Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Why's and Where's of Hospitality

I am sorry it has taken me forever to get this hospitality series done.  Life has been  . . . . well, crazy! I loved this study and believe there is so much else we could learn!!  If you want the rest of the lessons, go down to my labels and click on "Hospitality" to see the rest of the posts.  If you want the worksheet that goes along with these lessons, you can click here to print it.  As for the drawing, my sweet and VERY hospitable friend, Kristen, is the winner!! Thanks, Kristen, for all your support! I will get it to you on Sunday, Kristen!!!

For now, I am going to keep the post like this - sorry it is not as read friendly, but I wanted to at least get it up. I will come back later and fix it!!!

1.      To be obedient
a.     Romans 12:10-13 – “given to” – something we are prone to do; a tendency; something we automatically do because it is part of our nature
b.     Elders and families are to be (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8)
2.     To minister to lost souls
a.     Don’t show hospitality to only those who will return it (Luke 14:12-14)
3.     To be good stewards of what God has given us
a.     Deuteronomy 8:17-18
b.     1 Timothy 6:17-19
4.     To be like Christ
a.     He served others – we should as well
b.     John 13:34-35
c.     He was hospitable even though He did not have a house (Matt. 8:20)
                                               i.     He showed compassion (Matt. 15:32-39)
                                             ii.     He watched out for all needs of all people (Matt. 25:36)
d.     Jesus received hospitality as well
e.     Giving hospitality is very easy for me. I love taking people food, and helping people clean, or whatever they need. I LOVE giving hospitality. However, I am very bad at receiving hospitality. Jesus received hospitality all the time yet I have a hard time doing just that. You can learn so much by receiving hospitality too. This is probably another discussion for another time but it has been on my mind.
5.     To encourage other Christians
6.     To develop friendships


Kristen mentioned “Your Turf” – this is where you can be hospitable.  What is your turf?
1.      In God’s church family –
a.     Wherever God’s church meets anyone should have a home – no matter how far away their actual home is
b.     My friend, Jennifer, mentioned this on her blog.
I have actually gone to a different Bible class in the past because no one said anything to me when I came to the class.  I am not blaming anyone, because I could have been more out going and I was not exactly a new face...but if I was a new person or if I were visiting, I would not have felt welcome. 

I remember Valerie Watrous introducing herself to someone, and she saying, " I don't think I have met you yet".  That way she  even the person was not biggie.  She had not met them before!  I have used that line many times, now.

Here in China, we meet on Sundays in our home.  Sometimes folks come for the first time.  It is important to make people feel welcome and a part of the "family" here.  The culture does not really support what we do, so we have to make them feel a part of a family.  If they do not feel comfortable in my home, I might not be able to develop a relationship with them, and then I will not have a chance to share Greater things with them.

2.     In our home –
a.      What are you doing to open your home?
b.     Do you invite “strangers” into your home? You may be entertaining angels – Hebrews 13:2, Genesis 18
3.      In our workspace –
4.     In your family –
5.     On your facebook page/blog page
6.     In your community

1.      Am I as hospitable as I can be?
2.     Am I showing the love of Jesus to others?
3.     Am I friendly on and offline?
4.     Do others see Christ in me everywhere I go?
5.     Am I showing hospitality in my facial features, my words, and my deeds?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Laura Beth,

I can't believe that you are 9 years old now!!!  Time has gone so fast for your dad and me, and I know it is just going to go by even faster.  It really does not seem like you should be turning 9, but whether we want you to or not - you are.  Last night, as the storms came in, I realized that it was the exact same time 9 years ago that we knew you were going to be making your arrival.  I almost pulled a Lorelai Gilmore and woke you to tell you the story of the night you were born.  However, I know you are the one other person besides your mother in the house that needs ALL of her sleep (and then some on some days) so I decided to do that another year when your birthday falls on a Friday or a Saturday!!!

Most people might think there aren't many things a 9 year old could accomplish that was new.  However, this past year has brought on many first for you and they are first that your dad and I are very proud of.  This year you gave a speech at Lads to Leaders for the very first time.  You have no idea how proud that makes us.  You are not one who will always talk out in a group, yet you had seen other big friends do this same thing.  You did a great job getting it together and did a wonderful job as you presented it to ladies' Bible classes and then at convention.  I know that was a big step for you and I am thankful that you are learning to serve your God in many different ways.  You also went to spend the night church camp at Mid South for the first time with Madlyn.  You had been to day camp/junior week for three years, but this year ventured out on your own.  It almost killed us leaving you there by yourself with so many big kids.  However, you handled it like a champ and, when we did see you, didn't want us cramping your style!!! We are so proud of the choices you are already making. We pray daily that you continue to make choices that will honor and glorify God in heaven.

