Dear Eastridge Family,
One of the books I was able to read this past week was written by the Methodist Bishop here in Kansas and Nebraska, Scott Jones, the book is entitled, The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor: A Theology of Witness and Discipleship. A number of years ago when I first bought the book I skim read it and marked a couple pages. Well finally this past week I was able to finish reading it. He writes about evangelism and discipleship from a Wesleyan perspective and I certainly enjoyed it.
Since I was working on my sermon for this week on a Godly Attitude Towards Fellowship I was intrigued by the following three paragraphs:
However the life of the community is defined, active participation in its life is required of all Christians. Part of the problem facing genuine evangelism in the United States and other countries with a long history of Christian witness is that the meaning of entry into the Christian life has been debased. Too many people believe they can be good Christians and never attend worship or participate in the life of a congregation. Part of genuine evangelism is explaining that while some persons may indeed be saved without attending worship regularly, they are not Christian disciples. Discipleship means incorporation into a visible congregation and full participation in its corporate life.
The practice of hospitality is rooted in specific commandments in Scripture. It is one of the ways in which Christians are called to love persons. This is made clear in Hebrews 13:1-2, which reads, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” In Romans 12: 9-13, the command to show hospitality to strangers comes in a list of commandments, which begins with “let love be genuine.”
Marjorie Thompson counts hospitality as one of the spiritual disciplines Christians are called to practice. She says, “Hospitality means receiving the other, from the heart, into my own dwelling place. It entails providing for the need, comfort, and delight of the other with all the openness, respect, freedom, tenderness, and joy that love itself embodies.”