Video – Are You Robbing Others Because Of Your Hospitality?

Pastor Tim says that many Christians are very hospitable and giving, but they have a problem with accepting gifts from others.

We never want to stop being hospitable, but we must make room in our lives to accept the hospitality of others.  If we don’t we not only stunt their Christian growth, but we rob them of the opportunity to accept both the messenger of the gospel and the message of the gospel.

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Hospitality And The Great Commission

WLO_openhomeHospitality is central to the Great Commission, but not in the way that we typically think.

We normally think of Christian hospitality only in terms of how we can open our homes, how we can minister to the poor and how we can properly welcome strangers into our church communities. These are all valid forms of Christian hospitality, but there is another vein of hospitality which is widely forgotten.

Jesus modeled this when he sent out the twelve disciples in Luke 9:1-6 and the seventy-two disciples in Luke 10:1-12. Jesus sent them out with no money and no extra resources  – they were at the mercy of those to whom they were ministering. Those who truly believed Jesus’ message would be revealed by their willingness to extend hospitality to the disciples. In other words, the reception of the message was as important as the reception of the messenger. Andrew Arterbury says, “The townspeople’s response to these strangers, Jesus’ disciples, will function as their response to Jesus himself.”

In large part, our Western missionary and evangelistic endeavors only focus on the hospitality we can give to others. For example, many churches offer events to the community in which free things are given. I’ve seen backpacks, Christmas trees, food, water, bikes and even video game systems given away to the community in Jesus’ name.

But when we only focus on this kind of evangelism we don’t give an opportunity for others to respond to the Gospel message with their whole being. Sure, they may offer their mental or spiritual assent to accept Christ, but the opportunity to physically accept Christ isn’t given. In a way, we’ve stunted their growth by always insisting on being in the position of power when it relates to evangelism.

Admittedly, being at the mercy of others is a very difficult aspect of hospitality to practice – I still have a lot to learn! But I’m trying to apply this, even if it’s in a small way. At a recent conference at which I was scheduled to speak, I made a conscious effort to be hosted by others rather than providing for myself. My hosts offered to put me up in a hotel, but I asked to be hosted in someone’s home instead. I also purposely planned my trip to stay an extra day and be hosted by someone else who would feed me and take me to the airport on the following day.

I admit, it all sounds a little funny in our culture, but I wanted to personally connect with my hosts rather than only connecting with them at the pulpit. I wanted to open up my life to them in more of an informal way, sharing about the North Korean underground church around the dinner table while breaking bread together. I wanted to allow my guests to serve the persecuted church, by first opening up their homes and accepting me.

When we understand this type of hospitality, it also helps us to put the Great Commission in proper perspective. We learn that we have to give the proper space to the Holy Spirit and proper space to the recipient’s response.  In other words, it’s not all (or even mostly) about us and our delivery of the message!

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An Open Letter To Kim Jong Un On Behalf Of Persecuted North Korean Christians (On The Occasion Of The Publication Of The Report Of The United Nations Commission Of Inquiry On North Korea)

His Excellency
Mr. Kim Jong Un
Supreme Leader, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea
Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Excellency,

It is said that your grandfather once warned, “Only Christianity can cut the root of our communism.”

In this he spoke prophetically, since despite his efforts and the efforts of your father and yourself to exterminate the Christians of your nation, God has never left your land without a witness to the grace, love, mercy, and matchless power of the Lord of all, Jesus Christ. You yourself may know of the many tens of thousands of Christians at all levels of your society and in all the cities and villages and prisons and concentration camps of your land who continue to make this witness to the Lord Jesus despite the harshest possible penalties they are forced to suffer even for the act of praying to the Lord on your behalf. Though they are only able to bear this witness to the mercy of the Lord Jesus toward you and the people of your nation in whispers and pain-wracked groans, the Lord Jesus has raised up their voices to be heard by their Christian brothers and sisters in all of the nations of the world. In this way the Lord Jesus has called us to join henceforth in their witness toward you to remember all that he has commanded us.

Because we are forever one body with the persecuted Christians of North Korea we add our voices to theirs and:

  • We witness that the Lord Jesus is the supreme leader of your land and of all the nations of the earth;
  • We witness that as you and your family have continued to mercilessly persecute Christians since the foundation of your republic, you are actually persecuting the Lord Jesus;
  • We witness that the Lord Jesus hears the cries of the oppressed and will soon return to free the prisoners and mete out justice to the oppressors, not overlooking a single offense that has been committed.

The eyes of the Lord have never wavered from your land, despite your effort to shield your actions from him and from the world. The voice of the Lord continues to call you to repentance and new life, despite your effort to silence his messengers. The body of the Lord continues to  bear without defeat all that you inflict on it through the punishment, imprisonment, and death of the very ones who intercede with him daily to save your nation and your soul.

We witness that even at this late hour of your republic it is not impossible that you may receive the mercy of the Lord Jesus, should you cry out for it with your whole being and with a wholehearted desire that he reshape you into the man and leader he raised you up to be.

Each man or woman who bears the name Christian was, like you, once in rebellion against God. Be reconciled to God. Summon back from your prisons and concentration camps those who can show you how.

With the love of Christ,

The Rev. Eric P. Foley
Chief Executive Officer
Seoul USA
United in the bonds of Christ with the persecuted Christians of North Korea

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