By now some of you are wondering what happened to Joe’s BBQ, which has been a great gathering time for food and fellowship? Has Pastor Joe forgotten that this fellowship is expecting brats, burgers and more grilled by him at least once a year!? My answer is…I have not forgotten! Yes, Joe’s Barbecue is starting up again and the first gathering is happening tonight at 6pm. Fear not, if you’ve not been invited you will be. Janet and I look forward to having as many as possible from our fellowship at our home in Lake Nebagamon this summer. Just like last year we will have a similar arrangement, Pastor Joe will be doing all the barbecuing and everyone who attends is asked to bring a dish to pass, either a salad or dessert. Drinks will be provided (coffee, iced tea and sparkling waters), but you are welcome to bring your own beverage if you need something sweeter.
There is something very special about gathering together in people’s homes and spending time around the dinner table. Growing up in 60’s and 70’s there was never a day we didn’t have breakfast and supper together at the Dokken family table. Obviously, lunch was at school except on the weekends but during the summers it was lunch at the dinner table. Seriously! The only time it changed was if we went somewhere special to eat such as a friend’s home or restaurant. Fast-forward 30 years, even in our own home, Janet and I have noticed dinner at the dining room table is rare and even avoided. Say it’s not so Joe! Busy lives, busy schedules and for us it truly is not having easy access to our dining table. That will change over the next 2 years. Most of you are aware we are in the process of finishing our home, so please be aware you’ll be dining with us in the Lupinewald construction zone. Lupinewald is the name given to our new home. Lupines are our favorite perennial flower and “wald” is the German word for forest. Sorry! The hundreds of Lupines by our entrance have come and gone for this season. Our second favorite part of Lupinewald will be in full flight when you arrive. Monarch butterflies which are plentiful, will be laying hundreds of eggs. Thankfully the previous owners spent many hours caring for the hundreds of milkweed plants around our home. Please don’t look for our garden, our trip to Alaska created the need to say no for this year. Instead we are removing old dead trees and those which were damaged during the May snowstorm. Ultimately our goal is to increase our open grassy areas because we want people to enjoy the outside and feel welcomed at our home. Years ago I read an article about the death of the “front porch” in small-town USA. The article reminisced that most homes from the turn of the century (20th century) were built with front porches. Neighbors would stop by and hang out on the neighbors front porches because hospitality is Biblical. Somewhere in the 60s and early 70s, the front porch slowly faded away and was replaced by the back porch and fences. Neighbors began to live a more secluded type of lifestyle, and so homeowners today often don’t even know who lives next door. The makeup of most communities in NW Wisconsin lends itself to more of a secluded type lifestyle since there are very few typical suburban towns. So how does Joe’s BBQ affect any of this? Since our neighborhoods are unique, taking the time to invite individuals to come into our circle of love and friendship is very important. Joe’s BBQ is primarily for members and attendees at Hawthorne Assembly, yet I hope all of you feel comfortable inviting a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker to one of our gatherings. Jesus came into the world and took the time to know his neighbors. John 1:14