The 2013 DPC World Missions Conference
"Open your eyes, look at the fields!"
We are privileged to have Al & Elaine LaCour join us this year. Come and get to know these gifted servants of King Jesus. You need to be encouraged in the joy and fullness of what it means to bear the living and powerful name of Christ.
Saturday, February 9:
5:30-6:15pm - Dinner!
6:30-7:00pm - Look at the Fields:
"A Vision for your HOME: Making Room for the Lord"6:30-7:00pm - a missionary movie for children
7:00-7:30pm - Dessert & Discussion
Sunday, February 10:
8:30-9:15am - Breakfast!
9:30-10:30am - Hospitality Seminar
Practical Training on Becoming a More Welcoming Church10:45 - Worship
Sermon: Look at the Fields:
"A Vision for the WORLD: The Lord's Work in the World (Next Door)"
One of the themes that Al will be speaking about will be hospitality... something today's church needs to give much more thought than it presently does.
...let me encourage you to read through
this quotation-study in hospitality...
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.
A compassionate open home is part of Christian responsibility, and should be practiced up to the level of capacity.
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who 'have found the center of their lives in their own hearts'.
The maid told him that a girl and a child had come looking for him, but since she didn't know them, she hadn't cared to ask them in, and had told them to go on to Mers.
"Why didn't you let them in?" asked Germain angrily. "People must be very suspicious in this part of the world, if they won't open the front door to a neighbor."
"Well, naturally!" replied the maid. "In a house as rich as this, you have to keep a close watch on things. While the master's away I'm responsible for everything, and I can't just open the door to anyone at all."
"That's a mean way to live," said Germain; "I'd rather be poor than live in fear like that. Good-bye to you, miss, and good-bye to this horrible country of yours!”
There is no place in God’s world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it is a real home.
~Francis Schaeffer again~
That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?
~from the book To Kill a Mockingbird~
At first the word ‘hospitality’ might evoke the image of soft sweet kindness, tea parties, bland conversations and a general atmosphere of coziness. Probably this has its good reasons since in our culture the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for an authentic Christian spirituality. But still, if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality.
~Henri Nouwen again~
Although we often think of hospitality as a tame and pleasant practice, Christian hospitality has always had a subversive, countercultural dimension. ‘Hospitality is resistance,’ as one person from the Catholic Worker observed. Especially when the larger society disregards or dishonors certain persons, small acts of respect and welcome are potent far beyond themselves. They point to a different system of valuing and an alternate model of relationships...People view hospitality as quaint and tame partly because they do not understand the power of recognition. When a person who is not valued by society is received by a socially respected person or group as a human being with dignity and worth, small transformations occur...Many persons who are not valued by the larger community are essentially invisible to it. When people are socially invisible, their needs and concerns are not acknowledged and no one even notices the injustices they suffer. Hospitality can begin a journey toward visibility and respect.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism?...For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galilaeans (Christians) support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.
~Emperor Julian (AD 362), referring to early church Christians as atheists because they refused to worship the Emperor~
We will never believe that we have anything to give unless there is someone who is able to receive. Indeed, we discover our gifts in the eyes of the receiver.
~Henri Nouwen once more~
I believe that hospitality...means to give of yourself...(in) other types of services you can give of your talents or...skills or...resources...The tasks aren’t what hospitality is about, hospitality is giving of yourself.; If hospitality involves sharing your life and sharing in the lives of others, guests/strangers are not first defined by their need. Lives and resources are much more complexly intertwined, and roles are much less predictable.
~Christine Pohl again~
Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines...The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free...Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life style of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.
~more context to the earlier Henri Nouwen quote~
But in what does the nature of justice consist than in our affording to strangers through kindness, that which we render to our own relatives through affection.
In the church, the household of God, hospitality is a fitting, requisite, and meaning- filled practice. Hospitality is important symbolically in its reflection and reenactment of God’s hospitality and important practically in meeting human needs and in forging human relations. Though part of everyday life, hospitality is never far removed from its divine connections.
~Christine Pohl once more~
When Christians understand their life on earth as residing in a foreign land, where they are ‘strangers and sojourners,’ they can more readily recognize how uncertain their stay is. If Christians live ‘in a strange land as though in (their) home country,’ they build ‘extravagant mansions,’ and indulge in ‘countless other luxuries,’ wasting their substance on ‘inanities.’ Because, when forced to leave the land of their sojourn they will be unable to take their possessions and buildings with them, Christians should instead use their wealth to benefit those in need.
~from John Chrysostom (347-407AD)~
The will to give ourselves to others and ‘welcome’ them, to readjust our identities to make space for them, is prior to any judgment about others, except that of identifying them in their humanity.
It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
Our hospitality both reflects and participates in God’s hospitality. It depends on a disposition of love because, fundamentally, hospitality is simply love in action. It has much more to do with the resources of a generous heart than with sufficiency of food or space. Chrysostom described this generosity of love well: ‘If you have a hospitable disposition, you own the entire treasure chest of hospitality, even if you possess only a single coin. But if you are a hater of humanity and a hater of strangers, even if you are vested with every material possession, the house for you is cramped by the presence of guests.’
~Christine Pohl yet again~