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Calling All Koinonos:

A Fresh Look at the Holidays

by Dan Stolebarger, Executive Director, Koinonia Institute

Recently, I have come to the realization that God has put the joy of serving into our collective DNA. In other words, when we serve, something inexplicably seems right deep within our souls! I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit included the following words of Jesus in the book of Acts:

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts 20:35

Jesus is saying that a happy man is a giving man (or woman). This goes back to this DNA concept that it is within us to do good and to give; when we do, there is a feeling of contentment.

I find it interesting that on our Israel trips, when we do an exit poll of our fellow travelers, the high point of the entire experience is usually the time spent on a muddy, run-down IDF base on the Golan Heights.

Keep in mind that the sights and sounds and the places we visit and the hotels that we stay in are incredible, but all of that doesn’t equal the experience of giving.

Also, I find it noteworthy that the Lord gave us a threefold cord when we were putting the Institute together:

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

At KI it was obvious that we would have the two tracks (or legs of the stool) that had to do with the Word of God (the Be-rean) and the Prophetic (the Issachar), but it wasn’t complete until we incorporated the third leg, the Koinonos, which can be summarized as the giving leg! It is here that we challenge our Members with the bold exhortation of what are they DOING for the sake of Christ? Here we are challenged to be doers and not hearers only; it is here that we challenge our Members to get on their knees and seek the will of God in regards to what their practicums might be.

Now with that as background, let’s look at the upcoming holiday season. Here are some ideas and possibilities that either you as an individual, your family, or maybe your Small Group could explore.

1. Find a place to serve this Thanksgiving. Many churches and soup kitchens open their doors and serve the poor and needy a nice turkey dinner. Having done this over the years, I can tell you that the giver is always blessed more than the receiver!

2. Decide to have an outward Christmas focus. Pray about what the Lord would have you do this holiday season in regards to blessing others. I know there are ministries such as Compassion International and Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse that provide opportunities to bless others in a special way. For more information about Samari-tan’s Purse go to: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/index.

3. Mission Christmas: I know of one family here at K-House that is praying about not giving family gifts this year and taking what they would have spent and using that to provide gifts, etc. for those in need. (I’d bet that this experience will bring a greater blessing than any other previous Christmas.)

4. Give a GOAT or COW for Christmas. As funny as this may sound there are ministries that provide more than wrapped toys, etc. A goat or cow can change a family’s destiny! For more information, go to: http://worldvision.org and click on “gift catalog” under the tab, “ways to give.”

5. Bless Israel! As a believer in the Genesis 12 promise, may I suggest that you give a gift in the name of the Messiah. There are many worthy ministries that we support in Israel ranging from babies to IDF Soldiers to refurbish-ing bomb shelters, etc. For more information on Blessing Israel, contact my wife, Sharon Stolebarger, at sharon@khouse.org.

I could go on, but I will simply conclude with a challenge for you to make the most of this upcoming season. Pray about what the Lord would have you to do and then DO it!

And when it comes to Christmas, remember whose birthday it is and make sure that you bring your Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to Him and don’t be content to simply open gifts given to you on His day—catch my drift?

If you are a KI Member and this is something you feel the Holy Spirit would have you do, please write up your experi-ences and turn that in as a Practicum so we can add your experiences to our database in order that others may be blessed and challenged by your obedience.

To present this as a Practicum, go to www.studycenter.com and follow the following steps:

1. Log in to the StudyCenter (www.studycenter.com).

2. Click on the “All Courses” button at the bottom of the “My Courses” box on the left side of the screen.

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to “Koinonos Practicums” and click on “Submit a Proposal Here.”

4. Click “Create A New Proposal.”

5. Complete the information on the screen and click on “Submit Proposal.”

This article was originally published in the
November 2008 Personal Update NewsJournal.

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