie Vadnais or Chelsea Bates with any questions!

Reminder: Tomorrow is Moving and Cleaning Day!

Thank you to all those who have worked hard at packing this week.  We've gotten so much done!  Many thanks to everyone who donated boxes too.  We've received more than enough at this point!  

Just a reminder: we'll be loading up, moving most stuff out, and cleaning tomorrow morning (12/9), beginning at 9am at both Near South and Northeast.

We can use as many hands as possible to help with the move.  A pizza lunch will be provided for those helping!

Reminder for anyone helping at Near South: extra vacuums, mops, and rags will be helpful to make the cleaning portion go quicker.

All Hands on Deck for Moving & Cleaning

As we prepare to exit our building at 15th and South as well as our 2PC Northeast office space on Havelock Avenue, we've slotted Saturday, December 9th, and Sunday, December 10th, as two days for moving the majority of stuff into storage in prep for going mobile in January.

Prior to December 9th, our aim is to have most areas packed up.  We'll then have a large moving truck rented and ready to load beginning Saturday morning (the 9th) at 9am at 15th and South.  We can use as many hands as possible to help with the move.  We'll likely be at it most of the day so come and go as you need to.  We're planning to rent the moving truck through Sunday so if we don't get done on Saturday, we will plan to finish on Sunday afternoon.

We'll also be cleaning that weekend so if moving isn't your thing, please come to help clean!

 

Merge & Move - Key Dates

With a 'Merge & Move' and the Christmas season just around the corner, it's safe to say that we are in the midst of an exceptionally busy season as a church.

With that in mind, here are a number of key dates and events to be aware of over the next few months. You might consider pulling out your calendar and taking a few minutes to mark these down.

Of course, we'll continue to post details about the dates below as they emerge, so stay tuned!

Key Dates

12/03 | JOINT ADVENT SERIES BEGINS
“Silent Night”

12/03 | ALL-CHURCH UPDATE
Q & A built into the 2PCNS and 2PCNE Sunday morning services.

12/09 | MOVING AND CLEANING
Further details TBA

12/10 | MOVING AND CLEANING
Further details TBA

12/17 | LAST SUNDAY OF SEPARATE CONGREGATION GATHERINGS
Final 2 Pillars worship gathering at the Joyo Theatre

12/24 | JOINT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE AT 1430 SOUTH STREET (6:30PM)
Family-style worship service—no Little Pillars

12/31 | JOINT SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP GATHERING AT 1430 SOUTH STREET (10AM)
Final 2 Pillars worship gathering at 1430 South Street
Family-style worship service—no Little Pillars

01/07 | FIRST WORSHIP GATHERING AT PIEDMONT PARK SDA (10AM)

01/12 | OPEN HOUSE EVENT AT 40TH AND SHERIDAN
Further details TBA

02/09 | OPEN HOUSE EVENT AT 40TH AND SHERIDAN
Further details TBA

02/19 | LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT NIGHT (6–8PM)
Tentative pending Merge & Move timeline and developments

03/09 | OPEN HOUSE EVENT AT 40TH AND SHERIDAN
Further details TBA

Celebrate Jesus and 1430 South Street!

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As we keep looking forward to merging and moving, we're also keeping an eye on the calendar!  At 2 Pillars Near South we will continue to meet in our building at 1430 South Street through the end of the year; however, we've also got to be out of here by the end of the year!  That means between now and the end of the year (including working around holidays), we will be slowly packing up and moving out of 1430 South Street.

One of the big areas of packing up and moving out includes the auditorium.  To that end our musician leaders are planning a "tear down" day this Sunday evening, November 26th, when a hand-picked team of music gear ninjas will start to carefully deconstruct and pack up our A/V equipment.  

Before they do that though, they'd also like to invite the entire body to join together for a time of singing and prayer that afternoon—from 3:00-3:45pm.

Come one, come all, and spread the word for celebrating Jesus and 1430 South Street together, this Sunday, at 3pm!!!

Temporary Space Update

We received word from the Piedmont Seventh Day Adventist Church (at 48th and A) that their board voted this past Monday night to proceed with renting out their building to us on Sunday mornings!  

At this point, there are still several details to work out in order to finalize the agreement, so please keep this in prayer.  Once the deal becomes official, we'll post more information but as of now, we simply wanted to share that this seems to be the direction God is leading us for our temporary Sunday gathering space need beginning in January.