This year your friendships that you have developed have only grown stronger.  We all laugh at you and Madlyn.  You can't get enough of each other and you compliment each other so well.  We love hearing all the stories of your adventures and are never amazed at the schemes you two come up with.  What will we do in a few years when the schemes get even more elaborate!!!!  You have also developed and strengthened your friendships with wonderful Christians young ladies.  How blessed you are to have precious friends like Jessica and Anna Catherine who have literally been there since your birth!  They love you so much and you always go out of your way to see them.  I pray that you remember how well they have treated you and the attention they have shown you all of your life. Your friendship with Katy has only grown stronger.  I love seeing the two of you talk about your favorite things together - Lady Lion basketball, Alabama football and Makin' Music.  I pray that you will learn to serve like Katy whether helping others or teaching Bible classes.  I have loved seeing your new friendships with Whitney, Claire and Emily.  They have taught you that you are never too young to have fun, laugh with others and at yourself. I also love that you are learning how to not only love your brother from these girls, but how to be a friend to your brother.  These girls and their families have become major blessings in our lives this year. I pray that you and Carter will always love each other and be there for each other, but that you will also be best friends.  I am also very proud of the little friends you have kept and made.  You are always so kind, attentive and loving towards Cecily, Dean, Lane and Lilly.  Always remember little ones are looking up to you and love you just like you love your BIG friends.

I have loved watching you grow this year.  You continue to love music - all kinds.  You love singing praises to God with Carter as you play church together.  You love your Jonas Brothers still, and have added Big Time Rush to your boy band list.  You are also breaking out into other types of music - a little bit of country; a little bit of rock-n-roll. You ALWAYS have some kind of song you are singing - whether it is an LB original or one of your favorites.  You still are a little book worm.  I love that you still want us to read to you at night.  One of my favorite times is for you to snuggle up with me, each of us reading our own book or me reading to you.  This year we have read Little House on the Prairie books up to The Long Winter.  We have read some of the past American Girl of the Year books and Ramona and her Father and Ramona and her Mother.  You developed a MAJOR love of history this year.  We have read multiple biographies of American presidents and you grew to love visiting Shiloh battlefield this summer. I can't wait to take you to other historical places for your love to only grow.

You are gaining independence in some ways, but you are still a family girl.  You love playing basketball or kickball in the backyard with Dad.  You love snuggling up with me to read, play Sudoku or just watch a girlie movie.  You love (more than you would like to admit) sharing time with Carter - whether playing in the play room, playing basketball or any game, or (my favorite) playing church.  Being so close to Gran and Grandad Willis, you love spending the night with them on the weekends, and they love having you.  You also enjoy having Papa Whittle around to come to your soccer games, play down in his basement and just being with him.  You also enjoy spending time with Mama C and Papa John whenever they can come.  I love seeing you talk about and just be with all your cousins.  You are always begging to see Johnathan and Addison, and, now, you can add Walker to the mix.  You also don't think twice about adding Andrew, Mary Beth and Claire to your list of cousins.  I pray you always are close to your family because we all love you!!!!

I just thank God every day that He chose ME to be YOUR mother! You are my peace, my joy, my pride and my joy!  I pray this next year is just as much of a blessing as these last 9 have been. I can't wait to see what other memories we can make together.

I love you,

Rounding Up Family and Friends . . ..

for Laura Beth's 9th Birthday!

This was the year for LB to have a family birthday party.  On odd years, they get a family party; on even, a friend party.  Laura Beth wanted a Cowboy themed birthday supper with a few of her closest friends and family this year.  We kept things VERY simple but I did want to add a few extra touches to what would have been a normal Friday night supper since it was her birthday.  

For the table, I wanted a bandana tablecloth and that just did not happen.  So, I spread a white tablecloth on and placed red bandanas down the middle.  I placed a galvanized bucket from her Little House on the Prairie party (3 years ago - Ahhh!!) in the middle filled with creamed mints wrapped in bandana packaging from Oriental Trading. From Oriental Trading, I also picked up some barbed wire that went down the middle of the table and bar.  Very simple but the birthday girl LOVED it!!!

