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God's Great BBQ!

Here in Texas, we love our barbecue (BBQ). This time of year, millions are making their plans to Rodeo which always includes a prime slab of beef, turkey, or pork to salivate over. These festivities usually include getting together with friends and family where stories will be swapped, and reflections of the lives of those attending make the BBQ even more savory for the tasting as the fullness, richness, and new perspectives begin to flow.

Renewed connection with community absolutely glows with the images of sharing, remembrances, and memories from the special details of a story, the well-worn, worthy, and amazing elements, the one or the many times where God sparkled in your life, and intersected each one’s journey with community. 

I love beef BBQ, some love coleslaw, potato salad, hot buns, and tangy pickles. All these foods represent the variations that make a good BBQ, great! Not just the act of reflecting, but also the incredible, smokey flavor variety and zest of the flavors of deeper connection built between those gathered. Our souls are enriched, as trials, trips, and tangible joys are shared over an assortment of shared life experiences and treasured moments.

Transition brings with it that same opportunity to embrace a banquet. Last week, one of the ministry staff said goodbye to move on and thrive in a newfound position. I savored with collective wonder all that he had brought to us, all that his presence had added and given to me as a person, as well as to our company. His generation’s perspectives greatly differed from my own. The gift of his presence enhanced the colors and the palate of our community. His longing for local community and newly formed family now carved a ‘bend in the road’ for his journey. My heart is saddened by our loss, yet I felt a component of legacy is at play as I realized that, together, we had been a part of the magnificent table, set by the Lord, specifically for us. 

Such a covenant of joy can be found in each person’s contribution; there is nothing lost, but only gained, and we feed together on heavenly manna in the unique collective at God’s table.

The world over, God’s vibrant process of handpicking and weaving a fabric of relationships further nourishes a treasure of core values, both collectively and as individuals.

Recognizing the contribution of community, no matter the size, allows our hearts to connect even closer to the cloud of His witnesses, His Body, and the principles of value community can imprint, each one willing to risk, laying down agendas, seeking to envision something larger than ourselves. I’m learning this (rather slowly it seems) as I make my request known and then release how the content of investment will return under the creative diversity of our most creative Father, God. 

Reflect with me in Isaiah 36:4-7

“Rabshakeh said to them, “Now tell Hezekiah, ‘The great king, the king of Assyria says, ‘What confidence is this in which you trust? 

I say that your counsel and strength for the war are only vain words. Now in whom do you trust, that you have rebelled against me? 

Behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised reed, even in Egypt, which if a man leans on it, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 

But if you tell me, ‘We trust in Yahweh our God,’ isn’t that he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar.”

Hezekiah had removed the markers that his father had erected, ‘the high places’ where pagan worship had been done for centuries. He washed all those areas free from the defilement and also defied family and generational tradition in the process. The outcome allowed him and an entire nation to see new perspectives with an enlarged assortment of opportunities to gain more as God’s chosen and beloved people. 

To the natural eye, Hezekiah’s stand may seem small but it was MAJOR, not just for himself but for the generations to come. It required a personal and public ‘shift’ of belief to come to an understanding that had never been learned before. Could things have been left “as is?” Yes. But Hezekiah’s stepping up broke the mold and invited the light of God to become a true Son.

Acting in partnership with God takes guts and I bless my former staff member for being like Hezekiah, willing to forge a new road in the wilderness, where he and perhaps others can come to thrive with increased confidence and expectation in God.  Anytime someone shifts in community, it leaves a gap and an opportunity for everyone to shift – that’s also the beauty of putting on a BBQ. 

Community gathers with great expectation and usually unknowingly welcomes the ‘shift’ where variety is spread out with differing tastes, perceptions, and untold stories to be relished. Then the wonder comes, as members of a community choose to embrace beyond themselves and the God of the Universe comes and shows off where He’s always been and perhaps, a new pathway never considered. 

That’s what releasing the content of our situations can bring - as we do our part and step into trust within the partnership of our community, it lends us an opportunity to transform the accumulative assets gathered at His table. 

What was Hezekiah’s ultimate contribution to his community? The engineering of the Siloam tunnel, the first of its kind, brought reservoirs of fresh water within the city walls and ‘shifted’ an entire community. 

What will the 'dish' be that you bring to the next BBQ?

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