Monthly Archives: July 2006

Implementing Hospitality – Part 1

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Hospitality has been the theme of my life lately. Words, advice, situations, Bible reading, and stories I come across all seem to relate to this theme. So I did some intentional internet research and found an article by Richard Krekcir that deals with Implementing Hospitality.

For the whole article go to In Thy Word Website. Type in hospitality in the Search for _________ on this Website button. Click Go. You will see 33 hits. It is the first article. Sorry, despite four tries, I wasn’t able to link directly to the article.

I will divide this article into smaller parts. I will post successive parts after I’ve digested the previous one. Please share your comments and learning with me as we go along.

Part 1

Key Passages on Hospitality are below.

The links are to Biblegateway.com and include the verses in three translations: NIV, Amplified and NLT. While there you can also click on the commentary link to get more information.

Matthew 25: 34-43

Luke 10:30-37

Acts 4:32

Romans 12:13

I Timothy 5:10

Hebrews 13:2

I Peter 4:7-11These are the verses that started my hospitality journey.

3 John 1:5-8

I look forward to seeing what you learn.

I’m Chosen By God, Now What?

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“God doesn’t choose us grudgingly. We are always first.” Pastor Mike, Sermon on July 30, 2006

“But you are the ones chosen by God,
chosen for the high calling of priestly work,
chosen to be a holy people,
God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him,
to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you—
from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
I Peter 2: 9-10 The Message

“My dear boy, you must remember who you are…royalty…Act like it,” Prince Edward VIII’s father once said to the young Prince when misbehaving.

Are you, am I acting like royalty?

“Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Philippians 3:16 NIV

But what have we attained, gained, achieved, come into possession of? Read I Peter 2:9 for an incomplete list:

Chosen status – We have been selected or marked for a special privilege.

Royal Priesthood – Each of us has a royal duty to minister to each other and a lost world. Pastor Mike and Pastor Bill aren’t the only ones who are ministers. We are all called to perform tasks unique to each one of us.

Holiness – “Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:23, 24).”*

Belonging – What a comforting place to be, to know that we, that I, can never be snatched out of God’s hand by either my own actions, by my enemies, or by the greatest enemy Satan.

Job – We get to proclaim His wonderful deeds to a blind, thirsty, hungry, dying world.

So what do I do now?
The Amplified Bible amplifies (no surprise here) Philippians 3:16, “Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.”

Indeed let each of us walk and order our lives in a way that shows we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.”

I’ll help you. Will you help me?

Please share what you’ve been mulling over from Pastor’s sermon today.

*Easton, M. 1996, c1897. Easton’s Bible dictionary. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA

Nothing Matches God’s Power, Love and Justice – Even If It Looks Contrary

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As we all know the world is full of difficult things to accept and understand:

  • A father’s nightmare of two sons (22 year old Andrew and 23 year old Freddie) dying in two different wars: Afghanistan and Fallujah. (See Father Describes Unbearable Pain on cnn.com)
  • A mother drowning her five children, one at a time, in the home’s bathtub (6 months old to 7 years old)
  • 81 people needlessly dying as the result of the heat wave in CA these past 11 days.
  • One dear soul suffering from severe TMD, back pain, dental pain, and asthma; loss of vision, mobility and appetite; and a headache of migraine proportions. The tentative diagnosis is trigeminal neuralgia, the “most terrible pain known to man.” (Read Please Pray, July 21, 2006.)
  • A couple’s losing their baby through miscarriage
  • Deadbeat dads who don’t keep up with financial and/or relationship promises.
  • Wayward children raised in good homes
  • Mental and/or emotional pain that won’t go away no matter how much prayer, therapy, determination and desire

Of course the list could go on and on.

The area I’ve struggled most with is “How could a loving, powerful God allow innocent children to be tortured through abuse of any kind?”
So intense was my struggle that I quit college (back in the mid-70’s). I wanted to be a Christian psychologist but felt if I couldn’t resolve this issue for myself, how in the world would I be able to help others with their most painful areas?

I tried prayer, word studies, the Bible, fasting, books, counseling, and talking to others about it – nothing took away my painful confusion and disillusionment with God.

About the year 2000, I read Disappointment with Godby Philip Yancey and it changed my outlook.

An excerpt from the back of the book reads:
Is God unfair? Is God silent? Is God hidden?
If God desires our love, why does He sometimes put obstacles in our way?
Why does He seem so distant?
What can we expect from Him after all?
No part of the Bible goes unstudied in the author’s search for God’s hidden nature in this compelling and profound book.”

I don’t really know why this book touched me in a way other things hadn’t. I don’t remember getting any answers about why God doesn’t always use His power to protect innocent children. I didn’t experience anything dramatic…see any burning bushes…converse with an angel…feel the touch of God’s finger.

But I do remember seeing more clearly, than I had in a long time, just who God is. God isn’t my pet genie caged in a bottle waiting for my every bidding.God’s thoughts and actions are not always going to be understood by me because He is so much more EVERYTHING than me. He is more powerful and more intelligent and more merciful just to name three areas. God knows the whole plan of everyone’s life before they were even born. I have difficulty even knowing one plan for one day for one (my) life.So my quest since then has been to see more clearly each day who God is regardless of the world’s wars, people’s evil actions, senseless deaths, and (seemingly) unconquerable pain.

I don’t know the answers, but I know the One who does.
This knowledge makes all the difference in my day-to-day life.

“…O most merciful Friend, Brother, and Redeemer; may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly.” by Saint Richard of Chichester, who died in 1255

See here for a lovely commentary on the above prayer.

