Threads [Henry Iatesta] #041

On the latest episode of the Hope Over Coffee Podcast, we dive into the incredible story of Henry Iatesta. Join us as we explore the ups and downs of his life, from the tragic loss of his father to the joy of finding his wife, and the heartbreak of losing his brother. Throughout it all, one common thread weaves through Henry’s story: the unwavering goodness of God.

Finding strength in vulnerability [Tyler Churchman] #037

On this episode of The Hope Over Coffee Podcast, we are honored to sit down with Tyler Churchman, a survivor of addiction and suicidal thoughts. Tyler shares his journey with vulnerability and honesty, inspiring us all to find the strength to overcome struggles through our faith. Through his story, we learn that hope and healing are possible even in our darkest moments. Tyler’s journey has taught him the importance of reaching out for help and the power of community in overcoming addiction and suicidal thoughts. In this episode, we discuss the harmful stigmas surrounding mental health and addiction and how we can work to break down these barriers to help those struggling. Join us for a powerful conversation as we find hope in Tyler’s story and learn how we can help others on their journey to recovery. Be sure to share this episode with anyone who may need to hear Tyler’s inspiring message. Thanks for listening to The Hope Over Coffee Podcast.

Hope Over Coffee


Giving Space [Julia Ogea] #035

Giving space to those around us seems harder today than ever before. Everyone wants to be heard and have their viewpoint be the right one. It doesn’t matter if you are a Christ follower or not, whether you are in the church or not. But giving or holding space for someone is the first step to being empathetic with someone. Why is it so hard for people to listen to what others are saying? Why do we require others to agree with what we believe? As a Christ follower, do I want to bring the Gospel and have everyone believe it? Absolutely. Does it mean that I can’t still be friends with you or be in relationship with you if you don’t believe? The answer is I can definitely still be your friend. I can hold that space where we disagree on our beliefs or preferences… My question is, what will it take for others to hold that same space? Culture is no longer a “live and let live” mentality. It’s a bend to my beliefs or your dead-to-me attitude. My challenge to you is to find a way to give that space. Stop trying to think of the next thing to say and listen to what is being said. Put yourself in their shoes. Be available to them, to allow them to process life, trauma, and the discomforts of life. Be in community together instead of trying to shove each other out.


Hope Over Coffee


Legacy of a Man of God

Equipping a Man of God – #034

[Legacy with Tim Gothrup]

Equipping a man of God. What does that look like in today’s culture? What boundaries do you have set in place while you are trying to raise your children? Do you have a mindset of equipping your kids with tools, wisdom, and knowledge to handle the unknown? Will you have enough grace, compassion, and foresight to lead your kids through their bad decisions? We live in a culture of relentless pursuit of sex and porn, and it is highly likely that your children will be exposed to porn by age eight. What does that mean for you? What does that mean for you kids? Being exposed to things like porn at an early age makes them susceptible to a lifestyle that revolves around pursuing porn. Possibly an addiction to it. So how do you handle that, a believer? Are you free from addiction to it? Can you lead your family with pure intention in your life? Are you able to talk about this with the community? Do you have any support if you have questions or struggles related to porn for you or your family? We must be intentional with the legacy we are leaving behind. We must be equipping a man of God that is coming up next. What are you doing to reach that goal?


Hope Over Coffee

Not Playing

Pause – Episode 28

Pause. When was the last time you stopped and took stock of what was happening in your life? I just wanted to stop and do a heart check in this episode. I must take a breath and ask, have I been pursuing my kingdom with The Hope Over Coffee Podcast? I have to take a step back and take the bigger picture of Hope Over Coffee and my role in it. I have to navigate the tension between the calling God has called me to and my fleshy pride and selfishness. Now and then, we need to stop and look at the bigger picture. We must seek the wise counsel of those around us and over us. I can get so wrapped up in the number of downloads the podcast can get that and quickly lose sight of what I am here for. To be in complete submission to what Christ has called me to. To be in this season of being an encouragement to men. To let others know there is freedom out there. We are not bound and stuck in the sin that so easily entangles us. We can get out of that ditch we are stuck in, and it takes Christ to do it. I have also been working through this message that God has given me. One that we are holding on to so many things in our hearts. We have hurts, trauma, and hang-ups that get shoved down in our hearts. We then pile the soil on top of it and pack it down tight. Our hearts are getting stiff and compacted tight. We must go to work, dig these things up, and make room for Christ. When we make the room, He can do the work of turning our hearts back to flesh. We can overcome our pains and genuinely know the freedom of following Christ. Pause.

