April 19 – Radical Hospitality with LuAnn Gilbert

Scripture: Romans 15:7

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

New seasons in life can be exciting, but also scary. The encouragement you need can come in unexpected ways and sometimes before you are aware of how lost you really are. In 1998 we moved from Naperville, IL. to DeBary, FL for my husband’s job. We had lived in Naperville for 13 years, raising our children there. Our oldest son had entered the Air Force and our youngest son had just completed his first semester of college in Michigan.

The arrival of the Empty Nest season can be disorienting all on its own, not to mention a big move. I was feeling lost and depressed. One day I decided to look for a new church home, the phone book showed there was one about 2 miles away; Community UMC. I drove by the church, it looked small and country-ish, not at all like our large, modern suburban church we moved from. I turned the car around and entered the church parking lot. I just sat there for a few minutes and then decided I’d go in and look around and pick up a brochure. I entered into a small narthex area, it was quiet and a bit musty. I didn’t hear a sound, the door to the office was open so I peeked in and a lady was sitting at a desk,

“May I help you?”

I tried to be light and cheery, “we are new to the area and…”

I don’t know what came over me, but I started to cry and I couldn’t speak. The lady came around her desk and put her arm around my shoulder and pulled out a chair for me. “My name is Patty, you just sit with me and when you’re ready to talk, I’m ready to listen”.

I blew my nose and started telling this stranger my story. “I feel so lost and out of place, I don’t know where I belong or who I am anymore.”

Patty stood up, came around the desk and said, “I think you belong here; God wants you here”.

Patty continued listening and shared her story, she gave me a tour, introduced me to the Pastor and never once seemed judgmental or impatient. She literally welcomed me, a stranger with open arms. This became our church home for 7 years, leading me to a closer walk with God. I had received Radical Hospitality and it changed my life.

Discussion questions:

  1. Have you been the recipient of Radical Hospitality? Did it make a difference in your life?
  2. Have you ever had the opportunity to offer Radical Hospitality to someone else? God wants you to look for those opportunities and respond.

One response to “April 19 – Radical Hospitality with LuAnn Gilbert”

  1. I absolutely love LuAnn’s story. You know what’s even better? Her Patty did not rush off to answer a ringing telephone at any point in the story. Unlike every other office, including our church office here. It’s one of my pet peeves that the person on the phone is more important than the one standing in front of you. I tell myself that there may be an evaluation unit of answered calls, and that the office staff is measured by how quickly they dismiss the person in front of them, and get to the phone. That keeps me from saying anything I might regret.
    I am getting a better idea of what the 5 principles are.


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