The Seed of Hope

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Inviting Him in...

Inviting Him in…

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s common courtesy to welcome an invited guest into our homes when they arrive for dinner, or maybe a party? I mean, after all, we invited them, right? It all began with an invitation to join us.

I wonder how many of us do the same thing with God. We invite Him into our lives, and into our hearts, and we long to feel His presence in us. How about our homes? Do we invite Him in?

Danna’s text.

A couple of weeks ago I received a text message from Danna, a good friend and awesome Christian that just so happens to be a member of Church of The Highlands here in Birmingham, which also just happens to be the same church that my wife Jackie and I attend!

Danna’s text read:

Hi! I have a problem!!! It’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless! I’ve had to get the church to take my summer group off of the list because it’s wayyyy past full! ….I have 18 participants and only a 2 br condo in the Narrows! I’m having serious space constraints! Any chance you or anyone you know in the area would be willing to open your home to us for the first two sessions until we can get a feel for how many will actually come????

My first reaction to Danna’s text was to pretend that I’d never gotten it!

You see, for the previous ten months Jackie and I had been home sponsors to a ministry student from North Carolina, and I had served as the co-leader of the Hospitality Team at one of our satellite church campuses. I had recently given up my position at the church a couple of weeks earlier, and our ministry student had moved back to North Carolina just two days before I received Danna’s text message! Jackie and I were ready to be empty-nesters for a few months, and I was ready to have a Sunday with no “commitments”.

Then I get this text message from Danna! I told her that we’d pray on it, and at the same time search for someone that could host her small group for six weeks. Truth be told, Jackie and I had already made the decision not to host our own small group because of the time, preparation, and commitment that accompanied it.

True to my word, Jackie and I prayed for clarity. Strangely enough, I don’t know that we actually talked about what we should do. We’ve been married for over twenty-one years, and we’re so closely linked that at times one of knows what the other is thinking!

The time for a decision was drawing near (the first meeting was two days away). Jackie and I were in the bathroom getting ready for work, and it was one of those moments when I was gonna ask her a question, and she knew what it was gonna be and had the answer ready before the last word passed over my lips….

“So, are we gonna tell Danna that….”

“Of course we’re gonna have it here. But make it clear that it’s just for this one time.”

“Awesome!” I replied.

I sent a text to Danna and informed her of our decision to open our home “to a bunch of God-seeking Christians….” And I emphasized that the offer was just for one week. We didn’t want any more commitments.

In Prayer…

Everyone was invited to show up at our home at 5:30 on Saturday evening. The plan was to have thirty minutes of introductions and fellowship, which would be followed by dinner. Brian, another member of our group, would lead us in worship (song), and then we were going to watch a 10 minute video on discipleship. This would be followed by a group discussion on the topic. We’d close the evening out in prayer.

Danna arrived around 4:30 with the food. We spent a few minutes setting things up, and then the three of us (Jackie, Danna, and me) sat down at the kitchen table to offer prayers for the needs of our group, and to ask God to help us as leaders.

I remember inviting God into our home, asking that His presence fill every square inch of it…to make it a sanctuary for those seeking Him, for those in need of Him. I asked Him to make our home worthy of Him…

Our guests began arriving at the appointed time…

Let me just get to the point here.

It was an amazing evening. It was a powerful evening. God showed up! I could feel His presence. I could sense the Holy Spirit touching lives, opening eyes and ears, and softening hearts. There was an anointing in our home; the presence of God was so strong that it was palpable.

I was so humbled and grateful that God had come into our home to touch the lives of those seeking Him. And I sat there, tears welling up in my hearts as a lump formed in my throat, thinking about the path that God had lead me down, and all the changes that had taken place in my life, that allowed me to even consider our home to be worthy of His presence.

Why hadn’t I invited Him in sooner?

Fear.

Foolish fear. Unfounded fear.

Every day I invite God into my life, into my heart, and into my mind. Why wouldn’t I invite Him into our home? Did I really think that He might see something that He didn’t already know was there? Or that inviting Him into our home would be an invasion of our privacy? If I invited Him in would I have to be more accountable for my every thought, word, and deed while I was at home?

It’s my belief that you already know the answer to those questions. Besides, why would He need an invitation anyway? Isn’t He everywhere?

Yes, He’s everywhere. He is our Omni-Present God. There’s no place that He’s not!

Let me ask you something…

Have you found yourself in the position of being an uninvited guest? Perhaps you tagged along with a friend to a party that you weren’t invited to attend. Or been in a group where you felt like the proverbial “fifth wheel”? Or hung out with some people where you just really didn’t fit in? You can relate to at least one of these, can’t you? In each of those situations, you just wanted to feel welcomed, right?

Maybe, just maybe, God is waiting for you to invite Him in. Perhaps he doesn’t want to feel like the unwelcomed guest.

Every heart is worthy of His presence. So is every mind. And so is every home.

Invite Him in. I promise you that He’ll show up!

See you next week.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.

As you may or may not know, every day I ask God to allow me to be a light that shines for Him. Every day.

I’ve come to realize that a shining light is wasted if there’s no one there to see it. Before the end of that very first night, Jackie and I made the decision to open up our home to our small group for the remaining five weeks. And of course, we invited God to come too. J

Comments

Susie McCullum wrote on 06/21/10 8:55 PM

I love how the Lord works. We make our plans, and the Lord laughs. He's funny sometime....but Oh how He loves us!!
stephen Popadich wrote on 06/22/10 6:20 AM

It is always wonderful to hear that God is constantly moving you into new uncharted waters. I read in a recent blog about how we are always looking for opportunities for God's presents, yet we are not doing the preparation before hand to make his presence tangible. Sam and Jackie, you are surely doing the preparation to make God's presence tangible for yourselves and for those who come into your home. Thanks for the post Sam. Miss you guys Love ya both
Linda wrote on 06/22/10 7:14 AM

Wonderful food for thought! I'm continuing to learn so much about Him, and me! I like that :)
Stanley wrote on 06/22/10 5:06 PM

I loved this Sam. Occasionally, I want to take a "breather" from some of the commitments I have but, inevitably, I will be reminded somehow or some way that it is His breath that sustains me and I most surely will die spiritually without it.
Donna wrote on 06/23/10 7:34 AM

Hospitality is one of the gifts God allows us to share, and He usually blesses the hosts as much as or more than the guests! I'm glad your unselfish decision enabled you and Jackie to be even more blessed by God's presence.
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