hospitality

LET YOUR HOSPITALITY HELP GROW YOUR EVANGELISM

 

This 84 second video will help and encourage your gospel outreach.

Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor at the Village Church in Texas, makes a strong connection between practicing hospitality and sharing Christ.

84 seconds doesn’t give him time to dig into the implications, but with only 84 seconds watching the video, you will have plenty of time to contemplate those for yourself.

Here are a few quick ones that came to my mind:

(1)  Expressions of love and care will impact people and open their hearts to us.

(2)  These actions will also draw them to want to know more about our world – a world in which Christ is the epicenter!

(3)  Hospitality is wonderfully expressed in our homes, but we can also make it a mindset throughout the day.

These should be encouraging thoughts for every believer who wants to reach people; work on your hospitality to impact those around you who are without Christ.

SOMEONE I WILL DEEPLY MISS

Sunday, August 27, 1978 was orientation weekend for freshman at Taylor University and I fulfilled that category. We were assigned to visit the home of a staff member that day and I was in the group who showed up at the home of the Dean of Students, Tom Beers and his wife Helen.

I remember talking with Mr. Beers and trying to sound both mature and likable. It also caught my attention that they had a lot of pretty daughters (Julie, Laurie, Suzi and Cathy). Later I would discover they had two sons, Steve & Jim who were decidedly not pretty. 

What I could not imagine as I munched on cake, was how often I would be in that home, and that the Beers family would become among the dearest people in the world to me. 

Of the six Beers children, five were so close in age that all but Jim attended Taylor University at some point during my four years there. Steve was a freshman with me and it was our friendship that first brought me back through the front door. 

The Beers family is gifted with the spirit of hospitality and friendship, which I discovered on Easter Sunday when Steve invited me after church to their house for dinner. I was reluctant not thinking his parents knew about it. Steve insisted I was invited. That “invitation” consisted of Steve shouting “Kyle’s here for dinner” as we walked through the front door. I was mortified. What would his parents think? It turned out they thought another plate should be added to the already overflowing tables. 

During those 4 years I spent many Sunday nights having dinner in their kitchen. Slowly walking by their big picture window after church helped spur a couple of those invitations. Thanksgiving became a beloved holiday for me after spending a few of them on McCabe Ave. To this day the Beers have influenced the hospitality of my home.

But their love was not limited to a few close friends. With the Taylor campus only a few blocks away, the Beers house was a haven for many of us far from home. I can remember coming in late at night with Steve and having to step over sleeping bodies because all the beds and couches were full.

By the end of my freshman year all the Beers kids were good friends and Tom and Helen became my parents away from home. Helen always greeted me with a big smile, a warm hug and a listening ear. Tom provided counsel, the occasional Greek vocabulary lesson and even correction when it was needed. 

After graduation, all my vacations until I married Debbie consisted of a week at the Beers home in Upland, IN. Over the past 30+ years I have frequently made my way back to that home so saturated with love and hospitality, you can feel it walking by.

In early 2012, Helen was diagnosed with liver cancer. My trips have been more frequent since then and each visit has been a time of joy – not just in the embrace of friendship, but also in the implicit trust the entire Beers family has demonstrated toward the goodness of God. It turns out their example of trust in God has been as powerful as their example of love for people.

This week, Helen left the dust of earth to breathe the air of heaven. It is hard to think about the space in our lives that she no longer fills. The thought of her delight in Jesus’ presence, and that I am also on my way, are tightly held comforts.

The last time I saw Helen, we both knew it was our final goodbye in this world. As we hugged I struggled to choke back my tears. Then as I stepped back and saw her shining smile, I could only smile back in return. Her peace and even more – her joyous love in that moment was a balm to my hurting heart.

Today I will return to Upland to mourn with beloved friends and participate in a gathering that I wish was not taking place. Yet I also go with HOPE that is wondrous and secure!

To Helen, Tom and every member of this special family whom I love, thank you for homes and hearts which have always had room for more.

Helen and Tom in July at a gathering of the entire Beers clan