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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How You Can Get the Attention of God

This is a promise or maybe a revelation of who God is, and what He notices. If you believe that God exists, I bet you want not only His attention, but His reply, His favor, His providence and protection.

We try all kinds of things to get God’s attention. We follow a list of religious rules and rituals. We study. We attend services. We tithe. We pray. We even make sacrifices like fasting.

But, what really commands the attention of God?

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27 Quotes Worth Repeating from Verge14

Verge14 is this years version of the missional conference that began in Austin, TX in 2010. My wife and I attended that first conference, and God dramatically altered the course we were on. You can read about that in my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart.

Over the past few years, speakers from these conferences, books I have read written by many of them, videos I have watched, forums that I have participated—all have challenged and shaped me to live a life sent.

Even though I didn’t attend this years conference, I picked up several nuggets by watching some of the conference via live feed and dropping in on one lunchtime session about the Orphan Care Network.

Here are several quotes I picked up on Twitter that I think are worth repeating from the conference followed by a few summary comments of mine.

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If You Wait Until You Are Perfect

To live life with your neighbors, then you will never leave your house. I am amazed by how many Christians tell me they don’t know their neighbors. A lot of these Christians are pastors and leaders in the church.

Say What?

I admit there was a time in my life I was the same way. I cocooned with the best of them. Turn onto my street, hit the garage door opener, pull into the garage, and have the door on it’s way down before getting out of my car.

I had the “friendly neighbor nod” down to an art. That tells them that I am nice and they can trust me to not complain about them to the neighborhood association.

Several years ago I decided that needed to change.

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Why My Decision to Adopt Had Little To Do with Infertility

When we decided to look into adopting through foster care in 2010, we had been married for 22 years. I was 49, and we had no children of our own.

 

Fall 2009

Fall 2009

 

In our 30s we made some efforts to get pregnant through infertility treatments, but to no avail.

During those years two different friends approached us about adopting a newborn. We turned them down. It was not that we were not interested. We wanted to keep trying to get pregnant. But the years continued to pass without any success.

Playing at the beach in Thailand with children from the Mercy Center Children's Shelter

Playing at the beach in Thailand with children from the Mercy Center Children’s Shelter

The last time I gave adoption any serious thought was in 2007 when we lived in Thailand. We looked into adopting a Thai child from a local orphanage. That didn’t get very far.

When I did think about adoption, it usually was a baby or toddler that came to mind.

But, by 2010, almost 50 years old, with plans to go back overseas as missionaries, I definitely wasn’t thinking adopting here in the U.S. I was moving on with my life taking advantage of the freedom I had without children.

Then God grabbed my attention. Danielle’s too. I don’t think she had moved on from the idea of having a family through adoption like I had.

Before I go on, I want to state that I think it is perfectly fine for a couple to build their family through adoption solely based on the motivation of wanting children of their own.

However that had little to do with what God was doing in me.

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Am I Safe with God?

KLBeach2012

by Danielle Camp

I recently spoke with a friend who is planting a church in the Midwest. In the conversation, I asked him to describe his personality. One way he described himself was, “guarded until I feel safe in the relationship.” He then observed – “If I am truly safe with God, then why am I guarded in my other relationships?”

I thought out loud how that was such a true and profound question. I realized that I often responded to relationships in the same way. I began to wonder how common that is with other people.

What does it mean to feel safe with God? I know that for most people, their perception of God is all over the map. That is if they even believe He exists.

It is hard to grasp that any of us can have a relationship with any being, mortal or deity, in which we are completely safe. A relationship in which we are ourselves completely unhinged, good and bad.

Can we relate to God like this? I believe so. At least intellectually I do. The challenge is believing it in a practical way that translates into how I relate to others.

We all know people who seem to live life unguarded. Usually it is because they do not care what others think about them. But I do care. Yet, do I care so much to the point that I reserve my real self for only myself and maybe a choice few? If so, what are others missing out on?

This conversation with my friend is challenging me to press into my relationship with God so that I feel completely safe with Him. I believe this kind of relationship with my heavenly Father will allow me to relate to others with my whole being, not just a guarded part of it.

Why should this matter to me?

  1. It matters because I want others to know Him. What a concept. Others knowing Him because they know me.
  2. It matters because I can live freely and with joy knowing that I have a strong foundation in my relationship with God. I have lived life too long with regrets, in fear of what others think, and with hesitation.
  3. It matters because I can live a sacrificial life, giving away instead of holding back. I am thankful for God who held nothing back. He gave away His life instead of holding onto His position. If He had not done this, none of us would know Him.

Question for you: How are you guarded in your relationships? Do you feel safe with God?