Pray for Temporary Space

As we look forward to January and the transitions coming our way, one of the biggest remaining questions marks for us is the location of temporary meeting space beginning January 7.  

Our original plan was to begin meeting together in January at the Joyo Theatre (the current meeting location for 2 Pillars Northeast); however, after further consideration we believe that location is not optimal—primarily due to the challenges associated with having enough space to effectively conduct our Little Pillars ministry.

We have at least eight other leads that we have been doggedly pursuing and are currently narrowed-in on 2-3 options.  Pastor Adam and myself have been touring these options the last couple of weeks and are currently waiting to hear back from one of them which should aid in landing on a decision soon.

Please be in prayer over this process in the following ways:

  1. Pray for God's wisdom to guide this decision-making process
  2. Pray for God's generous provision as we seek out what He has for us
  3. Pray for a spirit of unity and adventure in our body as we look to a season of locational upheaval

2 Pillars Church is Merging & Moving!

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Beginning in January 2018, in pursuit of health and strength, 2 Pillars Near South and 2 Pillars Northeast will recombine into a single congregation.

Since planting 2 Pillars Northeast in February of 2016, 2 Pillars has existed as one church consisting of two neighborhood congregations. This transition simply brings the congregations back together as one church, one congregation.

The recombined congregation will begin meeting in temporary space (location yet to be determined) on January 7th until settling in to a new location at 40th and Sheridan around Easter time.

Subscribe & Stay Informed

This is a season of great change and great opportunity for our body. To keep up with the latest information regarding the changes and transitions, stay tuned here to the 2PC Blog. You can subscribe via RSS or have new posts delivered right to your email inbox
 

It's That Time of Year Again...

In a few short days, the Haymarket will be transformed and filled again with the sights, smells and sounds of the Farmer’s Market.  It will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 2 when the opening whistle blows.

As always, each year brings new vendors and produce to the Lincoln community. This prized Lincoln tradition has a strongly rooted history in our city’s past and present. To read more on those, check out my posts here for the history of the farmer’s market and here for where we are today!

For more information: http://lincolnhaymarket.org/events/farmers-market/

 

A Story of Redemption

For the Christian Church, the Easter season evokes symbols of death, rebirth, and the promise of salvation. Every year, Christians celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection and what it stands for with the understanding that the death and resurrection of Christ mirrors their own “rebirth.” While the means and duration of spiritual rebirth can and do vary tremendously from person to person, the eventual result, a life evidencing the changes that come with knowing Christ, is the same. As the oft-quoted passage from the Gospel of John tells us, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” While some throughout history have heatedly debated what constitutes “belief” - and Christ did make clear not all who profess belief actually believe - most would agree that the end result is a changed life that bears the “fruit” of the gospel as it compels Believers to live out its mission and tenets.

The Before

For me, my rebirth elicits a series of contrasts between my life before Christ and my life after Christ. Before knowing Christ, I earnestly believed that my righteousness was of my own doing. I believed in living “uprightly” because of how I thought I would appear to others and because of what I thought I could gain from it. My upright lifestyle, I believed at the time, would help me be esteemed by others and would make me a better candidate for “making it” in school, in jobs, and in my social circles.

Before knowing Christ, my self-made righteousness allowed me to willfully cover up and ignore my sinfulness. Since my righteousness was of my own doing, I frequently bent my self-made rules to suit me in the event I fell short of certain standards. In my own eyes, I was righteous - or better yet, more righteous - because I didn’t swear as much as others, because I studied more diligently than others, because I didn’t go out and drink like others, because I didn’t get angry about the same things as others, because I didn’t lust as openly or in the same ways as others, and so on and so on.

Before knowing Christ I invested myself into my work and image with reckless abandon. For example, I had a love for sports that far surpassed a love of just the game itself, the friendships it fostered, the lessons it taught, or the enjoying the opportunity to witness feats of athleticism. I poured an immense amount of my self-worth into athletics. I embodied the coaching cliche that “you’re only as good as your last performance,” riding the volatility of every good and bad performance as either a validation or indictment of my personal being. In many ways, my deep identification with athletics was a perfect representation of how I approached living – each performance measured how “good” or “bad” I was.