On the bar, we set up a buffet of Laura Beth's favorite foods.  When she said she wanted a western party, I thought BBQ.  Nope.  She wanted her favorite - hot dogs and hamburgers.  The bar was set up with bandanas laid out on it as well.  I found a cute utensil holder from Oriental Trading that greeted the hungry guests.  Bandana napkins and platters were found at Hobby Lobby.  We filled the platters up with hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, Southern BBQ chips and tortilla chips.  The birthday girl also requested Ro-Tel dip and a fruit tray filled with grapes and strawberries.

After eating she got to open a few of her gifts.  She is a bag girl - just like her momma! So she loved her new houndstooth backpack!  RTR!!!

Carter had a sweet moment with his sister and wrote her a book called The Best Sister Ever. See blog post about that coming soon!!!

She also received money to help her go an extra week to Mid-South Youth Camp this summer!!!  Then we pigged out some more eating birthday cake!  This picture kills me because she looks so old in it!!!

Great Papa Whittle joined us for the party.

Gran and Grandad Willis also joined in on the fun!
and, of course, we had to play a little
Carter and LB with their backup dancers!!!
 We had a great time celebrating Laura Beth and we wish her many more birthdays to come!!!! We love you, sweet girl!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Living In A Cupcake World

The last few weeks I feel like I have been living in a cupcake world.  How sweet it has been!!!!  Tonight at church our Tween group (3rd-6th grade) had one BIG birthday party for all the Tweens.  For the party, my amazing friend, Cathy, made cupcakes and I made cupcake pics.  On one side, each pic had a cupcake.  Stickles (I love those things) were used to make the flame on each cupcake as well as the sprinkles.
 The other side of the cupcake bore each child's name to personalize the event.

Here's my sweet birthday girl!!
Come back later this week to see how we rounded up
family and a few friends for a great time!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Turning Addict . . . .

I have always considered myself to be a very frugal shopper - especially when it comes to groceries.  I had my system and it worked for me.  I rarely buy name brand items and don't have a lot budgeted for "extras." Our grocery budget was always less than others and managed to come in under a lot as well.  However, lately, it seemed like groceries have gone sky high and there is nothing we can do about it - until now!!!! My friend, Leah, gave me the book Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey! I had not even gotten past the first few chapters and was hooked.  I mean, 
I got the newspaper for a few Sundays - one Sunday I bought two!!! Cut the coupons out.  Went to Southern Savers.  Got the weekly ad to Kroger and was ready to go.  This is how I did it my first time.  I am sure I will find easier ways to do this, but for the time being - this is how I did it.

  1. I cut all the coupons I had.  I even searched online for printable coupons and ecoupons (coupons I can automatically download to my Kroger card).
  2. I went to Kroger and looked at the sales ad for that week.  (For my Henderson friends - our Kroger runs from Wednesday to Tuesday.)  I wrote down anything that we could possibly use that was a good deal.  I know I lucked out big time because my first time doing this was during the Mega Sale they have.  On my list, I wrote the item I wanted and the price that was listed as the sale.  I also listed if it was a 10 for 10 or a Mega 10 sale.
  3. I went to Southern Savers.  At the top of this website you will see Kroger. I clicked on it and looked for that week's sale ad (her's will be listed as Sunday-Saturday).  This is where it gets great!  When I found her weekly sale ad for Kroger, I went down the list.  For every item that was on sale at Kroger, she would list under it every coupon - from the newspaper, printable, ecoupon - that was available and then the final price you would pay.  She is even great and gives you the link - RIGHT there!!!!!
  4. I would print any coupons for things that were on my list and then write on my grocery list what coupon I had to go with each item.
  5. Then I took the coupons I had cut and looked at which ones I could use that went with my grocery list.  I paper clipped all the coupons I was going to use to my grocery list and was ready to go.
I went to Kroger with my friend, Leah, who gave me the run down.  For the Mega 10 sale, you can mix and match the items that were listed in the flyer as part of the Mega 10 Sale.  When you get any 10 of those items, you automatically get $5 back on your purchase, and you can use coupons on top of that!!  The best trick for this is to take reusable bags.  Place 10 items in the reusable bag that go with the sale, and move it to the bottom of your cart. This keeps you from having to count continually!!!  So, we went. We bought. We couponed. And we SAVED!!! This is a picture of what I bought . . . 

56 items.
7 of which were Kroger brand items.
1 of which was bananas.
Everything else - name brand.
Take a closer look.

