Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Be a Friend

We have been talking about a guest being a gift from God. However, sometimes we don’t know how to start a conversation with a guest that is different from us by nationality or economic circumstances. We all like our little comfort zones and it is so much simpler to just go and sit with our best friends than to sit with a stranger.
Here are a few conversations starters that will help to get the conversation going. The first one is quite simple, “Did you grow up around here?” Whether the answer is, yes or no, it leaves an opening for you to ask about the place where they did grow up and about favorite childhood memories. Another question is, “How was your day?” Listen to them and then share about your day. A third might be, “Did you attend church as a child?”
I know many people shy away from speaking to the homeless that God has put here among us. We are beginning to make a difference in some of their lives; Megan got a job a week ago and is so excited. We cannot expect them to just get out of their dire circumstances without a little help.
Talk to them. Ask them how their day was. Share with them your own life stories. Become their friend. Over time, you'll get to know them for who they are, and get to know their real needs. And it would be on those needs that you could focus your care for them. Just know that being a real friend fulfills their biggest needs: the need to be known, the need to belong, and the need to be accepted. With these needs fulfilled, along with your care and encouragement, our homeless friends might find the motivation to take the journey out of homelessness. Winter is coming, let us do it now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Guest is a Gift from God

The Title comes from a traditional old Hebrew story but it is so true about our church today. I want you to consider that every person God has walk through our doors is sent by Him. His prevenient grace has been working in them and He has led them to our church, not someone else’s church, but our church.

He calls us to treat them with great hospitality and friendliness. The Holy Spirit has been working in them and has gotten them to the point where they are finally willing to take a chance and walk into our church, we, as His people, need to welcome them with love and open arms. God is entrusting us with their care, nurture, and discipling.
The Bible tells us that Jesus came to save all people, not just the ones that look like us and are like us. He wants all His children to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Sometimes we shy away from those who look different from us; they may be a different color or nationality or are poor or even homeless. God is especially fond of each and every one of them. He desires that every one of them have a relationship with Him. He has brought them here, to Arlington, so we can teach them how.
As we go forward let us remember how much He loves each and every one of them and do our part to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and eternal life. This is “Kingdom Building” work, God’s work, done here on earth.