Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christ Has Come!

All Glory Be to Christ

by Kings Kaleidoscope

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we'll ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we'll ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ere his people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we'll ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!
Rejoicing with you at our Savior's birth,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Perfect Christmas

The posts of people trying to follow The Nester's "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" plan for their Christmas decorations are numerous. But something got lost in translation. Because most of the folks who are taunting that phrase like a mantra have missed it. Please don't write to me about perfection and simplicity if everything in your house looks like a magazine spread. I spend everyday of the year battling perfection in my mind and actions and these posts just make it more confusing for me.

You know what posts I like to read? The ones that say nothing about fighting perfection but show homes that are lived in and are imperfectly beautiful. Most people don't want to pin pictures of their messy desk, dirty dishes, or dog hair covered floor. But in honesty those things exist because of the living that happen in homes that are well used.

So on a week that I ended up with less margin than someone like me needs...A week with two dinner parties among other things, I have a choice to make. Perfection or joy. I can choose to work my fingers to the bone pursuing the illusive perfect holiday consumed with last minute details. Or I can serve good food to people I love and linger. Take a breath, enjoy the conversation, and pray it lasts until the candles burn out. I can have perfectly sparkling floors or a nicely set table that I hope will cause my guests to ignore the floors. Personally, the table sounds like more fun to me.

With Christmas exactly one week away perhaps your to-do list is still incomplete. Lets make a pact, you and I. How about whatever isn't finished by December 20th gets crossed of the list? What if, in lieu of one more thing to fill their house, what your friends and family really want for Christmas is more of you? How about you linger longer over hot chocolate and cookies? What about that person who just wants to gaze at the Christmas tree lights curled up on the couch with you? Or the person who would love for you to watch that Christmas movie with them? Again. For the tenth time.

Perhaps giving up your perfect Christmas means you give someone else theirs? What if their perfect Christmas means simply, more of you?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Isaac Hunter, Orlando, and the American Church

Original Image
 We withhold grace. From others, from ourselves, and especially pastors who fall. Our Bible talks all about an upside-down Kingdom but it is we who are living upside-down. Why won't we talk about mental health? Or addictions including chemical, sexual, and porn to name a few? Why is the church not a a safe place to be single, unwed, or infertile? Why should homosexuals fear entering our doors? We have become "a Church that seems unwilling to talk about certain uncomfortable issues, choosing rather to ignore them, try to cover them up or simply reject people who bring them up," according to Zach Perkins.

I am a an American Christian which is almost an oxymoron these days. You see Christians in America for the most part have no idea what it means to be Christians. We embrace the American dream, teach our children moralism instead of the Gospel and don't even interact with unbelievers much rather share our faith with them.

Hear me out, sin is evil. It separates us from God. But as Elyse M. Fitzpatrick says, "I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe, more loved and welcomed than I ever dared hope." God's grace is so much greater than our sin and he pours it lavishly upon us.

Orlando is my city. My heart beats with it. I take joy in its sights, sounds, and tastes. Like my God, my heart breaks for its people in prison to their sins, broken and bleeding. Recently we had several pastors fall to sin that stole their families, their lives, and their ministries. There are a lot of necessary steps when any of us falls greatly including professional counseling, Biblical community, and Godly accountability. But that process should always begin with grace and ideally end with restoration.

I'm tired of those who have suffered the effects of sin and mental illness believing their only solace is to take their own lives. I'm tired of churches where people don't talk about real issues and can't freely confess sins. I want my divorced friends, my childless friends, my homosexual friends, my addicted friends (lets be honest that most everyone we know, in some way, including ourselves) to run freely to the church (read: Body of Christ) because we freely hand out radical grace.

I don't want another Isaac Hunter story in my city. Instead I want churches, and small groups, and Christians to create a culture where we freely confess our sins and find grace and community. A culture that allows others to stand up and say, "me too."
"And as people increasingly leave the Church, often over issues such as these, it is becoming more urgent that the Church talk about how to care for every one of its members...And as we talk about them, we must remember to address them with humility, understanding and grace, keeping in mind our role as fellow hospital patients, not museum curators." -Zach Perkins

Monday, December 9, 2013

3 Reasons Why Missional Living is Easier at Christmastime

The holidays are upon us and in my experience you’re either feeling overjoyed by all the parties, presents, and events, or you’re feeling overwhelmed and ready for it all to be over. Either way, you have a list that you’re adding to regularly. The good news is that missional living is not another item to add to your list.

