Gather Round, IF:Table

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46

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What is IF:Table?

The idea:

It may seem overly simple, but then again, maybe that is the beauty of it; A quiet place where there is no outside pressure, a sweet time to gather around a table while nourishing body and soul. IF:Table founder, Susie Davis says this – “IF:Table is a place to share a simple meal and dive deep with people over life stories and Christ centered conversations. It’s a place to find time connectedness with the women in your community.”

Believers, sisters, gathering together to glorify our Maker, draw closer to Him, and forge friendships that have Him at the center is a beautiful depiction of Christian unity, love and joy. When we can gather together and have deep conversations that lead us to a further understanding of and love for our Father, we are experiencing a holy intimacy with Him and with each other.

What to expect: 

2 hours gathered around a table for eating, discussing, sharing, and praying. 4 questions for the group to think about and explore. 6 women with open hearts, vulnerable to the Spirit’s moving.

* The goal is to meet once a month. You can rotate on where to meet within the homes of your IF:Table group. The question/conversation cards can be found online each month (click here).*

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My thoughts:

This last year I have been blessed to be part of a lovely IF:Table group. Though trepidation marked my introverted demeanor the first time attending, the ease of being gathered around the table for dinner coupled with the set conversation card questions made it easy for me to find my place in the group. I look back over these last months of gathering and I am so thankful for this group of ladies in my life, ladies that may have started out as strangers/acquaintances, but are now friends. As we continue to meet every month, our trust in each other grows and our unfeigned conversations deepen.  I look forward to our times together, laughter is never absent and a joy found in Him always abounds. Every time we gather, I find myself – inspired by one, challenged by another and encouraged by all.

Life is hectic, weeks are filled and days are short…but I encourage you to rearrange some of the busyness in your life and make open a small spot for the intimate gathering of believers that takes place over a shared dinner. I can’t help but think, what if more and more believers gathered together like this? What if there were IF:Tables started all throughout our communities? What if this was not only a way to be nourished as believers, but a place to then feed those who yet to know Him?  

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You can click here for more information on IF:Table.

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Capturing Lost Moments…

Christmas is over and I cannot believe that we are on the cusp of a brand new year. 2016, so new and fresh – it is just sitting there waiting to be filled with memories, events, emotions and happenings. I think back on all that 2015 held for me and for my family. It was a year filled with the unexpected, with the lovely and with the difficult; through all those times and more God showed Himself faithful and sovereign.

Those bigger moments, yeah, they stand out. Those tearful times of prayer that had me on my knees in full surrender, they are etched in my heart’s memory. But, what about those smaller moments, the moments where He was moving and I may or may not have noticed it? I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to have lost moments, thoughts, or situations that have marked my life’s story and have revealed how God’s faithful hand was a constant.

A few weeks ago, I found myself lying in bed thinking about a time earlier in the year that had my heart deeply burdened. I remember how I scribbled down some thoughts about it at the time and I can remember how broken and hopeless I thought the situation was. Then as I was lying there, I was thinking about how, months later, that situation had immensely changed. I can see now how when I gave up trying to remedy something that was not mine to fix was when God could take and redeem what was His to restore.

I wish I had kept record of every detail throughout all those months, even just a simple jot or notation, so that I could see just how God’s goodness unfolded. Sometimes, His goodness comes swift and through the sweet and joyous; Sometimes, His goodness comes slower and through the tears and angst. I want to be reminded of when and how God, in His sovereignty, redeems and restores as He works in and through all moments of my life when I surrender all to Him.

I decided I would start writing a daily log capturing my “God Moments”. Every day I want to take pen to paper and write down something, something that reflects my heart to His and His to mine. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy entry, by any means – some days, it might be a word, a line, or a paragraph…maybe it will be a particular situation in my life, a moment of praise, a burden felt, an answered prayer, a verse that is whispering to my soul or even a word impressed.

I look forward to reading back on my entries as the year progresses. I look forward to growing and better understanding Him through chronicled moments, thoughts, and heavenly whispers that are written in my journal. I think of the words from Chris Tomlin’s song, “Noel” – Come and see what God has done…The story of amazing love…These are the words that should be reflective of our hearts and lives. I don’t want to forget a moment that invites me to bask in the wonder of what God has done.

If you interested in starting your own “God Moments” daily log/prayer journal, but are unsure as to how to begin…here are a couple of example entries I wrote.

 

Tips:

  1. Always date the beginning of your entry.
  2. Use various writing tools – pencils, pens, highlighter, etc.
  3. Box, circle, highlight or doodle around words or phrases that are striking significant importance to you.
  4. Jot down the time when you write something important down.
  5. Refer yourself back to dates that have similar subject entries (an awesome way to see God working).
  6. Don’t overthink this. Let it be natural, let it be you.

 

The Great Anticipation

The first wee hours of Christmas morning have arrived.

The magical feel of a day that has long been expected taries no longer. In just a few more short hours my house will liven with the sounds of giggling voices as they anticipate a final revealment of packages wrapped under a tree. It won’t be long before I hear them squealing with delight as they are surrounded by the love and laughter that being with family can bring. I cannot say that I blame them…it is a day that I have longed for as well.

The waiting.

 It seems long and as if it will never arrive. Calendars and countdowns are dedicated to its coming and endless questions about the expected arrival are brought forth daily. Waiting, it is hard –especially when waiting for something so indescribably wonderful.

In this month of waiting, we have readied ourselves for its arrival. The singing, the movies, the crafts, the baking and the reading of books have continued to build our ever increasing anticipation. In all the moments of waiting, we have not wasted a breathOur time of waiting, though feels long, is decidedly marked on a calendar and does not leave us in question about when we can expect its much welcomed presence. 

How must the waiting have felt for those of old in their long anticipated expectancy of their Messiah – their King. 

It was a promised moment that they knew was to come…but they did not know the wait. They did not have a specific day to mark and cling to, there was no specific set-in-stone day that they were resting all their hope in. Their hope, well their hope rested in a promise – in The Promise. 

Today, our celebration reminds us of the much anticipated arrival – the promised Rescuer, Jesus. Their waiting was long and, at times, it was hard…so very hard. But the arrival, it came ~ He came.

(And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:10-14)

Today, I can celebrate a promise fulfilled; Today I can celebrate and wait for a promise still to come. 

(Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3)

Another anticipation; Another wait. 

Friends, today we celebrate the fulfillment of His long awaited and anticipted arrival. This celebrating, it should fill us with hope and it should fill us with excitement as we longingly await for the fulfillment of His promise to return—-to return for us. As we live in expectant anticipation, let us be preparing ourselves for that moment. Let us be so wrapped up in Him as we excitedly live out our days for that moment. Believers, let our wait for His return be as that of a child who longs for and celebrates every moment leading to Christmas morning.