Praying for Our Neighbors and Community

Matthew 22:36-39  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible because loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment, after loving God.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and most of us actively try to do that by meeting their needs and showing love in tangible ways.  But another valuable way we can love our neighbors is by praying for them.

I have often found myself so caught up in helping neighbors with their needs that I forget to pray for them and the community we live in. While the work I do with them, or even for my neighbors is important, nothing is more important than the prayers I pray for them. 

Hudson Taylor said “when we work, we work. But when we pray, God works.”  Through prayer, God invites us to work with Him for the well-being of our neighbors.  It is God’s way of giving us a stake in His Kingdom building work. 

We want good for our neighbors and the community we live in, but too often we rely on the work of our hands instead of partnering with God and seeing things really happen. I must confess that prayer is sometimes the missing element in my attempt to care for neighbors and bless my community.

Let me suggest the following ways that we can pray specifically for our neighbors and the community we live in.

Pray that God would …  

  1. Give neighbors a hunger and thirst for God and His Word.
  2. Heal the emotional wounds of people living in my community that relationships between neighbors would be made right. 
  3. Remove any racial or social barriers that exist between neighbors.
  4. Destroy poverty in the community and grant economic growth to meet the financial needs of families.
  5. Deliver the community from alcohol and drug addiction. 
  6. Drive out all occultic influence and evil activity in the community. 
  7. Strengthen families in the neighborhood and bless each home.
  8. Provide opportunities for sharing the gospel so that many would hear and receive Jesus.   
  9. Give believers a deep burden for the lost and an increasing desire to share the gospel with them.   
  10. Bless the pastors and churches of the community, granting them power and protection as they minister.
  11. Deliver the believers in this community from self-centeredness and indifference toward those who need Jesus.  
  12. Transform the homes in this community so that they will be Christ-centered.

THANK YOU Lord for placing me in this community and for what You are doing to bring about Your kingdom here. I pray that my neighbors in this community will come to know you!

Sharing the Gospel in Hostile Times

Syrian refugee girls march at a United Nations refugee camp in Jordan.

Oftentimes, the mission of God does not seem to match our conveniently constructed models. God calls us to love all people, which means taking the gospel to hard places, among hard people, and during difficult times. In Acts 8:26-40, we catch a glimpse of how God brings about what He has promised is going to happen in Revelation 5:9-10. God orchestrated circumstances in such a way that Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch met on a desert road to bring about His will, and He continues to do so today for the same purposes. However, we see some things about this mission that are often missed, or even rejected, in the West. Philip understood that God would never leave him or forsake him, so he never stopped sharing the gospel no matter where God sent him. In this passage, we see four realities regarding the mission of God that can empower us to share the gospel in hostile times.

  • The mission of God is inconvenient
    Think about the inconvenience of the Lord’s assignment for Phillip. Phillip had just been scattered from Jerusalem and gone to Samaria where “revival” broke out. Then, God ask him to leave and go south to Gaza. Not very convenient to go to a place that is known for robbers, in the middle of the desert in order to talk to a wealthy, Ethiopian eunuch. For someone limited on time, surely there were better assignments. In the West, our culture is built on convenience, constantly attempting to make life more comfortable. While some conveniences may have their place, the mission of God is never convenient, at least not the way our culture thinks about convenience. Church, we will never have mission without sacrifice.
  • The mission of God appears inefficient
    Phillip was praying, and God directed him to go to a desert place. Once there, the Spirit directed him to run alongside of a chariot of foreigners. The eunuch’s journey to Jerusalem was conceivably five months long, one way. Once there, he was doubly denied entrance into the assembly at the temple for being a Gentile and a eunuch. While efficiency has its place, the mission of God is hardly efficient, and the details surrounding Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch underscore this point. In the West, as one of the holdovers from the Industrial Revolution, our culture loves efficiency. We value seeking the greatest output for the least input. Church, we must obey God’s call, share Christ without fear and trust the Lord with the results.
  • The mission of God is ingenious
    God combats the core human instinct to “go our own way,” even our feeble attempts to earn His favor by our convenient, efficient means. The gospel is a gift, and the only way to be made right in God’s eyes is to admit you need salvation and to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing is more convenient than that! But the genius of God is that to grow in this grace is to receive His mission,  “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Grace writes a blank check for the obedience of the recipient. Church, we must spend time in prayer, hear from God and obey him at all costs.
  • The mission of God is indisputable
    God has given us the end of the story. Either it is true, or it is not. And if this story is the true story of what He is doing in the world, then the reason His mission seems inconvenient and difficult to many is perhaps because we are living for a different story. Jesus said, “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have command you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Church, the Great Commission is not an option clause, it is a command from our living Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Missions Mobilization team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, please contact John Barnett at [email protected] or text 502-654-3385.

