featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message form Neighborhood Church: The win in welcoming

Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

I’m sure you know people like this, or I hope you do. They just seem to be so accepting of you, interested in your thoughts and life story. They are willing to receive your company, and regardless of whether it’s a short or long visit, they enjoy your company. They don’t judge, condemn, or even avoid topics where they hold different values or thoughts. They are interested in your side or outlook on things and, sure, they will share their views, but in a humble and honest way. When you leave their presence, you feel loved as a human being, regardless of your opinions or choices. The Bible encourages that kind of welcoming love.

Romans 12:9-10 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

A person with this kind of love and accepting actions is welcoming. There is a win in welcoming.

Welcoming provides a win in relationships. When we are welcoming to others, we gain friendship, even from people who are different from us. Sure, we need to be cautious with people who are mean and out to sway you toward their way of thinking and we should be discerning. Yet, there are a lot people who may not embrace all you do, but you still can be friends with them. Yes, it’s tough in this world where people want to ‘cancel’ people that don’t fully agree with everything they do. The truth is we are all different and it’s good to get outside our bubble and welcome others.

1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

The word “hospitality” is a challenge to be kind and welcoming to those who are different.

Saint Patrick (of Saint Patrick’s Day) set up special communities all around Ireland that were open to anyone who would like to stay with the monks. They were provided a bed, meals, a place to pray if they wanted to, and an opportunity to interact with the monks. The idea behind this was to welcome people in so they sensed belonging. As they watched the monks and their devotion to God and interacted with them, they were more open to consider faith and a relationship with God. Many came to believe. Some chose not to, but all felt that sense of belonging. When we are welcoming to others, the win is that they get to see God in us and we all gain that sense of human belonging.

Welcoming also provides a win in making good decisions as we learn from others, even those with different perspectives.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

When we welcome all kinds of people, we gain from hearing different and even opposing views. Now, again we need to be discerning and cautions because there are mean people and predators out there. So, be aware. As well, be sure of the truth of the Bible and let God’s Word guide you. When in doubt, welcome those whom you trust and who have a good understanding of God and knowledge of the Bible. Too much, we bubble ourselves in and are not well read or welcoming of others who think differently. However, there is a win in being more welcoming. Why not give it a try?

Church can be a place to learn how to be more welcoming and even practice at it a little. If you don’t already have a church you regularly join, we would like to invite you to attend Neighborhood Church either in-person, indoors at 9am on Sundays or online. Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on the YouTube site.

Seeking the win of welcoming along with you,

Mike