Wednesday, February 28, 2007

HOSPITALITY: an often neglected topic

As we discussed the possibility of moving, Dustin and I considered the topic of hospitality. My last 2 churches have done an excellent job of being welcoming. We were asked over to homes or out to eat with families numerous times before we even became members at 3ABC. As a single at Heritage, I had constant invitations ranging from meals with others to living with a family for an entire summer! So, the topic is on my mind now as a new wife with a new home and I was going to post a review of sorts on a book I've been skimming: The Hospitality Commands, by Alexander Strauch. I guess you can't really review a book you haven't completely finished. Lucky for me, someone else has already reviewed it first. (You'll have to search for Hospitality Commands)

Towards the end, the reviewer quotes Strauch's practical how-to's of hospitality:
Strauch concludes with helpful hints for practicing hospitality, moving from the abstract to the practical. It is here that Strauch’s heart is evident. He not only wants readers to see that Scripture commands hospitality, he wants to aid us in pursuing that goal. Some of these practical tips include
1. Plan ahead. Unless you plan for hospitality, it probably won’t be a priority.
2. Make a list of people who might be encouraged by your hospitality and start here.
3. Start with your neighbors in using hospitality as an outreach.
4. Don’t forget the holiday season as they are difficult times for many.
5. Collect and file simple and inexpensive recipe ideas. Remove the excuse of expense.
6. Be interested in people’s lives. Learn key questions for meaningful conversation.
7. Be creative in activities for guests. After a meal, take a walk, pray, or even sing. Keep things interesting.
8. Ask your church leaders to teach on the topic of hospitality.
9. Pray that God would give you joy in serving. Confess the selfishness, pride and disobedience that so often hinders us from opening our homes to others.

I've really been considering what it means to be hospitable. Not showing your home to put the spotlight on your family or your things or your cooking, but hospitality as defined by Scripture. Kari's about to take Mrs. Mohler's class on the subject and I'm dying to hear what they learn. I guess it's just starting to sink in that hospitality is a command, not an option. I think I always thought it was the "super-Christians" who opened their homes. The book also talks of how it IS an inconvenience... and yet that's what makes it a sacrifice. Giving of your time, resources, things... opening up such a private part of your lives for others to rest, refresh, fellowship, enjoy. Hospitality can be used in evangelism, disciplship, etc. I'm just trying to learn what this looks like (and what it doesn't) and what motives should be behind the act.

I'll say this much - I made a mental list the other day of godly women who have been Titus 2 models, if you will, in my life. I had a good 7 ladies on that list and I could have kept going. One of the central characteristics that these ladies held in common (besides the Gospel) was their hospitality. I am so grateful to God for these ladies and the example that stays in my heart even today.

We love having people over, but we are learning that it does take forethought, planning, organization, sacrifice and correct motives. And I'm just trying to remember that those who open their homes aren't the "super-Christians" and if we open ours, it doesn't put us in that imaginary category either. It's a command to obey.

The reviewer notes:
By examining several clear Scriptural commands, Strauch develops the thesis that our lack of hospitality is actually disobedience. Strauch does an excellent job demonstrating just how much Scripture has to say on this often neglected topic.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Church Statement and Covenant

Just a quick UPDATE on an old post of mine that caused quite a stir in the comment section. Well, I'm not looking to do that again, but I did want to follow through with that post. Our church will be voting on a new Statement of Faith next month. The Proposed Statement of Faith I referred to can be found here and I'm looking forward to it. I think it's helpful to covenant together as a church affirming to this statement of faith. We'll be voting on it next month. I don't know if anyone is really that interested except friends from church and Mindy... I think you had asked about this. So, this if for you, Min. And Pastor Way, I think you requested this as well.

And since we're on the topic, I have really been blessed by our church covenant as well. This can be found
here. We quote it fairly often together (before members' meetings and such), and it's on the Butts' family frig. It's a constant reminder to me that we're called to do more than just go and sit on a pew. As members of this local church, we have a responsibility before God and to each other as laid out in Scripture. With the Lord's help, I long to take it as seriously as I do my marriage covenant.

As the website states,
A “covenant” is simply an agreement and this covenant is how we agree to live together as members of a local church. In other words, we “agree” to take responsibility for each other’s spiritual health and well-being.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

As we trust we have been brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the influence of His Spirit to give ourselves up to Him, so we do most solemnly covenant with each other, that God enabling us: (John 1:11-12; Matt. 28:19-20)
We will walk together in brotherly love (John 13:34-35);
That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, rebuke, and admonish one another as the case shall require (2Tim 2:15; 1Cor. 5:1-2; Heb. 3:12-14);
(read more)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

1 Peter 4:11

...whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day and Pictures

I have the day off and my to-do list for the day included playing with February pictures.

A few pics to explain some recent posts...

So long, Fuller.One of my students's families wanted to pitch in. So, they came and helped us clean our old apartment. We are soooo grateful for their help. The dad and brother came, too. We all had it spotless in less than 45 minutes! And we had a blast! Thanks, Anvars. (Lydia-on the right) They said they wanted to teach their kids about serving others and not being selfish. They showed up ready to get their hands dirty. It was the first time I had ever cleaned a toilet with one of my students. :) Pics of the new home will come soon... I'm out of batteries. Go figure. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's in the 5th grade...