Pray for Ukraine…and Give

Pray for Ukraine. We hear those words often and our hearts break for them and we are moved with compassion. We want to do something, anything to make a difference.


As I look at the images we see on the news and online, I often have no words. There are no words to describe my thoughts, my emotions, and the evil we are seeing happening in our world. I do not feel what these people feel, I have not experienced what these people are experiencing, I am not displaced as these people are, and I am not hurting and scared as these people are. Yet, my heart breaks for them.

As of May 1, 2022, around 13.2 million people – approximately 30.5% of the Ukrainian population – have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing military offensive, including 7.7 million internally displaced and 5.5 million displaced across international borders.

According to the revised estimations, over 24 million people – more than half of Ukraine’s population – will need humanitarian assistance in the months ahead, about 8 million more than estimated less than two months ago. It includes 15.7 million inside Ukraine, whose access to vital necessities have been impacted due to massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, the consequent displacement, and dramatic loss of jobs and livelihoods.

Send Relief continues to be in contact with company and national partners on the ground and Send Relief’s response to this major crisis continues to rise. Send Relief began responding with food relief before the invasion and continues to collaborate with national partners and Baptist Union leaders to provide food, shelter, transportation, medical supplies, clothing, and trauma ministry to those displaced and impacted by the crisis. Send Relief has continued to expand response to displaced people and is now assisting in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Italy. SBDR disaster response teams have deployed to Poland and Romania, and Send Relief continues to work with field leaders to deploy SBDR and other volunteer teams. SBDR state conventions currently active or in process of activating: North Carolina Baptists on Mission, Texas Baptist Men, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Southern Baptist Texas Convention, Georgia, Missouri, California, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Current projects: Send Relief continues to work in 14 countries and has 42 current relief projects funded through company partners, state convention partners, and Baptist Union partners. Ministry is happening with the support of many Southern Baptists.

So, what can we do? How can we help? Pray for the Ukrainians…and give.

Prayer Requests:
• Pray for peace in Ukraine and Russia.
• Pray for increasing numbers of people being displaced.
• Pray for the rising numbers of refugees in Western Ukraine, many who do not want to leave their country.
• Pray for those unable to leave war ravaged areas of Ukraine who are increasingly in need of basic life sustaining supplies.
• Pray for God to change the hearts of those in power in Russia.
• Pray for God’s protection for believers serving and ministering on the front lines of this crisis.
• Pray for those suffering in the areas of active conflict and for those who have lost loved ones.
• Pray that God will open people to the hope of Christ through this difficult season in their lives.
• Pray that the displaced can find a shelter and basic needs as they flee from the conflict.
• Pray for minority groups being displaced, who are often forgotten and disenfranchised.
• Pray for women and children displaced from home without husbands and fathers, who are often the primary providers in these families.
• Pray that children will be protected from those who might seek to harm or exploit them during this crisis.
• Pray that partners and the local church will have wisdom and strength during this time.
• Pray for local churches and partners in Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Germany as they seek to help those fleeing and traumatized by war.
• Pray for the SBDR response teams and other volunteer teams as they serve in response.
• Pray that as we serve together and offer compassionate ministry in these difficult circumstances that all we do would glorify our great Lord and Savior.