The After

This is just a snapshot of how I used to live and what used to drive me. In the years that have passed since committing my life to Christ, I have seen Him already work changes in my life.

First, my relationship with my sinful fallenness has changed. While almost two decades of self-made righteousness can’t be reversed quickly or easily, I have found great comfort in knowing that my salvation does not rest on “my last performance.” I am still sinful and broken. Very much so. I still wrestle with sins that have followed me from the time before I knew Christ. In fact, knowing Christ has greatly amplified my awareness of my sin now that I realize how short of God’s standards I fall and how shallow and feeble my own self-manufactured standards really were.

However, my fallenness is no longer what defines me. Because of my understanding of the sacrifice that God made for me and all others, I am free to pursue good and resist sin, not as a means for appearing better to others or to appease God via some giant, cosmic scoreboard, but rather as a way to gratefully, diligently, and contentedly serve a loving, merciful God.

A second major change is that knowing Christ has revolutionized my understanding of the Church. Previously, “church” had been a stale service that I attend for about 90 minutes every Sunday (or every other) because my parents went or because I wanted to look good and upright in front of others. “Church,” to me, was just another extra-curricular to join solely for the purpose of enhancing my appearance. Now, however, I understand that the Church is not a building that sits mostly empty six days out of the week but rather it’s a vibrant body of Believers that I am excited to be a part of and share in their experiences as followers of Christ. I am energized by their community and sense of mission, and I look to contribute to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and living it out. This hasn’t meant that I’ve somehow become more eloquent in talking to others or less awkward in having serious spiritual conversations with others. I’m still the same bumbling conversationalist that I was before knowing Christ. However, when I have (or make) opportunities, I make efforts to make my identity known and speak Christ’s truth into others lives, either through actions, deeds, or both.

A third major change brought by knowing Christ is that God no longer appears as a “celestial killjoy” to me. God was and remains a God of holiness and justice who abhors sin, but I now understand that it is through that holiness and justice that He offers hope to a broken, hurting world, promising us that one day all things will be made right and new through Him. This is possible because God is also a forgiving, loving God. He willingly paid the horrible penalty necessary for humanity to be redeemed and reunited with Him in eternity, and in paying that price and rising again, He defeated the hold that sin and death had had over us. Despite my horrible brokenness (and my tendency to revert to seeing Him as a scowling, disappointed patrol cop), I know that He loves me perfectly and fully. It paints a sharp contrast for a journey I know I’ve only just begun.

Photo by Robert Jinks

Be Happy: Jesus is Alive

As Christians, it’s okay for us to be happy.  In fact, we should be happy. 

Jesus is alive, He has conquered the grave, He has united us with Himself, and though in this world we will have trouble and tribulation, Jesus commands us to be of good cheer (to “take heart”), for He has overcome the world.

Why So Sad?

Within our stream of Christianity, there has been a bit of a reaction (a pendulum-swing, if you will) against the shallow, fake, overly-contrived emotional happiness of the contemporary church.  As with most pendulum swings, however, we’ve over-swung—rejecting the idea of that happiness has a place in the Christian life at all.

As Christians, we stand and affirm the truth that God is good.   We sing that “God is good… all of the time!”  We affirm and believe that Jesus died for our sins, that He reconciled us with God, that He rose from the grave, that we are united with Him in His resurrection, that He has ascended back to heaven, and is preparing a place for us.

We affirm and talk about and re-iterate that the gospel is “good news.”  And yet often times we don’t live as if we’ve heard any good news in weeks.

We worship without smiling.  We pray for change but not contentment.  We talk openly about our sin and our struggles but not our victory or our hope.  We pray for our needs, but don’t bask in His present provision.  We confess but we don’t adore.  We pray but we don’t praise.  

Wrestling for Contentment

It’s easy to be sad.  It’s easy to be discouraged and to point out everything that is wrong that needs to be fixed.  Being a critic or a cynic doesn't take much work.  We have to wrestle for contentment.  We have to wrestle for happiness.

This is a wrestling match that is worth winning.  

Such wrestling and striving doesn’t downplay how hard life can be.  It doesn’t downplay the brokenness and fallenness that we live in.  It doesn’t downplay suffering or pain or loss or depression.  And at the same time it doesn’t elevate happiness as the greatest good thereby negating any benefit that suffering has in this life.