Missional living is a lifestyle that involves doing what you’re already doing ( ie. grocery shopping, raising kids, working a job, being involved in your community, etc.) with intention. Being missional means living as a missionary in your current context and season of life. 

Missional living is way of life and not a task to complete. Missional living is not random acts of kindness although those can be incorporated into your lifestyle. Missional living is not serving other Christians. Rick Warren distinguishes service to other Christians as ministry and service to the lost as outreach. While the Bible clearly calls us to love and serve other Christians, it is important to distinguish that fulfilling the Great Commission begins with lost people. Jesus make it clear in Matthew 9:12 that he came for the sick and not the well. Likewise, our missional lives should involve relationships with lost people otherwise we are not being missional at all.

Continue reading over at Missional Women to discover why it's easier to be missional at Christmas time. Join me there today?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Simplify Christmas Shopping Plus Coupon Codes

This post contains affiliate links that help fund this blog

I do not do shopping malls especially during the holidays. And I do not do Black Friday. But I do appreciate a good deal as much as the next girl. So I'm excited to partner with DaySpring, one of my favorite companies, to offer you some discount Black Friday Shopping from the comfort of your own home.

 Here are some of my favorites to give and receive this time of year:


This stocking comes in a variety of colors for any decor and can be personalized.
Gift Giving:
This is thee perfect gift for everyone on your list and is a must read for anyone wanting to find joy in all of life.
This has been on my personal wish list for a long time. Maybe this year?
For the Home:
I love welcome mats. I would have one for each month of the year if I could.
If you want to do your black Friday shopping from the comfort of your couch visit DaySpring here and use the code 30SPECIAL for 30% off your entire order including clearance items or for free shipping on orders over $30 use the code shipping30.

I'd love to hear what DaySpring items are on your list in the comments below. Here's to happy and strees free shopping!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm praying your Thanksgiving finds you celebrating around the table with people you love (and no drama) and enjoying your food as though it has no calories.

As you remember to give thanks today here are some posts that have helped me have a right perspective this week:
  • My friend, Brian, on gratitude through both unemployment and under employment:
  • Shauna Niequist on the sacredness of meals around the table:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Million Little Ways: Giveaway Winner

"I loved this book. Emily's words have encouraged me to be more awake to the art God is making with my life, and I'm starting to notice the way others make art, more, too." -Amy
Congratulations, Amy! I send you a direct message on Twitter about receiving your book from me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Million Little Ways: A #Giveaway

#AMLW #inBooks
I hope you read my review of A Million Little Ways and went right out and bought yourself a copy. If not I'd like to give you the chance to win a copy or if you already own one this book would make a lovely Christmas gift for a friend.

To enter simply leave a comment below saying whether you're embracing the art you were made to live or running from it and why. (Giveaway open to residents of the continental US only.)

To further enhance your reading experience the Bloom Book Club is currently reading A Million Little Ways. Follow the link here to find all the posts and videos including interviews with the author.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Million Little Ways: A Must Read

#AMLW #inbooks
"Could it be true that you too are an artist?...Maybe you have a dream or desire to move into the world, something you're always talking yourself out of. Or maybe you wish you had a way to influence others but you don't think you do." -Emily P. Freeman
Emily P. Freeman's A Million Little Ways subtitled Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live is a terrifying and exciting book that everyone should read. I call it terrifying because the truth is most of us have buried our art. If you're a writer, painter, crafter, musician or the like, for most of your life the world has told you that your art doesn't matter. That it's a waste of time. And like me for a season you tried to cover it up and pretend it wasn't there. Or run from it altogether.

And if you don't fall into any of the traditional categories above then you've spent most of your life believing that you have no art to offer the world. Both perspectives are wrong. Emily uncovers the truth that we are all artists and we all have something to offer that the world is desperately in need of.

