Max LucadoSome folks have asked me to post the Max Lucado quotes on hospitality that I shared this morning.

“Something holy happens around a dinner table that will never happen in a sanctuary. In a church auditorium you see the backs of heads. Around the table you see the expressions on faces. In the auditorium one person speaks; around the table everyone has a voice. Church services are on the clock. Around the table there is time to talk. Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community.” —Max Lucado

“If we wait until everything is perfect, we’ll never issue an invitation. Remember this: what is common to you is a banquet to someone else. You think your house is small, but to the lonely heart, it is a castle. You think the living room is a mess, but to the person whose life is a mess, your house is a sanctuary. You think the meal is simple, but to those who eat alone every night, pork and beans on paper plates tastes like filet mignon.” —Max Lucado

Happy To See You

Do you like being around people? Or maybe a better question is: Do people like being around you?

In the case of Jesus, the answers are “yes” and “yes.” Check this out —

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that He was back home. Soon the house where He was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. (Mark 2:1-2)

People like being with Jesus.

They invited Him to their weddings

They invited Him to their parties

They invited Him to their dinners

And when Jesus showed up somewhere, people flocked to that house.

If you and I are Christians — followers of Jesus Christ — the same thing should be said of us: People should like having us around, and they should like being around us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

Missing Ingredient

I’m getting ready for week two of our Overloaded series, so I’m really digging into a lot of articles and reports about relationships. I believe that the biggest victim in our overloaded lives is our relationships.

Why? Because for relationships to flourish, they need lots and lots of time. Relationship development cannot fit into a nice, neat timeframe. Relationships are fluid: sometimes they need more time and sometimes they need less time.

Dr. Tim Elmore has a great blog post called A Missing Ingredient As We Teach And Parent Our Kids. His thesis is that we have to teach our kids how to think for themselves. But to get to that place, we need to come alongside them to help learn to do this. He suggests —

1.     Process everything that happens. When you see a movie, hear a news report, or listen to a song, talk it over. Debrief its meaning, and the worldview of the people involved.

2.     Plan meaningful experiences together. Don’t simply go to ballgames (though I love ballgames) but feed the homeless in a soup kitchen or travel to another country and absorb it together.

3.     Ask lots of questions. When your child tells you what they did, enjoy the story, but eventually (without sounding like a professor) ask them their opinion about what happened.

4.     Share principles you’ve picked up in your past. At the right time, in those teachable moments, pass along a nugget, a quip or a little phrase you’ve used to keep you on track. You’ll be surprise how they remember it.

What do all of these have in common? They all require parents to have enough time in their schedule.

Can I make one suggestion on where to start? Dinner time.

  • Get your whole family around the dinner table as many times a week as possible.
  • Banish all technology during dinner (turn off the TV, leave the cell phones & iPods in the other room).
  • Ask open-ended questions like, “Tell me something good that happened today” or “What’s the most played song on your iPod? Why do you like it so much?”
  • Make sure that only one person at a time is talking. And then make sure you are really listening to what’s being said.

Intimacy in your relationships is spelled T-I-M-E. Make sure you have plenty of it!

Dinner That’s More Than Dinner

The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told Him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. (Mark 6:30-32 NLT)

Sometimes dinner is more than dinner. It’s not just food for our physical bodies; it can be so much more.

The apostles returned from their first ministry assignment. They were so excited to come back and tell Jesus how incredible their time had been. They breathlessly rushed into the house where Jesus was waiting for them. “Master,” Peter started, “You should have seen how Andrew…” and he was cut short by a new visitor.

Next James tried, “Whoa, it was so cool when we…” and yet another distraction.

Time and time again their stories and questions and concerns were interrupted by the busyness of life and ministry. In fact, it got so chaotic that the disciples couldn’t even eat their food, except in quick gulps between visitors.

Finally, Jesus said, “Guys, let’s get out of here. I really want to hear about your ministry. I want to debrief a little with you. And, frankly, we’re all hungry and could use a quiet dinner. Let’s go someplace to hang out together.” Now that’s more than a dinner!

Check out the advantages of simply eating together:

  • Families who eat dinner together eat healthier.
  • Families who eat dinner together have higher communication skills.
  • Children in families who eat dinner together perform better academically.
  • Children in families who eat dinner together are less likely to try cigarettes, illegal drugs, or alcohol.

I love our family mealtimes—it is one of the best times to catch up on what’s happening with everyone. Last night we were joined at dinner by a young couple from our church. After dinner, the kids were off playing and Betsy and I could have a quiet conversation just with our friends. We talked about the newlyweds’ adjustment to marriage, what makes a good church, education, career, china patterns, and the way God speaks to us. We laughed and dreamed and talked about dreams. It was fantastic!

Turn off the TV. Make a healthy dinner. Set aside time to eat with family and friends. Jesus gave us a great example: “C’mon, friends, I really want to spend some quiet time with you.”

So here’s to dinners that are more than dinners.

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