Instead, it should lead us to understand what Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that we can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing… having nothing, yet possessing everything.”  In some ways, it’s a perspective change.  A change to seeing our lives the way God sees them.  Enveloped in His glorious grace; encapsulated within in His sovereign and glorious plan.

Happy

Beginning Easter Sunday morning and running for two weeks post-Easter, we'll be taking some time as a church to look at what it means to wrestle like this in a series we've titled, Happy: Wrestling for Contentment in Light of the Resurrection.

My prayer is that this series would be transformational corrective to our view of happiness as Christians.

"Sorry, We're Open."

From the street, patrons are greeted by a “Sorry We’re Open” sign, giving the initial down with the man, support local, live outdoors vibe. Upon entering, a neon pterodactyl is mounted behind the register while a vinyl Elvis hangs crying on the left. A lot of their decorations have been found at yard sales or picked up at thrift shops. Family members add their own vibe to the place with the one of a kind pieces they add to the walls and ceiling.

If you have spent any time around the Near South Neighborhood area, you probably have heard of Grateful Bread/Freakbeat Vegetarian. Grateful Bread is a cash/check only family run restaurant located in the Near South Neighborhood at 1625 South 17th Street.

This week, between bites of Cheese Scones and Moroccan Tomato Soup, I picked the brain of Cheyenne Flotree, front of house of this hip local joint.

What’s in a name?

Grateful Bread was the initial bakery started in 1992. Cheyenne’s explanation began with, “ Well, my mom was kind of a punk, and my dad was a hippie.” Cate Flotree sold baked goods with the help of her husband for several years. With the quippy name play reference, the Flotree parents sound like they were “Dead Heads” in their day. In 1998, the bakery moved into a brick and mortar storefront, adding macaroni and soup to the menu. It was during this time they also added Freakbeat Vegetarian to the name helping possible patrons understand the establishment offerings.

How is Grateful Bread/Freakbeat Vegetarian different than other local shops?

Cheyenne believes the café stands alone. While being completely vegetarian definitely sets the shop apart from others, Grateful Bread also has a different vibe than many local hot spots. The menu is inspired by southern soul food with influences from India and Morocco. Cate Flotree scours various recipes looking for inspiration for new menu items.

From the quirky décor to the daily menu change, Grateful Bread is definitely in it’s own league.  The menu and potential shop closing dates can be found on the shop’s facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grateful-BreadFreakbeat-Vegetarian/312793177888

Not sure what to try? The Lunch Room macaroni reminds me of homemade, but better. Moroccan Tomato Soup has the perfect amount of kick with a peanut undertone. Do not skip out on the baked goods! I always get a Classic Cheese Scone or cookie offered for the day.

Honestly, it’s all good. ☮ ✌

Near South's Goodhue Monument

This spring, Lincoln’s Near South Neighborhood Association will honor Bertram Goodhue, the architect of Nebraska’s State Capitol, with the construction of a monument at the intersection of Goodhue Boulevard and A Street. Funded by a $2,500 grant from NeighborWorks Lincoln, the monument, according to Association member Brayden McLaughlin, is intended to inform the public about the history of the area. “We’ve always kind of wanted sort of a marker at the end of Goodhue. It’s been kind of an entrance to the neighborhood that’s been overlooked,” McLaughlin told the Lincoln Journal Star last September. The monument will be constructed of a concrete base and will be topped with an engraved plaque containing information about Goodhue, the Capitol, and the surrounding Near South neighborhood. The Near South Neighborhood Association hopes to have the marker installed prior to the Near South Neighborhood Association's Parade of Homes on May 10th.

Despite the considerable honors of a monument and having a broad, grass-medianed boulevard named after him for his contribution to the city, Goodhue never actually saw his finished masterpiece. The notoriously prolific architect, who was known to keep lit cigarettes at several different work stations as he rapidly moved between them, died of a sudden heart attack in 1924 while half a continent away in his home city of New York. Despite having only broken ground on the Capitol in Lincoln just two years earlier, Goodhue’s plans were sufficient in detail for the project to push ahead unabated. In fact, Goodhue had been so prolific that his associates were able to continue working on the deceased architect’s projects for over a decade and a half until his firm finally closed in 1940.