Emily also tackles the difficult issue of sin and idolatry as we uncover our art:
"When the art others make begins to terrify rather than motivate it means you are normal. But if you want to create art that matters, something has to change...To carry on is to worship the art rather than the Artist..."
Finally Emily will help you release your art. And that, friends, is the most important part.  So whether you're a doctor or a sculptor, a beer brewer or a singer, a designer or a stay-at-home mom, A Million Little Ways is the book you've been longing for whether you know it or not.

A Million Little Ways is available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, November 11, 2013

When You've Lost Your Joy

After a long 31 days of writing I took a step back and it was quiet here the first week of November. And while a break was much needed there was something else. After several months of peace I encountered a wall of depression that I wasn't quite prepared for. Everything in life became joyless. I felt like I had lost myself. And if you've experienced depression before you know how it can suck the joy right out of the most life giving tasks if you can even manage to do them. And the things that could bring you the most healing (for me that includes writing) are the most impossible to do.

Depression is a thief. It steals joy and life and happiness. It is unpredictable and often uncontrollable. During depression one can experience high and lows that leave you feeling like you're on some terrible roller coaster with little knowledge of what's coming next.

I've written about depression and anxiety here before. But today I have no neat way to wrap this up or steps that have worked for me. I'm just sharing in the midst of my journey so that you can know that you're not alone. I hope that bit of knowledge brings you a ray of hope in the darkness.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today is the Day (Day 31)

#31days of Missional Meals
I hope this series has encouraged you on your missional journey. As we move forward lets remind ourselves of the simple truths we've learned:

If you missed any part of the Missional Meals series links to each day can be found here.

I'd love to hear how this series helped you on your missional journey and how you're implementing what you've learned in the comments below.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Put Mission on Automatic (Day 30)

#31days of Missonal Meals
 (Thank you for your grace this week. I recently returned from a long weekend at Allume followed by a cancelled flight that left me stranded in the airport, and additionally we have some exciting things happening in our personal life, so all that combined left me exhausted with very little time or energy for writing.)

One thing that has really helped me in my missional journey over the years is putting relationships on automatic. I had been doing that for quite some time before The Nester accurately articulated it here. What I mean by "automatic" is to choose reoccurring meals and times each week, month, etc. to develop and deepen relationships with specific people.

When I was doing this best I had two reoccurring lunch dates each week, I opened our home for dinner each Wednesday, and I intentionally spent time at our third place on the weekends.  What works best for you will differ based on your season of life and demographic. Right now I'm really blessed to have a friend who opens her home and cooks us dinner each Monday night. We share food, catch up on life and keep our relationship growing each week around her table. There was a season when we were at their house almost every night and that was wonderful. But while our current season doesn't allow for that it's good to know we have a regular time to break bread and share life.

One of my ongoing themes this month is simplicity. I hope you see how setting up automatic meals can make pursuing missional living easy and accessible in whatever season of life you're in. Be sure to read The Nester's article above for other ideas on how this might work for you.

Do you already have any meals or meetups set on automatic? I'd love to hear how this is working for you in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More Resources for Your Journey (Day 29)

#31days of Missional Meals
I hope you liked the resources I posted Saturday. I came across a few more posts that I couldn't help passing along. I hope they're a benefit to you:

I hope these posts encourage you as you continue on your missional journey.

Monday, October 28, 2013

So Far (Day 28)

#31days of Missional Meals

It's hard to believe our missional meals journey is nearly coming to an end. I hope you've planned a meal and perhaps already enjoyed the beauty of missional meals. We've focused on simplicity in our hospitality and on having meaningful conversations that lead to deeper relationships. I hope it's been clear that you don't need to rework your entire life to live missionally but simply do what you're already doing with intention.

There are three more day in this series and I'd love to hear what you done so far to incorporate missional meals into your intentional life. Share your stories, comments, and questions in the comments below.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

For When You're Hungry (Day 27)

#31days of Missional Meals

When your door is open and you're living with intention, some days you might find yourself hungry. Starving, perhaps. For when you're giving and serving you are giving a bit of yourself. And each time you serve up a meal you offer a bit of your heart as well. And if you're not careful eventually you will find yourself empty and very, very hungry.

So today I pray you commit yourself to sabbath and rest, renewal and rejuvenation. Let someone else, be it a restaurant, or spouse, or friend, serve up the meal. May you read a good book or take a long nap or a enjoy warm bath.

