by Debby Craig
This Week's Verse: Acts 20:28, "Now it's up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God's people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for."(MSG)
As I looked around church last Sunday I noticed how many people I didn’t recognize. Who were they? Did I know them? Were they visiting for the first time or had they been coming for weeks and just happened to sit on “my side” this time? Whichever it was, I needed to make sure that I greeted them with a smile that would come from Christ himself.
But I don’t always do that. Do you? We sometimes get caught up in this mindset: but I don’t know who they are – I’m sure someone else knows them or invited them and I’m not in the greatest mood today so I better not say anything or look their way.
There are many, many “what if” stories we could imagine about the visitors that come through our church doors, but here is just one.
What if the visitor had fought with herself all week about finally getting there that particular Sunday morning for some unknown reason to her (read on)? What if her mother had been praying for her for as long as she could remember to come back home to the Lord? And what if that young woman ran into me or you on that very first visit--scared, away from her hometown, not knowing anyone at all--and we were in one of those “moods” and did not look her way.
What would we tell her mother? What would we tell our Lord?
Let’s be cheerful when we meet new people in church. It’s the place Our Father drew them to get loved on! Let’s greet people all over the place. Who cares who they are or what they were doing yesterday. Let’s pretend like we invited them over for dinner and are so glad to see them. If we see someone and we don’t know who they are, let’s say “Hi” – tell them our name and they will probably tell us theirs. It is a simple concept and it works. We might even get a reputation of being "the friendly person." Our whole church needs to be "the friendly person" for that matter.
Even if we weren’t born with that touchy-feely gene, the Holy Spirit can muster it up on demand. Galatians 5:22 says, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..."
What if we submit to the Spirit?
What if we reach out to others as Christ Himself?
Father, help us to discern and follow your promptings in making people feel welcome and loved. Love them through us, in Jesus' Name.
Let’s get it started girls! Let’s not let one person slip by us or slip out that door this Christmas season. Let's impress the Lord on them so much that they leave thinking, I love these people. I know why my momma has been praying for me now. I think I’m coming back next week.
John 21:15, "After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter replied, 'you know I love you.' 'Then feed my lambs,' Jesus told him."(NLT)
Psalm 68:3, "But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy."(NLT)
John 13:35, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."(NIV)