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Amen! Lamenting with you "the great tragedy of crushed spirits and broken lives, and praying for a healing and newness that only the Spirit of God can bring." Thank you for posting this important piece, Amanda.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen."

Thank you so much for recognizing the importance of this ministry and for being willing to serve!

I appreciate that you've shared your journey with us on the Network. 

Good question, Staci. My husband and I are currently leading a small group on the book The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door.  My goal is to take some simple steps to develop relationships with some neighbors whom I do not know very well or maybe at all. It's going from just a wave or a hello across the yard to learning someone's name and learning more about their life and family. It's about taking the time to offer help or even ask for help. It's about getting over my fears or stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the neighboring relationship to the next level. It is about saying no to something in order to create time for something else; in this case, the two greatest commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22)

Beer and Hymns is brilliant! I can't believe I did not catch on to this event sooner. As for my favorite part....well, it is a combination. I guess my first favorite part is simply the opportunity to sing hymns! We just don't sing enough hymns anymore these days. And I do love a variety of music styles. But singing hymns at a casual gathering like this just brings joy to my heart and a big smile to my face. I see the very same in others around me as well. As far as a favorite hymn...that is hard, too. I have dozens of favorites. Just to name a few: Blessed Assurance, Great is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art, By the Sea of Crystal. I also enjoy ending the night with the good old "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms".  The Spirit of God is so powerful in this monthly gathering. I love seeing folks of all ages, singing their hearts out together and enjoying food, drinks, and community. Just for the record, I am not even a beer drinker. But "Coke and Hymns" or "Tacos and Hymns" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. ;-) Lucky for me, drinking beer is not a requirement. This is just a great community gathering in praise to God. I love to invite friends and family to come and check out Beer and Hymns. And whenever I do, they too fall in love and want to keep coming back, month after month.  Many thanks to the inventors of this wonderful event! I hope it continues for years to come.

Dirk, This is such a great perspective! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is always difficult to say goodbye to these folks, but when we look at the bigger picture of what God is doing in and through them, it gives us a whole new outlook going forward. I love it.

I agree completely, Staci! I will probably never get rid of my favorite cookbooks and favorite printed recipes. There are several that I am particularly attached to for many different reasons. These include the ones that have been passed down to me through the generations and the ones that I at some point yanked from a magazine and fell in love with. I am so glad you wrote this post about faith and food. For me, just like for Shauna, the two are very closed related. Feeding people (family, friends, neighbors, people at church) is one of the ways that I love them and show them hospitality. I love food and I find a lot of joy in sharing it with someone else. One of my favorite books on food and connecting with people around the table is Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. Great recipes and great stories to go along with them. A very dear friend gave me this book as a gift and I thought it was just the perfect gift. Thank you, Staci. Keep up the beautiful writing!

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