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This post is part of a series that comes from an exercise we did as a church to name our reality. You can read more about that exercise here.

There’s a theme bubbling up in our community over the last couple days.

It was a thread weaving it’s way through comments on the blog. It was clear in a wonderful article Lori Sorrel shared. It jumped out of a sermon Matt Honeycutt and Matt Donovan shared with me.¬† It rose to the surface in at least three conversations I’ve had in the last couple days. It’s been so pervasive that I believe God is saying something to us.

What is that theme?

Life is found in facing outward with abundant love.

Let me give a little more texture to that. Small perspective changes can make a big impact. We naturally focus on ourselves and our needs. Whether that is walking into a worship gathering, stopping by a local coffee shop to grab our morning cup, or deciding what we will do with our Friday night. We function as the primary actors in our own story, with all others as the supporting cast. What happens when we look up and start to pay attention to the ways we can become actors in the story God is working in the lives of others?

The short of it is this. If we, each of us, decided to, “in humility, value others above ourselves,” it would make a dramatic difference. (Philippians 2:3) Want ideas on what that looks like in daily life. Click any of the links I shared at the beginning.

I share all of this to set up the pin board revelation for today.

People shared that we struggle to welcome new people into our community.

  • “It’s hard for me to want to invite people here.”
  • “I think my non-Christian friend may feel uncomfortable here.”
  • “We’re not welcoming to new people.”

This does not need to be the case (nor should it be). I know you all. You are loving, gracious, forgiving, and genuinely desire that people feel included and valued. I don’t believe we have a problem of character, we have a problem of perspective. (And changed perspective must lead to changed action.) We need to lift our eyes to see who is around us and focus on how we can love them in the name of Jesus.

The unexpected thing that happens when we do this is that we find greater purpose, life, and joy. It’s the way things work in the kingdom of God. When you focus on who you can welcome at a worship gathering you will feel more connected to what is happening. When you greet your barista by name you’re coffee will become more than coffee. When you spend an hour on Friday night walking the neighborhood and stopping to talk to people you’ll feel more joy and fulfillment about where you live. We don’t live facing outward with abundant love for our own sake, but in the kingdom of God we are benefactors of this kind of life.

Share your thoughts.

  1. What is one small thing you can do to make sure no one ever feels unwelcome at one of our church gatherings again?
  2. What is your greatest barrier to living an outward facing life with abundant love?
  3. What other reactions came up in you as you read this?