Everyone can pray. Most can give and you can support the Ukrainian relief effort by visiting www.kybaptist.org/Ukraine. Some can go. Pray for our Kentucky Baptists scheduled to go in the coming weeks. Give to support this work.

“Brethren, pray for us” 1 Thessalonians 5:25









Called to Make a Difference

God has always called His people to make a difference. God has always been a “sending God” where we are called to be sent. We find all through Scripture, and especially in the life of Jeremiah the prophet of being called and sent by God.

As God is calling Jeremiah, He points out to Jeremiah in chapter 1 verse 7, “Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”

God called Jeremiah to be a voice calling people to a relationship to God. What is God calling you to? There are four things I want to point out:

First, There is a Call to be Responded To. God’s call on our lives is always a personal call. He does not call us all the same way for the same purpose, but His call to us is always personal.

• He called Noah in a personal way.
• He called Abram in a personal way.
• He called Moses in a personal and unique way.
• He called Samuel in a personal way in the middle of the night.
• He called Jeremiah in a personal way when he was a young man.
• He called Saul in a very personal and unexpected way.

Jesus calls us and He calls us by name in a personal and specific way, each unique.

The call from God to be responded to is two-fold: to a relationship with Him and to be on mission for Him.

Second, There is a Commission to be Committed To. God called Jeremiah to be a spokesman to the people. This was his commission to be committed to.

Every Christian has a commission to be committed to (Matt. 28:19-20). And just as God told Jeremiah, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.” The first words God puts in the mouth of any Christian are the words of his/her testimony – a testimony of how God changed your life.

There is also another commission we must be committed to and that is the mission God has assigned to you personally. As the Scripture compares the members to a body (1 Cor. 12), we all have part that we are called and assigned to in God’s plan. We must be committed to the commission we are assigned.

Third, There is a Caution to be Alerted To. In Jeremiah 1:17 God gives him a caution. God was warning Jeremiah not to be more concerned with making excuses for not carrying out the commission than about obedience to fulfilling the call.

We are all full of excuses.
• It is the preacher’s job.
• It is not my gift.
• I witness by my life.
• I am too busy.

However, we should always remain obedient to the call. I am reminded of the words of the old hymn, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus. But to trust and obey.”

Yes, it is just that simple. Not always easy, but it is simple.

Finally, There is a Command to be Obedient To. When God calls a person to follow Him and to answer His call, He expects not dialogue, not discussion, nor debate; but simply obedience.
The Psalmist said, “I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes.” Psalm 119:112

Jesus said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”

Have you been called to make a difference? Are you committed to following His command?

GO! And make a difference in the world around you.

As the World Watches – There is Something We Can Do!

As the world watches, Ukrainians are being invaded by Russia and forced to flee from their homes.  While the actual numbers are believed to be higher, it was reported today by national news sources today that 365 Ukrainians have been killed and 759 have been injured.  We’ve seen the videos of families crying and praying as shots are fired and shells dropped in or near their homes. The world is watching as mothers and children wait it out in subway stations or bomb shelters throughout the Ukraine.  It’s so heartbreaking and perhaps even traumatizing. 

Many have denounced the actions and feel strong emotions toward those responsible. I’ve felt that too.  But I want to do more than feel, I want to help.  But what can I do?  Are there things I can do to help those that are experiencing isolation, hunger, physical pain, death of loved ones, unemployment and loss of shelter?  The answer is yes.  There are two primary ways we can help at this time in the crisis:

  1. Prayer – prayer is the best way to face anything, especially a crisis.  Prayer is a real connection to God and helps us as we petition God on behalf of others. God encourages us to cry out to Him when there is trouble.  “Call out to me when trouble comes. I will save you. And you will honor me.” (Psalms 50:15; Psalm 91:15).

