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Hearty Hospitality

I must admit, I’ve never thought of hospitality in terms of hearty. Hearty is often associated with a Campbell Chunky Soup commercial. Based upon Luke’s account in the passage below, it’s unclear if Publius was simply in a good mood, lonely and eager to entertain strangers or this man possessed a boisterous personality. Whatever the reason, 276 shipwreck survivors were accepted and welcomed by this wealthy man.

In the vicinity of that place there were estates belonging to the head man of the island, named Publius, who accepted and welcomed and entertained us with hearty hospitality for three days, Acts 28:7.

Synonyms of hearty include animated, cheerful, dynamic, exuberant and jovial. When I see someone in a great mood, this usually only last a day or two. This could be contributed to the birth of a child, an engagement or promotion. The hardest part of any good news is maintaining a positive attitude when bad news, failure or hardship arise. Human effort can only take you so far in life. This is where a personal relationship with God helps stabilize once wayward souls, living on a roller coaster of emotions.

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it, Hebrews 13:2.

The author of Hebrews adds another dimension to hearty hospitality. Perhaps, the passage above is warning against being selective in your hospitality. During a sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus calls Christians to go the extra mile, not just helping those who help you. Hearty hospitality involves throwing a News Year Eve party on a normal day of the week. Bringing this same energy and passion is a way to celebrate life. While you may not possess the gift of hospitality, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord should celebrate their salvation daily, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

Fulfilling the Common Good

Good is one of those words that is overused.  As absolutes are becoming replaced by opinions fueled by cable news and talk radio, what is good and what is bad varies.  In the days of the Old Testament, Judges began to do what was right in their own eyes, removing the Bible as a measuring stick.  Similar to modern day humanism, anything that feels natural is deemed good.  On the other hand, anything that results in unpleasant experiences is considered bad.  Those who adopt this mentality place self seeking endeavors above the common good.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

During the first century, there was some confusion due to how God was allocating spiritual gifts among church members.  Apparently, jealousy distracted Christians from accomplishing the common good for society.  People who were blessed with special abilities that demonstrated God’s extraordinary powers were placed in higher esteem that those with more traditional gifts like discernment and hospitality.  This rift within Corinth inspired the apostle Paul to remind believers that without displaying love, spiritual gifts are meaningless, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

“Each of us… must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good.  Our individual fates are linked, our futures intertwined.  And if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit, together, as the Bible says, we can move mountains,” President Jimmy Carter 1978.

Jimmy Carter is the last evangelical Christian to hold the presidency of the United States.  Although most Americans would refer to the Carter presidency as a failure, this man has held a higher calling.  Known for his service to Habitat for Humanity, founded in his home state of Georgia, Carter has embraced the concept of providing homes for the homeless.  While most former presidents end up going on book tours, concentrate on speaking engagements or traveling the world, Carter volunteered his time to build homes.  The quote above serves as a great example of what it means to fulfill the common good.  Just as the city of Babel came together with a common purpose to erect a tower, Christian’s united under one spirit can move mountains.

by Jay Mankus

AP

On Tuesday of this past week, a king was laid to rest.  Yet, this wasn’t your typical cast of assembled dignitaries.  Rather, this man never forgot where he came from, always remembering his humble beginnings.  Subsequently, as crowds gathered for the memorial service, those in attendance reflected upon how this individual made anyone he met feel like a special friend on each and every occasion.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel, Proverbs 27:9.

While this may be a stretch, what Arnold Palmer meant to golf is similar to Mother Teresa’s impact on the Catholic church.  Mother Teresa taught the world what is means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ by serving the poor and less fortunate.  Meanwhile, Arnold Palmer showed professional athletes what a role model resembles by using his fame, fortune and success to make this world a better place.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1 Peter 4:8-10.

Beside all the hospital’s Arnold and his first wife Winnie founded in Orlando, Florida, he was a visionary.  Palmer was the architect of a 24 hour golf channel, founder of the Bay Hill Classic tournament on the PGA tour and the figure which helped make the Senior PGA tour what it is today.  Despite all these great accomplishments, Arnold was a man of character, honor and integrity.  Arnie as coined by the army who followed him in droves, signed every autograph, made spectators feel a part of his round and replied to each letter with a hand written note.  May the the memory of AP inspire you to impact the lives of this generation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A New Year’s Invitation to a 2014 Case Study

According to a December 2009 article in the Examiner, the origin of New Year resolutions began with the Babylonians about 4,000 years ago.  Although Babylon celebrated New Year’s on March 23rd, farmers celebrated the beginning of Spring with goals for their upcoming harvest.  This concept has caught on in America as vows to diet, enjoy life and get ahead in 2014 have already begun.  In view of this, I am offering an invitation to anyone interested in being part of a 12 week Case Study, from January to the end of March.

 
 The purpose of this event is to develop Bible Study leaders and encourage discipleship within a small group setting.  I am searching for volunteers who fit the criteria listed below.

1) Anyone who wants to start a Bible Study in their neighborhood for people interested in God or seeking answers to life.

2) Youth pastors who are looking to disciple students to become future leaders in their community.

3) New or small churches seeking to develop a small group Bible Study model throughout their church family.

4) People with the gift of hospitality, willing to host a series of 12 week Bible Studies in 2014.

5) Writers with a background in curriculum development willing to give input while leading their own 12 week study.

6) Godly men, women or couples looking to instill a biblical worldview within their family and friends.

7) Individuals with the gift of evangelism who are willing to recruit unsaved friends to attend a 12 week study.

While I may have excluded some people, my goal is to select 12 leaders across the country to participate in a 12 week journey where people can encounter Extra Ordinary Faith.  Those chosen will receive a complete Power Point Presentation which includes teaching notes, links and you tubes of music videos and movie clips.  My only expectations in return are comments, criticism and ideas to help me assess what changes need to be made before I try to publish this material.

The test group of Extra Ordinary Faith is running now through December 2nd and will also be involved in 2014 as we try to perfect the current curriculum.  Based upon the first 6 weeks, Bible Study ranges from 45 minutes up to 75 minutes depending upon the size and talkative nature of the group.  My recommendation is to have a 15 minute window, giving busy individuals time to arrive, while serving as fellowship for those can can come early.  Although some discussions may flow over a few minutes, try to keep a consistent schedule, reserving a set hour for each Bible Study.

If the Holy Spirit places an urging on your heart, please contact me in a private message on my Facebook page (Jay Mankus) or send me an email at jlmankus@aol.com.  For those selected, please devote time in December to fasting and prayer so that the Holy Spirit will lead you to ask the right people.  Before you set a specific day and time, try to evaluate the best for all members of your group, realizing it probably won’t be right for everyone.  From there, trust God to provide a harvest of people, Matthew 9:37-38.

by Jay Mankus

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