Party of One: God Keeps It Simple

Scripture Verse: “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! ~ Romans 8:5-6 MSG

Quote: “I am not a genius, I am just curious. I ask many questions, and when the answer is simple, then God is answering.” ~ Albert Einstein, Scientist & Philosopher

An article by Features Reporter, Teresa Santoski about Party of One appeared in the September 27th Encore insert in the Nashua Telegraph. For days and days after it was published, my phone rang and my emailed bing-ed with inquiries about Party of One. In the past two weeks, our list of possible attendees has more than doubled and continues to grow by word-of-mouth.

Why am I still so surprised?

Here are a few of the thoughts that meandered through my mind a year ago when I first founded Party of One, A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone:

  • Maybe the concept behind this is too simple.
  • Maybe there’s only a smattering of people out there who feel the way I did about eating alone.
  • Maybe people will feel funny about joining a group of strangers.
  • Maybe they have more exciting options out there.
  • Maybe they’ll think I’m weird . . . or find out I am weird.

It was good to hear comments like these:

  • Thank you so much for doing this!
  • This is an answer to prayer.
  • You don’t know how much this means to me!
  • This is such a wonderful idea.
  • I know this is so much work for you, and I appreciate all you do.

But . . . last Saturday, as I looked out over the function room at Weathervane Seafood Restaurant and saw 27 people (including 10 regulars and 17 newcomers), eating, talking, and laughing together, I realized one important fact: It wasn’t me doing any of this; it was God. He’s the One who put the idea on my heart. He’s the One who brought people like Jerri Spearman, Noreen Strauch, Deb Bock, Mary Roberson, Susan Dextraze, Bob Berube, and Abby Byrd on board to help spread the word! He’s the One who drew singles to attend.

He’s the One who even convinced my husband that this could be fun!

And since God and His Holy Spirit are behind it all, He keeps me from turning His simple idea into my hard work. It’s been a joy and a privilege to fellowship with others “who are tired of dining alone.”  I can’t wait to see what God has in mind for us next!

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Nashua Telegraph Article on Party of One Fellowship

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Features Reporter Teresa Santoski for the Nashua Telegraph interviewd me recently about Party of One, A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone. I’ve inserted the link to the article below.

Because of the fine job Teresa did, in one day, I recieved fifteen new inquiries! This simple concept is speaking the language of the lonely.

http://www.encorebuzz.com/fooddrink/976831-249/hudson-woman-creates-group-for-single-diners.html?CSAuthResp=1234%3A%3A5000%3A257%3A24%3Aapproved%3A748801ABF57441070238AEAD407A5FAA

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Party of One: Called to Love Differently

Scripture Verse:  “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” ~ Matthew 5:46-47 (NIV)

Quote: “God doesn’t love us because of our worth; we are of worth because God loves us.”  ~ Martin Luther (1483-1546) Priest & theology professor

The Law of Attraction says: That which is like unto itself is drawn. Birds of a feather flock together. Two peas in a pod. Like attracts like.

How does this “law” reconcile with Matthew 5:46-47? Does it negate our responsibilities to those with whom we have nothing in common? Let’s look at Jesus’ example.

Did Jesus hang out with other Sons of God? Or perfect men like him? Maybe he sought the company of women who didn’t need his help? How about rich people? Were they his only target? Were all his contacts a picture of physical and mental health? Were they all well-mannered and polite? Did they all give generously? Were they dressed in the latest fashions? Were those he healed all Believers?

If we as Christians only search out people with whom we have much in common, we miss the spirit of God’s Word. We are called to love those who are different from us because God has called us to be different . . . to go beyond the actions of others.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Always.

Believers are called to love believers and unbelievers—not just those who fall under The Law of Attraction or who believe as we do. Their worth is in the fact that God loves them. So is ours. We are all God’s creation.

Questions for the Invitees: How do you react when strangers reach out to you? Do you respond in kind? Or are you filled with fear? Do you lack trust? Do you ever reach out to others? Or do you feel since you’re single it’s someone else’s responsibility?

