If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.Mark 9:41
Dear Praying Friends and Family,
A few weeks ago i had the wonderful opportunity to go and hear Barbara Barker speak at the Excalibur Ladies Retreat at Joe Wheeler St. Park. What a wonderful time i had and i am so grateful for all of my dear friends who worked so hard to make the retreat so very special for us.
The guest speaker, Barbara Barker is the wife of Reverend Frank Barker who is the pastor Emeritus of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in B'ham, Al. I have known of Mrs. Barker since my college days at the University of Montevallo where i was nurtured in the LORD through Campus Outreach, a ministry of Briarwood Presbyterian. Her son, Frank, Jr. was a student there at Montevallo the same year i attended.
|Mrs. Barker with my dear friend Gena, two queens of hospitality!!!|
Mrs. Barker shared her testimony with us at the retreat the first evening, and there is a story she told that keeps resonating through my mind. In fact, i had heard her tell the story from her life the only other time i heard her speak and still remembered parts of it.
I didn't realize that GOD used Frank Barker Sr. to start Briarwood from a storefront in Birmingham. Frank was quite a rounder in his younger days, and the LORD began to convict his heart of his sins while he was a pilot in the military. Frank stopped drinking and decided to go to seminary trying to be good enough to go to heaven. It was during seminary that Frank realized he was not a CHRISTian and CHRIST saved him from his sins during that time.
When Frank came back to B'ham, GOD led him to start a church in a storefront. Because of his background and he knew lots of people, they were amazed at the Frank Barker being a preacher now. When GOD led Frank and Barbara to get married, Frank poured his life into reaching others for CHRIST. One of the ways HE laid on Franks heart to do this was through the Barker's home. Barbara was not really raised to do this, it didn't sound like. She was raised in a wealthy home, as Frank was, and she was a ballerina....in fact, she danced in New York, and California, and other places. Eventually, GOD would use her to start the Briarwood Ballet at their church. When Frank invited a fraternity over for a meal, it just about killed her. How in the world could she prepare for that many people? There were around 30 guys i believe. She decided to make sloppy joe's cause that was easy but she still struggled with feeding this many people, and she even started crying as she was serving them. Well, that night, GOD not only brought 30 people to her house, but about 60 more in addition! Barbara said she watered the sloppy joe's with her tears, and GOD multiplied the food and it fed all the people!
"I'll feed the world from your kitchen, I'll feed the world, from your kitchen, I'll feed the world from your kitchen."
I have been "ruminating" on this the three weeks or so it's been since the retreat..."I'll feed the world from your kitchen." To say i was inspired by Barbara Barker's obedience would be an understatement... she was so humble about her unwillingness yet GOD blessed through her obedience to her husband in the little things to grow a huge church that literally reaches the uttermost parts of the world for CHRIST through it's outreach...www.briarwood.org. Even as i write i am convicted....i sure do grumble about being obedient to my husband in some areas. What testimony am i building by being obedient in the little things? What blessings am i missing and others missing by me not being obedient? Are others salvation at stake?
I pause because i'm not sure which way to continue here....but my thoughts in the past few weeks have been GOD, i want you to use my kitchen to feed the world, one person at a time. The LORD knows i have struggled in this area with my physical weakness, but since the retreat, i have really tried to focus on the LORD using me to show HIS love and hospitality to, if it's one person like my husband, or having supper for Phillip and Arthur before we all rush off to church on Weds. night or a small group of ladies that meets for our Tuesday night study....HE wants to use our home to be faithful and bless others with HIS love and hospitality and HE wants to use yours. And HE has used some of you to bless our family through your wonderful hospitality....thank you for showing us the love of CHRIST by sharing your time, your home, your food, your beds, your "toys," your fellowship in CHRIST JESUS, to bless our lives so much.
When i looked up verses on hospitality as i was getting ready to write this, i came across a website that shared 72 verses concerning hospitality in the Bible! http://www.openbible.
info/topics/hospitality. 72 verses of dying to self and showing GOD's love and kindness to others....HE even promises that if we just give a cup of cold water to someone in HIS name we will be blessed for it. And as i write, i am reminded that JESUS tells us when we have a party, don't invite those who are able to invite us back," invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14: 12-14
My house, my kitchen, my desk, my very body are meant to be holy places in this world for the eternal GOD." Elisabeth Elliot, www.elisabethelliot.org
"Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 14:21
GOD will use our forks, our knives, our spoons, our cups, and our willing hearts to transform them into something supernatural that reaches the hearts of others for CHRIST.
When i was a child, we had a neighbor who was so open and so loving and she was forever talking about "getting saved." I wasn't sure what that meant, but i do know i always loved getting to eat her potato chips and French onion dip when i was at her house. We only had chips for special occasions growing up, and we never had French onion dip! Mrs. Mooney not only shared her food, but she shared her life, and she was always inviting us to VBS, youth camp, etc. I know three of us siblings prayed to receive CHRIST through her church ministry....and GOD used Mrs. Mooney and her sharing her potato chips and French onion dip and her life to open our hearts up to CHRIST.
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.I Peter 4:9
There is something supernatural about our kitchens, and our homes, ladies....and GOD wants to use us and our kitchens and our acts of love to reach the world for HIM. I know my heart has been stirred by Barbara Barker's example. LORD help me to be faithful in the little things, maybe only one person, but use me like you used my neighbor Mrs. Mooney, and like you do Barbara Barker to feed the world's hungry stomachs and hearts from my kitchen....one soul at a time.
One of the beautiful songs we sang at the retreat was 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
"Bless the LORD, o my soul, worship HIS holy name, sing like never before o my soul, i worship HIS holy name."
When we show hospitality to others, we are being like CHRIST who laid down HIS life for us that we might be forgiven our sins, and come into HIS fellowship and live with HIM forever in the HOME HE is preparing for us! Wow....i have never seen this connection before, but thank you JESUS for showing me this truth.
LORD, give us willing hearts and help us all to lay down our lives, that YOUR RICH love might flow through us to reach others for you through a cup of cold water, a potato chip, a sloppy joe, whatever. You turn our littleness into something that opens people's hearts to you when we do it in YOUR name....thank you JESUS for using our kitchens, our homes to reach the world for you...one soul at a time.
With all HIS love,
|My sis and I got the wonderful privilege of meeting Mrs. Barker!|