See the pasta - 6 things for FREE!!!!
See the tomatoes - 4 cans for $1.
See the new Philadelphia Cooking Cremes - 50 cents each.

See the deoderant and body wash - B1G1 = $1.50 for each!!

It was just unreal.  Now, I will be honest.  When my total came up on the register as $137 and some odd cents, I about threw up.  I thought, I will still pay over $100 for all of this.  However, after the Kroger card was scanned, after my coupons were scanned (and the some were doubled), my grand total was $55 and some odd cents!!!!!  Yes, you read that right!!!  I am believer now.  I am grabbing coupons like there is NO TOMORROW!!  I am finishing the book and I even bought card page protectors.  I am going to do this and it will be great!!!!! I am so excited - I have become an addict.

Hello, my name is Becky.
I am a coupon addict!

If you have questions, let me know. I don't have all the answers, but I will be more than happy to find them if it means saving more $$$.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Fashion Fairy Tale . . . .

Last Saturday, Miss Hope celebrated her birthday in Missouri with Tinker Bell and Friends.  This Saturday, her big sister, Miss Faith, celebrates her birthday with Barbie in Paris.  Their mom had seen what I did for Miss Claire in January and asked me if I would do the same and then some.  There is not a lot of Barbie stuff out there!!!  We decided to make a banner using extra large cupcake pics.  Mom will string them together and place them in a place on honor at the birthday party on Saturday.

It was fun to come up with all the different fashion ideas for this banner.  I hope it shines at the party and Miss Faith is happy with it!  We also did cupcake pics like the ones I had made earlier.  I don't know where the picture is of the other side of the poodle cupcake pic.  It had a number 6 on it - since that is the birthday they are celebrating.

I appreciate their mom for contacting me and letting me help make these special days a little extra special!  Happy Birthday, Miss Faith!! I hope you shine in your special day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

With Just a Little Pixie Dust . . . .

Somewhere in Missouri, a little girl named Hope is celebrating her fourth birthday with Tinker Bell and Friends.  I was privileged to help her sweet mama out by making some of the decorations for the party.  I loved working on these and hope Miss Hope has had a wonderful party today!
These are some of the cupcake pics I made for the party.  On the back on these were the ones
with Tink's whole body.
Tink cupcake pics
The other cupcake pics were made with Hope's name on one side accented with a
little flower.
Tink's face was the highlight of the other side of these cupcake pics.
I also made larger copies of all 5 fairies, but am having trouble getting that picture up. Maybe I can get it later.  I hope Hope has a wonderful birthday with Tink and her friends!!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Henderson Style!

 These two CRAZY boys want to wish you a very Happy
St. Patrick's Day!!!

How did we celebrate?  What? We celebrated St. Patrick's Day this year - usually just wear the green and leave it at that.  Thanks to our amazing Henderson Arts Council we celebrated in TRUE small town fashion - Arts in the Alley style!!!  The alleys around one block of the city were closed and the celebration began.  Friends of all ages gathered for the first Arts in the Alley of the new year . . .

We enjoyed yummy hot dogs and hamburgers grilled to perfection!! Along with conversation with friends who we see each day and friends we hadn't see in a while (yes, that is possible in a small town), dinner was wonderful!

After eating, we walked the alley to see local artist's vendors - a little of everything.  While we walked, talked and shopped, we listened to live music in the corner.  The kids enjoyed just being out in the beautiful weather, being with friends, and seeing the great artist work.  After walking, talking and shopping, we had to stop at our small town's own Italian gelato shop for amazing Italian (even though it was an Irish holiday) dessert.
 Carter enjoyed Cookies N Cream

 LB enjoyed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

and we all enjoyed being with the Allen family for the night!

The kids had a great time and have already asked when we can go back! 
We will have to wait for April, kids, but we will be back!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Playing the Waiting Game

My God does know what I need.  Even when I don't know what I need - HE does.  Why?

Because I am HIS child.  
He love me.  
He cares for me.  
He watches over me.  
He provides for me.  
He shelters me.

