Last night, our church hosted a beautiful Christmas Banquet, complete with fine china, ornate crystal, delicious food and live entertainment. We spared no expense to make our honored guests feel like part of the family. Many folks in the church elaborately decorated their tables and showcased their creativity (which is abundant), giving their tables their own personal touch. The buffet line was absolutely amazing! It was decorated to the nines and brimming with copious amounts of delicious turkey with dressing, hams, casseroles and desserts.
In planning our annual Christmas Banquet this year, we decided to forgo the usual way we do our annual Church Christmas Banquet and were provoked to follow the Lord’s specific instructions for having a banquet. Did you know that the Lord spoke specifically about having a banquet?
“And He also said to him who invited Him, When you make a dinner or a supper, do not call your friends or your brothers, or your kinsmen, or your rich neighbors; lest they also invite you again, and a recompense be made to you. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you shall be blessed, for they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14
When we first got the word out about how we would be doing our Christmas Banquet this year, the response was amazing! Money came pouring in to cover the considerable cost of hosting such an event. Also, volunteers from the church came out in force. We actually had too many people offering to serve and host tables! The dedication to detail and folks giving their very best was awe inspiring.
The next step was going around to all of the neighborhoods and communities that we have been ministering the gospel in these last few months and years and invited all to the banquet. We also made special efforts to invite and bring in many from the Latino communities that we have been in. Many of these folks are living in abject poverty all within about a 5 mile radius from the church. Many of them are sick and infirmed, as well as demonically tormented. In short, they need Jesus.
We were a little worried as to who would come and not come, but as it turns out, we had over 60 folks from all over the community that we brought it or who managed to make it out on their own, filling our tables with our extended “Family”. It was an awesome sight to see our guests come in and be loved, accepted and welcomed by our church family. You had successful businessmen and upper middle class families mingling with the poor and strong believers mingling with unbelievers. The whole mood was ecstatic and you could feel the presence of God brooding over the place.
As part of our outreach team that has been ministering in these neighborhoods the last couple of years, it was such a treat to see many of the folks we have been preaching to in the same place at the same time. It made our efforts “real” and really helped me see the fruit of our labors these last few months. It also was great for our church to connect with the folks that they have heard about in testimonies, but never really met personally.
During the course of the night, several folks, moved by the love of the church towards them, gave their lives to the Lord. There was prayer for healing going on and prophetic words given. A group of Hispanic men asked us when they could come back for a Spanish speaking service (it’s in the works, trust me!) and several folks that have never stepped foot in the church before promised that they would be back.
All in all, it was a great success and we are so pleased with the Lord and His goodness, as well as the amazing generosity of the Lord’s people.