So I'm trying something new this morning. I realized you know, I'm a few years older than I was when I searched the first started preaching so I decided to increase my font from 12 to like 15 16 so I can fit better.
So we're going to talk about Hospitality this morning. Let us pray. Almighty God. We ask your Holy Spirit to enter our hearts this morning our minds as we hear your word as we reflect on this book of Genesis. God I may you be with us in Jesus name. Amen.
So I want you to think about Hospitality. What does that mean for you? A course everyone knows about southern hospitality right with that is so I we know how to treat people bless your heart. Thank you for that. So I want you to think about growing up what it Matt's when maybe a gas was coming over. How did your parents treat them have your grandparents treat them how when you went to Grandma's house? What was the first thing that she did for you or as a grandma or Grandpa yourself now? What are you doing some food? Yes, absolutely. Maybe an ice cold Coke to drink or a sweet tea, right? Maybe some cookies out there.
There was always a kiss on the cheek and we went to Grandma's house. So today we get to talk about Hospitality from the Bible and understanding what it is that they have Hospitality with one another in the body of Christ. So when I was growing up my home Church embrace the mission statement to create Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world the great Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world don't want you to think about that. What does that even mean? I mean, it's a lot of long words here for me to create Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. So you guys have heard me on Sunday morning talk about multiple times that it's not just about getting to heaven right? It's not about just that evacuation plan to leave her right that I don't want to go to hell. So I'm going to be a Christian and and that's going to save me. It's not just about that. That's a benefit of being a Christian. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him, but And also about transformation and the here and now that we transform our world we bring God's kingdom to the Earth. total bold statement to transform the world through the church the people and we have learned over the past 13 months that truly the church is the people we've talked about it for years and I remember taking classes and Seminary on the missional church. And it's kind of crazy now as I have started this semester teaching again. Just one class. The difference of the seminarians entering during the covid-19, right? It's no longer just a practice like up a theoretical thing where the church is the people but actually is happening that people are getting outside of their comfort zones and doing things differently to be the church because we live in this crazy world that we don't know what the long-term implications are you going to be. But I remember before all this covid-19. Sitting around the kitchen table with my wife. And her saying to me it's time to do something different something new. And the church we were serving our staff team almost the next day. So if you're right we got to do something new. They echoed the same thing. Because remember I'm going to repeat it again on purpose if you always do what you've always done. You'll always get what you always got. You guys are going to have that memorized soon. Because it's hard to do something different something new. But sometimes it's what Jesus is calling us to isn't it? again, covid-19
so that next Sunday I shared with our church the amazing opportunity we have Dinner and conversation when new people began to appear in our church. And how to strike up conversation because sometimes we don't know how to talk about talk to people about faith it all Dewey. very difficult topic Maybe it's time for them. Like well I go to this church with at church or I don't know. I've been a Lutheran or Catholic or Baptist my whole life or something like that, but they talked about Jesus with someone. You don't really know. It's very difficult thing. But we do have that opportunity here at First Lutheran Church of gray Manor as we open our doors to a community filled with people who are seeking God and you guys heard the stats last week, so I don't have to repeat those right you guys got those 40% are unsafe. So how will we seize the day? Answer for my wife. She's an introvert. Did you guys know that she's an introvert she is very like she likes quiet time. She likes to be alone right to tell me that the other day. I just need some time to be alone. She says take the kids or something, right? ISO for introverts. It's really really hard for extroverts. That's really really easy to anybody like extreme X and the room everyone else is introverts. Wow. We got a challenge ahead of us. But doesn't surprise me, I guess where we are lutherans. So we like to think we're very few logical. We like to challenge the mind but We're going to lean on you guys that like to talk to people. those of you that like to call people on the phone and But it's a hard time at the Hard error because I remember when I was in a small group. I had left the ministry, right and I was just teaching school at the time not just teaching school, but you get the point. I left the ministry. And I remember my small group leader saying to me you must BBQ on 1st. And what does that mean? Write good relationship start around the dinner table around food. And I am not sure you know, what the food situation here is our first do we like to eat? I've only got the chair like one CommunityWide meal and that was at my installation service. So that makes me really sad right? I haven't been able to see all of the different things that you guys like the butt and I'm sure all enjoying. Togo's Old Testament, Texas morning shares with us the idea of being welcoming and inviting to Our Guest. We were called that in the story God Appears to Abraham first and it's not clear that Abraham knows it's God but what he does know, is there a three men standing near his texts? standing in the sheets and Abraham genuinely welcomes them in he offers them water to wash their feet in a Charming understatement offers them to bring a little bread for his gas. And in fact, he has Sarah to make cakes and overzealously tells her exactly how she should make them. I want you to imagine you have some guests coming over husband's you tell your wives make them some food. This is how you are to make them get them some cold beverages to I can tell you my wife would tell me to go do it myself. She might be a little nice. You know, she might you know, think about it. But I just cannot imagine the overzealous Abraham telling his wife these things. But I can tell you it might be a cultural difference, right? Can you come down to my where I'm from you go to any Crawfish Boil that's happening in south, Louisiana and you're not related to a single person there. You're going to be invited to pull up next to the newspaper line tables and eat some crawfish, right? You're going to be invited to have a few cold ones and I'll share some stories and here's some music and here and enjoy life right enjoy company. Because I was that old Palestinian once told me it's not the tea. It's the company. The Abraham then proceeds to kill a tender calf and a servant to prepare it. He takes curves and milk to the stranger's along with this impromptu fees and watches them eat. And there is something very powerful in the way Abraham cares for The Messengers cares for God. We know as the readers. What Abraham comes to know? These three men are God. Can you imagine God appearing at your front door? What do you know it's him? I want you to ask yourself over your years of life. Have you ever seen God before? Didn't realize it perhaps maybe God was working in your life and some crazy way or through somebody. So I I hope again. I hope I don't repeat myself, but I remember going to Walmart once it all starts at Walmart.
