God has extended safety and belonging to us, and He calls us to do the same to others. It would work well for the enemy to trick people into believing that the practice of hospitality requires a large budget, large amounts of time, or a large home. All of those are lies. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect and your budget doesn’t either. Being hospitable is important to God, and He speaks of it in the Word as one clear way we love others.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Romans 16:19-20
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- MomStrong International
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- My Events Calendar
- Just Open The Door (BOOK), by Jen Schmidt
- Just Open The Door (BIBLE STUDY), by Jen Schmidt
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
- 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
- Romans 12:-15
- Matthew 28:18-20
- 1 Peter 4:8-9
Join us at MomStrong International for our Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey you guys, this is Heidi St. John. Thanks for tuning in today. Today’s episode number 817 and this is Wednesday, September 11th. This is the day we study MomStrong International. We’re talking about the topic of being an ambassador for Christ in the culture today and also we’re going to take a little bit of time to remember and reflect on 9-11.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
This is my favorite day of the week here at the podcast. We talk about the study that’s happening at MomStrong International. If you haven’t joined us over there yet, this is a great time to do it. We’re on week two of our study on what it means to be an ambassador. I love that we’re talking about this because there has never been a more important time for God’s people to be who God says that we are—and that is to be ambassadors. The Bible says that God is literally making His appeal through us when He says: come back to me. So it begs the question— are we being ambassadors for the Lord Jesus? What does it look like to be an ambassador? The Bible teaches us that we have been set apart.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Let’s come before the Father in prayer. Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have given us Your Word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. I thank you for faithful men and women who teach Your Word and live it. Lord, as we talk a little bit about what it means to be an ambassador, Father that you would give us all the courage to live by our convictions, the courage to be who you say that we are are. Father, I pray that we would be as set apart people. I pray that we’d be set apart in the privacy of our own hearts where no one else is watching. Lord, I pray that you will help me to be the woman that you want me to be. I pray that you’d help us to study Your Word, that we could be workman who do not need to be ashamed, who can rightly handle Your Word and apply it in grace and love. We love you, Father. We invite You into what we’re doing here today. Lord, I would pray especially just a prayer for those who have been deeply affected by 9-11, those who are still mourning the loss of loved ones, that still feel the sense of loss. I pray for our nation. We’re more divided now than we ever were. We need your help. Help us, Lord, to be the people that You want us to be. In Jesus name, amen.
I’m going to look really quickly to the study at MomStrong International. If you haven’t checked it out yet, this is a great time. The study is about $8 a month. It is beautifully illustrated. You guys are gonna love it. I got a letter from a mother the other day who said that it was her first time seeing the Bible Study. I recently got a letter from a mom named Sylvia— I loved it so much. I know this isn’t Mailbox Monday, but I’m going to read this anyway. She said: Hi Heidi. I tell everyone about your podcast, but I’m dropping you a quick note today because today is the first day I have opened the Bible study after signing up last month with MomStrong International, and I just want to tell you—wow, it is breathtaking. The graphics and colors are incredible. I can’t get over how beautiful it is. I can hear your sweet voice throughout the study and I’m seriously blown away. I wish I had done this so much sooner. Thank you for your kind heart toward us mamas and pointing us to the Word of God to the truth. We need it so much. Be encouraged today.
Sylvia, that did encourage me I forwarded that to the writing team. There are a whole bunch of us that are working to get that study out to you guys every month. And my daughter, Savannah, does the Kid Strong. She’s got two little guys of her own and she’s expecting her third grand baby in the spring. Pretty excited about that. My friend Jen does the majority of the writing for the Bible studies for me right now as I’m in the middle of another book project. Sierra is in charge of the graphics. We’ve got a team of editors. Of course, my staff is always helping us go through that. We choose the topics very carefully, pray over them and then ask the Lord to help us as we get them out to you. So I hope you guys are encouraged and are really gonna be active in the Word of God. That’s why we’re doing it because God says that we are who he says we are.
Today, I want to talk a little bit about hospitality because it doesn’t get talked about very much. An ambassadors who take their job seriously do everything in their power to uplift and support their home nation and their ruler. As believers, we represent the Lord Jesus. Do we represent Him in a way that not only advances His principles and ideals, but represents His tremendous heart?
