By 6 p.m. people were streaming into the Word of Life Assembly of God (WOLA) for the combined chili cook-off and Starry Nights Christmas music program. WOLA’s motto is “Loving God and Loving People.” This annual Christmas program, open to everyone in the public, is one of the ways in which they share their love and gratitude with the community.
Before long the beautifully decorated worship hall was filled with more than 150 guests.
Meanwhile in the foyer, WOLA volunteers were prepared to serve samples of seventeen chilis that had been entered for the cook-off.
Pastor Ken Frazier welcomed everyone and explained directions for the cook-off. People would line up to receive seventeen samples of chili in numbered cups. After sampling them they could vote for their favorite and also go back to enjoy a full bowl of their favorite.
“This is one occasion when you are allowed to judge,” he said.
People filed through the foyer filling their plates.
In addition to chili, there were corn bread, condiments, clam chowder, and lots of goodies.
People enjoyed the food and fellowship. Singers and musicians came forward to lead the audience in a joyful heartfelt mixture of traditional and contemporary Christmas songs.
As the food filled the bellies of the diners and the music filled the air, the Holy Spirit filled the hearts of the people with God’s love and inspiration.
Pastor Ken came forward and announced a short intermission in the music.
He was ready to announce the winners for the chili cook-off. Third place went to Shasta Bellagante. Matt Swanson won the prize for second place. And the winner of the Best Chili for 2018 was Kimbra Biles!
Then Pastor Ken asked Alex and Linda Colvin to please come to the front of the room. Like faithful sheep, they followed the pastor’s voice and came forward. Ken announced that people in the church had decided to provide a special surprise Christmas blessing to this couple – two large baskets filled with gifts.
Totally surprised and overwhelmed with gratitude, Mr. Colvin took the microphone and said, “This is the greatest church in the entire cosmos. God is here. And in the coming new year we will work to accomplish many things to help bring God’s Kingdom in the Intermountain Area!”
After the presentation, the Christmas music resumed. The program ended with Janice Hamlin and the worship team singing the wonderful Christmas carol “O Holy Night.”
Loving God and loving one another. Sharing food, fellowship, and sacred song at a feast celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Son of God and Holy Messiah. Is this not a taste of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?