Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Heaven Style

If you have followed this blog for long, you know that Legacy Church hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the students and their families connected to Legacy's English Language Program. Every year God reveals to us again a peek at heaven recorded in Revelation 7:9-10:

"After this I looked, and there in front of me was a huge crowd of people. They stood in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. There were so many that no one could count them. They came from every nation, tribe, people and language. They were wearing white robes. In their hands they were holding palm branches. They cried out in a loud voice,
   'Salvation belongs to our God,
   who sits on the throne.
   Salvation also belongs to the Lamb.'" (NIRV; italics mine)

(I had concluded The Story that Sunday morning by teaching on The End! You can hear that message here. It was wonderful to get a glimpse of what we had seen in Scripture that morning the same evening.)

Here are some things I saw this year as the Church served "the world in our backyard."

A purpose of the church is to demonstrate to a fallen world what heaven on earth could look like. Granted, we do not know the spiritual relationship of all who attended, and the biblical vision is that of the saints in white robes worshiping the Lamb. However, we build relationships with those who attend, and over the years we have seen many become followers of Jesus. But, as you know, the church is notorious for being the most segregated organization in our country, and an event like this demonstrates the biblical value "all people matter to God."

We are foolish to think our way of life and ethnic origins are superior to others. Sitting with people from at least 25 other countries takes away the false assumption that somehow our ethnicity is better than all the others. To hear the stories of those around the tables remind us what people will sacrifice in order to provide a better way for their families and how they bring their talents and training that are far superior than ours to build a life of purpose and meaning. We see God's grace in Christ Jesus is for "all nations," not simply our own.

God's people are God's servants. I am always humbled with a lump in my throat to see the joy and energy of Legacy Church serving those who trust us to attend this event. From carving the meat to starting a conversation with people who speak another language (only!), I see the servant heart of Jesus displayed in the actions, smiles, and voices of those who follow Him and serve in His name. Thanks to Lue Kraltchev, our Director of Literacy Missions, who led the team of ELP faculty, volunteers who served and to those who prepared food for those they did not know. I am blown away by the servant hearts of those who are Legacy. If we would serve more like Jesus, more people would trust Jesus.


My life verse is Hebrews 12:1-3. I envision the "great cloud of witnesses" to look something like the multitude of faces from many nations I saw Sunday evening. This missional movement we belong to is not about us. The "race marked out" for us has a global expanse. We are "sent servants" who demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are near and afar. Join the movement. Reach the world. You will be surprised how close it is to you.


For more pictures of the dinner and other Legacy ELP happenings view them here.

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