Here are some specific ways to pray:

  • Pray for peace, asking God to bring an end to the violence and tension between these countries.
  • Pray that God will redeem this situation by drawing people to himself. 
  • Pray those in the crisis will place their hope in Christ rather than governments, a powerful military or diplomacy.
  • Pray that leaders will exercise wisdom and seek God about decisions being made.
  • Pray for the safety of soldiers and their families while separated from them. 
  • Pray for the 1.5 million refugees who have been displaced that are now seeking safety, shelter and food. 
  • Pray that Christians in both countries will stand strong and boldly proclaim their faith as it is tested.
  • Giving – giving is a way for us to bless those in the crisis as we’ve been blessed, and we certainly have been!  Donating to relief efforts encourages a grateful and generous spirit in us as we determine in our heart to give and help others who are in need. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). 

There are many organizations receiving financial gifts on behalf of the Ukrainian crisis and to whom you give is of utmost importance.  Here are a few things to consider before writing a check or making a charge on your credit card:

  • Research the organization you are giving through to ensure they are credible and have boots on the ground that can carry-out the response effort.
  • Consider becoming a partner to the organization and giving over the long haul because relief and recovery efforts may take months, and sometimes even years.    
  • Support an organization that was there before the crisis and already invested in the people. Unfortunately, charities come out of the woodwork following a disaster and many don’t have the local network, infrastructure or relationships to efficiently and effectively distribute aid to victims.
  • Make sure that the organization you are giving to is a registered non-profit with the state regulator.  If you wish to receive a tax deduction for your gift, make sure that they are registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.  You can check this out at: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (www.kybaptist.org/ukraine) is an organization collecting financial aid on behalf of the Ukrainian crisis. It is the organization that many choose to give through because it meets all the criteria outlined above.  They have partners on the ground already providing aid. To date, our nationally partner, SEND Relief, has already dispersed almost a million dollars in aid.  We have boots on the ground meeting needs because we were there prior to the crisis and have plans (Lord willing) to still be there when the dust settles.  Additionally, a small portion of the financial aid received through the KBC will be used specifically to aid Ukrainian refugees who settle in Kentucky. If Ukrainian refugees don’t settle in Kentucky, any dollars withheld will be forwarded to our national partner, SEND Relief. 

I can’t imagine being forced out of my home, community or country. But if it happened, I would find encouragement and strength in knowing that people everywhere are praying for me and giving financially toward my recovery.   

Ukraine Crisis: Overview, Impact and Opportunity!

Send Relief is bringing help and hope to displaced families in Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Overview

After 8 years of ongoing conflict, Russia has launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine, rolling in tanks and troops into their neighbors to the West.

This conflict could cause nearly 5 million people to be displaced and lead to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis among the Ukrainian people. The greatest needs for displaced families are food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation and hygiene needs.

Send Relief, a cooperative ministry between the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, is working with local Baptist partners in Ukraine to respond to the growing crisis by ministering to displaced families. Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to pray and give to support this response!

Your gifts to Send Relief are already providing emergency food supplies, shelter and clothing to displaced families. As the conflict escalates, Send Relief partners are preparing to provide more food relief, continue meeting shelter needs and offer transportation to those impacted by this crisis.

Impact and Opportunity

Give today to bring help and healing to the hurting! Link to give: sendrelief.org

This is a scene from a Ukrainian church we have partnered with to care for displaced families. They are providing food, a warm place to sleep and fellowship to 60+ displaced this weekend.

Your gifts for Ukraine are helping the Church be the Church! Also, your prayers are critical! Remember Church, there is extraordinary power in prayer. Kentucky Baptist, the Mission Mobilization Team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Contact John Barnett, KBC Missions Strategist and Send Relief Ambassador for Care for Refugees, if you have questions or concerns. We are here to help! Email John: [email protected] or text: 502-654-3385.

Link to download your Ukrainian Prayer Guide: https://www.sendrelief.org/resource/ukraine-prayer-guide/

Church: Pray, Give, Get involved today!