It's kind of a weird holiday as it is, but especially in elementary. Especially in 5th grade, when boys' and girls' hormones are starting to kick in. They tried to warn me. I thought, "Surely, it can't be THAT bad." But sure enough, the veteran teachers were correct. Valentine's Day parties in the 5th grade really can be THAT bad. The whole day was pretty chaotic actually. Now, I'm not griping... it was a humorous and random day.

For starters, Deion Branch of the Seattle Seahawks, came to my classroom today! I didn't even know who he was, but he was someone important and the principal brought him to my room. Eek. He was checking out the school for his son... I think. Teachers were whispering, kids were pointing (poor guy) and I was clueless. Then... the high school does this fundraiser. Send a balloon with a message. You know the drill. Unlimited, they said. I never counted, but I think we had close to 120 balloons (not lying) in my room. I could barely see my kids.

Well, that's nothing. Enter parents and candy, fun and games, and our party is off to a great start. And then. It happened. The fire alarm? What! It can't be a drill! Who knows? But.. I'm a teacher, the fire alarm is going off and I'm supposed to get 21 kids (parents and siblings) downstairs and to the parking lot. Pronto. Step into the hall and it's mass chaos. Parents. Siblings. Children. Screaming. Laughing. Screeching alarms. Popping balloons. Pandemonium. There are about 6 classes going down the hall at one time. Outside, parents had all parked in the fire lane and administration was hopping.. Rumor has it that high schoolers set off the alarm as a senior prank... or something blew up in the Chemistry lab or it was just dust on the alarm.. or something. Who knows? Who cares? As far as I could tell, nothing was burning and it was like 2 degrees below zero with snow falling. (I'm actually getting used to that.) Well.. after I finally found my kids (a miracle in and of itself) and they were freezing and flirting (Valentine's after all) we waited. Kids were mad their party was interrupted. Fire trucks were mad they couldn't get through all the parents' parked cars. Cold 1st graders (who has time to get a coat when there's a "fire"), flirty 5th graders, kids pumped with sugar, balloons floating in the air.. it was a mess. Ha! I still love teaching, and I do love my husband, but I'm not sure if Valentine's Day is worth all that. My room mom was awesome and helped a ton. It wasn't actually the disaster I'm making it out to be... but I'll never forget this day as far as teaching memories are concerned.

If you are going into education, brace yourself for V-Day...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


a little update...

The move went smoothly and surprisingly, life is already back to normal. We are grateful for the many friends who helped out. 7 guys came on Friday morning and helped move all of the furniture in no time! We are thankful for our new home and look forward to visits from friends like you, whoever you may be!

That's it for now. Have a good one.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You're what?

We're moving!
Already, you ask.
Long story.
Time to grade papers.
But we're moving.
Not far.
Many reasons.
Weighed out various options.
One reason is that Dustin could use a little office space. =)
This all came about in a matter of days and the Lord was gracious to provide and guide. We're excited and we're about to be busy. We need to be in our new little-but-not-as-little home (on the other side of campus) in just a few weeks, so here's the heads up that I probably won't be on Blogger for awhile. We'll let you know how it goes.

As requested...

From our kitchens to yours...
Well, we are learning a lot about cooking around here. Especially those of us who are rather... new (me). I have been surprised at how much I am enjoying it. Dustin and I love meals that are fast, fairly-healthy, and fun. A few friends here decided to have a small cooking day to swap ideas. As requested, I wanted to pass the recipes along. I hope they will be useful! Feel free to send some our way!

Green Chili
Sweet Sarah Dodson recently asked for the recipe to Kari's yummy Green Chili. Granted, I am VERY new to the culinary arts (understatement of the year), but this one is pretty easy and super tasty. I can't wait to make some more! Hits the spot on a cold KY day. Kari got this from a Rachel Ray magazine. She's a big fan of Rachel Ray! Well, Rachel was so nice to put it online for us. Go here for the recipe.

Mississippi Mud Bars
The dessert for the day was Mississippi Mud Bars introduced to us by sweet Alicia.
Go here to learn how to make this delicious dish. We each saved some for our husbands and well... let's just say it sure didn't last very long!

I decided to share an easy freezer meal that we have come to enjoy in the Butts' household. Terrific for extra-busy nights, church nights, or having ready to give away. We found this in one of my new favorite cookbooks, a perfect Christmas gift from my little sis.

Meaty Biscuit Cups

**double up if you want plenty to save!
(shown pre-cheese)
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
½ cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (10-count) can flaky biscuits
½ cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400%F
In a medium non-stick skillet, cook the sirloin and red onion over med. Heat, about 5 min. or until meat is done. Drain any excess grease. Remove from heat and add the barbecue sauce and corn, mixing well. Divide each biscuit in half by pulling apart layers. Stretch or roll each half with a rolling pin. Press each half into non-stick muffin tins coated with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the meat evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes.

To prepare and eat now:
Preheat the oven to 400% F. After baking 10 min, remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven for 1 min. or until cheese melts.

To freeze:
Cool baked cups to room temperature. Do not sprinkle with the cheese. Freeze on a baking sheet, then transfer to zip-lock freezer bags. Recommended freezing time: up to 2 months

After freezing…
Preheat to 400. Defrost cups or place them on a non-stick baking sheet frozen. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 1 min. or until cheese melts.