featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: The hope of hospitality

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

A few weeks ago, my wife Kristi were on a mission trip working with refugees in Lesvos, Greece. We were working with All4Aid that runs a hospitality center for women refugees living in a refugee camp located on the island. The center seeks to be a welcoming place that shows the love of Jesus in practical ways. Women can come and enjoy the air conditioning, do crafts, take a shower if needed, shop (with tickets they receive when then sign in) for clothes and food. Each activity and opportunity is to build back the dignity lost in the refugee experience. Kristi and other women had many opportunities to interact through broken English, gestures, and even using Google Translator. They would paint nails together, do hair styling, help sew, hold their kidswhile they play a game or do a craft. The ladies felt special, like they belonged somewhere, and safe.

Many times, men would accompany their wife to the center and wait for them. This gave us guys time to connect. We would talk through broken English and Google Translator about soccer, their travels to the camp, and life. Most every guy I encountered wanted to talk, even with the awkwardness of not knowing each other’s language and trying to work through the translation app. One man offered to help us do one of our maintenance tasks. After he and I were chatting, and he was appreciative to do some work. It helped bring back some dignity that he could do something to contribute. One other man shared how scary and frightening it was for the 6-mile ocean crossing to get to the island. I think I was one of the first to hear and feel with him. Another shared how frustrating and terrifying it was for the new government in his country to burst into his house and force him and four kids and wife to leave, at gunpoint! Some had been in the camp for years! It was an opportunity for me to listen to their story and have them vent their feelings.

In the verse above the word ‘hospitality’ means to be kind or love strangers, those different than you. Our team could tell our interacting and welcoming them brought them hope. The Bible encourages us to be hospitable.

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

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.

Leviticus 19:33-34 When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

To love our neighbor is care about them. Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) to demonstrate what it looks like to be this hospitable, lover of others. Being hospitable does not take much. It’s being kind to the new kid at school, new person at work, new neighbor on your street. It’s helping the sick, the hurting, the lonely, and anyone in trouble or struggling. It’s being kind and compassionate to the foreigner, immigrant, refugee, and those who are displaced from their homes. Wow, how different and hopeful our world would be if we would be a bit more hospitable. What could you do today to bring on the hope of hospitality?

Church is a great place to learn about and practice hospitality. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also 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 their YouTube site.

Seeking to bring on the hope of hospitality along with you,

Mike McKay, Lead Pastor, Neighborhood Church