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Hospitality Tips

“Every Christian, regardless of gift or training, is called upon to encourage his brothers and sisters. Whatever the direction in which our particular congregation is moving, church life will include spending time in the presence of other Christians. And when we meet together as God’s people, we are to encourage one another, to say and do things that stimulate others to a deeper appreciation of Christ and to stronger commitment to our relationship with Him and with each other.”~Lawrence J. Crabb

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” -1 Peter 4:9

1. Set a budget for hospitality

It is so much easier to serve a nice meal to guests when you have it budgeted in, instead of skimping it in with your food budget. I found that I could be more generous and serve my best when I set a monthly amount set aside for hospitality. Now I include in hospitality: bringing a meal to someone in need and church shared meals, due to the fact that I am making over and above the amount that would just feed my family.

2. Have one meal items on hand for last minute guests

This tip I gleaned from Rachael Crabb’s book, The Personal Touch. (This book appears to be out of print, but is available used) She recommends having a simple meal always on hand for those last minute or impromptu occasions. I usually stash a pack of chocolate chips in the cupboard so I could quickly make a batch of homemade cookies. I also like to keep pizza toppings on hand.

I make a batch of four pizza crusts at a time and freeze them in addition to a big batch of spaghetti sauce that I freeze in small zip block bags. I can easily pull one or two out as needed. You could also use store bought crusts and have a can of spaghetti sauce on hand and be creative with the toppings. Aaron loves pizza, so his favorite toppings include cheese, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, olives, etc. I will post my recipe in an upcoming post. You could also just have a frozen meal stashed away in the freezer.

3. Pray before they come!

Relax yourself by asking the Lord to bless your fellowship, that your guests might be refreshed and encouraged and that everything would flow smoothly.

4. Prepare good questions

I always love to hear how a couple met and especially how they came to know the Lord (if they are believers).

Other good questions could include:
- Where is the Lord leading your family?
- What is your favorite book of the Bible?
-What has the Lord been teaching you over this past year?

For unbelievers, ice-breaker questions work well:
-Tell us about your family, where you grew up, etc.
-What brought you to live in this area?
-What has been the most important experience in your life?
-Who has been the most important person in your life and why?

5. Pray for your guests before they depart

Aaron and I have tried to start the habit of blessing our guests by praying for them before they leave our home. We ask them of any prayer needs they may have or just pray a blessing over their family. We have found this to be a sweet way to wrap up our time together.

6. Have a back up plan

“Another way to keep from worrying is to imagine the worst thing that could happen and decide in advance how you will deal with it. For example: If the dessert does not turn out, I will serve ice cream. If the roast is not done when I cut it, I’ll cook it in the microwave for a few extra minutes. If no one shows up, we will enjoy a nice family dinner.” ~Rachael Crabb

Picture by Norman Rockwell

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Growing in Christ Together: Fellowship & Hospitality

To read point 1 of this series, click here.

Acts 2:41-46
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…[they] had all things in common…sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by dad continuing with one mind in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”

2. Fellowship

The church was devoted to corporate fellowship with fellow believers in worship and communion with one another. Attending church was a priority for them. Together the church is for the purpose of the edification of the body – we are to challenge and encourage one another in the Lord. If we are not continuing to fellowship with other believers we are more susceptible to straying from the truth and sound doctrine. We must not separate ourselves from believers!

-Ask Good Questions
How often do I ask, “how are you really doing?” I need to get beyond the “hello” and “how are you’s” to asking good questions: what is God doing in your life? How can I pray for you? This is not only a blessing to them but also to me! Ten Questions for the New Year is a list of wonderful questions that I have found very effective at any time.

Am I making a regular habit of welcoming fellow believers into my home? It seems like fellowship at church can be somewhat limiting at times, so having people into my home can serve to lead in much more lengthy and beneficial conversations. Hospitality is such a blessing and gift to others. Enjoying a warm meal together is not that common anymore in our day and age. In the last 25 years, having friends over to your home is down 45 percent (according to Harvard professor Robert Putnam). Let’s change the tide and seek to bless others! It doesn’t have to be complicated. The fact that you extended an invitation is a blessing enough. Don’t limit yourself because you might not have the gift, or be able to creative amazing meals, or have a perfectly clean home. God will bless your efforts if you seek to be used of Him to minister from your home.

The key:

“Focus on people, not preparations. In the Lord’s hands, a few loaves and fishes go a long way.”

“The empasis in our practice of hospitality should be on how we give of ourselves to minister to others -not on how we perform to entertain others. The Bible commands us to carry out this ministry; it does not set up requirements for housing or meals. We do not need a large, beautifully decorated, immaculately tidy house in order to invite others into our home. ‘Breaking bread’ with others does not require serving filet mignon or lobster tails. the issue is not spending money, but spending time – not giving things, but giving ourselves.” ~ Rachael Crabb

Attending church regularly, having hospitality in your home, seeking to lead in profitable and edifying conversations…these are tools to edify the saints and to guard against straying from the truth.

A few excellent resources on Hospitality include:

The Personal Touch: Encouraging Other through Hospitality by Rachael Crabb (quotes above are from this book)

Face to Face: Mediations on Friendship and Hospitality by Steve Wilkins

Here is an excellent sermon by Marc Driscoll from Mars Hill Church on the topic of hospitality:

Holy Hospitality sermon

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Making Your Home An Embassy

Is your home an Embassy for the Kingdom of God?

This last Sunday, the sermon was focused on the importance of our role as Ambassadors for the Kingdom. We each have a part to play in making our homes places where the truth can spread to others as we welcome the lost into our homes. Is my Embassy radiating a love for the Lord? I was struck by the importance of having each room flooding with Scripture so others would know what is truly important to us. I was encouraged to do the following:

1. Post Scripture where I dwell the most - such as above the kitchen sink and changing table – to meditate upon as I complete these tasks. Not only will my heart be strengthened in the truth, it is also there for all to see. I am going to read these passages aloud and begin memorizing these truths. I pray that through this my children will also begin to learn the truth.

2. Post prayer needs on a bulletin board in a prominate place. As we have our family devotions presently in our bedroom, I am going to post a bulletin board with all the missionary photos we have, in addition to any new prayer updates and letters, so they are right there in front of us during our morning prayer time. I am also thinking of posting a map of the world. This will be used more in the future to train up our children to have a love for the nations as we dwell on praying for them each day.

I also receive a monthly prayer point flyer with needs in the Persecuted Church. Since posting that above my kitchen sink, it has facilitated me to pray more purposefully and faithfully for those Christians who are suffering around the world.

These are some of my ideas for making my home a place where the truth is constantly before our eyes, so that we might treasure it in our hearts and the world might know Who it is all about.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
~Ps. 119:11

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