As I am writing this, the future is a bit unclear for us.  I chose to spend some time this afternoon in God's word to find the peace, wisdom, confidence, and strength that I need at this time.  Our ladies' Bible class is studying Cassandra Martin's book Echoing His Heartbeat: The Life of David.  When I was sick, I got behind and I felt like I should use this afternoon to catch up.  The lesson I was working on was about Saul from 1 Samuel 13:5-14.  This is the story where the Israelites are about to battle the Philistines and they are waiting on Samuel to offer a sacrifice.  Samuel is later than they want him to be, so Saul takes it upon himself to offer the sacrifice.  Just as he is finishing up, Samuel arrives and calls him out on it.  Specifically, he says, "You have done foolishly."  Because of acting foolishly while waiting, Saul has the kingdom taken away from his family and is given to a man who is described as "a man after His (Lord's) own heart."  All of this was taken away from Saul because he refused to wait on God's timing.  

My family has been waiting on God's timing for awhile now.  It has not been easy.  It has not been a smooth road.  It has surely not been an easy road.  I have tried to surrender to God, to give it over to Him, but I have failed at times.  Mrs. Martin says,

Waiting aligns us with His timing and proclaims our desire to live under 
His authority.  When we wait, we relinquish control of our circumstances,
hearts and future steps to God.  In waiting, we honor His goodness,
rest in His love and depend on His power.

I pray that God has not found me foolish during this time.  I pray that I have and will always "align" myself to His timing and His authority.  I know I will have to wait on Him, but He has it all under control.  He knows what I need and He blesses me daily.  I pray my life is one that brings glory to Him while I wait on and for Him.

Therefore the Lord will wait,
that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted,
that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice; 
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
- Isaiah 30:18 NKJV

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's March Madness, BABY!!!!!!

It's one of our favorite times of the year!!!! 

(insert Dick Vitale voice right here)

Our family loves sports - watching, playing, anything to do with it.  Damon and I have always filled out brackets each year when the madness begins, and, last year, we got the kids in on it.  I am proud to say that the kids did a much better job filling in their "boxes" (as Carter called them) this year.  

Nobody was picked because "They like the name of the team."  
Nobody was picked because "I know someone with that last name!"  
Nobody was picked because of the color of the uniform.

Last year, Damon won the Family Challenge.  I cooked his favorite meal for him at some point after I got over the heartbreak that he won.  The kids and I are still in shock that he won when he picked Kansas to win it all and they were out in the second round - RIDICULOUS!!!  We all picked Duke to win it all - AND THEY DID!!! Therefore we are changing the rules a little this year - adding more points to the rounds as you get closer to the championship game.  We can't have that again, can we?  

So this year, we have filled out our brackets again and are competing for the supper of their choice (I hope I win because I am NOT cooking!!!).  Let's see what we have . . . .


I guess we will start with me - my picture is first.  (Please disregard the MESS around me - I was finishing up a big birthday order for someone - post on that coming soon, and I was couponing - is that a word?)  Thanks to dear LB for taking the picture!

I really believe that this year it is anyone's tournament to win.  I was not going to pick Duke to win it all this year, but looking at the brackets - WHY NOT?  They have just as good as a chance as the next guy.


In the first round, I have (11) Marquette taking out (6) Xavier, (10) Georgia taking out (7) Washington, (12) Memphis taking out (5) Arizona, (10) Penn State taking out (7) Temple, (10) Florida State taking out (7) Texas A&M - lesser of 2 evils there, and (10) Michigan State taking out (7) UCLA.

My elite 8 are (1) Ohio State, (3) Syracuse, (1) Duke, (3) UConn, (4) Louisville, (6) Georgetown, (5) Kansas State and (2) Florida.

My Final Four are (3) Syracuse, (1) Duke, (4) Louisville, and (2) Florida.

My Championship game is (1) Duke vs (2) Florida with, of course, Duke winning it all.

Overall, I am not happy with my bracket.  I really don't think I am going to win.  I think this will be a great tournament because there is not just one strong team.  We shall see!!!!

LB is super excited about March Madness this year - as long as Duke wins!! Have I raised her right or what!!! I even bought her a Texas basketball shirt and she informed she only cheers for them in football!!


(10) Georgia taking out (7) Washington, (12) Memphis taking out (7) Arizona, (11) Missouri taking out (6) Cincinnati, (12) Richmond) taking out (7) Vanderbilt, (12) Utah State taking out (5) Kansas State - I think she has heard Damon say more than once that a 12 always takes out a 5!!!!, and (11) Gonzaga taking out (6) St. John's.

LB's Final Four are (2) UNC, (1) Duke - I pray this does not happen. I cannot take another game with them this year!, (1) Kansas, and (3) BYU.

Her championship is (1) Duke and (1) Kansas with Duke winning!!!

