Sunday, August 23, 2009

personal space invaders

In this three-week My Network series, we’ve been looking at how to invite, include and bring people to Jesus. As Andrew said to his friend Nathaniel regarding this apparently new legit messiah he met, “Come and see.”

I mentioned this weekend that there’s a continuum implied in this series. There’s no sense in giving people techniques, methods or tools if they haven’t experienced “square one”: a true, experiential connection with God through Jesus.

Then this weekend was all about hospitality. I quoted Dr. Christine Pohl, author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, from an interview years ago in Cutting Edge magazine: “Hospitality in Greek is ‘love of strangers.’ Welcoming strangers had great significance for the early church. Hospitality meant welcoming outsiders into personal space, mostly a home, and offering them food, shelter, and protection. …It had a strong component of recognition and respect—which was most characteristically expressed through shared meals. They understood that who you eat with says a lot about who you…value.”

Hospitality, particularly around the table, is simply a reflection of what God has done for us. We were once “strangers”, but God invited us to His table. It’s interesting that with the first covenant, in the Holy Place in the tabernacle, there was a table for bread to be placed upon it. Only the priests could enter that room. The table was located near the veil that separated that area from the Holy of Holies, where God’s very presence dwelled, where only the High Priest could enter...and only once a year.

But it began with a table.

And isn’t it interesting that Jesus initiated the new covenant with all of humanity over a table, with a meal served…what Christians call The Last Supper, the Passover meal? That we, who were strangers to God, were invited to the table, to share in the body and blood of Jesus. Think about it: this New Covenant was initiated at a dinner with God in the flesh. When you see Jesus as truly God, the power of that moment is overwhelming. That’s part of the reason why communion is such a powerful reminder of being invited to the table by God Himself—and an invitation to enter His presence.

But next week is about what my friend Evan Griffin calls friendship with a vision. That’s when you dream for the people you know to become all that God wants them to be, to envision them enveloped in God’s love, His mercy and grace, forgiven and clothed in power. That’s when you see what they could be in the Kingdom. That’s when you call them out of darkness and into His marvelous light. That’s when you know what they could be in Jesus, when you see them the way Jesus sees them.

Someone was satisfied. Someone invited you to the table. And someone had high hopes for your transformation…and helped you cross the line of faith.

Pass it on, friends.


  1. Thanks Pastor Dave for sharing on hospitality. This practice takes some ruthless trust. Our family took in one of our daughters classmates at mid-term of her senior year. She stayed with us for six months past the time my daughter left home after graduation. We helped her enroll in Bible school and helped her pay tuition. She dropped out of Bible school and quickly disappeared from our lives. Don't know where she is today, but we still pray that our hospitality helped grow God's purpose in her. We can only let God's grace spill out on others along our path and trust Him with the outcomes. But, if we are spiritually alert we find that there is a seed of God in everyone that can only grow when watered by His grace. Ruthless trust means, we water - He grows.

  2. Thanks, Dave for some great insights this weekend.

    Psalm 23:5
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

  3. LOVED the sermon on hospitality, Pastor Dave! I definitely believe that we should show our love by being hospitable, even though I also know that each person may see this in their own way. To one, it may be sharing a meal or a cup of tea; to another, it may be inviting a neighbor over to watch the big game. And to yet another, it would be taking the risk of opening our home to strangers in need.
    I do have a question, though. We have been attending since Easter, and even went to a "Roadmap" a couple of months ago. My husband took your statement last week about "it's not for you" to mean that regular attendees should not drink the coffee. I didn't get that feeling....I just "heard" that we are not the main focus. Sort of like when the Bible says we are to give to those who cannot give back....I don't take that to mean that we shouldn't give to someone who we know will repay us. It just means that repayment should not be our criteria for whether to lend to someone or not. PLEASE let us know if the coffee is off limits to regulars. THANKS!!