Tips for Invitors: Don’t come on too strong. As far as it’s within your power, begin a relationship prior to inviting an individual to an event. Realize that some people are scared and need to feel secure. Accept that some will never be open to your invitation. Pray for God to point you in the right direction.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. Single adults are encouraged to join us! For more info, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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Party of One: Close to the Brokenhearted

Scripture Verse: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:17-18 (NIV)

Quote: “After brokenness, we can experience God’s greatest blessings. The dawn after a very dark and storm-wracked night is glorious. Joy after a period of intense mourning can be ecstatic.” ~ Dr. Charles F. Stanley (1932– ) Senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta & founder of In Touch Ministries

At some time or another, we all experience times of brokenness. It could be through the death of a loved one; pain of divorce; loss of love; financial hardship; wrong career choice; failed ventures; entrenched sin and/or poor health.

Sometimes we’re tempted to wallow in our brokenness and self-pity. It’s comfortable and addictive. But self-pity serves no useful purpose. It’s a basic tool of Satan because it feeds our flesh, not our spirit. If you’ve ever said any of these things, then you’ve made him a happy devil.

  1. I’m tired of things never going my way.
  2. Just for once, I’d like to come out on the winning side!
  3. Could things get any worse?
  4. I’ll never make it through this!
  5. I’ve got no one to help me.
  6. Lord, take me now!
  7. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get a promotion? Find a husband [or a wife]? Have a child? Lose weight? Stop drinking? Earn more money? [You fill in the blank.]

Going through these times isn’t easy. The key word here is “through.” We will go through the brokenness and come out on the other side—where joy is waiting with open arms.

When you’re on the verge of whining, remember that God uses times of brokenness to strengthen us and prepare us for the work He has intended us to do. During these trials, He replaces our desires with His desires.  We gain spiritual maturity and intimacy with God and discover a depth to our purpose in life.

When the Lord brings us out from the shadow of brokenness, we become whole.

Questions for the Brokenhearted:  Are you open to the people the Lord has placed in your life to ‘hold your arms up’ during your season of brokenness? Or are you too proud? Do you want to stay stuck in heartache? Or do you believe God will bring the joy He promised?

Tips for Encouragers: Don’t be the judge of who God wants you to encourage. Let the Lord direct you to that person. Don’t offer quick fixes and platitudes. Wait with them. Pray for them. Meet material needs as He directs. Understand that not everyone’s heart heals at the same pace.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. Single adults are encouraged to join us! For more info, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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Party of One: Our Light and Momentary Troubles

Scripture Verse:  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Quote: “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me. . . . You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” ~ Walt Disney (1901-1966) American film producer, animator, entrepreneur & philanthropist.

Though certain events are more tragic than others, no one is exempt from heartache and loss. Every person on earth goes through tough times—sometimes without the support of others. There’s the loss of a loved one through death or divorce; the loss of a friend, a miscarriage, or a custody battle; the loss of good health, sobriety, a business or a job.

How do we handle these “light and momentary troubles” especially when they don’t seem so light and momentary?

It’s perfectly natural and even healthy to go through a time of sadness and grief. We need time to heal, so let’s plan on it.

Once we’re on the road to recovery, do we recognize that these troubles are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”? Or do we whine and complain? Do we expect the worst to happen and see the bad in every situation? Do we play the martyr? Would people accuse us of being pessimistic?

I know it’s easier said than done, but with all the faith that we can muster, let’s “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” Let’s praise and thank instead of whine and complain. Let’s hope for the best and see the good instead of expect the worst and see the bad. Let’s act with courage instead of play the martyr. We’ll be known as optimists instead of pessimists . . . and we’ll probably have more friends because of it.

We have to overlook the temporary to see the eternal.

Questions for the Suffering: Have you told the Lord exactly how you feel today? If you’re angry, sad, disappointed, lonely, or grief-stricken, tell him. Be truthful; he knows anyway. Have you taken the time you need to heal? Have you asked others to pray for you? Have you accepted invitations to join others in fellowship?

