What’s your good news?

We are in town too early. Their weekend gathering doesn’t officially start until 5:30. So looking for something to do, we discover a wildlife refuge and a nearby lake to hike around.

At first there is little wildlife. Then from out of nowhere, the ducks start flying in. And flying in. And flying in.

They play a little in the water, then fly back out.

To where? We drive through a nearby neighborhood across from Standley Lake.  There we find about 50 ducks gathered in a small front yard, all quacking together around a bird feeder.

Easy access to good food. That draws us all.

mallard-ducks

 

The Refuge, an “eclectic faith community,” is meanwhile drawing them in, too.

They provide a free meal at 5:00 on Sundays. Several round tables are set up; people are gathered around eating and talking. Maybe around 50.

the-refuge

Jeff and I come in at the end of the meal. We meet another newbie also coming in after the food meal. Last week was his first visit. It was delicious enough to draw him back this Sunday night for a second spiritual meal.

He’d heard about The Refuge through a friend. He’s been out of church for awhile, and is looking to resolve a spiritual crisis. He is excited to find this safe place of protection to work through things.

I’d heard about The Refuge through Kathy Escobar’s blog. Her thoughts, her writings, and her passion for God through her blog have been drawing me in for the past couple of years. And admittedly, her nonconformity appeals to me, too. I count that a plus.

So here we are in a town outside of Denver, seated around tables and Bibles with people we don’t know, and listening to Kathy Escobar in person.

Good news: Kathy matches her blog picture (you can never be sure if we bloggers will match our pictures, right? I need to update mine). I easily spot her.

But better yet, she matches her blog persona. She is real. She is godly. She is loving. We watch her hug on people, engage in conversation, demonstrate through words and actions that she knows Love.

The outer space of this gathering is also welcoming. The walls are bright and direct you to spots for eating, for praying, for gathering. The tables are lined with butcher paper for you to write on. We read a couple notes from a previous week and smile. Extra Bibles are on each table, and (this is one of our favorite things!) extra reading glasses (which is a good thing because Jeff forgot his).

As the meeting progresses, we sing, we pray, we gather information about Galatians, then around each table we discuss personal questions and insights from the text.

One of the first genuine questions at our table is: Is all this Bible stuff really true or is it a bunch of bullcrap?

This place is for real.

If we didn’t already know, we know now this church is aptly named. The Refuge. A safe environment where people can come in and out with all kinds of questions and doubts and hunger, and feel protected. Easy access to a good meal.

Kathy concludes with this question for each of us to take home:

What is the good news?

It’s a question the Galatians might have been asking. And it’s just as relevant a question for us.

What is my good news? What is your good news?

That night, my answer could have been it was good news to find out Kathy is authentic. That communities like this exist. That some thoughtful person sets out extra reading glasses. All good news.

But my ultimate answer to “What is your good news?” is this:

It’s good news to keep discovering that Love is real. God is Love. And Love is here.

Here, wherever your “here” is, you can find Love, feast on Love, be Loved.

We close out the evening at The Refuge singing a final song: James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Yes, that is indeed good news.

Kathy-Escobar and me

* * *

I so enjoyed chatting with Kathy afterwards, telling her I came because of her blog! Next time I go to Denver, we’ve agreed to meet for longer conversation. She’s awesome.

What is your good news? Please share in the comments.

40 thoughts on “What’s your good news?

  1. [email protected]

    Good morning, Lisa!

    What a cool adventure! And I know that this isn’t where you’re going with this post but what really hit me was that necessity of our online persona being really authentic to who we are in real life. So when others finally meet us they won’t be left scratching their heads, wondering who we really are!

    Thanks for this important observation. What an evening, doing community with new-to-you kindred spirits. Fabulous!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a very valid point, Linda. Whether in person or online, we need to be authentic. I’ve been blessed to meet a handful of bloggers in real life, and I’m happy to say that every one has been just as delightful and “real” in person as I was hoping they’d be. I know you’d be exactly that way too!

  2. Dianna

    How special your time must have been, Lisa! Loved reading about The Refuge, because don’t we all, at one time or another, need a safe place where we can go and work out issues? Grateful!

    My good news is that God is faithful to us…He protects us when we don’t even realize He is doing so. We had a situation come up in our lives on Friday that had it not been for His faithfulness and protection would have put us in danger.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, those places of refuge are necessary for all of us. And they may even look different for all of us! The beauty is that the Lord knows how to design one for each of us at different seasons of our lives. Thanks for always being a warm, welcoming place for me, Dianna! You’re precious. I praise God with you that your Friday event turned out safely.

  3. Sharon

    That sounds like a perfect place – accepting, inspiring, and a place to let out all the stuff that sometimes builds up inside of us!

    My good news this morning is the fact that I am never, ever alone. Lately life has been handing me a full plate of stressful things. I find that I am struggling to keep a good attitude, for I am feeling rather overwhelmed. But, the GOOD news is that God walks with me every step of the way. Even when I can barely stand up!

    GOD BLESS!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, the refuge is definitely a “place to let out all the stuff” that we sometimes try to hide, especially at church, of all places!