Most importantly, may you connect with God in worship. And though you come to the table hungry, may you always leave full.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Resources for Your Meals (Day 26)

I highly recommend these resources as you continue to discover the power of missional meals:

This cookbook by Mary DeMuth is centered around community. Read my review here.

  • Everyday Rhythms from Redeemer Church: a great strategy for living with intention 

  This one is on my reading list. Have you read it?

 Happy reading!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Why Meals Matter (Day 25)

#31days of Missional Meals

When mission becomes routine it is often easy to forget how much of an impact we are capable of having on the lives of the people we are trying to love.  I was reminded of this truth one night at the local cigar store where I used to work.  When I worked Joy and I made a habit of cooking a homemade meal for the employees about once a month in order to love and serve them.  Most of the people I worked with were 18-24 year olds who were living on their own and didn’t eat homemade meals very often so this was kind of a big deal to them.

Over the years, we have had many opportunities to get to know these people on a personal level, hearing their stories, their fears, their hopes and dreams.  We really saw the impact that taking a few minutes and preparing a homemade meal for people could have on our ability to gain access and validity into their lives.

Even now that I have left the company we still continue to make meals for them once in a while in order to maintain those relationships and get to know the new employees.  It was during one of these times that I was reminded of just how big of an impact these meals could have on someone.

As we brought a home-cooked dinner l into the store I recognized most of the guys working that night but there were a couple of new guys that I wasn’t very familiar with other than just a few casual conversations when I visited the store.  One of those new guys was a very out-going and friendly guy but very vulgar and very upfront with his views against religion.  I had never had a one-on-one conversation about his views but I had overheard a couple of conversations before and gotten the gist.

When we set out the food and invited the guys to dig in he stood back and waited to eat last, but before he went to get his food he pulled me aside and asked why we had done this.  The question caught me off guard because in all the years we had been bringing food no one had asked me this question before (I think everyone was just happy to have some good food brought to them).  My mind was racing as I attempted to formulate my thoughts into a cohesive and brilliant summary of the Gospel and Joy and I were serving these guys.

However, on that day, eloquence was not going to happen and what came out of my mouth was essentially, “My wife and I are Christians and we think that part of living out the Gospel of Jesus includes loving people.  We hope this food is a sign of that love.”  I’m sure the words were far less articulate than those sentences just conveyed, but the point got across nonetheless. 

He looked back at me with a face that expressed both doubt and bemusement, but he replied with, “I don’t f***ing get it, but thanks for doing something nice for us.”  It wasn’t the earth-shattering sermon illustration that I might have hoped for but it brought me back to the reason we were doing this in the first place.

Food was a foot in the door for us.  Meals let us have an opportunity to sit down with people and share an experience that gave us access to their lives.  It was a stepping stone to tell them about the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.  A few dollars out of our pocket and a few minutes out of our lives gave us a chance to be the hands of Jesus to people who desperately need to know our savior.  

 Jason is married to Joy and together they live as missionaries in Downtown Orlando. Jason loves cigars, spicy food and football any night of the week. He dreams of churches that meet in unlikely place like cigar lounges and bars. Because if Jesus ate with sinners why shouldn't we?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pantry Essentials and a Recipe (Day 24)

#31days of Missional Meals

For most of my life I lived in two separate worlds: private and public. As a child, family came and went in a nearly constant slamming of screen doors, but outsiders rarely knocked.  My first years on my own were spent working like a dog and filling my spare hours with textbooks not dinner parties. Even when I finally had the perfect nuclear family I rarely threw open the shudders and invited the world in. I spent the first 25 years of my life telling myself this was normal. I was just a private person, an introvert. I didn’t need to throw open the screen door and let the world into my safe place. 

And then, after divorce and other failures blew a huge hole in my carefully constructed fortress, I started to figure out what you might already know if you’ve been following Joy’s advice all month long: a good meal with someone who cares can heal an awful lot of wounds.

The first few years after my divorce, I spent many nights sitting around the dinner tables of caring friends: A middle-aged couple whose cupboards are always stocked with nice wine and strong cheese; my best friend’s loud Italian family where at least 20 varieties of pasta could always be found in the pantry; and saddled up to a barstool with an aging bachelor buddy who could always be counted on for a drawer full of good beer and an evening of even better conversation. All these varying personalities have one thing in common: their pantries are prepared for conversation.

