This is a special timely message by Pastor Chris Martin, introducing a summer outreach campaign - "Love Your Neighbor" - based on Jesus words of coming to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:1-10).
The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenos, meaning "lover of strangers, hospitable." Webster's Dictionary says: "given to generous and cordial reception of guests; offering a pleasant or sustaining environment; readily receptive."
Remember the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)? Jesus sought out this tax collector and dined at his home. From Jesus' example, we see that:
- Jesus sought out the lost (Luke 19:10).
- Jesus dined with the lost (Matthew 9:9-13).
- Jesus loved the lost (Luke 19:5).
With that in mind, we are calling you to a night of hospitality.
From Friday July 31 to Sunday August 9, over the span of one week and two weekends, we are challenging everyone in our church body to open up their homes and share a meal with someone in need.
Who are our neighbors? Jesus defined our neighbors in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Neighbors are those near to us in need. Their need may be spiritual - the absence of God - for that is the greatest of all needs. Their need may be emotional - the absence of friends; or their need may be physical - they lack the kind of resources most of us take for granted. Because we want to extend Christ's love to our community for this purpose, we are not talking about someone already part of this church, or the body of Christ, but about someone who lacks a spiritual home.
To be like Jesus! In this way, we can show practical love for our neighbors and open up doors to share God's story in Jesus.
- Block party - Inviting geographical neighbors to your home for a cookout/party
- Matthew party - Inviting a mix of church friends and geographical or relational neighbors to your home for a cookout/party
- Gesture of hospitality - Inviting a smaller group of relational or geographical neighbors to your home for dinner, coffee, dessert, or cookout, etc.
- Other - Some combination of the above or an outside-the-box idea for showing hospitality.