Hope Over Coffee

compass, hand, lake-4891499.jpg

Authentic Freedom

Romans 6:5-9

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old self crucified with Him in order that our body of sin might be done away with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again, death no longer is master over Him.

Here Paul is reminding us of our place in Christ. If we are a believer, then we are united with Him. In death and the resurrection. We have been made new through the cross, and our old nature has been laid on the altar. This means we are no longer a slave to the things that displease God. We are free to choose a life of pleasing God. In choosing a life with Christ, we should not fear death, for we are also united with Him through eternity’s future. We cannot be separated from the God of the universe.


What exactly does being united with Christ in the likeness of his death really mean? Yes, it says that our old self is crucified, so our body of sin might be done away with and no longer slaves to sin. But how do I live that out in my life? Is the goal to follow rules that measure up to a righteous life in Christ? Am I to read the bible cover to cover every year? Take notes on what and what not to do. Is that how I become free from the slavery of sin? Overcoming my broken flesh by working harder at righteous things so that my works win out?

That sounds like a painfully long, excruciating life. How does any of that set me free? I would be trading the master of sin for a master of works. Neither have grace involved. But when we find the One full of grace, the bible still calls us slaves of Christ. I thought I was finding freedom in Christ and still being called an enslaved person. I get that Jesus is our example of holiness and righteousness, but He was also perfect. I am an imperfect man living in an imperfect world that is broken and wants something more significant than self.

What does it mean

I think our issue is we are applying a modern definition to an older word. Slave, servant, and bondservant in the Greek text all are Doulos. A bondservant was someone indebted to someone else. If the indebted individual could not pay the debt, the individual would become a bondservant to pay off the debt. They would use work to free themselves from debt. A bondservant/slave was not a lifetime requirement. However, when the individual reached the end of the term to repay the debt, the individual had a choice.

Do I go back out in the world with what I have, or do I stay with the master willing? Will my life be better if I try to do things on my own, or will my life be better under someone else’s authority? I am making a choice. But in that choice, I must be fully committed to that choice. There was no halfway. In my decision, the individual was marked, and everyone knew that the individual belonged to a master freely chosen. No one decided to be marked and six months later changed their mind. You were all in, or you weren’t.


Where do you fall in your choice? Have you been freed from the bondage of sin, or do you still free trapped by the sin that so easily entangles us? Do you call Jesus Lord? Has the master marked you? Does it mean that being under the authority of the master, we won’t ever struggle with sin? Of course not. We are still broken people who do the things we don’t want to do. But now, we at least have the ability to be an overcomer. Before believing in Christ, we had no chance of moving past our sins controlling us. We were at the mercy and will. Could we have good days when the struggle was lighter than others? Sure.

But to overcome and be free to choose not to follow through in sin comes from being united with Christ in death and the resurrection. We now have the option and opportunity to choose to follow God instead of our flesh. Our freedom comes from knowing Him and the power of His name in our lives. We can do nothing in ourselves; it is Christ living in us. His power is the power to overcome, to say no to disobedience. It is his righteousness that the Father sees in us. I think the church needs to understand better who we are in Christ and what it means for Christ to live in us.


Father, help us understand what it means to be free in Christ.

compass, hand, lake-4891499.jpg
compass, hand, lake-4891499.jpg

Counterfeit Freedom

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

Here Paul starts with a question. Do we get to sin more because God’s grace covers us? Is the freedom given through the abundance of God’s grace in Christ a free ticket to indulge in every sinful activity under the sun? Paul has an emphatic no! Them asks if we are new in Christ and died with him, how are we still living in sin? Do we not understand? Those who proclaim to be Christ followers through the example of baptism proclaim a new life. One that died to sin and is raised to walk in this new life.


The word or concept of counterfeit has been coming up a lot in my life lately. Most of the time, it is a preacher, sermon, or a Cristian-based book discussing the idea of something being counterfeit. What does it mean to be counterfeit? Merriam-Webster dictionary says counterfeit is made to imitate something else with intent to deceive or insincere. Have you ever had something in your life that you thought was authentic only to find out later it was a counterfeit? Or did you purchase an item knowing full well that it was an imitation?

