Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6.2011 prayer letter

Happy Anniversary!
One year ago, The Table held its first worship gathering. God has done many great things since that time. A year ago our church did not have a name, a weekly rhythm, or a known presence in the neighborhood. That has all changed, because of His faithfulness.

In the last year God has been faithful in allowing us to live out our rhythms. The Table has lived out Hospitality, hosting and sponsoring numerous parties or events, all while making folks feel welcome in His name. We've lived out our Discipleship rhythm, praying and studying God's word together during all three of our weekly gatherings. And, The Table has blessed its neighbors in tangible ways during 8 “official” projects during our Blessing weekends, not to mention the countless “unofficial” blessings. We have many reasons to give God glory for what He has done. Thanks for your faithful and continued prayers and support of The Table!

We will be celebrating The Table's anniversary on June 26th, at Glen Echo Gardens. It will be a morning of sharing food, prayers of thanksgiving and for the future, and stories of His faithfulness so far. We’d love to celebrate with you! Stay tuned to our website for details of the day (www.thetablebellingham.org).

Please pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all God has done in first year of The Table. Pray that God would continue to allow us make more room in our lives for our neighbors and friends, in a display of the Hospitality of Jesus. Pray for The Table to grow in its width, and its depth in Jesus, in our rhythm of Discipleship. And, pray that we’ll continue to be a Blessing to our friends and neighbors in tangible ways.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2.2011 prayer letter

The 2.2011 Prayer letter for The Table is up. Just cick the "prayer" link to the right to get at it.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the table's new website!

After a lot of work, The Table now has a website! Under the direction of our own John Barry the church's website is now "live." Designed by Shiloh Hubbard and built by Phil Gons, we are excited to see how God will use this avenue to grow His church and His kingdom! Let us know what you think.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the table logo

We are very proud to display The Table's new logo. As a leadership we decided on this logo a couple weeks ago. We like for its simplicity, and creative imagery. Above all we hope that God will use the logo to remind people of the work He is doing around them, and let folks know that they are welcome at HIS table (and the church we call The Table). May He be glorified even in the simple things, like logos.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the table "blessing weekend"

Below is a blog post from Aly Hoover, Director of the Whatcom Volunteer Center's Chore Program. The link to the Whatcom volunteer center is now on the left. The Table partnered with Chore a couple weekends ago as part of our Blessing Weekend (a monthly expression of our rhythm of Blessing neighbors in Jesus' name). Aly wrote about The Table's participation. (The Whatcom Volunteer Center's blog: http://www.whatcomvolunteer.org/category/blog/)

"Faith Community Helps Neighbors in Bellingham" - Aly Hoover

On a cold, wet January morning, most people would prefer to be cozy at home. But for two church service groups from Birchwood Presbyterian and The Table, their preference was to assist community members.

Birchwood’s Second Saturday group is led by Sharon Stahl. She collaborates with the Foodbank farm, Habitat for Humanity, the Chore Program, and others to make a difference the second Saturday of every month. This past Saturday the group helped out at three Chore sites. With thirteen people, they completed yard work in the Columbia neighborhood, cleaned apartments in Fairhaven, and put away Christmas decorations for a couple in north Bellingham.

I met with the team sent to the Columbia neighborhood, and I barely said hello before they had rakes, trimmers, and weed whackers in hand. When I returned a few hours later to collect yard tools, I was amazed at how much the group accomplished despite the dampness. The client was equally pleased, and remarked several times on the kindness of the volunteers. “I am so blessed,” he said of their visit. I especially want to recognize the dedication of Fred Stahlbush, who was the first to greet me at the project site. He made two trips to the county dump just to make sure all yard debris was taken care of, which is above and beyond what was expected.

Later on Saturday I met with the The Table. Aaron Walters and his wife had been previous volunteers with Chore, and I appreciate that they thought of us for their group’s service project. Eleven people arrived ready to clean apartments at Chuckanut Square, a high-rise apartment building for low-income seniors and adults with disabilities. Two generous souls were willing to break off from the group to help a senior gentleman with his grocery shopping. I also appreciate Chuckanut’s resident manager, Ernie Swordmaker, for showing the group which apartments needed the most assistance.

Chore is grateful to have a faith community so willing to serve people in need. Our clients will not soon forget the kindness and hard work of Birchwood Presbyterian and The Table’s volunteers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

1.11 prayer

This month's prayer letter is up! Just click the "prayer" link to the right. Blessings!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

great article

Here's a great article (By David Platt, Special to CNN) passed on to me by my friend Dean (thanks Dean). Let me know what you think.

We American Christians have a way of taking the Jesus of the Bible and twisting him into a version of Jesus that we are more comfortable with.
A nice middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts.
A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who for that matter wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings comfort and prosperity to us as we live out our Christian spin on the American Dream.
But lately I’ve begun to have hope that the situation is changing.
The 20th-century historian who coined the term “American Dream,” James Truslow Adams, defined it as “a dream… in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are.”
But many of us are realizing that Jesus has different priorities. Instead of congratulating us on our self-fulfillment, he confronts us with our inability to accomplish anything of value apart from God. Instead of wanting us to be recognized by others, he beckons us to die to ourselves and seek above all the glory of God.
In my own faith family, the Church at Brook Hills, we have tried to get out from under the American Dream mindset and start living and serving differently.
Like many other large American churches, we had a multimillion-dollar campus and plans to make it even larger to house programs that would cater to our own desires. But then we started looking at the world we live in.
It’s a world where 26,000 children die every day of starvation or a preventable disease. A world where billions live in situations of such grinding poverty that an American middle-class neighborhood looks like Beverly Hills by comparison. A world where more than a billion people have never even heard the name Jesus. So we asked ourselves, “What are we spending our time and money on that is less important than meeting these needs?” And that’s when things started to change.
First we gave away our entire surplus fund - $500,000 - through partnerships with churches in India, where 41 percent of the world’s poor live. Then we trimmed another $1.5 million from our budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world. Literally hundreds of church members have gone overseas temporarily or permanently to serve in such places.
And it’s not just distant needs we’re trying to meet. It’s also needs near at hand.
One day I called up the Department of Human Resources in Shelby County, Alabama, where our church is located, and asked, “How many families would you need in order to take care of all the foster and adoption needs that we have in our county?”
The woman I was talking to laughed.
I said, “No, really, if a miracle were to take place, how many families would be sufficient to cover all the different needs you have?”
She replied, “It would be a miracle if we had 150 more families.”
When I shared this conversation with our church, over 160 families signed up to help with foster care and adoption. We don’t want even one child in our county to be without a loving home. It’s not the way of the American Dream. It doesn’t add to our comfort, prosperity, or ease. But we are discovering the indescribable joy of sacrificial love for others, and along the way we are learning more about the inexpressible wonder of God’s sacrificial love for us.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my country and I couldn’t be more grateful for its hard-won freedoms. The challenge before we American Christians, as I see it, is to use the freedoms, resources, and opportunities at our disposal while making sure not to embrace values and assumptions that contradict what God has said in the Bible.
I believe God has a dream for people today. It’s just not the same as the American Dream.
I believe God is saying to us that real success is found in radical sacrifice. That ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of him. That the purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. That meaning is found in community, not individualism. That joy is found in generosity, not materialism. And that Jesus is a reward worth risking everything for.
Indeed, the gospel compels us to live for the glory of God in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, and this is a dream worth giving our lives to pursue.

David Platt, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times bestseller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.