*All Pics and article information have been shared with permission from Send Relief (sendrelief.org)

Spiritual Growth Leads to Mission Service

There’s no shortage of places to serve on mission with the Lord.  Opportunities abound, but only a very small number are willing to respond. We’ve heard the request for mission trip participants or the plea for volunteers to help meet a need in the community, but how did we respond?   Many churches lack people who are willing to get involved in taking the gospel across the street, much less, around the world.  The mission fields locally and globally are in desperate need of obedient Christ followers willing to say, “here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). I’m not sure what more can be done by churches or missions organizations to entice people to respond affirmatively to mission service.

I don’t think the answer to more people serving is greater promotion, financial assistance or even a powerful personal challenge. While those things may be helpful, what is needed are spiritually mature believers who will say yes to live out their faith (James 2:14-26).  We need God’s power to fall upon our churches because His presence in our lives will bring repentance, followed by a life of service. When God is at work among His people, there is never a shortage of volunteers or resources for His work!  When Christ followers are walking with Him, witnessing to neighbors and taking the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) will be a natural outcome. 

God didn’t save us to satisfyingly sit.  He saved us to serve Him through a life on mission. He expects us to minister to the least of these (Matthew 25:40) and take the gospel to the lost. But will I be obedient in going if it requires making personal sacrifices in-order to do so? Living a life on mission involves exchanging my selfish desires for whatever God wants. The author is unknown but I’ve heard it said that “spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise, but by how straight you walk in obedience”.

If we are growing in our faith there will be an awareness within us of the lostness around us.  Very simply, God draws us to Him and sends us out (John 20:21).   Spiritual growth in the life of a Christian will be lived out through missions involvement. So, if I’m not living as “sent”, perhaps I’m not as spiritually mature as I should be because growing is evidenced by going. 

I pray that what God is doing in my life inwardly will be seen outwardly through mission activity that results in new believers being baptized and discipled.

How Will You Be A Voice For Life?

Near the conclusion of the creation account found in Genesis 1, God’s Word makes a profound statement that highlights the significance and value of all human life.  Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

While there are many rich truths that could be gleaned from this single verse of Scripture, the fact that we are created by God in His image is what gives all men and women a deep sense of worth and value. Mankind is the crowning jewel or the zenith of God’s creation, and the Bible underscores this truth throughout the pages of Scripture. For example, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Throughout this month, many followers of Christ will set aside a time to remember and reflect upon the sanctity of human life and holiness of God.  Churches will celebrate the fact that life is a gift from God, and they will also grieve the numerous lives that have been lost prematurely due to abortion, abandonment, abuse, violence, persecution, or some other means. As believers, we are called to be a voice for the powerless and to serve and support those in need by sharing the grace, love, compassion, and good news of Christ with others. There are several ways that individuals and Kentucky Baptist Churches can be a voice for life. Consider how God may be calling you to be involved.

We can pray for those whose lives are the most vulnerable, particularly the unborn, the disabled and the elderly. We can stand ready to come alongside and minister to those who find themselves in the midst of a crisis pregnancy or the loneliness that often comes in the late stages of one’s life. Maybe God is calling you to adopt a child, serve as a foster family, or minister to refugees.  Perhaps God is asking you to play a part in the restoration and healing process with someone who experienced the emotional and physical pain of an abortion months or even years ago, but they still long for forgiveness and spiritual healing. Will you help that individual to know that God loves them and offers a new start in life?

In whatever way God leads you to be an outspoken voice for life, remember the truth that we are all made in the image of God. An individual’s worth and dignity is not based upon their culture, class, country of origin, or the color of their skin. Every single person has value to God because they are made in His image, and each individual is precious to Him. Remember, whoever is precious and valuable to God should be precious and valuable to us.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” — Genesis 1:27

The Missions Mobilization Team exist to serve you and your church as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Email or text John Barnett, KBC missions strategist, to discover new opportunities and tools for you and your church to share the love of Christ by being a voice for life! Email: [email protected] Text/Call: 502-654-3385.

Working Together

The Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the greatest things that unites us as churches across our convention. As each individual gives of their tithes and offerings through their local church, their church sends a portion of money to the Cooperative Program. This money is used to support our missionaries, ministries, church plants, compassion ministries, and the list goes on. Cooperatively, we can do far more together than we could ever do on our own.