Years ago, I worked with a guy that used to buy boxes of “Oakley” sunglass and sell them to the guys he worked with. He never tried selling them to us at the price of Oakley sunglasses; it was always much lower. They looked like the real thing, but I knew they weren’t. I broke a pair or two just putting them on. The item was from a distance; I could look like I could afford hundreds of dollars in sunglasses. The reality was they were twenty-dollar knockoffs that were cheaply made. But I knew that when I bought them.


Where is the counterfeit in your life? Do you know that it is counterfeit, or do you walk around believing that whatever it is authentic? How can you tell the difference between the two? What do you use to measure what is real in your life? What if you are the thing that is being counterfeit? Does depending on where you are, make a difference in how you are perceived? Is there a church version of you, a work version, a party version, or any version of you that has the intent to deceive or be an imitation of the real you?

We live in a culture of death, but as Christ-followers, the wrong things are dying. Instead of dying to sin, we kill that still small voice of God. When we should be dying to ourselves, we indulge in what the world has to offer. We find ourselves immersed in political views, sides of opinions, and dealing with distractions of every kind. Instead must be focused on a life of freedom in Christ. If we are made new in Christ, we are free from this world’s pressures. We should find our “want to” of loving our neighbor instead of tiptoeing around what can and can’t be said.


Are we in Christ? Or are we slaves to sin and bondage, living in fear of men and this world? I think we all want to live free. To sever others. I want us to encounter God regularly and be stirred in our souls to be Christ-like. But our distractedness, we miss out on that stirring and turn to those fleshy things that help us deal with the pain of life. We will encounter hard things. Life is not promised to be easy. What will it take for us as believers to take that step toward a holy and just God? To die daily for things I want in my flesh and strain for the Kingdom of God. We can do it! But will we do it?


Father, we are sinful people who get wrapped up in our kingdoms and neglect Yours. And your loving kindness always leads up to repentance. It is an absolute miracle that you are always there waiting for us no matter how often we choose sin over holiness. Let us never get to thinking more sin equals more grace from you. Let us find the will and want to choose You over everything. To bring you glory in everything we do. Amen.

compass, hand, lake-4891499.jpg
Vertical vs Horizontal

Vertical vs Horizontal

I am installing a deck at the back of our house this summer. I’m handy, so it didn’t seem overly daunting. However, I had never built a deck before, so I did my homework. I watched YouTube videos and found blogs about decks and anything else I could find about the subject. I wanted to know all about decks and how they are built. From a deck that is low to the ground or one that is slightly higher like mine is going to be. I needed to understand how to set up the foundation or base of the deck so it would be sturdy and not fall over.  I needed to understand the vertical vs horizontal aspects of supporting the deck.

The groundwork, finding the horizontal

After deciding what the deck would look like, I began laying out where the footings would be. My first problem was how to layout a square in a vast open space. I knew it was going to take some geometry. And being married to a math teacher, she helped me with the details of working it out. There is a rule about triangles; if one has a ratio of 3-4-5 for the sides, it is a right triangle. So, I could use this to measure the distance from the house to the deck footing and know I was in line with the other objects around me.  

Since the footing is 1 foot wide, and my deck leg is not, I knew I would have room for adjustment after the footings were done.  So, I measured where the footings should be and marked out with spray-painted places to dig the holes. Then we began digging. That evening we dug out two of the four holes for the footings. Everything was looking good. It was getting late, and I decided to call it a day. The next day brought a whole day of rain and delayed our planned work.  

The following weekend was great, though. Holes were free of water; the ground was damp enough for digging to be easier. So that I wouldn’t have the same issue if it rained, I went ahead and set and poured the first two footings. I put my base at the bottom of the hole. Put the footing tube in and used a 4’ level to ensure that foundations were vertical and upright. I poured my concrete, and those were done. I moved on and started digging the final two footing holes. Once dug, I placed my footings tubes to see how things were looking. I thought everything was great. 

Setting the base

So, I set my base and poured the concrete for the final two footings. After everything was said and done my wife informed me that things didn’t look straight. In that moment I thought to myself, “How could they be crooked? I put the level on them to make sure they are vertical and upright.” 

Little did I understand she was trying to say that the footings don’t look square in relation to the other footings or the house. My problem was I was so focused on the vertical aspect of the footings that it did not occur to me to recheck the horizontal relationships. Sure, enough, everything was off when I went to install the brackets that will hold my posts for the deck. Nothing lined up straight. My footings were more of a quadrangle than a square. I had to shift my brackets to get them lined up. It didn’t help a lot, and I will not dig up these footings. So, I will keep those footing in the existing relationship, but they will always be off a little. 