The significance of the Nebraska Capitol and Goodhue’s role in creating it in many ways lies in the sharp contrasts offered by the building and its history. What would have been particularly apparent to observers at the time was the contrast between the opulent Capitol that was under construction and the persistent economic hardship that characterized life in the 1920s and 30s in Nebraska. Completed in 1932 during the height of the Great Depression, the structure, with its expensive limestone, gilded dome, and ornate mosaics and friezes, cost the much smaller state government of that time $9.8 million (roughly the same as Pinnacle Bank Arena when adjusted for inflation). Many in the American ag sector had at that point already endured an economic recession and sluggish recovery that had lasted over a decade following the end of World War I, and the catastrophic Dust Bowl was already starting to lap at the borders of the state at that time. But the building nonetheless seemed to find a kindred spirit in the Depression-fighting architect of the New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he stopped in Lincoln in the fall of 1936. Said Roosevelt, “I have seen – in fact all of the people of America have seen – photographs and illustrations of this wonderful Capitol building. . . . Every one of them ought to come here to see it in the light – a great and worthy structure, worthy of a great state.”

For Goodhue personally, the Capitol that Roosevelt had praised represented a significant contrast to his previous works as he shifted his architectural aesthetic toward the increasingly popular art deco looks that characterized the period. A quick glance at images of Goodhue’s previous projects like the West Point Cadet Chapel, the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, and the grounds for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, quickly reveals how dramatic of a break Goodhue’s design in Lincoln was from the more traditional appearances of his previous projects. The pioneering style of the Capitol represents Goodhue’s “seminal work,” said Bob Ripley, the building’s administrator.  “It will be the thing that will be his legacy in architecture for a very long time.”

Perhaps the most important contrast created by Goodhue’s new Capitol was the permanent change that he brought to the prairie skyline of eastern Nebraska. The Capitol in Lincoln would undoubtedly seem much more at home nestled among the skyscrapers of Goodhue’s native Manhattan than perched solitary and conspicuous above the flat, treeless plain that surrounds Lincoln. With the coming of the Capitol, Goodhue seemed to bring to Nebraska an implicit sense of vision and an apparent optimism that the state his project represented might one day grow to fit the monument he was building to it. Coming on the heels of recent national praise for the city’s growth and development, the City of Lincoln and the Near South Neighborhood Association hope to honor the man who helped give shape to that vision.

Photos provided by Tim Burge & Nebraska History Museum

Destinations Coffee House

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite places in all of Lincoln. Only coming in behind my cosy Cape Cod and my workplace, this is my third home. Everyone, meet Destinations.

At 14th and New Hampshire, this auto-shop-turned-coffee-shop holds more than espresso beans and hot, frothy milk. It's a unique place. Why, you ask? Well, it functions on a day-to-day basis through the care and service of volunteer baristas. Yes, you read that right. With only three paid staff members, the rest of the work is done by individuals who make your drinks out of the goodness of their heart. (They're also the ones who sweep the floor and clean the bathrooms. So obviously, they do it for the glamor.)

Now, why would a place like this exist? Why would young adults volunteer here, when they could be spending their time and energy elsewhere?

As a volunteer of nearly three years, let me explain the special bond that draws together people of varying backgrounds and unites them to the mission of Destinations.

After all, Jesus didn’t just hang out at the synagogue. He hung out at wells, and wells were the natural gathering places in ancient culture. One day it dawned on me that coffeehouses are postmodern wells. The only difference is that we draw shots of espresso instead of drawing water out of a well.

– The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Those of us who serve as volunteers - even as our group continues to shift with each year - have a desire to create a warm, welcoming, and encouraging environment for students. We want to provide an extension of God's love to those who walk through our doors. There's something about greeting someone with a smile, asking their name, acknowledging their uniqueness, asking about their major, then serving them a handcrafted beverage, that can hopefully add joy to their day. It's only a cup of coffee, but it may be the interaction of the volunteers that make them want to come back, knowing that they are loved here - even if they don't know why.

The hopeful ripple effect of what this induces in the lives of students is what keeps us washing the dishes and wiping the countertops. It's a slow process - "relational evangelism," if you will - but it is good and worthwhile.

