Thursday, September 07, 2006

exceeding abundantly beyond

the apostle paul had many outstanding attributes, among them, the ability to stack up adjectives! in ephesians 3:20, he is not content to say that God is able to go beyond all that we could ask or even abundantly beyond what we could ask , but exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or even imagine!

our recent international student welcome dinner is a good example. we did our best with publicity this year, posting flyers over at concordia and mcgill, and making sure our airport pickup drivers had some invitations to share. still, it's hard to know what the response is going to be. on the day of the dinner, m instructed me to set up for 40 (that's about how many we had last year), but i ended up setting up for about 30. i guess i think it's always better to give the impression that we're full and need to set up more tables and chairs, than to risk looking like we had a low turn out.

that may or may not be a good strategy, but it also says something about the smallness of my faith. one might think that after all of these years of ministry, i might believe for more!
about 20 minutes before we were supposed to start, students began arriving — and they just kept coming. we had a small team of volunteers preparing food with m in the kitchen, which left me alone out front, trying to greet everyone, making sure they had nametags, getting their contact information, and introducing them to one another. i realized quickly that i should have set up for 40 (duh!); shortly after that, we were set for 60+ and had used every chair we could find in the basement of peoples church, including a couple of little chairs from the children's sunday school room and a piano bench! every last seat was taken. thankfully, some people left as others arrived, so we were able to keep everyone seated.

students came from around the globe — singapore, thailand, france, china, hong kong, germany, italy, japan, iran, korea, colombia, india, mexico, and more! the noise level was high, as people were busily meeting each other and enjoying the dinner that the volunteers had donated and prepared. the team jumped right in, meeting students, getting to know them, and in some cases, personally inviting them to visit their homes. long-time volunteer a (who is also a gideon) gave out bibles and new testaments to a number of interested students, most of them in their heart languages. though our program finished around 19:30, people stayed and talked for over an hour, until we began to clean up.

i don't get tired of being surpised by God or seeing Him work!

the LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
and refined, aged wine.

and on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
He will swallow up death for all time,
and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
for the LORD has spoken.

and it will be said in that day,
“behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
this is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”

isaiah 25:6-9

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