After I installed the brackets, I said to my wife,” yeah, I somehow missed the footings. They are not square.” As I was mulling over an issue, I believe the spirit revealed something in my life with those footings; my understanding of relationships and how I relate to God and other people was challenged. I needed to examine my vertical and horizontal relationships more closely. 

Vertical vs Horizontal 

In the vertical realm, how am I relating to God? Am I studying my bible? Do I view the world through the lens of Christ? Is my communication with God a continual conversation? What is flowing out of me as an overflow of my heart? Can I genuinely say in every effort, I pursue what it means to be Christ-like? I am striving to finish the race! What else can be said? Am I perfect? By no means. Are there areas that need improvement? Absolutely. But I know I must keep moving forward.  

The horizontal relationship aspect hit me a little more complicated than the vertical. How often do I invest in those in my sphere of influence or my Oikos? I challenge those in a sphere with their vertical relationship to God but miss our horizontal relationship. To want others to be spurred on and to pursue righteousness, but at what expense, and I am doing it. I what to check your vertical, and I don’t examine the horizontal.  I don’t see where Jesus was ever not invested in the horizontal aspect of relating to people. He knew exactly where people were always. I think an example was Matthew 9:9, when Jesus called Matthew from the tax collector’s booth.  

Where are you 

How many times do you think Jesus passed by Matthew’s booth? Knowing that Matthew would go as soon as Jesus said, “Follow me.” And I say to that, but He is this Son of God. He has insight that I don’t have. I believe this is where we are short-sighted. Yes, we will have to work harder at those horizontal relationships. However, this is how we lean in to find out where we are in those relationships. To be curious about someone other than ourselves and want the true answer to “How are you doing?” We need to be the Church and truly love one another.

John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”  

By this, all men will know that you are My disciples. Does anyone know I am a Christ-follower by the way I love those in my horizontal relationships? Not how much scripture I can or can’t quote. Or how many things I avoid in my life. But it is how I love others. Do I have to live a righteous life? Yes. I must live a life worthy of the call by which I have been called, but I must also love others the way Christ loves us. I must get out of my way and exalt Christ so that others may be able to receive Christ’s love. Do I want others to walk in an upright manner? Can I help them find that level of measurement that holds them accountable to Christ? I want to. But what do they need from me? 

All things to all people 

Paul said that he became all things to all people. He had been in so many circumstances and had many credentials for who he was. I believe he knew how to meet people where they were and truly cared about them. In his letters, he would often mention other people. I think he got it. Today, we live in a culture that is so easily divided. A culture of if you don’t believe what I believe, then your worthless. I challenge us to be the Church. Meet those in our horizontal relationships with some grace. Let them see the love of Christ flow out of the abundance that is in us.  

I also challenge us to know where our families are in this horizontal aspect. Never lose sight of those closest to us in an effort to win over a lost soul. Don’t just put that vertical level on them. Be curious about what is going on inside of them. What are they feeling, what are they experiencing, and how are they relating horizontally. We must get outside ourselves and think more Christ-like in our relationships. To be honest, open, and transparent with those around us.  


Father, help us be who you called us to be. To work on our vertical relationship with You and know our horizontal relationship with the people around us. Please help us be others-focused and meet them where they are, but also point them to your son Jesus. Amen 

Credit – Chance Sloan
Walking with God

Enoch walked with God, and he was not

Genesis 5:21-24

Enoch lived sixty-five years and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after becoming the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

This quick glimpse at the father of Methuselah is fascinating to me. He is a man only mentioned twice in the bible, but the attributes attributed to him are outstanding. He has these four verses here in Genesis and is also mentioned in Hebrews 11. Some refer to this chapter in Hebrews as the “Hall of Faith.” A list of deeds performed by men who did something extraordinary through their faith in God. Of the three attributes of Enoch, what was mentioned in Hebrews was that he walked with God, and then he had been taken up. His witness was that he lived a life pleasing to God.

What does it mean to walk with God? For Enoch, the people around him noticed that he lived a life pleasing to God. Did that mean living a “blessed life” by our terms today? Was he rich? Did it imply he had the latest wagon to haul his kids around? The bible doesn’t say, except that he was pleasing to God in his walk with God. The Hebrew word for “walk” is Halak. The definition is to go, come, walk. The NASB Halak is translated into over a hundred words that are some type of moment. These include following, growing, living, and passing.


