February 2017

I grew up in the countryside of Japan in a non-religious Buddhist family. However, many of our folk festivals and traditions are firmly rooted in Buddhism and Shintoism.
When I lived in Japan, I knew the name of Jesus but I never knew why He died on a cross. When I was 18 years old, I came to the States for a home-stay to experience American culture and learn English. I was impressed when I went to church with my host family. It was my first experience of listening to a sermon, singing a hymn, and it changed my impression of church. Until then, my image of a church was gloomy and scary. This church was bright—people talked and laughed and I felt the pastor’s speech was very impactful!

Kristen sat on a mini-fridge, behind a circle of students discussing the Bible. They invited her into the circle, but she preferred sitting in the back, observing, on her first night attending a Bible discussion at Georgia State University during her freshman year. Kristen shared her skepticism: “My friend had invited me to the Bible discussion before and I thought I should go, but I never did. Then when they started meeting in my friend’s room, I felt like God was bringing it right to me. I decided to give it a try. I liked the format of the discussion, where people felt free to ask questions about the Bible.”

When I wanted to develop a deeper prayer life, I chose as my mentors the praying people of the Bible. Their words gave me a language for my own prayers. They also taught me the need to listen to God—to wait on Him—before and as I pray.
This attitude of listening was a challenge to my activist tendencies. But as I studied my mentors from Scripture, I became convinced that the habit of waiting on God was key to a transformed prayer life.

Some of the oldest questions humankind are asking,
How can I know God? What is He like? What can we do to please Him? How can we get to Heaven? If we
work hard enough to be a good enough person will He accept us then? If we do enough religious activities to get His attention, will that do it?
Fortunately for us, the answer is surprisingly simple. The “Gospel” that the Bible talks about literally means, “Good News,” and the news is good indeed!

Emilie Barnes was a nationally recognized home-and-office organization expert, a best-selling author, a dynamic speaker, and a dedicated homemaker.

Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus

Inspired by the slow food movement, Come to the Family Table seeks to encourage families with intentional strategies to engage one another and create the table as a space for practical ministry to their community.