Camping Trip 2012: Good Hosts
August 19, 2012
SCRIPTURE READING: Hebrews 13:1-2
This camping trip is a highlight of my time with the year. I love being able to hang out with my church community as a community.
* This is closer to what the EARLY CHURCH would have been like.
Q KIDS: What have been your FAVORITE parts?
* This also allows me to SPEAK DIFFERENTLY to you, more closely.
This has been a very INTERESTING YEAR, no doubt. As you may remember, I thought God was calling us to GROW SIGNIFICANTLY last year, but instead I ended up working at STARBUCKS, and we just staying even has been the challenge.
* I could PRETEND, but let’s be honest; this wasn’t what I had in mind! Did I MISUNDERSTAND GOD? Did I MESS up? I don’t know.
But I do know that the past year has been one of the most IMPORTANT ones in my life:
* I have grown as a HUSBAND.
* I have become more RESPONSIBLE FINANCIALLY and more GENEROUS.
* I understand the normal WORKING LIFE each of you faces.
I believe that these things were VITAL PREPARATION for whatever God has NEXT. Likewise, I have seen THE church grow in health:
* More of you are GIVING BIBLICALLY and SUPPORTING the church.
* More of you are SERVING and GIVING yourself to God.
* We are still a STRONG COMMUNITY, even after many TRIALS.
I believe this season it COMING to an END. I don’t know HOW much LONGER, but I believe it is time to give MORE of my ATTENTION to the church. Please PRAY for that.
* From where I stand, I see ONE MAJOR THING that we need to work on, and I see a BETTER WAY to approach it than in the past.
JUST ONE PERSON
Q KIDS: How many of you will be going to a NEW SCHOOL this YEAR?
* REMEMBER (all) how that feels?
We just want ONE PERSON to bring us in, to show us around. Open person can show us around, make INTRODUCTIONS. Just one person can make all the DIFFERENCE.
* EG: HIS PLACE and the WAGNERS.
This is an act of HOSPITALITY. The Greek is philoxenia. PHILO: Love (Philadelphia). XENOS: Stranger (xenophobia, xenophile). Hospitality is WELCOMING a STRANGER.
* Being WELCOMED in can make ALL the DIFFERENCE.
ACCEPT AS YOU HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED
Everything in the CHRISTIAN LIFE is based upon what GOD has done IN and FOR us. We were STRANGERS, we were OUTSIDERS, but God loved and welcomed us in.
Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
The idea is that God has been INCREDIBLY HOSPITABLE to us, we now are to be hospitable to EACH OTHER. The same LOVE and ACCEPTANCE we’ve been shown, we know show to the OUTSIDER.
This is why GOD takes HOSPITALITY so SERIOUSLY. It is COMMANDED on several different occasions.
Romans 12:13 Practice hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer must be...hospitable...
But even harder to ignore is the SECOND GREAT COMMAND: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
A BETTER WAY
I have talked about this BEFORE, but it has NOT WORKED. Why? Because I was EXPECTING you to be me. It is EASY for me to spend every Sunday connecting. I do it every day at Starbucks.
* But it is not NATURAL for many of you. That doesn’t mean you are anti-social, but that it takes MORE ENERGY.
Over the past couple months, I have started to see a BETTER WAY for you to be hospitable, without trying to be me.
Sometimes CHALLENGES are actually OPPORTUNITIES, and PETER taking a sabbatical was just that. I love how we are now taking turns as COMMUNITY GROUPS to do the Sunday set up. But is it actually more than that: you are be being Sunday morning hosts.
* You may not be able to do that EVERY WEEK, but once a MONTH you can be a GOOD HOST.
Here is how it works: When it is your community group’s week to host, treat this church as your HOME:
* Get the HOUSE ready.
* GREAT VISITORS and make them feel at home.
* Ask them their NAME, WHERE they are FROM, get them COFFEE.
KIDS: Did you know that you have a HUGE ROLE to play? Most FAMILIES DECIDE which church to go to based on their KIDS. As adults we aren’t able to welcome in the new kids.
* PARENTS: When it is your week, be sure to TALK to your KIDS about being good hosts.
GROW IN THIS GRACE
As you have GROWN in many ways, I want to grow in this too. Share the COMMUNITY you have RECEIVED. And be ready to RECEIVE through your giving.