Damon is defending champion and is ready to defend - although he feels the same way about his bracket as I do!!  Damon is sportin' his Texas gear, but is sad to say he has Duke beating them later on - do I teach my family right or what!!


(11) Marquette taking out (6) Xavier, (12) Memphis taking out (5) Arizona - he loves the 12/5 upsets!, (11) Missouri taking out (6) Cincinnati, and (10) Michigan State over (7) UCLA.This is the reason he is not thrilled with his bracket.

Damon's Final Four are (3) Syracuse, (1) Duke, (1) Kansas and (5) Kansas State.

His championship is (1) Duke and (1) Kansas with Duke winning!

Carter would say I am saving the best for last.  He has declared more than once that he IS going to win this year.  (He also declared that Damon's bracket was "pathetic.")  He has been waiting so long to fill out the brackets and took great pride in filling his out this year.  We shall see . . . .


(10) Georgia taking out (7) Washington, (11) Missouri taking out (6) Cincinnati, (10) Penn State taking out (7) Temple, (10) Florida State taking out (7) Texas A&M, and (10) Michigan State taking out (7) UCLA.

Carter's Final Four are (1) Ohio State, (1) Duke, (3) Purdue (WHAT?), and (4) Wisconsin (again, WHAT?)

His championship game has (1) Duke and (3) Purdue in it with Duke winning!!  

So, needless to say, things should be interesting in our house for the next few weeks!  We LOVE every minute of it - watching the games, "trash"talking, highlighting the winners, counting points and deciding what we are going to choose for our championship dinner!!!  Good luck to you and yours this March as well!


Monday, March 14, 2011

The "What's" and "How's" of Hospitality

I am sorry I have been away and have not finished the hospitality series.  It has taken longer to get over my sickness than I had planned.  The past week in the afternoons have been spent resting/napping aka not on the computer.  I do plan on finishing, Lord willing, this week and the drawing will still go on until I finish this series.

Here is the worksheet for this part of the hospitality series. You can use this blog post and the ones in the next few days to help you fill in the blanks.  If you missed the first lesson, it is here. These are the same handouts I used in the class when I taught.

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers. 

It is what you do 
with what you have 
for people you meet!

Many people come up with excuses for not showing hospitality.
Lydia could have offered many excuses:
1.      She was a business woman so she had a busy schedule.
2.     She had just met Paul and Silas – they were strangers.
3.     She could have feared for her safety

What are our excuses?  "My house is not clean"  Mrs. Debbie shared this story with me for the class and I thought it was great and very applicable!!!!

The most hospitable friend I've ever known often invited people to her house after church on Sunday nights. One Sunday night John and I were the first to arrive and I asked what could I do to help. She told me to go into the living room and kick anything that was in the floor under the couch! She never cared that her house wasn't "company ready." She just wanted you to come, relax and enjoy being together.

My house just is not big enough for a lot of people.  My Aunt RoRo shared two of her favorite sayings from people in Scotland, where they have taken numerous college students on campaigns.

"There is always room for one more!"
 "Our walls are elastic."

Hospitality is something we can all do.  My friend, Jennifer, is living in China at the moment with her husband and three children.  I thought she summed it up in a great way on her blog.
A friend of mine, Becky, is teaching a lesson on hospitality and asked for some stories, recipes or thoughts on the subject.  This is really something I have thought a lot about.  Hospitality is one of those things that I CAN do.  I am not a great leader, I don't sing well, and I am not even a great conversation starter.  However, I can be hospitable.  

I think that being hospitable could also be defined as being welcoming.  Some of the details are different, but it is the same in most cultures. It is often the small things that really matter.  The small things are the details that are different in other cultures.  We pay attention to what has been done to us, and keep an open mind.  


It is not just about opening your home – it is opening your heart to someone.
Your attitude is what is important. 

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

No matter what you do – visit, open home, call, go on an outing – pray for the people you interact with because while hospitality does meet physical needs; it more importantly meets emotional and spiritual needs.

Go to this link, to enter the drawing that will be done at the end of the series.  Be sure to check it out anyways because I forgot to add a few links from my friends - sorry, girls!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meeting Lydia

You can go here to receive a printable worksheet that accompanies this post.  You can fill in the worksheet from this post and using your Bible.

Open your Bibles to Acts 16:6.  This is where we are going to begin.  Paul is on his second missionary journey at this point in Acts.  