Consider the stigma of someone walking into a church for the first time, fearing judgement. At Destinations, we can welcome people with God's love in a way that is different - for one, it's less scary, and, let's be honest, it probably has better coffee.

What You Need to Know:

  • We welcome everyone at Destinations, not just students!

  • We have weird hours, since we’re greatly run by volunteers:

    • Mon - Thur 7am-12pm, 6-11pm

    • Fri 7-12pm

    • Sun 6-11pm

    • On occasion, we’re open Friday nights for Destinations Live (yay, music!)

  • We have free parking, which is a sweet bonus.

  • We want to know you - come meet us!

Photos provided by Allea Grummert and Duncan C

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.

 

That is the mantra of Maggie Pleskac, owner of Maggie’s Vegetarian Café located in the Lincoln Haymarket. Maggie is one of the founding members of Slowfood Nebraska. Maggie’s passion for organic eating was discovered when she was living in California. When she returned to Lincoln in the late 1990s, she decided to try to bring California’s fresh organic eating back to Lincoln, and in the process, support Nebraska producers. The result was the opening of her small restaurant in July 2000.

Upon entering the cafe, a sign reads, “Know your farmer. Know your food.” Maggie takes this to heart, utilizing products from local producers year round.  Some of her local sources include Jisa Farmstead, Dutch Girl Creamery, Branched Oak Farm, and Wise Oven Bread.

Food is never inert energy. Although we pluck it from earth or its mother plant, prepare it or cook it, food holds and irreplaceable and complex set of memories that inform the vital functions of the body, mind and spirit.
–Maya Tiwari

Although small in size, Maggie’s is mighty in flavor.  In September 2012, Food Network Magazine voted Maggie’s Avocado Melt Wrap, “The Best Sandwich in Nebraska.” After trying several of the wrap options, I have to agree with Food Network Magazine, the Avocado Melt Wrap is vegetarian heaven in your mouth. The wrap uses fresh avocado, Jisa Farmstead cheddar, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, roasted sunflower seeds, onion, fresh tomato, mixed greens, and house made Herb Mustard Dressing to create an experience unlike any other.

You can visit Maggie’s Monday through Saturday from 8am to 3pm. If you don’t get off work before 3pm, you can always find a few of Maggie’s wraps or baked goods served down the street at The Mill coffee shop.

“Food is never inert energy.  Although we pluck it from earth or its mother plant, prepare it or cook it, food holds and irreplaceable and complex set of memories that inform the vital functions of the body, mind and spirit.”  –Maya Tiwari

Photo by EpSos

Lincoln Exposed in Review

The following is a guest post by Andrew Stellmon. Andrew is a Team Member at Vinnie Krikac State Farm, and a frequent contributor to HearNebraska.org. Originally from Lee's Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City, he has lived in Lincoln since Fall 2007, when he began attending UNL. Andrew graduated in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Sociology. Andrew has contributed to HearNebraska.org since April 2014, and what began as an outlet for his passion for music turned into a position as an editorial intern for the Fall 2014 semester, covering local and national music in concert and album reviews and artist-focused interviews. Andrew also loves movies, coffee, craft-beer, tries to find time to read, and is a rabid Kansas City sports fan.

Thoughts On Big Crowds, Bandleaders, and Genre Diversity

After 61 bands, four nights, three venues, and after one awesome local music fan base turned out in droves, Lincoln Exposed ended with a bang early Sunday morning.

It seems too neatly linear, and maybe a bit cliché, to say that Lincoln Exposed ramped up as the weekend progressed. It's still true in a lot of ways. Wednesday night opened with seven bands, and even with a bone-chilling freeze outside, drew a nice turnout.

After expanding to the full complement of venues - the Zoo Bar, Duffy’s Tavern, and The Bourbon Theater - for Thursday onward, the number of bands increased, as did the attendance.

Twenty bands played on Saturday, starting with Tupelo Springfield at 6pm at the Zoo Bar. The energy of Saturday itself intensified as the regular bar crowd showed (especially at Duffy’s, where it was at capacity for part of the night). The festival hit it's last crescendo with pop punk quartet Thirst Things First at 12:40am at Duffy’s to close the weekend.

Whew. What an awesome whirlwind of a weekend.

