Are You Ignoring the Truth?
Last Sunday in worship, we looked at Exodus 16:2-15. It’s the story of God providing food for the Hebrew people as they wandered in the wilderness. We saw that the people became so wrapped up in their concerns about where they were (which was in the wilderness) and what they had to eat (which was nothing) that they missed out on the truth: God cared for them, and God would provide for them.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in our anxieties and miss out on these underlying realities; we get so wrapped up in what’s wrong, what’s discouraging, or what’s challenging that we miss the opportunity to push through that discomfort—and thus we miss the opportunity to find God’s care for us on the other side.
I really wouldn’t want you to make the mistake of the people in the wilderness when it comes to our First Steps Dinner. On May 18, we are encouraging each of our members to participate in this church-wide opportunity which will serve as our response to the Good News of Easter. Taking our first steps as resurrection people, we’re asking each of our members to host several people that you don’t know (or don't know well) in your home for what we're calling a First Steps Dinner. This is an evening with no agenda except to build relationships and share life with people in our life who might not be people of faith, or people who aren't currently active in a church community. We’re encouraging all our members to identify people that they might share a meal with, and get to know a bit better—to learn where they are, what concerns they have, and how we can support them on their life’s journey.
That prospect of reaching out to someone that you don’t know well may seem a bit intimidating to you, but we want to make this easier! You might feel like you have no idea where to start; we want to help you get prepared. Click here to sign up for our church-wide newsletter, and each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we’ll send you material to help you prepare. If you don’t do email, there are a few printed booklets in the Gathering Place.
Or maybe you’re thinking that your budget is a little too tight to host a dinner. We understand. That’s why we’re giving away grocery store gift cards to help you cover the cost of this dinner. You can signup for one online at foresthills.org/firststeps. Just tell us what grocery store you want a gift card for, and we’ll provide it for you. We’re not asking you to account for the money or tell us what you did with it. We’ll trust that you’re using it somehow to host a dinner to connect with others.
Or you might be thinking that you’re uncomfortable shoving Jesus down someone’s throat. Good—you should be! Forcing Jesus on people is exactly what we are asking you NOT to do. If you’re signing up for this convinced that you’re going to have converted everyone that you invite by the end of the dinner, please do not participate in this initiative. You’re going to do us more harm than good! All we are asking you to do is to get to know someone that you don’t know well. All we are asking you to do is to take the first step to reach out to someone, and to hear a little bit of their story.
So we do want to make this easier for you. But let me tell you that the ultimate reason to join us in this initiative is that the promise of Exodus 16 is true: the place of your discomfort and challenge can be a place where you encounter God. We’re asking you to avoid the mistake of the people in the wilderness—don’t get so caught up in the cares and worries of life, and all the reasons that you can’t do this First Steps thing, that you miss out on the underlying reality—God cares for you, God sustains you, and God will empower you to do this.
Will you commit to joining us in this? You can get more information at foresthills.org/firststeps. I’m praying for you and cheering for you, and I’m excited to hear your stories of how you’re able to connect with someone new around the table.