Tips for Encouragers: Be there for others in their times of suffering. Don’t try to fix things, just be present. Let them talk while you listen. Encourage them to rest their bodies and their minds. Do what you do best: cook a meal or take them out to dinner; wash dishes or fold clothes; write a note or read to them.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. Single adults are encouraged to join us! For more info, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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Party of One: Have We Abandoned Those in Old Age?

Scripture Verse:  “And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.” ~ Psalm 71:9 (NLT)

Quote: “All my life I’ve been taught how to die, but no one ever taught me how to grow old.” ~ Billy Graham, Evangelist (1918 – Present)

When I read that even Billy Graham didn’t know how to grow old, I realized I didn’t either. The superficial things floating around in my shallow pool of knowledge on old age were cataracts, prunes, bunions, early bird specials, and bowel blockage—not necessarily in that order.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, short term memory loss. It’s what causes seniors to remember gas prices from the 1940s but forget to put their teeth in. And so what? If showing respect to a senior by listening to them talk about their past is the worst thing we have to do on this side of heaven, then what is our problem?

You guessed it. Selfishness. We don’t want to take the time—but they will freely share theirs. We don’t think they have anything to teach us. How about patience? Their stories are boring. So are ours to the younger generation. They talk about the old days. Are the new ones so great?

When was the last time you approached an elderly person to start a conversation? Yes, it’s true, they might talk about their eating habits and bodily fluids. But I bet if you ask more interesting questions, you might get more interesting answers: What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done in your life? Where is the most exotic place you’ve visited? What was your first car? What was school like? What did you want to be when you grew up?  Who was president when you were young? What kind of music did you listen to? What were your hobbies? Who was the first real love of your life? Tell me about your salvation experience?

I’ll be the first to admit this muscle called Patience is one I need to exercise more. Perhaps we can all start by listening to those who have lived longer. They have the experience to teach us.

I’ll be the first to admit this muscle called Patience is one I need to exercise more . . . Huh?  What? I said that already. Oh. Never mind.

Questions for Seniors: What example are you setting for those who will be seniors one day? Do you encourage or criticize? Do you bellyache or praise? Do you see good or only bad? 

Tips for Encouragers: Don’t tell them you care; show them. Slow down long enough to ask an older person how they’re doing. Then sit with them and take time to listen—even if you’ve heard it all before.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. Seniors are encouraged to join us! For more info, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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Party of One: God Places the Lonely in Families

Lonely ManScripture Verse: “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” ~ Psalm 68:6a (NLT)

Quote: “The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”  ~ Charlotte Brontë, British Novelist (1816-1855)

 

 

Sometimes we Christians can be oblivious to the needs of those around us. It’s not intentional—it’s often the busyness of life standing in our line of sight. We’re active in other ministries; we’re chasing toddlers or taxiing children; we’re focused on our career; we’re attending school; or we’re socializing with people with whom we have more in common.

Since we’re fallible human beings, sometimes our “oblivion” can be intentional: We’re too tired; we want to do what we want to do; we don’t feel like reaching out; we’re numb to the feelings of others; we feel inadequate; or we’re so busy we actually envy those who have time alone!

The Holy Spirit is never oblivious or numb to the needs of others. He also knows what we are capable of doing and when and how we can help.

When we make a concerted effort to be in tune with His Spirit, we will see what He sees: The “never-been-marrieds” who pray for a spouse; those carrying the stigma of divorce; men and women suffering grief; the elderly feeling unappreciated; the single mother who needs “grown-up” time; the person whose spouse is serving in the military overseas; the caregiver in need of respite; or the disabled and/or those with special needs.

Once we see what God wants us to see, He will show us how we can help. Don’t be afraid; He will only give us as much as we can handle. Let’s start by tuning in to His voice.

Questions for Singles: When are your most lonely times? What do you do to combat them?

Tips for Encouragers: At church, seek out those who attend weekly services alone. Introduce yourself to them and follow-up more than once. As God’ Spirit directs, invite them to join you for a meal or to attend an event together.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. To join us, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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