I helped cover Thursday’s festivities for Hear Nebraska, which is part of why I wasn't able to make it to every band. Visit these links for their comprehensive coverage of Lincoln Exposed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There was still plenty to digest from the weekend. I’ve listed my thoughts below, based on my favorite things that I saw, sought out, and experienced randomly.

  • I wrote a bit last week about how diverse, genre-wise, these billings were at first glance. For my money, that is when Lincoln Exposed, Lincoln Calling, or music festival is at its best: a wide variety of acts playing one after another on the same billing or throughout the same night. It gives musician and audience member a chance to sample something completely different from their particular musical tastes.

  • Lincoln Exposed delivered on this in spades each night, beginning right away with Wednesday’s billing. Soul/R&B trio Xion played first at the Zoo Bar. Their three-part vocal harmonies blended expertly together with VJ Herbert’s robust piano chords. It was nice to ease into the festival in this way, gently and with music that would probably be unlike anything else over the next few nights.

  • The crowds would be different for Orion Walsh and the Rambling Hearts later in the evening, and around the corner at Duffy’s. Folk act Jack Hotel played with indie bands blet and Oketo. It would be redundant to list every single example of this, but there are few highlights that help drive the point home: Thursday’s entire night at the Zoo Bar, from Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug band to avant garde electronic Omni Arms to prog-punk band Universe Contest; two country bands - Dylan Bloom Band and Emmett Bower Band preceding Laughing Falcon and Bogusman, two of the loudest rock/punk bands in Lincoln; and Saturday, where Americana (Gerardo Meza) and alt-rock (the Renfields) shared the stage with trumpet-accented garage rock (the Crayons).

  • Lincoln Exposed offers a unique opportunity to see not only a wide array of musical acts, but ones across the spectrum of experience. This year saw a number of rising young talents play alongside veteran Nebraska musicians, some of which were also testing new material.

  • I kept thinking all weekend about the idea of a “bandleader,” what that can mean, and how its embodied differently by different artists. There were plenty of candidates for emerging bandleaders: Stuart McKay of funk band Melon Company, who held together a tight brass ensemble and funky rhythm section; JP Davis, who led a mini-orchestra-sized band with droning lead vocals and subtle charm; Steven DeLair of Oketo, who shifted skillfully between cooing tenor and guttural screaming.

  • There were plenty of accomplished frontman as well, including Meza, backed on Saturday night by the new band he unveiled at Lincoln Calling in October. Evan Bartles and the Stoney Lonesomes played the Zoo Bar Friday, Bartles himself a strong, intense bandleader. Then there’s Mikey Elfers of the aforementioned Thirst Things First, who closed down the festival with pop punk explosion. He is that band’s “leader” insofar as he its lead singer. But he also plays Boot, the overlord-subject of their sci-fi backstory, in videos that play onstage. He also assembles and customizes each show beforehand, splicing Sonic the Hedgehog-style bleeps and bloops into the track of each show.

  • Speaking of that band: what one must have thought upon walking in on them for the first time if they had never seen or heard of them before. Its such a bizarre gimmick, even as its one of the most fleshed out concept bands around. That awkward feeling is blown away as soon as they begin, as it did on Saturday. Their sound is too infectious, which is why they draw some of the biggest crowds of any local band.

  • Two other crowd pleasers (and two of my favorites) played back to back nights at the Zoo Bar. Universe Contest played Thursday night as what has become an all-star lineup behind frontmen/guitarists Tim Carr and Joe Humpel. Festival-goers packed the room as beer cans flew into and past the band. With violin and Moog synth replacing atmospheric keys, they brought a punkier vibe to both their old songs and new material. Friday night overflowed again as garage punk foursome Halfwit played what will be its last show for a brief hiatus. The two bands share bassist Saber Blazek, whose presence brings precise, rhythmic notes and one of the most noted stage personalities for a non-frontperson. Unsurprisingly, the energy was in the stratosphere for both shows.

Lincoln Exposed can seem like a huge blur of memories, with ones that stick out like cottages dotting the countryside outside of a speeding train’s window. Whatever you remember, it's likely been demonstrated that the musicians, songwriters, and bands of Lincoln possess such creativity and talent. It's nice to see such support from fans. Art is an essential component of any city with a vibrant culture; Lincoln’s music scene is important in that regard. It remains strong and diverse, and Lincoln Exposed was yet more proof of that.