5 Reasons Why We Should Be Better at Hospitality

At a recent small group gathering that we call community group we discussed this scripture verse, “Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Interesting verse even if you don’t believe in angels which for the record I do.

As a group of suburban Americans we agreed that we do a poor job of showing hospitality to anyone much less to strangers. By hospitality I mean showing friends and strangers a warm, generous, friendly, generous reception into our homes.

Our tendency is to ask, maybe even demand, that guests schedule a time to come over to our house. Any spontaneous drop in gets met with a pause at the door and a look of “what are you doing here”.

What is it that makes it hard for us to be hospitable? Is it image management? Do we feel put out? Are we afraid of people we don’t know? Maybe we are just too busy.

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How Your Gifts and Talents Determine Your Purpose with Joe Sierra [Podcast 34]

We make a big deal out of finding our purpose in life. We want to have significance and do something great. But we can easily overlook what is right in front of us. God created all of us with talents, and He promises to give us gifts meant to accomplish His purpose.

In today’s podcast, I talk with Joe Sierra about how he learned about how God created him. What I have always admired about Joe is how he embraces his unique purpose. The cool thing is that in many ways Joe does this within the rhythm of his life.

Listen as Joe and I, two friends, sit on the back patio of my house and talk about how God will use us even within the things we enjoy.

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Identity, Purpose, and Belonging with Joe Elliott Founder of Catalyst Collective [Podcast 33]

Joe Elliott knew that he needed to do something different if he were to reach young adults. During a brain-storming session with several other youth pastors, many great ideas rose to the surface. But they all knew that if they began doing much of what they put down on paper, they all would get fired.

But Joe was in the right place at the right time to begin applying some of the ideas. Out of that the Catalyst Collective was born.

Joe is married, the father of three children, a dreamer, motivator, connector, and speaker. I look forward to you hearing from him.

Here is the interview on His Hands His Feet:

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Why Your Prayers Won’t Get Off the Ground

If you are a Christian who goes to church all the time, who not only loudly sings worship songs at church but also always has your radio or Pandora tune into worship channels, who loves to read books and commentaries to learn more about God, who strives to always follow God’s laws and to honor Him—this is for you.

I bet you are a person who always asks, “What is the right thing to do?”, and you want God on your side.

This is for you especially if you strive to live life like this, but you wonder with bewilderment why your prayers go unanswered, and if your prayers even get off the ground.

You wonder if God even notices you.

God gave Isaiah a word several thousand years ago and it is recorded in Isaiah 58 (one of my favorite chapters that I to define my walk with God).

As it says in Isaiah 58, here is why our prayers often don’t get off the ground:

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Warning: Your Possessions Own You

When Danielle and I returned from living in Thailand for six months, we swore to not let the American consumer culture pull us back into its vortex. Those six months in Thailand showed us that our possessions didn’t dictate our happiness level. I think we unknowingly went through a six month detox.

When we moved back to America, a window of opportunity existed. We easily could have sold everything we owned and moved back to Thailand. In fact we planned on that. But God had a different plan, and we remained in the U.S.

Ten years after living in Thailand an honest self analysis tells me that I have not been very successful at avoiding the consumeristic mindset.

Here are some results of my self analysis:

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The Only Way We Will Ever Embrace Our Diversity

Our culture overuses the word diversity. It is forced upon us in the workplace, in our conversations, and everywhere we do life. I bet you just focused on the wrong part of that statement. Diversity isn’t a bad thing. Having it forced upon  us will never work though.

External pressure on anything that requires a heart change will always fail. Oh it might work for a short while, but then we always drift back to our default way of thinking.

The problem is our hearts. We will never embrace people who are different from we are when we have hearts of stone. Left to our own, our hearts will always treat others selfishly. We will always gravitate to those who think and act like we do. We will always shun, or do worse, those different from we are. Even man-made religion divides people into monogamous groups where everyone looks the same, has a similar economic status, and even thinks the same.

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5 Sure Signs that You Have Forgotten Your Purpose

What happens to a tool or a piece of equipment when we no longer use it for its intended purpose?It begins to rust and decay. Or if we use the tool in a way contrary to its created purpose, we end up damaging it, sometimes beyond repair. However, when we keep using that tool or equipment the way the creator or manufacturer intended, it remains useful for many years.

Our lives have an intended purpose just like a manufactured tool. A Creator made us with a purpose in mind, and when we don’t fulfill that purpose, we too, just like a tool, become useless over time. Of course we don’t rust, but I guess decay is inevitable for us all. We can become damaged though if we don’t adhere to our original design and purpose. Here are 5 things that happen to me when I forget my purpose or mission:

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Life Transformational Bible Study: Interview with Carey Camp [Podcast 027]

Yes, if you caught the last name, Carey is my brother. Over the past few years, he shared several cool stories about a small group of guys that began meeting in his home about five years ago to study God’s word. That grew into three different groups meeting in different homes on different nights.

I asked Carey to share the stories with me on this podcast episode, because I think you will enjoy hearing how and why a group of four guys grew into over 30 without any publicity except word of mouth.

As I say at the beginning of the podcast, our voices sound similar, but I promise you, it is my brother on the interview with me!

In the episode you will hear the following:

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You Are Probably A Worthless Vessel Unless You’re Broken

That is a paradox when you first read it, but it’s true. If you need to carry water, then yes an unbroken vessel is best. But I am talking about you and me. The falsehood that we believe is that we need to be perfect and whole to be of any use to anyone or anything.

The real tragedy happens when we quit or feel unqualified only because we come face to face with our own brokenness. I can’t count the times I felt this over my lifetime.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I limped into the kitchen from my office to announce to my wife that I quit. I went on to bemoan how I wondered why I ever thought that I could be a writer and a podcaster. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say! I am too broken and messed up.

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Do You See Value in the Vulnerable and Broken?

You place value on someone when you consider them to be important and have worth. Intellectually you might place value on someone, but do your actions back that up?

Willing to explore this with me?

First of all, do you notice those who are vulnerable and broken? Do they have a name or are they just a group of people who need something.

I am going to get real with you for a few minutes if you will let me.

One reason we don’t bring the vulnerable and broken into our lives is that we don’t see the value in it. In other words, we don’t see how by doing so it will bring additional value to us. We are more concerned about how a relationship with them will put a drain on us. Well, there is a good chance it won’t add any value to your life.

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