      I love your good news, Sharon. Never alone. Amen! His presence never leaves us. Prayers for your burdens to be lifted.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If you’re ever close to Denver, yes, do visit. They’re very welcoming there. I was in Denver to hang out with my husband while he was there with work, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity of being so close to Kathy’s church to visit.

  4. melody

    That’s really neat. I love the butcher paper on tables idea!!! That is so awesome. My good news is that I saw God answer prayer last week in some very specific ways. That and I finally got to have some chocolate after 21 days of none. That my friend is good news. Ha!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I loved the paper on the tables too! Such an easy thing to do. It was interesting to read what other people had written from previous weeks.

      Finally having chocolate after fasting from it for 21 days would be fantastic news for me too! 🙂 That’s awesome, Melody. I’m glad you received answers from God in specific ways.

  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a great place…sounds like the Sixties. Just waiting for John, Paul, George and Ringo to walk in.

    My good news is that through a morning of pain that is hell with the hair on, I’m still standing. That is sufficient unto the moment.

    The hour, and the day…we’ll see.

  6. Jody Collins

    Lisa, I was thinking the other day what a joy it is to find your perfect fit in the hand of God’s glove. It looks like Kathy’s vision for the Refuge community is a perfect fit for where she is. And the gathering ended with a James Taylor song (which I heard him sing in person once)–You’ve Got a Friend. Pretty awesome.

    My ‘good news’?? too much to say, but for starters……..there is grace ahead. Always.
    Thank you for linking at ‘Small Wonders’ this week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’d love to hear James Taylor in person. I’ve listened to his music for years, and this song in particular used to be one of my favorites. It was a perfect fit to sing about Jesus–always there for us when we need a helping hand.

      I know there is good news with you and ahead for you, my friend! A new season, even after a bittersweet departure of your m-i-l. Praying for your family, Jody.

  7. Jean Wise

    Priceless to meet a bloggy friend in person. I met Nancy Franson several years ago and would love to meet more, including you someday. How fun to discover a new place too. Fun to explore isn’t it? Food for the soul and the mind, I’d say.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I would love to meet you in person one day too, Jean! You never know. That’s awesome that you got to meet Nancy. I love her writings as well. Very insightful and down to earth.

  8. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, that is so cool, meeting a blogger and getting to chat to them, but also to find this Refuge! Right now we are battling to find that one spot where we can go every Sunday, to meet with others and meet with God. We feel a little lost, having not found our spiritual home yet! But this inspires me to look a little harder.
    Great post, God bless
    Tracy

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I pray you’ll be able to find a good fit for you and your family, Tracy. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort you’re putting into it. May the Lord guide your feet to the place where he can use you, grow you, and love on you the most.

  9. Joe Pote

    How cool!

    Sounds like a great church…reminds me of a coffee house ministry my famliy was involved in back in the 70’s.

    And to think you learned of it thru her blog! That’s awesome!

    Thank you for sharing, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The things we learn through each other’s blogs, right? 🙂 I hear of lots of coffee house ministries resurging again among this generation. May the Lord work through them all.

  10. Nicki Schroeder

    I love the beautiful picture of community you shared through words here on your blog Linda. I am blessed that we have several places in our community for people to come off the streets for a warm cup of coffee and a good meal. And many of them still allow people to offer some spiritual encouragement to aching hurting hearts as well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your community sounds wonderful, Nicki. Everyone needs a place where they feel welcome to be warmed and fed, and if we can also share spiritual words, we’re all blessed even more. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. Abby McDonald

    Lisa, this is such a beautiful post. Yes, what you discovered is good news and it is rare. To find real, authentic people expressing their faith and committed to loving others- that is as good as it gets. Thank you so much for sharing you experience here. Glad I found you via #TellHisStory.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Abby. You’re right that unfortunately this kind of community is more rare than we’d like it to be. 🙁 It’s hard and messy work and not everyone likes the discomfort that comes with authenticity, but it’s such a beautiful way to grow in love when we take the risk.

  12. TC Avey

    Amen!
    There is so much Good News to be shared! This world needs to hear the Good News. God gave it to us to share with others, not to horde it.
    So thankful for the Body of Christ that encourages me to break out of my comfort zones and share the Good News bubbling inside.

  13. Jen Ferguson

    Amen! It so helps to keep that Good News front and center. Because some days, it’s easy to forget. May He seal it on our hearts and minds so that we will not forget, and lest we do, we get surrounded by people who remind us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Jen. I was reminded yesterday by my sister that a ministry I once called my “honor” to serve in was quickly becoming my “burden.” Thankfully she called me on it so I could pray for a better attitude. I need to be reminded often that God’s Love is always the central thing!

  14. Tiffany

    What a sweet spot, Lisa – to be honest, authentic, and accepted and then be delivered the good news – that’s a little slice of heaven on earth. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Just visiting from #tellhisstory.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love that God often does give us those slices of heaven on earth! Sometimes in places we expect. Sometimes not. I was expecting it at The Refuge and was glad I found it.

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