What is a kid? it was a kind of a hard time and there was an old janitor mopping floors. And it's a small town. Everybody knows everybody right? I mean, we know all of our neighbors this old man was mopping floors and he passes by and says, God bless. We didn't think anything about it, but you know, man and I wanted to go and talk to him and we couldn't find him anywhere and nobody at the store knew who he was. So I wonder I don't know if it was God that maybe an angel right? Maybe God through that janitor mopping floors. I don't know. Maybe I sound crazy up here. But for me it was right what what I needed to hear in that moment.
It is amazing that God takes on human form. And the story in addition to the historical accounts of Jesus. So these verses that we read this morning from Skyler's have three kind of keywords here. They call it the Divine dinner the Divine encounter and friendship with God. And you guys I think there's a told him about that right? God being our friend Jesus being our friend. But in the story Abraham and Sarah do not know these men forgot. What does talisys is Abraham's hospitality is not to impress God try to earn favor with him. It truthfully is to be friendly and kind and I'm like most of our modern cultures here in the United States. It was customary and culturally prescribed now I say that because I don't know. I feel like less and less people want you over at their house. Right and I can tell you at our house with kids running around all the time. It's hard right, but in this culture. That's what you were to do. So then this man say there will turn that Sarah Old Baron Sarah will bear a child. And this makes her laugh out loud. I'm right. So I want you to think in the church this morning if you are 70 80 or close to a hundred. If the good Lord came to you and one night in a dream and told you you would become pregnant. Would you laugh? What would you do? 80 years old 90 years old and you're going to Bear a child. I heard. Oh, no that ain't happening.
I know I would not take the Lord. Seriously. I mean after all really, so let's not Judge Sarah too. Harshly here. Sarah's laughter also indicates again. She don't know who these men are and God directs the question of Sarah's laughter to Abraham which again confirms the divinity. Is anything too wonderful for the Lord to ask and the face of the Divine Sarah wants to deny her laughter and her lack of faith. I know from experience that the belief that you can't have a child become so ingrained in you, but no matter no other thought but to give up hope. So once you accept that you can't have a kid. You don't want to experience that pain once again? Soul baring Sarah Doesn't want to have pain. I'm sure she's feeling these experiences. It's again, why on Mother's Day? We celebrate all women not just those who had children. That's why on Father's Day. We celebrate all men. But God knows about her inability to reproduce her desire and her disbelief in her pain. But God sees their hospitality and care as a truly creative act. God sees their desire to imitate him and to be faithful to the Covenant to fulfill and subdue the Earth. And many of us live out this Covenant in many ways. In many ways. How are you created for God? this morning
some of us like cooking as I spoke about earlier. We like cooking for friends and family members. We like decorating our house for Christmas and showing the world that Jesus indeed is born. I will prepare our homes to entertain guests fancy or Informer are creative efforts are design for connection. To make guests feel welcome and comfortable to facilitate conversation and to build relationships. Hospitality towards guys extended when we offer it to men women and children among us
Guy calls our church to extend this incredible Hospitality to everyone both new people current people. And yes aging people. This means people. We have never seen in the church people who attend our church and people who are now shut in and unable to come to worship.
In fact, I remember once this shut-in asking me why don't members call me. Did they forget about me? I Rejoice we have some Ministry going on in this regard right? I know some of you guys call each other and call arshad ends Deacon. Jim does a wonderful job facilitating that and also have a member at the 11:00 service who has just randomly picking three people a week to give a call to Remember when we do unto them we do unto God extending ourselves to the stranger and those we haven't seen in a long time involves risk and vulnerability. May God extend Hospitality to humankind by stopping by caring for our business and understanding our desires. There should be no expected return. Because of how we treat others as Sarah and Abraham did not expect anything in return as well. They were not rewarded with children because of their Hospitality instead. It was divine favor Divine Choice the vine creative agency that brings life to Barren wounds. So I want you to think about what is the first chapter of Genesis tell us right. The Earth was a Barren land without form right empty void of nothingness. And God said Let It Be Right and created the earth created the heavens and unfortunately at some point cast it out one of his angels created.