These days, after learning from my more open friends, my kitchen is always ready. Every Sunday evening neighbors, friends, and family wander onto our back porch and join in our culinary adventures.  Sometimes we are few and sometimes many. I rarely know which in advance. With a stocked pantry and a little imagination I can feed 12 as easily as 2.

The key to a memorable meal is planned spontaneity. This is only possible when you’re pantry is always stocked with staples. A great meal can always be made from a few of the ingredients on this Pantry Essentials Checklist. Most are probably already in your cupboards, but if not, add two or three to your grocery list each week until your pantry is full. Then throw open your screen door and whip up this simple recipe for a crowd-pleasing pasta dish. 

Tuna  Puttanesca Pasta

All of the ingredients for this pleasing pasta are kitchen staples that you should always keep on hand. Double or even triple the recipe to feed a crowd. Now you’ll never be unprepared for company again!


1 lb Penne Pasta
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained well
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 Tablespoon capers
½ cup white wine (or chicken stock if you don’t want to use alcohol)
1 28-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water and add pasta. Cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.    
    Cook until fragrant (about a minute).
3. Add the tuna, olives, and capers. Cook two minutes more.
4. Add the wine. Stir and cook until reduced a bit.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through.
6. Add ¼ cup of the pasta water to your sauce. Drain the pasta.
7. Mix pasta with the sauce. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

Serves 4-6

Cook Time 12 minutes

Renia Carsillo shares her recipes for life, love, and dinner at Renia is currently working on her 2nd book. Read all about it on Kickstarter. In all she does, Renia is working to help women find their most delicious selves. When not cooking or writing, she can be found at the park in her pink laces, running off all that olive oil and good wine!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect (Day 23)

#31days of Missional Meals
It doesn't have to be extravagant. It doesn't have to be perfectly orchestrated. It doesn't even have to involve real food. Sometimes healing takes place in the midst of an impromptu coffee date, or in the simple routine of everyday life.

I had my heart broken and restored with Starbuck's Passion Tea in my hands. I admonished a brother in Christ while my fingers froze from holding Portillo's famous Chocolate Cake Shake. I've dropped mushrooms from Lou's Malnati Salad on my carpet while continuing a weekly movie date with a friend, even in the midst of incredible relational issues. I spoke love into high school girls' broken lives while accidentally burning NestlĂ©'s Break and Bake chocolate chip cookies.

Sometimes, the best of life happens when a friend sees you in the coffee shop window and stops in to say hi. It's that moment in the grocery store when you walk by the cookie dough and buy some just in case those girls ever come over. While making food for my nephew, I was mentored incredibly by my big sister, my role model. Or in midnight McDonald's runs with my unbelieving sister, I am amazed at what truths she allowed me to speak into her life.

Real conversations, real moments, real change happens when you're together, beyond what you could have hoped or planned for.

Take life as it comes; linger in that coffee shop just a moment longer. Buy that great snack that you usually deny yourself. You never know when ministry opportunities will present themselves.  

Clohe Ludwig is a student at The Moody Bible Institute and is currently on staff with Converge Church Planting.  Frank Sinatra is her kind of man and Chicago is her kind of town.To read more of her writing visit her blog here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Memorable Meals (Day 22)

#31days of Missional Meals
"Entertainment has little to do with real hospitality. Entertaining says, I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking. Hospitality, however, seeks to minister." -Karen Mains
Most people can tell you little about the tablescape or centerpiece at their most memorable meals. They probably don't remember the decorations well or how clever the place-cards were presented. Often they'll remember the food. But the most important part of any meal is the people. Conversations and company are what make meals memorable.

Perhaps you'll notice a theme in a how I approach missional living? I'm into simplicity. I believe less is always more. If you're the queen of Pinterest parties that's great. But you're probbably not going to want every missional meal to be an elaborately themed event especially fi you're opening your home at least once a week.