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, 
they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

He was in Galatia and really wants to go to Asia, but God has said no to this plan. 

Acts 16:7 - 

After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia
but the Spirit did not permit them.

He tries to go to Bithynia, but, again, God says no.

Acts 16:8-9 – Paul is in Troas.  

So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night.
A man from Macedonia stood and pleaded with him saying, 
"Come over to Macedonia and help us."

That night in Troas, he gets a vision from a man of Macedonia.  This man pleads with him to come to Macedonia to help them.

Acts 16:10 – 

Now after he had seen the vision, immediately, we sought to go to 
Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to 
preach the gospel to them.

I love how it says "IMMEDIATELY" they went to Macedonia to preach the gospel to them.  There was no whining, arguing, complaining - they went! “They” now becomes “we” – so we assume that Luke is with him on this part of the journey since he is the author of Acts.  Therefore, what we are about to read is a FIRST hand account!

Acts 16:11-12 – 

Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, 
and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, 
which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. 

Paul sails from Troas and goes to Philippi which is the foremost colony of Macedonia.  We need to learn a little about the city of Philippi so we better understand what is going on in this account.

1.      Named for Phillip II – Alexander the Great’s father – it’s founder
2.     Greek city
3.     Gold bearing mountains were to the north of the city.
4.     Was a prosperous Roman colony on the Egnatian Way – linking eastern providences to Rome
5.     Many Roman soldiers lived there
6.     There were not enough Jews to have a synagogue – have to have 10 reliable males; River Gangites was were the “place of prayer” was in the city

Acts 16:13-15a – 

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside,
where prayer was customarily made, and we sat down
and spoke to the women who met there.
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us.  She was a seller 
of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God.
Then the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
And when she and her household were baptized,  . . . .

On the Sabbath day, they went to the river to pray and there they met Lydia.  Who is Lydia?  There are some things we need to know about her as well.

1.     She was a lady. (vs. 13)
2.     She worshipped God. (vs. 13)
3.     She was a successful businesswoman selling purple. (vs. 14; Proverbs 31:13)
4.     She was from Thyatira in Asia Minor. (vs. 14; Rev. 2:18-19)
5.     She was a Gentile. (vs. 14)
6.     God opened her heart to hear what Paul had to say. (vs. 1 4)
7.     She was head of her household. (vs. 15)
8.     She was hospitable. (vs. 15)
9.     She was first convert in Europe. (vs. 15)

Acts 16:15b – 

 . . . she begged us saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful
to the Lord, come to my house and stay."  So she persuaded us.

She urged them to stay with her - begged them; some versions say “constrained."  This word “constrained” – in Greek means she was met with hesitation and objection – she had to urge them to stay. The same word is found in Luke 24:29 – when the two men on the road to Emmaus urged Jesus to stay with them.

But they constrained Him saying,
"Abide with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent."
And he went in to stay with them.

On a personal note, when I think about hospitality, I think of Uncle Charles and Aunt Marydel who insisted that we live with them until our furniture arrived. Uncle Charles said that he couldn't sleep at night if he knew we were sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor at our house while they had empty beds.  Uncle Charles "constrained" Daddy to let them do this.  We stayed with them 10 days while we waited for our items to come from Tennessee, San Antonio and Korea.  They became our "family" there.

The story does not end there when it comes to Lydia.
Acts 16:16-18 – Paul and Silas drive a demon out of a slave girl; her owners are not happy about it

Acts 16:19-24 – Paul and Silas are thrown in jail

Acts 16:25-37 – Paul and Silas are thrown in jail; this is where they meet the Philippian jailer and convert his house

Acts 16:38-40 – Paul and Silas are “let go” because they are Roman citizens. 

So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia,
and when they had seen the brethern, they encouraged them and departed.

From jail they go back to Lydia’s house to stay and encourage the church there before they left

There are many lessons we can learn from Lydia.  The one we are going to look at specifically is her hospitality and how we can learn hospitality from her.  Many people believe that the church in Philippi met at Lydia's house.  This seemed to be a logical place to many showing us that Lydia had always been a hospitable person to the people of Philippi.  The church at Philippi must have been a huge source of encouragement to Paul while he was in prison.  Later on in the study, we are going to look at the book of Philippians to see what we can learn from this hospitable and encouraging congregation.

Come back tomorrow for a look at what hospitality is as well as what we can do to begin making hospitality a priority in our lives.  Don't forget the giveaway as well!!!!
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