morning coffee.

We spent the weekend traveling. I didn’t have my chair in the corner with the Moleskine
journal and the light over my shoulder and 6:05 am on the clock and my black Bible and my one special pen or my other special pen and mug of coffee. I had the journal and the Bible and the pen, but not the chair and the light and the alarm.

I felt lost.

Other times I have had the alarm and the chair and the Bible but couldn’t find the pen or left the journal at my office. I felt a little frantic, looking all over.

What happens in the convergence of this time and location and materials? It’s my coffee with God time.

I got the idea from Bill Hybels who talked about a guy he challenged to make time to talk with God. The guy eventually told Bill about coffee with God (Here’s the video).  The guy had gotten a rocking chair, put it by a window, and sat and talked with God there every morning.

I’m not a very disciplined person, but I had an extra chair in my office and I decided to try it. In the journal I write the date, the time I got up, and then I write. Sometimes I list the people I’m concerned for. Sometimes I list the projects that need wisdom. Sometimes I write about not being able to think clearly at all. Sometimes I start reading something from the Bible and writing about it.

And I am aware that I am talking with God. I’m not sure whether I think he’s looking over my shoulder or looking at the page from the back as I write. I do know that writing slows my mind to prayer speed. And interacting with the Bible feels like conversation.

And that I miss it when I’m gone.

(If you watch the video, let me know what you think. Or if you have a routine that helps you, let us all know.)

9 thoughts on “morning coffee.

  1. Joseph Ruiz (@SMSJOE)

    I have a home office so Coffee, Oatmeal iPad with an online prayer guide, a couple of devotional readings, a composition book [love Moleskin budget plan invoked 😦 ] color pens to help me sort prayer requests – Since my mind wanders I like to write notes to God then write thoughts as I read the devotions, sometimes I use my Bose noise reducing headphones to remove subtle background distractions. Sometimes I am just a scribe recording passages or thoughts some times it is more of an exchange I feel the Spirit placing thoughts and I like to capture them.

    The challenge for me is to maintain a consistent routine; however, sometimes it devolves into a rut so I like to change things up from time to time but I don’t have a set process for doing this.


  2. Gary Mintchell

    I have risen early for most of my adult life to read and meditate. That much meditation does change your personality–in a good way. Right now, it’s coffee and an iPad with Richard Foster’s “The Life With God” Bible in iBooks and a stylus (right now a Jot) with the WritePad app.

    I make notes all the time. Keep a running log on WritePad and review in the morning. That’s when I blog.

    The challenge, as you so rightly observe, is while traveling. I do a lot of that. When you’re Platinum in both Marriott and United Airlines, you know you’ve been out a lot. When I travel, I often have breakfast meetings followed by conference sessions, interviews and then dinner with clients. Making time for both the morning time with God and a workout can be challenging. Last month, my grade was D-. But, I will get better.


    1. Jon Swanson

      hmm. What I’m wondering for me, and maybe you can help with this Gary, is if I need to cultivate the ability to be place independent, to not “”need” the same chair. What do you in the middle of travel to maintain consistency about anything? Because I’m guessing you do.



    2. Gary Mintchell

      Well, Jon, mostly it’s in the attitude and focus I have about circumstances. For example, I’ve never had “jet lag” because I immediately adapt to the local time. When I go to Europe, I take a quick power nap and then go to bed at the regular time.

      My internal clock gets me up at 5:30 am no matter where. I founded a magazine about industrial automation and was chief editor for 10 years. My challenge was going to conferences and trade shows where the demands of meetings and client dinners were great. To be honest, what suffered was my physical workout. I always find time for some quiet time to get centered. Or I make some time during the day.

      It’s part discipline. Part habit. Part the way I see myself. Part because I’m having fun doing what I do. And when I ceased having fun at my last gig, then I proceeded to start something new. I’ll have a new digital media company covering manufacturing operations soon. Plus I’ll be assuming leadership of the missions team at church. It’s all fun and all for the greater good.


  3. Cheryl Hyatt Smith

    It’s all conversation with God, isn’t it? The names and the wandering thoughts and the lack of clarity all there on the page. For me, it’s a red chair and most days it’s coffee, though lately it’s been water (thanks to another morning’s conversation with God). Thanks for this Jon. It’s exactly what I needed today.


  4. Rich Dixon

    For me it’s writing time. I’ve never been able to force the morning devotional habit, but when I start writing my head slows down and I often end up somewhere I didn’t intend. After an early-morning writing session I can stop and read and feel like I’m present, and that often causes editing or re-writing. Not all that efficient, but efficiency isn’t really the point, huh?

    I admire your readers (and you) who seem to have such a disciplined focus. Makes me feel like I should be ashamed for not doing it right, except I know “ashamed” and “right” aren’t the point either.


    1. Jon Swanson

      see, I’m not sure that i have any more disciplined focus than you do, Rich. Because when you step back, you have discipline. You ride regularly. you breathe regularly. You read regularly. That’s focus, isn’t it?


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