It’s not organized. It’s not formal. It’s not required. Sometime during the early part of the weekend a text goes out. ”Family dinner at so and so's house. Bring such and such.” There are no leaders who oversee or decide. Just someone says, “Hey, I can do it at my place this weekend.” And it happens.
Our family looks like any other family—toddlers, elementary age children, teenagers, and college kids. There are singles, young married couples and old married couples. We even have foster babies from time to time. We aren’t exclusive. When God says invite so and so, we do. People show up and flow in and out of our family.
People always remark how unusual our family dinners are. I think it’s because we talk about the real stuff of life. There is no program or set curriculum. it’s just conversations about life with Jesus and each other. We may break out in prayer or not. We may end up focusing on one person's situation or not. We hear stories of what God is doing in Sudan and what he’s doing through cancer. The Spirit decides the day. I think it pulls them closer to Jesus.
It reminds me of Acts 2:42-47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Last night Dane came to family dinner. He’s had dinner with all of us one other time, I wasn’t there. Dane is handicapped. You have to be patient when he speaks because it takes a while for him to get his words out. He’s funny. He’s FULL of faith. We got talking about “God’s will.” How do we know when something is God’s will? This was of particular importance to several of the kids going off to college. How would they know this was the right school or the right career path. Do we know God’s will by whether or not he opens and shuts doors?
That question triggered something for those of us in the group reading the book, Love Does. We raced to get the book, opened to the chapter “Go Buy Your Books.” And someone read it aloud.
In this chapter the author writes, “I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But, I’ve always wondered if, when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door had been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.”
Dane responded with great excitement, “Me and my family… we have kicked down many doors. They said I would die, I didn’t. They said I wouldn’t walk, I can. They said I wouldn’t speak, I speak.”
And there was God, right there among this ragamuffin group. We all knew it. We could feel His presence. God among us… God with us…God in us.
I love family dinner. I love my family.
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