Not yet a subscriber? Why not subscribe now - it's Free and it's Easy. Click here if already a subscriber.

Become a Christian Life in London subscriber and stay up to date with the latest Christian news, contests, events and information in London.
Name*   
Email*   
  
* Required Fields
This is a FREE subscription,
and you can unsubscribe at anytime.
Word Verification



SUBSCRIBE AND WIN
Become a Christian Life in London subscriber and help spread the word, you will be entered in our monthly draws for great prizes, AND the more friends** you recommend, you will receive one additional entry per each one of those subscriptions.

Name*   
Email*   
Suggest Friends   








* Required Fields
This is a FREE subscription,
and you can unsubscribe at anytime.
** Friends
Your friends will not be subscribed automatically,
they will receive an email asking if they would like to subscribe.

Open Door - Bring it to the table
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
Challenging Your Perspective Rather Than Your Pocketbook
Good Samaritan: Assyrian Canadian Christian - Mansour Zindo (GOOD SAMARITAN)
Tim Tebow, From Football to Filmmaker, Presents: 'Run the Race' - An Inspirational Sports Drama
SEND International
BookMark (BOOK REVIEW)
To Me, it's a Penny (HUMOUR)
The United Church of Canada Hosts Its 43rd General Council
REEL REVIEW - Operation Finale (MOVIE REVIEW)
Jordan Feliz and Matthew West sing out to the Lord (VIDEO)

"Will you teach us the Bible?" That was the question asked of me almost 7 years ago by one of the bravest and most courageous women I have ever come to know. We were standing that day in Gal's Only, a café that a woman from our church had started on Dundas St. in one of the little store fronts Open Door Christian Fellowship owns. Kathy loved on woman with a cup of tea, fresh baked cookies and the offer of friendship. There was no pressure, no heavy push for people to arrive at a place they were not yet ready for. But there was acceptance, a smile, a hug only if you wanted one, and a restful place to spend a quiet afternoon. Now a small group of these women wanted more… and that is how "Bring it to the Table" began.

We were a small group of 7 the first day we met. I had a huge respect for each of the woman that joined me around the table those first few months. Rather than simply teach them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to start our time with, "Tell me your faith story". This simple exercise taught me that God can reach in and intercept any life. Nowhere and no one is out of bounds for Him. I was humbled as I heard one woman’s story of horrific confinement. She had spent years confined to a filthy basement. One day in utter desperation when suicide seemed her only escape, she cried out to God. Suddenly the room filled with light and she had a miraculous encounter with the Living God! This gave her the hope to carry on and eventually escape. God himself had showed up to comfort this woman… and she wanted ME to teach her about HIM? I felt very humble in her presence. Another one of these precious women told her story of being instantly set free from drugs, alcohol, smoking and bad relationships, all in one day, in her apartment alone, as she simply said "God please help me, I am going to kill myself if I keep living like this." In her moment of surrender to God- He had completely set her free from all her addictions. I want to tell each story I heard those few months. Each woman around the table had a faith story that only God himself could have written. I learned to ask questions and listen. They had each suffered so much in their lives. Mostly the church had ignored them or misunderstood them. I was so blessed when one could remember a youth group reaching out to them, or a Christian couple that had taken one of them in during a dark time. We laughed and cried together. They swore like truckers and spoke with brutal honesty. This was real, this was life and slowly we started to form a little community.

In Native American culture the Tepee is an important symbol. For our group it meant each woman, like a pole, coming together, leaning on each other, and creating a dwelling place. I believe it is a very pleasing dwelling place where God wanted to let his presence dwell. He would come and fill the room with peace so real and tangible we felt like time had stopped and rest caressed our souls. He brought healing, hope and trust. That is when the group said, “Can we invite our friends? We need to share this!” They had created a place where they could be real. They didn’t have to hide the hard stuff and God wanted to be there too!

I think the church has forgotten that God loves broken women. When Jesus was here on earth, he literally sought them out. God is not afraid of the mess, or the pain or the sin. Jesus' blood at the cross was for the remission of sin, and by removing sin he opened a new and life-giving way for the broken and hurting to repent, be forgiven and come to the Father. I tell the ladies, "Jesus was dying for you to meet his Dad!"

Over the months and years that followed God sent not just the broken, but those to help bind up their wounds. I am so honored by the women who serve with me each week. These women have overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. They don't let the enemy mess with the women, and they stand and fight with them to overcome and have victory in their lives. Their motto is "If God did it for me, He can do it for you." One incredible woman stood before the group and shared how she had been molested regularly by her father and conceived 2 children by him before she was 16. The only reason she tells the story is to teach them about forgiveness. When her father was older and dying she went to the hospital and shared with him the love of Jesus and the opportunity for him to be forgiven and go to heaven. She led her abuser to the Lord and watched him pass from this life to eternity as a forgiven man. Women like that walk among us and we are honored to have them minister.

Today, anywhere from 80- 120 women make their way to 940 Dundas St. every Wednesday afternoon. Let me see if I can draw a mental picture for you of what you would see. I think the smell is the part you notice first as you walk up to the church each week. We prepare a free lunch for all who come that a group of incredible women work to prepare that morning. Yes this is a crazy amount of work and maybe we won't always be able to offer it, but right now, it is an important part of our fellowship. Next as you come into the building we have our "Free Store." At least 100 items of clothing, plus dishes, toys or other donated items, are offered free to anyone in need. Practical needs met first. The sanctuary room we meet in has been set up with tables, fresh coffee and tea already available, and the opportunity for relationships to be made. At 12 o’clock we offer a blessing over the food to be served and over every woman that has found her way inside our doors. Then everyone lines up to get a plate of whatever we are serving that smells so good.

The main goal of our afternoon outreach is to uplift, encourage and strengthen one another. We have been blessed recently to have worship before the sharing time. Art supplies are made available for women to draw or paint. Some women come just for food but each week more stay and listen. We open up the microphone and the opportunity is given for women to "Bring it to the Table". This is a time for them to share whatever they have to offer. Some will read a poem or share a scripture. Some will bravely tell their story. Each week the Holy Spirit takes all the little parts together that we bring and weaves them into a beautiful tapestry. We stand back at the end and are always amazed. He is so able to trade beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Our job is just to give Him the space and time to do it.

If one verse could describe Bring it to the Table it would be "bear one another's burdens and in so doing fulfill the law of Christ."