Friday, May 31, 2013

THE CHURCH AT TABLE NUMBER TWO

Today's SC letter is an inspiring story taken from Tony and Felicity Dale's new book, "The Rabbit and the Elephant."

Bill Hoffman writes: (Condensed) "Fran was the manager of a coffee shop where we held our regular Tuesday men's group.'Would you like us to pray for you about something?' I asked Fran. For the past several months we had been offering to pray for those who waited on us. Frans list included her daughter suffering from cancer. A grandson born with serious medical problems. An adult son had been thrown out of his home with his three-year-old daughter.


"'We will certainly pray for all of these requests,' I promised, 'and we will see what else we can do to help.' We managed to provide some assistance and each Tuesday Fran joined our group for prayer saying, 'You guys have meant so much to me! I look forward to Tuesday night all week' After spreading out her hands toward the rest of us at the table she joyfully declared, 'This is my church!'


Fran invited one of her waitresses (who was doing drugs) to come with her to get some help from her church. The waitress asked, "Where is your church located?" Fran pointed over to a booth in the corner of the restaurant and proudly proclaimed, 'Table number two!'


From that point on, our gathering has been called, The Church at Table Number Two!

"Fran introduced us to the Hispanic cook and his assistant. They told us they had heard how we had helped Fran and wanted to know if we could help them. They had large families, living in small apartments and needed furniture, especially beds for their children. (Bill's insightful response)...'I don't know if we can help you, but I know who can. Jesus was the one who helped Fran. Would it be OK if we asked Jesus to help you?' The cook began to connect with the church at table number two and led the group to a recently widowed Hispanic woman with three young children with very little means to support them. We began to meet regularly in the woman's home, taking the love of Jesus with us and doing what we could to help. And before long we were meeting regularly at the cook's home "doing church" with him and his family. The cook, his wife and his mother have all placed their faith in Jesus, and God continues to open doors through them into the Hispanic community. This is very amazing to us since neither my wife or I speak any Spanish, but we are learning that the love of Jesus can break through any ethnic barriers.


"For years our goal was to grow our home gathering to the point where it would be obvious we would need to split off and start another group. It's not that this concept is terribly wrong; it's just terribly slow. Meanwhile the harvest is ripe and waiting.


"When we come across a person of peace, or discover someone interested in doing simple church, or lead someone to the Lord, we plant a new church in that person's home. We ask them to gather together their family and friends and we proceed to help them to plant a church in the surroundings they know best. The results have been truly remarkable. But why should we be surprised? This is exactly how Jesus taught us to do it."


"The Rabbit and the Elephant" Why small is the New Big for Today's Church. Tony and Felicity Dale , George Barna. Publisher BARNA an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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