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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hospitality and preparing for the influx



This is a post about hospitality and someone who seems to impart its spirit. She is ofcourse not unique , and I could also chase after other individuals I know of to write something. But Sheila Atchley has already done so, and I asked her if I could repost it here.


But first I want to say why it's important.
No, let me rework that.


In the coming days as God fulfils His promise of a Huge influx into the Kingdom worldwide, can I suggest this could be one of the most important posts you will ever read.

What Influx?
Perhaps it's the Vitamin D caused by today's walk along Hayling seafront under a clear blue sky with my family. Perhaps it's June Melanson quoting me from a blog or Facebook note. Perhaps it's that half the Facebook family are gathering together in Atlanta tomorrow and it's Joel Brueseke's birthday today.

But I'm hearing rain, on my insides.

I'm seeing thousands upon thousands of hungry people, make that millions. Smashed apart by things in their lives.Prepared to listen.Prepared for any truth that God may want to reveal, without filtering it out with their minds as too absurd, as may have happened earlier in their lives. A people prepared to let God be God.

A people that have been prepared by life and world events for a gospel that actually makes sense on all levels. Not one that only fits heaven. Not one that only fits meetings.

One that makes a lot more sense of the whole Bible, without bits cut out like home-made paper doyleys. One that makes a lot more sense than evangelists on God TV, than flaky or unbelieving pastors in denominational churches.

A gospel that is really like Isaiah 55....Come and drink....without price.

Without DVDS. Without huge offerings unless you have an inner drive to do it.

A people learning that actually the gospel is for them. Without exclusion. It may be strange. It may not be what the natural mind would have expected...like for instance a King born in a stable. But it REALLY works. For more and more and more people. Who now gather in groups that actually work, because all the spiritual tools are actually now in place to make what never worked before work.

This influx we have prophesied for decades. Not of our own will. Our own wishful thinking. But only as we got caught up with God in His throneroom. Repeatedly, this message would be given by many many different people. And precisely because it would take a while to manifest. And many in the interim would just laugh and scoff and mock.

The sort of gatherings we were seeing were large and small. Were adhoc. At short notice. In places that did not exist but now exist. We now have large large stadiums in England. We now have large shopping malls (UK word- arcades).

In the New Testament Alan Vincent shared thirty-five years ago, that the first time the disciples tried to drag in a multitude of fish, the nets broke....it was too much. The next time was AFTER Jesus had trained the apostles, bringing them forth by His Word, and this time there were enough workers pooled from all over the place....which is prophetic of the spiritual structures and hubs that God has been establishing over decades.

So in this context , this is the subject of this post: HOSPITALITY

If you haven't got hospitality right, which is also specifically mentioned again and again in the New testament letters....

If you haven't got a concept of unconditional love....which only comes out of you receiving unconditional love yourself from One whose being knows no other way to be....


You can forget any sense of church.
You can forget any sense of growth.
You can forget any sense of evangelism

of planting new churches

opening new areas with the gospel

Because AS FAST AS PEOPLE COME IN THE FRONT DOOR

They disappear out the back in a cloud of dust!


Let's look at the first church.

The church is a living breathing Being in many persons.
She worships. In those days in the Temple precincts and gathering
together privately.
But she lives works and eats together round each others houses.


The unconditional love requirement is because as people come into the Kingdom into a place of RAW light, manifest in the other believers, unKingdom ways will start to show themselves.


Just as an alcoholic will nearly always DENY his or her condition, saints may do the same. Some of them may come in more broken and open.


So hospitality has two depths to it. It is the power to accept at face value any person regardless of where they are now at, and regardless of their own personal desire to ever change.


And then at a deeper level, to SPEAK the Word over a person...to speak the truth about what Christ accomplished for that believer at the Cross. And to keep speaking that Word while it is taking time to graft into a person's insides. With unconditional love. With Christ being your patience.


Since the majority of the church world :

Do not know that they live nolonger, but Christ only lives in them as them through their personlality and body,

what you get now instead of hospitality is



Law-giving
You will do this or that

Then I shall love you

then you shall be considered my friend

then you shall be considered a part of my Church

Until then


I will extend a measure of hospitality to you in my home and Church

BUT YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF.



This ofcourse is totally secular behaviour

Involves no faith whatsoever

No forebearance

No speaking the Word of Truth over a person - which people haven't a clue about anyway


in short pretty soon......nearly everyone has left, apart from the dutiful middle class, who think themselves good enough anyway, - everyone else is out the back door already.

The Missing Element- by Sheila Atchley



Ever wonder what some homes are missing?



I've spent hours in others homes, large and small, rich and poor. One of the loveliest afternoons I spent was with a friend, many years ago, who had five children, two bedrooms, and no kitchen cabinets, only rough-hewn shelving. She made me potato soup, and I drank ice water, and we thoroughly enjoyed one anothers company, and her home was clean and spare and happy.



Another home lingers sweetly in my memory - that of a doctor friend who lives south of Tennessee. This home is large with every imaginable amenity...but manages not to condescend. I am sure the unpretentious, relaxed atmosphere is due to a mix of philosophy and design.



Philosophy, in that the lifestyle portrayed by the home and in the home was real.




The sewing nook on the stair landing was obviously in use. The library was well loved and even more well read. The wood fired pizza oven, above the stone fireplace, had seen many meals.



Design, in that the elements of the house were collected over time. This family had endured seasons of lack and times of plenty, and all of this living was well represented throughout the home itself. No attempt was made to erase the years when needing to sew and grow a garden and utilize second hand furniture was necessary to make ends meet.



Necessity is always the mother of invention. Don't erase signs of necessity! Some of the most beautiful design elements in use today, are simply a result of a previous generation's frugal economy. This doctor's home, south of here, was not ashamed of a worn chair here or there.



I've been in small and large homes, where I get the distinct impression I am being either deceived or condescended to. Few situations are sadder or more unnecessary than a new McMansion, either partially empty, or stocked with items mostly purchased within the last five years, and meant to portray a certain look, or worse, a faux lifestyle. These homes are empty of soul. Or, what of the small home of modest means filled with expensive gadgets and rent-a-room furniture? Same empty result: a home with no soul. No seasons of life.




The missing element? Grace.



More than a doctrine to be confined within church walls, grace is a designer's or architect's or artist's dream. A home is meant to be a grace-note...a place where things worn and flawed and people worn and flawed are nevertheless loved. Anything or anyone we truly love is made beautiful in our eyes, and others usually agree. A home is meant to be a place where, yes, beauty is celebrated, but never at the expense of honesty and faithfulness to our individual callings and stories. Never at the expense of true hospitality.



True hospitality is simply a sharing of who I actually am, with those God brings into my life. I have to live the life first....only then can I share it authentically, and for a lifetime.


May my home, and yours, be an actual haven. Places of manifold graces.

taken from Sheila's excellent blog here





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