As best I can determine, I was the last American to enter a Starbucks. For years I watched them appear on every corner of every block of every city, secure in the knowledge that – as a non-coffee drinker I would never need to enter. Then people started asking me to have meetings with them in Starbucks, and my long record was dashed.

But that’s also when I discovered Vanilla Crème. If you don’t drink coffee and you tire of tea, you start looking around the menu for something else. I love hot chocolate, but somehow it seems a bit odd for a 51-year-old man to go to the counter to order hot chocolate. So one day, I discovered the delights of a Vanilla Crème. I know it’s just hot milk with vanilla in it and a dab of whipped cream on top, but it’s still addictive. Now I’m even thinking of getting my own Starbucks card so to ease my Vanilla Crème purchases.

So I was delighted to see that Starbucks has added Rick Warren to its distinguished cadre of coffee cup quotes. The firm plans to draw quotes from a variety of writers, scientists, politicians, athletes and musicians, and print them on the side of their cups in a campaign called “The Way I See It.” The Warren quote will be, “You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your true purpose. You were made by God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God did we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny.” That’s a great quote, and hopefully will be a positive influence in the lives of some who heretofore believed there only purpose was to buy more Starbucks coffee.

Talking with Aunt Ethel the other day, I was surprised to learn that she had also heard about the Starbucks campaign, and decided to imitate it in her little shop. (Aunt Ethel owns Aunt Ethel’s Donut and Bait Shop over in Bucksnort, Tennessee. Her “Glazed and Night Crawlers” combo is a real favorite there.) She’s decided to add favorite quotes from her church (Bucksnort Unity and Love Baptist Church #3) onto the side of her coffee cups and bait bags. I asked Aunt Ethel what kind of quotes she had in mind.

“Well, there’s a good one that Willard, our 5th grade boys teacher always says: ‘Sit down and shut up, you hooligans! I’m trying to teach the Bible here!'”

That’s a good one, I agreed. Then there’s the quote she’s heard several times from the sweet, blue-haired ladies in her Sunday School class: “Hurry and get through the lesson so I can tell you what I heard over at the hair salon yesterday.”

Another quote that’s bound to be a favorite: “Tell that organist to turn the volume down, She’s blowing my wig off back here.”

Another music-related quote that’s bound to make the list: “Why do we have to sing these fancy new songs in church? ‘Amazing Grace’ was good enough for Jesus and it’s good enough for me.”

Any particular favorites, I asked Aunt Ethel.

“Oh, yes,” she smiled. My top quote is the one I hear Pastor Phil muttering after every business meeting: ‘How long, Oh Lord? How long?'”


Michael Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry Resources. You can write to him at, or visit his website at

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About The Author


Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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