The dollars and cents are easy to calculate and report as those funds are distributed. But what is even more visible, is when Southern Baptists unite together in service and assist those in need. We have witnessed firsthand during the December storms that affected Kentucky across our state the Cooperative Program in action. There were the tornadoes in western and south-central Kentucky, with flooding in eastern Pike County.

This is where we could see the Cooperative Program not just funded, but lived out. During this time of disaster response, Kentucky has been blessed not only by so many of our own church members stepping up to help, but so many from countless states who have come to help. And it makes a difference. Disaster relief teams from several of our neighboring states assisted us during this response.

Our disaster relief volunteers have responded in some very cold, dirty, and unpleasant places. They have taken their time, vacations, and even their own money to help others who are hurting. But this is what they train for. This is what they prepare for. And lives are changed.

For example, there were two elderly ladies whose home had flooded. With no one to help them and no where to go, they continued to live in their wet and dirty home, sleeping on a wet bed for nearly a week. A Kentucky and West Virginia Baptist disaster relief team arrived and discovered this need. Within hours, two beds, frames, sheets, pillows, and blankets were brought to their home, and they once again had a dry bed to sleep in. They assisted them with cleaning up their home and made a difference. This is the Cooperative Program lived out.

Our cooperative giving makes a difference. Our cooperative praying makes a difference. Our cooperative sharing makes a difference. And our cooperative serving makes a difference.

Don’t wait for another disaster or crisis to get involved. There are two spring disaster relief trainings coming up in March and April. Check out the web site at www.kybaptist.org/dr for more information and details. Be prepared to work together. Be prepared to make a difference.

WHY YOU SHOULD OPEN YOUR HOME THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The end of the year is often marked by a seemingly endless barrage of family gatherings, cookie swaps, white elephant gift exchanges, office parties and more.

The holidays cause some to stress and wonder if they can fit everything into their schedule. Others experience profound sadness as they reflect on the loss of a loved one or other disappointments in life. 

As a parent, I am always seeking to equip and encourage my family to live a life on mission. My wife and I pray and ask the Lord to teach us new ways to be intentional in fulfilling the Great Commission at home and in our community.

The holiday season can be a welcome time of gospel intentional hospitality. When Jesus shared meals with people, it gave him the opportunity to enter the lives of the people with whom he was eating. In fact, eating together is one of the most practical ways to overcome any relational barriers that separates us.  Jesus modeled a way for us to use the gift of hospitality as a means to share his grace. Here are three ways to enter the holidays with gospel intentionality:

1. Pray for an Open Door

As Jesus says in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” As you begin to shift your thoughts toward the birth of Jesus, gather your family to pray for your neighbors and the nations in your community. Ask the Lord to open a door for your family to share the love of Christ this Christmas. Then, talk about those you know who need to hear the gospel, and how you could share a meal together.

2. Plan a time to Share a Meal

There is a familiar saying around our house when it comes to dinner: “There’s always room for one more.” And there is. But what takes this from a stated fact to a shared reality is an intentional invitation. When we open our tables to our neighbors, we are offering more than a meal. We are offering an invitation into communion.

3. Prepare (Ask) Good questions.

Around a table, the art of conversation is fostered. Try to avoid questions resulting in one-word answers. Instead ask open-ended questions: “What are some of your greatest memories of the holidays growing up?” or “What is most difficult for you during the holidays?” These questions, when engaged honestly, can connect people at a deep level. Take time to really listen.

Focusing on these three things this holiday season can create space for intimate communion with family members, co-workers, neighbors, international students, or refugees. As you share a meal together and listen to their stories, take time to share your story and how you came to know the Lord. Then, just as you invited them to your table, you might find yourself in a conversation with someone who is wondering how they can find a seat at Jesus’ table.

Lord, help us to open our homes this holiday season for glory of your name, and we pray that many will come to know you! Merry Christmas. We are stronger together!