Friday, July 18, 2008

Hang up Your Hangups

Yep, that's what my friend Candy told me last night. "Jen, you just got to hang up your hangups!" I'll explain later.

Last night we were so blessed have to have Bro. Moises and his family, Bro. Ricardo's family, Bro. Marcos' family, and Isabel and her children all the way from Cordoba Mexico. In addition to them we had the Dalton Sr. and Dalton Jr. gang, Zack, and Zack's boss. There were 25 people in my house last night!!! I don't think I've ever had that many people, although the number has gotten very close (19-20.) We were so blessed to be able to feed everyone, worship (in Spanish...with the words of course,) and fellowship.

Since I'm not accustomed to cooking for that many, I think I did overkill on the the Chicken Spaghetti. I made two big pans even thinking that wouldn't be enough and I had one left over. I made two loaves of bread, a HUGE salad, tons of green beans, cut up two cantaloupes, and we had some left. Sandy brought dessert. I always get nervous about not having enough food to go around and since I was doubting about there being enough, I was praying as I was cooking and I said, "Lord, just as you fed a crowd with two fish and five loaves, make my food stretch to feed everyone and may no one leave here hungry." Wow, He fed my crowd with food left over! Everyone seemed to be stuffed and satisfied. It was such an honor and a blessing to be able to prepare a meal for them. They are such humble, sweet, servants of the Lord and I am thankful God allowed us to be His servants for the night. They genuinely seems appreciative for all the labors of love you do for them. You might not think cooking a meal seems like much of an offering of worship to the Lord, but when it's done with thanksgiving and with the intention to bless others, then it is worship and the Lord sees it as such.

Bro. Moises shared about the church in Cordoba and the work going on there. They are outgrowing their building and needing a bigger space. They have what I would call a pretty big building, and yet because God is at work in the hearts of the people there, they are in need of more space. The other sister churches planted nearby are in need of two pastors to help lead them. In spite of not having a pastor, Bro. Moises says they are growing too! With the population being predominately Catholic, the Church in Cordoba, "Belin Baptist Church," is growing and the TRUTH of Jesus is spreading.

Eunice, Rosa, and Mabel (all sisters 15, 17, 19) played the violin and the flute for us and we sang "You are my strength", "Holy-Holy-Holy", and "Amazing Grace." in Spanish. Yes, you can worship the Lord even singing in another language! They even sang "Be thou my vision" in English for us. The Mexico gang love it when we "try" and sing along with them in their own language.

The people got a kick out of us having a golf cart (It's my mom's, but we borrow it on occasion.) It's not like it's far to drive over here!! All the kids wanted rides. Bro. Moises thought it was funny that you can just go and buy these anywhere. We sure do take a lot of things for granted here.

Now, back to the hangups. Before everyone arrived, I was just talking to the Lord...out loud. If someone would have heard me they would have definitely thought I was weird, but the Lord and I have conversations like that often. I was telling Him how I wish I had a bigger house, bigger space, and an even bigger kitchen, seeing is that seems to be the place where everyone likes to congregate. I wasn't really grumbling or complaining really, just wishing and hoping...basically not having a contented spirit. I then said, "Umm, Lord seeing as I just got through reading a book on contentedness, I had better be thankful for what you HAVE given me instead of pining over what I don't have." I hate it when people have to sit on the floor, eat standing up, not have enough room to move a finger, etc. Just hangups I have. I've always had that hang up, even when we lived in our last trailer house. God provided it for us when we needed it, but it was dreadful looking on the outside (turquoise paint color,) and falling apart on the inside, (holes in the floor...not gaping ones, mice problem (gross,) 80's carpet in the bedroom, ultra tiny kitchen, etc.) This house was the epitome of trashy!! It was decorated cute and kept clean, but not my idea of a place I wanted to live in forever. In spite of all of that, I felt the Lord compelling me to have other's over in spite of all of that stuff. We did! We had families over from church we didn't know very well, friends galor, and family too! No one seemed to mind there not being enough space and most didn't even know my issues!

What is your hangup? A small house, an "ugly" house, no house, can't cook, not enough time, not good at small talk... The list can go on and on. But what does the Lord ask of us? He desires obedience and not sacrifice, to be hospitable, to serve others, to love others, to give Him our hangups so He can turn them into blessings for others and even ourselves. It doesn't matter what the size or look of your house is, what you fix for dinner, or if you can carry on a conversation, but it is important that you talk to your company, lol. When you are putting other's interests before your own, then small talk should be quite easy. Talk about what you DO KNOW and ask questions about what you DON'T know. What if you live in a RV and you can't have company them outside. Can't cook? Surely you can throw hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill. The food isn't important, it's the relationships that are being built. Small house...sit them where you can...table, floor, porch, yard, etc. Doesn't matter. Don't use your excuses to rob you of a blessing. Maybe your husband works long hours or weird hours, work around it, be flexible, write it on the calendar. Maybe you're short of cash and can't afford to lay an extravagant meal before someone. Again it's not the food, but the fellowship. Make a batch of pancakes. Cheap, tasty, and not time consuming. See, we have no excuses. Lay your talents, gifts, and offerings before the Lord and ask Him to bless it. We all have something we can give; a way to bless others. When you go to someone's home in Mexico, most homes are small and humble. You may sit at a table, on the floor, or a bucket will do. They prepare the meal with such love and it's such an honor to them to have you in their home. When Joey and I went to Mexico two years ago for a mission trip, some of the homes we went to fed us their last meal they had in their house. Wow! Would we be willing to give our best to someone who ate in our home? Perhaps the best meat, freshest vegetables vs. canned, etc. We were so humbled that they would do that for us. Again, such godly servants of the Lord.

I know I have talked far too long, but it's been on my heart lately. I want to be a living sacrifice to the Lord and to offer Him MY best, whatever that may be. It's the heart God is looking for.

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administring God's grace in its various forms."
1 Peter 4:9-10

"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have entertaned strangers without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36

Group picture in my front yard.

Me, Libby, and Eunice

Blessings to you and yours.