So how can you keep your meals simple so that there's room to focus on relationships? Below are some of my ideas:
  • Keep a simple menu. Use a crock pot for a big pot of soup served with crusty bread and salad. Or a simple pork tenderloin from the crock pot will make a big impression with very little effort.
  • Set a simple table. White is always classic and showcases your delicious food. A simple short candle grouping is always a fine center piece. When I want something more specific to the season I use 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper as place mats. They're cheap and you can simply toss out them after the meal if they get ruined. 
  • Have an after dinner plan. Will you retire to the living room for games? Will you have coffee on the back deck or cordials on the porch swing? Remember the meal is only the beginning and you want to keep the conversation going. Oftentimes a more comfortable seating area is all you need for rich conversations that last well into the night.
What are your tips for keeping hospitality simple? I'd love to hear from you. For more encouragement in this area see A home that says, "Welcome".

Over the next few days I have some wonderful friends and loved ones that will be sharing some of their most memorable meals while I prepare for Allume. Stay tuned because I'm so excited about what they each have to share.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Welcoming Home (Day 21)

#31days of Missional Meals
"We don't want competition. We don't want 'look how beautiful.' We want 'look how honest.'" -Shauna Niequist
I once walked into a home with everything in its place and fresh vacuum lines in the carpet.  Immediately the husband began to apologize for the state of the home and lament how upset his wife would be when she came home to see guests in such a disaster of a home.  It was at that moment that I doubted we would ever have a deep and lasting relationship with this couple. I knew I couldn't live up to their standards of perfection and frankly, I didn't want to.

Missional meals are not about perfection. Your house does not and should not have to be perfect every time you practice hospitality. If you hold yourself to a standard of perfection quite quickly missional meals will become more like work and less like joyful living. This is especially true if you're opening up your home regularly and often.

However grace and authenticity are not excuses for inviting others into a chaotic and dirty home. There are seasons of life where your home may be messier than others and that is ok. But while people don't feel comfortable in an all too perfect house, they also don't feel comfortable in a house where they're afraid to sit down or go to the bathroom. In difficult seasons of life it's ok and wise even to recognize your boundaries and reorient your hospitality calendar.

Below are some simple reminders to help you cultivate a welcoming home:
  • Cleaning Basics: a living room that's picked up, a floor that's swept, and counters that are empty make a big difference. 
  • In a Pinch: always make sure the bathroom is clean for guests as this is the only room they'll spend extended time in alone. (They shouldn't have to questions what that spot on the toilet seat is.) And light a candle in the entry way as a pleasing fragrance gives the illusion of cleanliness even if the eye says otherwise. 
  • Great your guests and offer them a drink right away. It's even better if you have a drink station setup for them to help themselves (this is one I'm working on).
  • Always allow guests to contribute if they ask to or split the menu among the group. People feel more involved when they add something to the meal. If you've got everything covered have those who want to help bring an extra bottle of wine, etc. 
  • Even if the meal is not ready the host should be showered and dressed. (via Shauna Niequist).
  • Bonus: have music playing prior to people arriving (I'm working on this one too). It acts as white noise and eliminates that awkward silence that can occur with a mixed group. 
Do you have any tips for cultivating a welcoming home? I'd love to hear your advice in the comments below.

And for tips on being a great guest see this excellent post.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Prayer for You (Day 20)

#31days of Missional Meals
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:10-11
For when you fail and are failed. For when you say all the wrong things at all the wrong times. For when dinner burns. I pray you would be reminded of the great abounding love of God toward you. I pray you would recognize that God died so you are free to live. That he was perfect so you're free not to be. And recognize that each night when you lay your head down He is still sovereign. You are an instrument of His but it is He who reaches down to the lost, the rebels, the broken, and calls them to himself.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything. So each morning you can wake and live in grace and each night you can fall asleep in peace because you already have everything you need and there's nothing you must do to earn it. You are free to fail, and say the wrong things and burn dinner. Because all is not lost. You are not in control. And that is what true freedom feels like. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Life As Mission: A Visual (Day 19)

#31days of Missional Meals
Verge Network is one of my favorite places for practical missional resources. They've provided this graphic to illustrate life as mission vs. life with mission. If you'd like a more thorough explanation visit the original post here.

I hope this illustration further illustrates how simple it is to live intentionally with missional meals. How can you be more intentional in the areas pictured above? I'd love to hear from you.