How Messy Is Too Messy or When Is It Clean Enough To Have Folks Over?

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“To be honest I’ve got over the ‘house isn’t tidy’ … I think it’s linked to pride … and recently the battle between the need to see friends has won over the house pride curse,” said See-through faith under the post “Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches.”

I can see how pride can be a deterrent to hospitality. Maybe this is part of the Martha mentality.

But when is messy too messy to have people over?

On one hand, When my home gets to a certain level of “lived in” and someone comes over, I am embarrassed that I let the house get so bad. I am definitely distracted. Maybe this is pride.

On the other hand, if I pop over to someone else’s home and it’s lived in, that doesn’t bother me.

And if I may borrow another hand, there is a neighbor, J, I used to visit* often in the late afternoon. Her home was always picked up and it was restful to be there.** Because it was tidy I didn’t feel like I was intruding or coming at a bad time. J made me feel like I was the most important thing on her to-do list.

Maybe that’s part of the definition of hospitality.

I’ve always wanted to have that kind of home. I’ve always wanted to give my guests that kind of special attention.

As you can see I have too many hands and not much of a conclusion.

What is your take on the messy/tidy/pride issue? How do you feel towards it as the hostess? As the guest?

* This was when I lived in a small village in England.
** J and I had children of similar ages and it really was restful. I wonder if J remembers it that way?

When Life Gives You (too much) Pineapple Make Cake

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What do you do when . . .

you’ve added three eggs yolks and ½ cup sugar to a can (16 ounces) of crushed pineapple with juice, when it should have been added to an 8 ounce, drained, can of crushed pineapple?

  • I thought of taking half the mixture out, but what do you do with the other half?
  • I thought about forgetting it altogether, but that would be wasteful and I still needed to bring something.
  • Double it? Didn’t have the necessary pan or extra ingredients.
  • Then I remembered what Marie Antoinette once said when she was in a pickle, “Let them eat cake.”
  • An hour later I had one fragrant 13×9 and four 6×4 pineapple cakes with cream cheese frosting. And a hotter kitchen!!! (It is in the triple digits today and the ac was struggling, even before I decided to bake.)

I learned some things today . . .

  • Carefully read and check the label of all ingredients. Don’t assume anything.
  • 8 ounce cans of crushed pineapple exist. Despite what I used to believe.
  • You cannot substitute a 10 ounce can of crushed pineapple with juice for an 8 ounce drained can.
  • You can make the best of any situation – it’s a choice.

Oh, I also learned that Marie Antoinette never uttered those thoughtless words, on the eve of the French Revolution, “Let them eat cake.” See Urban Legends and Wikipedia for (some of) the true story.

Finally, here’s something, she really did say to the priest on her way up to the guillotine,

“The moment when my troubles are going to end is not the moment when my courage is going to fail me.”

This is a good note to end on while I go eat cake.

 

One purpose of hospitality is refreshment

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My friend Lorna* emailed me her comment on hospitality. She doesn’t have a blog and I don’t know how (yet) to let people without blogs leave a message. Any ideas or help from y’all?

Susan,

I enjoyed reading your blog entry about hospitality. I also realized something.

Going to someone’s home for a visit or meal can be refreshing! I stayed home from E & R’s house last Friday night because I was tired. I also had the opportunity to go to J & M’s house on the same day.

What if the Lord was providing a real opportunity for me to be refreshed?! I just never thought that way before.

Thanks!
Have a good day.
Love, Lorna

* Lorna gave me permission to use her name. Otherwise I will just use the person’s first initial.

My cooking means someone died?

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Me on the phone: “Hi Sweetie, I’m cooking up some tuna noodle casserole. I had forgotten how yummy that is especially with fresh mushrooms. I already made . . .”

Daughter talks over me: “Did someone die?!”

Me: (I continue with my monologue) “. . . lemon poppy seed muffins. I just need to slice the” (I stop mid-sentence.) “Did you just ask me if someone died?”

Daughter: “Yeeh-es! You only cook if someone dies or has a baby.*

Sad commentary of how my life is now. I used to be a stay-at-home wife and homeschool mom who liked to cook one time a month meals. We rarely ate fast food and I liked entertaining.

Now I hardly cook (as noted by my daughter) and as of September, I will live alone** with Chip.*** I’ve been thinking a lot about hospitality this week and what happened to me.

Besides having out-of-whack priorities, entertaining in my home reminds me of what I used to have. And sometimes it still hurts to remember what I lost. What the whole family lost. So I stopped living that part of me.

Doodah said (at 10:32 a.m.) she is the one who feels spoiled when she extends hospitality. I remember that feeling. (At least when I wasn’t trying to be a Martha by excelling in ALL the homemaking arts hours before the arrival of our guests.)

I believe that God wants me to live abundantly in all areas of my life. Hospitality and what it brings up is one such area. “Lord, help me to find a way to say ‘yes’ to You.”

* I wasn’t cooking because someone died or had a baby.**** I was cooking a meal for my son. He is the one I decided to be hospitable towards this week. More on this in a future post.

** My son is moving to the Bay area in September. Well, most likely, probably, ok, maybe. With my son, I’ll know when it actually happens.

*** Chip is my 13 year old apricot, miniature toy poodle. His former people called him Peaches. Don’t tell me “names can never hurt me.” Chip still has some issues regarding his birth name.

**** Some lovely people (R & M) in our church did have a baby boy, G. Congratualtions! He is premature, but will be home soon.