The God saw their creativity and showing love and care for strangers and he decided he would be creative in return. It's a Divine choice to show up at our tents at our door and our Sanctuary are there bring life-giving love? Is there anything too wonderful for God? There's a mystery indebted in this question. Do we know the limits of God's power and does God limit God's power. This tax invite curiosity about the nature of God that cannot be fully satisfied. Our willingness to open our doors and the doors of our hearts and bites a relationship that will truly surprised us. The God is continuing to call us to be creative by welcoming Gaston to our homes and into our church community. And he also calls us to show love to one another. So for the the one short. Of time, we lived in Illinois, we worked with this church and they had this conference called fire up and it was a youth conference and kids from all over the state and all over the Midwest showed up for the church and we didn't have hotels in Troy Illinois, but we had homes of the congregation members so they got people from the church to randomly allow children teenagers to come into their home and take over their house for a week. Tell me what you think. Are you willing to do that. Give your house up for a week to a bunch of teenagers that you don't know. Probably not. I don't know I would be hard right but they did it and they didn't even doing it for like 25 years and it's really incredible. It's definitely creative Hospitality right there. Is the Lord Colin Archer should do something to the same? I don't know.
But I believe it starts with understanding where we are and what we must do to move forward to improve first off. I want us to think about our own church here at First Lutheran. You guys have one of those old directories anybody got one of those got some people awake this morning. That one is all directories so we can go to the confirmation pictures that we've talked about multiple times. But I want you to think about all those folks in our church some have died. So we can't I don't think we're Jesus. We're not going to raise him from the dead. But summer very alive and doing well some have churches and some don't. Some may not have a relationship with Jesus today and remember our covenant we met with them at their baptism to raise them up in the life of faith. So we can start there. We can start by showing our love and Hospitality by calling each one of them. Calling every single one of them. Now I I told you before when we switched over are a platform for the church. We had like three thousand names that got imported now. I don't know if there's 3,000 that are still around but that's a lot of names but I want you to think about those people and I want you to give them a call. I want you to send them a card and I know you guys are really good at sending cards. Like I give you Kudos like of any church I've ever been in you send cards here. So thank you do that. Do what you do best. What time do you love them for the people who are sick and shut-in some some fuel still uncomfortable being apart, but it's pretty awesome every week when I hear from people that say, you know, I've been worshipping with you online for months are we have people from other states that are joining in and have been regularly. It's really cool. I've asked Deacon Jim to start a Ministry called the care team for these people. So get we have started that and if you've been a Stephen minister in the pass, I want you to consider using that gift once again and contact you can gym. Are we need a group of people on Sunday morning to welcome new guests. I understand we have Usher's. But I want to hospitality team. I need a Hospitality team. In the past that's means these are people that make coffee to bring coffee and a people talking before church. I know we have some carpet back there, but we could be responsible adults. We need some people to feel welcomed and loved and cared about we need to be radical in our Hospitality towards each other towards the world and say God in all that we do. And just as Abraham was overzealous and telling Sarah to make some bread. Are we need to be zealous in loving our neighbors? So if you have other ways this morning. To be radical in our Hospitality that I am not even thinking about. I want you to send me an email or call me or something. Text me. One way that we can be radical her Hospitality. So that's your response this morning. Your response to worship is to think about how we can be radically different in our Hospitality especially during this pandemic cuz it's a weird time that we live in we're not going to have a gumbo every Sunday after church right as great as that would be but we could do something right it also I want us to succeed in my last challenge as a church, which was the fill that board up in 1 month of ways that God is speaking to you about the vision of our future. I think we have about six or seven on there and some people put two or more so Do you guys do you guys know how to dream to dream about what God's doing? So that's where I'm I'm fearful. Think about in your own life. When's the last time before you remember a dream when you went to sleep not very often, right? Last night. Okay. So we got we got some people that can dream. So I want you to dream feel free to think crazy. The think radically what the Lord calling us do we got to that's how we move towards the vision of God that he has for a church. We're not going to just we can't keep doing the same old thing. Right and I'm still guilty. Like I said, I went from 12.4 until like 15 today for the first time. I did something different I changed myself, right and it's because I was comfortable. I had a routine a this is how I type it every week. I got to have this many words and I'm good, right so I know I know if I'm at 2000 words at 7 Pages at about 20 minutes by the time I go off on tangents.
Right. So now it's all different. So after church revisit that bored and maybe some of these questions of how could be weary radical Hospitality could also be with guy calling for a future our vision. So I invite you I'm just going to keep it up until it's it's completely full. It's just going to stay there and we'll take it. I'll take a picture of it and I'll post a picture on online or something. So we have it. So help me fill the board out and my son keeps putting ours on the bottom. So I don't know what that's about. Let's pray God. We thank you for this time to hear your holy word. Got to love our neighbors. The show Hospitality to everyone who enters these doors. Whatever that means.
Got off to care for one another. how to love one another without expecting anything in return I could wear the church Were called to be a family. To help us be that family God that you I want us to be. To grow closer to each other. The share and some food and fellowship to break bread.
I want to see the church in Jesus name. Amen.