GraceConnect E-News, No. 16, Week of October 7, 2013
The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Light and Salt
The opportunities to be light in a dark world are often ones that we would not choose. Sometimes they are spontaneous and fun, other times they are grueling and hard. Yet we are still compelled to season where we are placed with the good news of Jesus Christ.
This week's eNews shares the story of two families who have been placed in situations -- maybe not of their choosing -- where they have been able to be salt and light to those around them.
If you enjoy this newsletter, would you forward it to one friend within your church and encourage them to subscribe? It's the best way to stay connected with news, ministries, and events within congregations of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC).
Phil Bryant, pastor of Community of Hope, a Grace Brethren church in Surrey, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver), remembers the Sunday when his family was all settled in for their afternoon nap. (That's them in the photo at right.)
At 3:00 p.m., they were awakened by a knock on the door. A Chinese couple stood on their front porch.
â€œâ€˜Is thisâ€‘â€‘this Community of Hope?â€™â€ Phil remembers them asking.
â€œYes,â€ Phil responded. â€œThis is Community of Hope.â€
They didnâ€™t seem to believe him, he recalls. â€œWe're supposed to deliver food to you. You have a meeting here for 40 people.â€™â€
â€œNo, we don't have any meeting tonight. We had it earlier this morning."
"Oh, no, no! I'm from a Tibetan restaurant in Vancouver. We have a special order for you. I have a thousand dollars worth of food sitting in my car."
Phil says he shook his head, explaining. â€œThis is Community of Hope. This is the right address, but we didn't order any food.â€
He invited the couple in, just as a lady from a local pizza shop came up the sidewalk.
"Is this Community of Hope?" she asked.
â€œSomeone just put a big order in. We haven't made it yet, but we wanted to verify this is Community of Hope and we're supposed to bring it here,â€ she explained, noting there were $800 worth of pizzas ordered for a meeting of 60 people.
Since the church meets in a movie theater, the church address in the phone directory is connected to the home address of the Bryants.
It soon became apparent they had been victims of a prank. â€œMost restaurants have policies that stop this from happening, but this poor Tibetan family who lives in Vancouver, who have only been in Canada for three years, didn't have this policy in place and they took the order because of good will, because it was for a church. They thought this would be okay, and then they brought it all the way from Vancouver, a 45-minute drive, to us,â€ says Phil.
â€œWe were all upset,â€ remembers Phil. A call to the police revealed that it was a civil matter and there was no recourse.
When the Bryants tried to pay them, the Tibetan family refused, then they left half the food, all generous portions, since it couldnâ€™t be sold.
â€œThere was enough food in our house to feed 40 people,â€ he smiles.
The Bryants decided to take advantage of the opportunity to reach out to their neighbors.
He went door-to-door, inviting the their neighbors for a spontaneous dinner party.
â€œFour of the families came and we had a great time,â€ he says.
â€œGod can take some little rascals who do some crazy things and do some awesome things with it,â€ stresses Bryant, noting that most of their neighbors donâ€™t have a faith in Jesus Christ. This situation created yet another opportunity to touch the lives of those who live around them.
â€œFrom a spiritual standpoint, it was a healthy encouragement to let us know that God is at work and He has not forgotten our love for our neighbors,â€ Bryant says. â€œHe is working in their lives and will work circumstances for us to lean into to see them come to know Him.â€
Beau and Stacey Stanley tell the story of their special needs child, Simon. "God is good and he proved himself faithful over and over again," says Stacey, as the couple share transparently their journey. This was first shown at Grace Polaris, a Grace Brethren church in Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor) and shared here with their permission. (Beau is the training and spiritual formation pastor at the church.)
Regularly $24.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 20% off plus FREE shipping!
Simply enter the code "kingdom" in your shopping cart at bmhbooks.com. (Price is good only until midnight, October 8, 2013.)
On sale now!
This classic, penetrating analysis of the Kingdom of God as taught in both the Old and New Testaments should be in the library of every serious student of the Bible. Utilizing an inductive method of studying, it examines the Kingdom of God as presented in the Scriptures. Like other works by McClain, this is recognized as the careful work of a Biblical scholar.