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Archive for February, 2014

cw

As we think through the ministry of hospitality, let’s be sure that we don’t miss out on one of our greatest and most obvious opportunities: Corporate Worship. We recently received this warm note from a visiting family:

“Hey, Kevin. I just wanted to tell you and Gary that we had a great time at church today. Everyone made us feel right at home. We will certainly be back (as long as my job will allow). On another point, I will be praying very earnestly for you, your co-leaders, and the congregation. If you guys ever need anything, just ask and I will do the best I can to help. Our strength comes from The Lord; let us praise Him continually.”

This serves as a reminder of how meaningful our corporate expression of hospitality can be to others. Our Sunday service is a great place to greet one another, welcome visitors, pray together, etc.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Come prepared to serve
  • Sit in different places with different people
  • Help others with their children
  • Show visitors around the church
  • Make yourself available
  • Come early, leave later
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guestbook

Buy and use a guest book. It is a great joy to be able to look back over the years and remember all the people who have graced your home.

Source: Hospitality Commands (Alexander Strauch)

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matthew 11

Before you write me off as another kook claiming to have seen Jesus, let me explain:

Today started as any normal Sunday. I was planning to teach my Disciple Hour lesson on seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. However, God providentially changed my plans by sending a little snow. As a result we had to cancel our services. While those who braved the snow were in the process of departing, I was asked to join a young man and his fiancé in the stairwell of our church. With a lump in my throat,  I agreed to do so. This may sound like a very small request to some, but for me this was one of the hardest moments that I’ve had to face as a pastor.

Why?

This young man was Brock Schueren. Over 2 years ago, Brock entered that same stairwell looking for his dad/pastor, only to find him hanging from a rope. This was the first time that he has been back in this specific area of the church since that day. As we entered into the stairwell, I was trying to prepare my mind, trying to think of something I could possibly say, asking God to bring some word of comfort to mind…something, anything. However, the words were few, lots of silence and staring.

As we were standing there, we were reminded of the rope burn that marked the handrail.  Although the rope burn answers the question of “how”, it doesn’t answer the question of “why”. As we looked at this little mark on the rail we started to discuss how difficult the pressures of life and pastoral ministry can be, the heavy burdens that are caused by sin, and the reality that sin is certain to bring death. Ultimately, none of those things provide sufficient answers to all of the questions that are there. In that moment, I was reminded that I don’t have all the answers, I don’t understand and more than likely I never will.

However, this is what I do know….that rope burn on the handrail represents so much more than what we were able to spit out into words. In that rope burn, I see Jesus. For Jesus represents everything that the mark does not. He was the One who ultimately left marks on a piece of wood. He was the one that was hung upon the cross, who suffocated from the weight of our sins that was placed upon Him. The One who experienced death on our behalf. Furthermore, He is the one who gently invites us to bring our burdens to Him and He promises to give us rest for our souls in exchange (Matt. 11:28-30). Why? Because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). In Him, we find hope for the hopeless and rest for the weary. He is water for the thirsty, food for the hungry and strength for the weak! He is the image of our unfailing Father that never leaves His children, the friend that never forsakes….He is the love of God made known.

Brock, I pray that you will also come to see Jesus on that handrail. In doing so, may He bring healing to the wounds that are left behind from all that this rope burn represents in your life. He has sustained you and your family up until now and He will provide you with the necessary grace to sustain you until the end. As you have testified to in the past, God has prepared this path for you…cling to Him, live for Him and continue to display Him to others.

I am honored to serve as one of your pastors and to call you my friend.

In Christ,

Gary Chaffins

(I posted this with Brock’s permission)

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creative

“Be creative in your activities with your guests. Have a time of prayer together, read Scripture together, or sing together. After the meal, take a walk together. All of these activities will draw you and other people closer together.”

Source: “Hospitality Commands” by Alexander Strauch

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questions

“Be interested in people’s lives. Learn which key questions make your time with other people more meaningful. (Buy and read 201 Great Questions by Jerry D. Jones, NavPress.) Ask your guests how they met the Lord. If they are married, ask about their courtship and marriage. You will be amazed to find out how little we all know about each other!”

 

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