How was Enoch following, growing, living, and passing in his life that everyone witnessed and said, “Hmm, he is pleasing to the Lord.” I mean, we are only five chapters into the bible. Sin had entered the world; they were kicked out of the garden. The law was not written yet. Jesus hasn’t died for our sins yet, so the Holy Spirit had not come. And yet Enoch walked in a manner that was pleasing to God. I live in a time that the law is written, Jesus came and fulfilled the law, and I have the Holy Spirit with me, and yet I struggle with hang-ups, compulsions, and addictions. Taking a look at Enoch allows me to examine my own life. To question my motives in following God.

Is there evidence that I am growing as a Christ-follower? Does my daily life reflect a Holy and Just God full of mercy and kindness? Am I passing the test before me that is life? Am I choosing Jesus above all else?


I wonder who had helped Enoch on his walk in his life? Did his father teach him the way to follow God? Was he able to hear stories of Adam and Eve and how they walked in the garden in the cool of the day? Did he have friends or family that helped him be accountable for his actions? What did he do? How did he live his life? Maybe, a better question for us is, how are we living our lives? Not to get into a comparison trap of trying to measure up to Enoch, but to say it can be done. We can put down the things in our lives that take away from following Jesus and take our cross and follow him daily. Living a holy lifestyle that is a direct reflection of who we are in Jesus.

Not a perfect life, but one striving for that finish line of meeting Jesus face to face. And when we get there, we can look back and say we did everything we could to follow, grow, and live a life pleasing to God.


Father, we ask for every hindrance that so easily keeps us from you to be removed. Please, remove the blinders on our eyes so that we can see you as you are. A great and powerful holy God that is full of mercy and grace. Please help us understand what it means to follow you and what it takes to pick up our cross. Thank you for your son, and thank you for the cross. Amen.

Walking with God
Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief

Whoever believes – The Answer to Unbelief

13No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

John 3:13-17

In Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is revealing His soon death on a cross. He tells Nicodemus that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have eternal life. They will believe that He suffered God’s wrath for us and died on a cross. That through His death, I can be forgiven for my sins. In verse 14, Jesus refers to Moses lifting the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9). This was a time when Israel had sinned against the LORD. This lifting of the pole with the serpent was a symbol. It was a banner of hope for those that had rebelled against God. They could be forgiven for their sins if they believed and looked at the serpent. Some of the people did not look and died from the serpent bites. Others lived because they did believe in this banner of hope and lifted their eyes to it.

Rebellious People!

Today we are still a rebellious people. We receive blessings of goodness from a good Father. Then instantly turn to the side and grumble and complain in the pit of entitlement. What are we owed? We find ourselves in challenging situations. We’re confused about what it means to have a good Father in heaven who cares about us. And when things don’t go our way, we kick and scream and shake our fists to the heavens. We begin demanding what we think should be our relief.

Instead, we should be embracing the pain of life. Not chasing what we think will dull the pain. Is life hard, absolutely? Should it be pain-free? Why would we believe that? My God and savior stepped out of heaven into a broken world and was dealt the same pains that I deal with today. I find that comforting. To know that my savior understands what rejection is. The builders rejected the cornerstone (Mark 12:10). Our faith is built on God’s son, who His people rejected, and those that did accept Him seemed very confused the whole time He was walking the earth in human form. But whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.

A new banner of Hope!

So, when I feel insecure and insignificant because of rejection, I know my belief lies in a new banner of hope! Hope is found in the Son of God, Jesus, hanging from a pole. He was beaten, abused, ridiculed, rejected, and heartbroken. I can find peace because my Jesus is right there in my pain. He knows the pain of rejection and humiliation. Through His actions, something meant to kill and destroy became a thing of beauty. Oh, that wondrous cross today, that symbol of suffering and shame, is dear to me. The answer to my unbelief is knowing the truth; God loves me some much He poured out wrath that was due me; on His son. The pain of His son dying on a cross is more bearable than allowing all of humanity no path to redemption.


Father, help me when my belief begins to waver. Lead me through those moments when I think you are not there. Remind me that my purpose is knowing Christ and not dulling the pain of life. Teach me that the pain I’m dealing with can be turned into beauty in those moments. Teach me to use my pains as an opportunity to minister to others. Refine us to find hope and do what is pleasing in your sight. I surrender so my life will look more like Jesus today than yesterday. Amen

Whoever believes in me, Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief
Hope over coffee – John 3