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God has extended safety and belonging to us, and He calls us to do the same to others. According to a recent Barna survey, 28 percent of evangelicals believe they are gifted by God to teach, while only 3 percent say they have the gift of hospitality. It would work well for the enemy to trick people into believing that the practice of hospitality requires a large budget, large amounts of time, or a large home.
These are lies. Some of my favorite moments was when Jay and I were very young and he was starting out in the pastorate, we’re of having visitors over from our church for lunch and not having a lot of furniture and a little tiny home and me making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and just sitting on the floor and getting to know people. You don’t have to have a large budget or a large house. That’s really good news! Because even though not many people feel gifted with hospitality, we’re all given the call and opportunity to practice hospitality! Being hospitable is important to God, and He speaks of it in the Word as one clear way we love others.
But I want to encourage you, don’t mistake a love entertaining for genuine hospitality because they’re not the same thing. I think this kind of trips us up a little bit. My friend Jen Schmidt wrote a book on hospitality. Last year I had her on the show, her book was called: Just Open The Door. If you need ideas for entertaining and having people over, she’s got some wonderful ones. There’s a difference between hospitality and entertaining. Entertaining is delightful, creating just the right menu or having perfect decorations for a special celebration is a great pleasure, but biblical hospitality is a much earthier affair; it’s the day-in day-out warmth of having a heart open to seeing the needs of others and doing what you can to meet them.
Biblical hospitality is also not at the expense of caring for our immediate families. God is not calling us to regularly hang our kids (or our men) out to dry so we can make meals for others who are hurting or host three events per week for different church ministries. Best hospitality practices take into account an overstimulated introverted child or a teen with two tests in school the next day. Your event may still need to happen but create space without emotional guilting for the introvert to grab some alone time.
My friend Jamie Martin was on the show talking about The Introverted Mom and introverted kids. We’re studying this a little bit in digging deeper. Jesus doesn’t just make us subjects of His kingdom like far off peasants, but He adopts us into His family and with family comes responsibility. We are not just subjects but sons and daughters, and all family members have roles and tasks that signify belonging, and those are ever changing. Asking for wisdom and exercising biblical discernment is not only for doctrine, Moms, it’s for daily realities of loving our families well!
When you invite a new couple at church to grab coffee with you or meet your family for a bike ride after work one evening, you’re saying you have value to God and therefore you have value to me. When you allow friends over to play, those kids will notice if you know their names and notice a new haircut. Keep your door open through the loud rough-and-tumble golfball-through-the window years.
I’ve had a lot of that happen. We had a guy that lived behind us who kept accidentally shooting his BB gun into my sliding glass door. Yeah. That actually wasn’t that fun. I’m going to try to forget about it. But guess what? We got to know our neighbors. It gave us a chance to talk to them. Last week when my family was doing a bunch of work for the Homeschool Resource Center, trying to get it up and ready for this week, I watched my two grandsons and my two nephews and my eight year old daughter, and they all like—we had a slip and slide going outside, a lot of stuff going on. It was hot. They finally got cold enough playing in the ice cold water that was coming out of my hose, that all these kids wanted to get in the hot tub. I gotta tell you, I didn’t want him in that hot tub. I was like— for the love, they’re gonna take their dirty feet and they’re going to act like dolphins and whales and Belugas in the hot tub. I could just feel this little voice in the back of my head like—nope, it’s not your hot tub, it belongs to Me. Create a memory. So we did. And yes, they did pretend to be Beluga whales. I actually believe that they were navy ships this time. Was it messy? Yes. Was it loud? Yes. Did my hot tub get dirty? Yes. But you know what? Those kids are going to make a memory and I hope they’re gonna know that I loved them in the process. So we need to ask ourselves the question— what makes our home show we love Jesus?
