Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jeff shares his experiences in Salem with us

Our new friend Jeff spoke on Sunday last week, and blessed us. This week he shares a bit of his story of the experience in Salem during Haunted Happenings and all the outreach activities of The Gathering.

"Our front door - Half a million, that’s 500,000 if you are counting – people that is, that walk by the front door of the “Vault” – a former bank that was here for 200 years and is now occupied by the “Gathering,” a local church. I say “our” because the pastor assimilates people easily into the local body of believers and extended culture of Salem – so for two weeks, it’s been home.

Home includes extended normal conversations with a gnostic quoting random literature, a local witch who comes into use our wifi and loves just hanging out, a nationally known warlock who rides into the building on a Segway, some really smart intellectuals (Boston area has highest concentration of colleges and universities in the world), and a really diverse collections of people who believe a lot of different things or nothing at all – some come for internet, some for lecto divana a form of meditation on our Scriptures – the Bible – some come for Thursday open mic night, or movie night …

… and as I mentioned 500,000 tourists walk by the door and hundreds have sat for Spiritual Readings – simply asking the Spirit of Truth from the Creator to speak to us on their behalf so we can comfort, encourage, and build them up – and hopefully they catch a glimpse of a loving God who really really Loves the people He created. By the end of the month, the Gathering will have touched the lives of several thousand people thru Spiritual Encounters and dream interpretations, hosting kids day at the park, hosting a stage with eclectic choices of artists from opera to country to a Beatles cover band, hosting an Christian band doing Indian fusion and singing about Jesus in Hindi.

Just a question, but how can you find a way to interact with the lives around you? I am not content to go into a building, sing a few praises, to simply do it again in a local house mid-week. A friend of mine bought a house in the inner city of Durham, is rehabbing it as simply a space to have a presence in the community and interact with those who live there – no other agenda but to provide love encounters – and those go both ways. She gets it. I don’t always get it, but I am growing in walking in God’s grace, practicing mercy, and loving people. God’s truths about eternal live, need for redemption from sin, live in the Spirit now, and even the consequences of avoiding God’s love are real – how we as Christians or the “Church” haven’t always been.

500,000 might not pass by your door this month, but who are the 50 or so you pass by and maybe might touch with new love this week?"

Thanks Jeff. We really appreciate you and all you've done. May God bless you in your coming travels. You are always welcome to make your home here for a few days, a few weeks, or however long.

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