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george hancock stefanThe well-known preacher Stewart Briscoe used to say that God has a wonderful sense of humor when it comes to placing His servants. Briscoe lived his entire life in two cities that were known for their beer. He was born in Liverpool, England and spent most of his career in the city of Milwaukee. Moreover, he wanted to be with people where they spent the great majority of time so he would go to Milwaukee bars to witness about the Lord Jesus Christ. One time, while witnessing in a bar, he started telling a drunken patron that he wanted to share God’s grace with him. The patron asked, “Is she a blonde or a brunette?” Briscoe concluded that witnessing in bars might not the best thing.

About two years ago, I went to Philadelphia and my daughter took me out to dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Surprisingly, I saw that they were serving CBC (Carton Brewery Company) beer from Atlantic Highlands. At Central Baptist Church, we often use the abbreviation CBC in our correspondence. As someone who rarely drinks beer, I tasted it because it was from my town.

My daughter’s friend came for a visit a few weeks ago and saw the construction of the new, larger CBC building on First Avenue. She remarked that lately, when her friends talk about Atlantic Highlands, they call it the town with the good beer instead of the beautiful town by the ocean.

I must have missed the town planning board meetings about the new building. For a while, I heard that the adjacent elementary school was complaining that the smell of the brewery permeated the air and students would go home smelling like they visited the brewery instead of school. I must have missed the prolonged debates that the town had about granting permission for a brewery to be built in the middle of the town. I assume there was some debate, since townspeople rallied against a proposal for two churches to build a facility for job training. When our church wanted permission to build a parking lot, some of our neighbors had concerns that led to three meetings with the planning board. The days when residents used to welcome and support churches in their neighborhoods seem to have passed. Attitudes have changed; a friend of mine recently talked about a ministry of beer and barbecue.

Nevertheless, in the words of writer Richard Wurmbrandt, the whole thing is about the product. He once wrote that he has never seen a bar (or, in this case, a brewery) pleading for people to come and experience their product. CBC (Carton Brewery Company) and CBC (Central Baptist Church) should focus on advertising their products. The brewing company can advertise their beer and we can proclaim Jesus Christ as the one who announced that He is the living water. The person who is thirsty and comes to Jesus will drink and never thirst again, for they will drink the water of everlasting life.

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