What makes us the fragrance of Christ as Christ’s true ambassadors. It’s genuine, authentic faith, that we live out. That means we’ve got an open home and that’s going to require bracing ourselves sometime. It’s sanctifying. Can we just be honest? Moment of silence, because not all of us really liked to have company all the time. Some of us are just tired. We discovered when we open our home and we begin to just have people into our lives, God uses us, He uses us. Jesus uses open homes, just like He uses open hearts. Jesus-girls who love Him and are willing to be less-than-pinterest-y and just live life with those around her are incredibly important part of being ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
So I’m going to read Romans 12 to you guys because part of being a dedicated Christian and offering your body as a living sacrifice is showing hospitality of strangers. So we’ve got to figure out what that looks like. So let’s look at a Romans 12: 9-15 —Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
So we’re getting lots of instructions in this short little passage in Romans. He’s teaching us to do a bunch of things as members of the church, as members of the body of Christ. He’s saying—cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another, honor one another. Don’t be lacking in zeal, keep up your spiritual fervor and serve the Lord. He says, be joyful and hope. Be patient in affliction. Be faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. You notice he never says if your house is clean— share with the Lord’s people who are in need. He never says if your laundry is done, if your counter is not messy, if your living rooms cleaned up, practice hospitality. No, he says— look for a need and then open your door. Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I love this. In verse 16 he goes on to say, live in harmony with one another.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
I think sometimes our desire to be seen as very good at entertaining and all that, it really comes from a place of pride and the Apostle Paul is saying, come away from that practice hospitality. It’s so important as people who are a set apart people, we should be known for our love of other people. We want to speak the truth, but we should also be known for our love. The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of the gospel. We have been given an incredible responsibility. Matthew 28:18-20— And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The Lord saying, we have a responsibility to make disciples, to teach them what we learned. We can’t do that if we’re not getting in people’s lives and loving people the way that God says to love them. This is part of being an ambassador for the Lord Jesus. Open up your home to be hospital. We’re spending the whole month talking about being an ambassador for the Lord Jesus and what that looks like. There’s a ton more information. You’re going to love Kids Strong this month, teaching your kids to go out of their comfort zone too—and they do that by seeing you do that. We’re going to flesh out the practical outworkings of hospitality. What does it look like to have a teen girl from church over to play with your little ones while you fold the laundry? It’s going to give you some downtime, maybe some brain space— but the heavenly investment is that you’re going to get to hear her dreams or her troubles and you’re going to get to speak grace into her life and hopefully you’ll become a safe place for her. There’s a lot of ways that we can practice hospitality and be the set apart people that God wants us to be. We can raise young ambassadors also. So, is what we’re going to study in 1 Peter 4:8-9.
Before I go today, I just want to encourage those of you who are remembering as I am today. The events that took place on September 11th, 2001. I remember where I was. I was sitting on my bed in our bedroom nursing, our infant son, and I was watching television and I don’t know if I turned away or what happened, but the next time I looked up at the television, I saw a plane flying into one of the World Trade Centers. I’m pretty sure it was the first one.American Airlines flight 11. I thought it was an ad for a movie. I literally thought— Oh wow, this is weird. There must be a new movie coming out. When I realized our nation was under attack, I remember calling my husband at work and just saying— please come home, this is serious, it’s bad. Of course it was bad and we learned as the day unfolded just exactly how bad it would get.
A lot of us have young kids who don’t remember it. We always talk to our children about that time in history and about why our country— the TSA and all those things sort of happened as a result of that. We also pray for those who lost family members and loved ones in the attacks on 9-11. There’s a lot of really great information out there because as I recall, in New York City that particular day, it was a beautiful day. September 11th. Hello, it’s, it’s late summer. They were just going about their business like everybody else. When that coordinated suicide attack against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC happened, everyone onboard those planes and nearly 3000 people on the ground were killed. A fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board after passengers and crew attempted to wrest control from the hijackers. I think it’s important for us always to pause and to remember the freedom that we have in this country. The importance of protecting our nation. The importance of praying for those people that would intend to do us harm. Sometimes we can get far enough away from it and we think— oh, that will never happen again. The truth is we need to be praying for our nation. So I found a quote and I’m going to end today’s podcast reading it to you. I thought it was a beautiful way just to say we remember we will never forget
For the husband who told his wife he loved her before his plane went down in a field. For the wife who stopped in the stairs to call her husband to say— I will love you forever. For the mothers and fathers who kissed their kids goodbye that morning, and then died. For the policemen who rushed in with the firemen and others, only to die themselves. Today, tomorrow, and a hundred years from now, we will remember.
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Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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