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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

dinner parties and love does by bob goff

"He prepares a table before me.. My cup runneth over"

Lately, I have been thinking about that verse... "he prepares a table before me.."

It takes a lot to prepare a table..It takes planning, preparation, a great deal of work, and a tinge of sweat..
Great tables don't just happen..
Great tables are all about the details..

Last night, our cousin Alyssa surprised us...
She prepared us a table.
She made homemade flowers and dyed them by hand..
she contrived an idea for pretty little pinwheels for decorations..
and then, she made those by hand too...

she even made butterfly straws to sip our rootbeer...

She brought out chairs and laid out a beautiful white tablecloth..
She meticulously prepared..
She wrapped up the silverware..
and laid out candles and lanterns..

She baked intricate desserts.. cupcakes with a twist..she injected pudding in the center of the cupcakes and then topped them off with sweet delacies..

she toiled..baking bread..preparing salad with fresh greens...
she arranged for grilled chicken, baked beans, rice dressing..and other wonderful family favorites..

she worked hard..she put a lot of thought into her work..a lot of love, a lot of care...
but the wonderful thing is..that she loves doing stuff like this...

She loves baking and cooking and decorating and details..

As I was eating this wonderfully prepared feast, I thought of Jesus and how He promises  to prepare a table...He promises to prepare a place just for us.

I thought of all of the things that Our Saviour could be doing. ..The possibilites are infinite. ...but He is lovingly prepping a table and getting a place ready for His kids...for His beloved children..

and then I thought...If Alyssa, my cousin, has prepared this wonderful event,  imagine the table that Jesus is preparing... Imagine it..
Jesus is hand picking the things that you be on that table.. to be there when you arrive in the place He promised...
I couldn't help but smile as I imagined our family seated at His table.

Alyssa's fantastic meal and creations reminded me of Heaven...

Doesn't the food look wonderful?
  I can't eat chicken so the family prepared me a special hamburger ..
  The cupcakes were heavenly :)

She made these flowers by hand..and dyed them, as well... and all of this without  pinterest..

My grandfather ....

an ice bucket full of IBC rootbeer..

specially prepared cups with handmade butterfly straws...
Alyssa is so creative and inventive

My sister and my dad


 I love the lantern...

 My beautiful niece Ruth...with a face full of dirt...she loves to play in the mud

The children seated on wicker chairs...My boy Brendan in blue

 My niece Rebecca looking adorably cute and carnivorous

 My beautiful niece, Jadah

 My adorable, Cade

 a candle swinging from a tree limb.. how romantic ...and thoughtful..full of whimsy

 My niece gorgeous

 Brendan eating specially prepared ice cream sandwiches.. Alyssa baked the cookies herself..

Beautiful Olivia Claire...

I want to share an excerpt from a book I'm reading called "LOVE DOES" by Bob Goff...
It reminds me of this experience..

I had it dog eared and was going to blog about it... it's about love and whimsy and a banquet..
Since, we just had a family banquet..this is the perfect opportunity for me to share .....

God is inviting you to His table..will you dine with Him?

From the book, "LOVE DOES, by bob goff...

"there is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I'm tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn't come in an envelope. It is ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It's the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an inviation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.

Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head faked into thinking we haven't really been invited. But you see, we have been invited -everyday, all over again.

There's no doubt Jesus invites us to have some very cool experiences in our live, and for that matter, in the afterlife. Jesus tells a story in the Bible about a rich guy who had a banquet. The rich guy invited lots of people, but most of them made excuses and didn't come, so the guy sent his servants to invite other folks - but this time he invited the unlikely ones, people who normally don't get invited to anything folks like me. The message he had for this new round of people was simple: "There's more room." That was it. It wasn't a deep theological treatise. Yet it was exactly that, deep and theological. I think life is like that banquet Jesus talked about. I think God sends out His messangers to tell everybody that there's plenty of room and there's free food and conversation and adventure and a wonderful and generous host who has invited us by name.

I don't think God is the kind of guy who forces Himself on anybody either. If people don't want to come to the banquet, He's not bitter or anything. He loves them all the same, but He's not going to force them. Instead, He just keeps on looking. He keeps saying there's more room to those who really want to be invited to where He is. He's like any of us in that way. I think God pays attention to our hearts and enjoys when people want to get close to Him. He knows our sadness and the brokenness we want to hide from Him, and He sends people to look for us.

When I was young and thought about God and church and Jesus, I would shy away because I thought getting too close was like breaking onto the set of National Treasure 2.  I thought there were lots of long corridors to navigate, there were arrows pointing in all kinds of directions, and the religious people were the security guards. They were the people checking to see if you had been invited. But Jesus never acted like that. When you read the Bible, the people who loved Jesus and followed Him were the ones like me who don't get invited places. Yet Jesus told His friends they were invited anyway. He told them that the religious people weren't the ones who decided who got into Heaven and who didn't. He said the people who followed Him should think of themselves more like the ushers rather than the bouncers, and it would be God who decided who gets in. We're the ones who show people their seats that someone else paid for...

Can you even believe that Jesus would invite people to a banquet and they wouldn't want to show up? When we accept Jesus' invitaion to show up to life, we get to do life with Him, and He's way more powerful and important than the President..Or Nicholas Cage.

A couple of other things happen when we accept Jesus' invitation to participate with Him in life. Obstacles that seem insurmountable aren't. Impediments that we believe disqualify us don't. When we show up to participate with Jesus in the big life, we're participating with the very being who made life in the first place. He gently asks us how we are and invites us to get better together with Him.

Accepting the invitation to show up in life is about moving from the bleachers to the field. It's moving from developing opinions to developing options. It's about having things matter to us enough that we stop just thinking about those things and actually do something about them. Simply put, Jesus is looking for us to accept the invitation to participate. It's like the president calling and we just need to answer the phone. We need to show up.

When we accept life's invitation, it's contagious too. Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before. When you show up to the big life, people (the type who don't think they're invited) start seeing invitations everywhere as thick as colorful fall leaves. They don't think about thier weakenesses any longer. Instead, they think about how incredible a big life really is and how powerful the One who is throwing the banquet is too.

Jesus wants us to come. He's sending His servants out to tell the people standing at the fences and the libraries that they're invited to the party. He's sending you an invitation too, in the sunrise, in the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. The one who has invited you is way more powerful than any impediments we think we're facing, and He has just one message for us.  He leans forward and whispers to each of us, "There's more room."

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy,...but I have come that you might have life..and Have it to the full

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