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Fling Open Your Doors and Let Others In!

We shouldn't make our home a haven just for our family. Fling open your doors and let others in; letting them enjoy the haven and warmth of your homemaking. #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

Welcome back to our final week of the Making Your Home a Haven Series!

If you are just joining us, be sure to read the posts from the other weeks to get up to speed on what we’ve been doing. { Week one  Week two and Week three } Then, be sure to come back to this post for this week’s challenge!

Karen Writes:

Wow! Our time together has been flying by! We have come to our last challenge. I hope the past few weeks have made a real difference in your homes. In farmhouse and townhouses. Condos and cottages. Whether you live in a brick ranch-style home or a third floor apartment. A trailer or a two-story. Our prayer is that you will continue to make your homes cozy and inviting.

So…keep lighting those candles….

Keep loving from the oven….

Listen for those heart drops….

And now, this week!

Fling open the doors and let others in!

But before we do…..let’s revisit our focus verse of the challenge.

{Did you memorize it? If you did, please hop over to my Facebook page, where I have posted the designed verse of the challenge, shown here below. I’d love for you to chime in on that post and let me know you memorized it. I will be picking a few people from that thread to win a prize. What? You’ll have to hop over and see!)

Download the key verse graphic here.

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Now …..for our final challenge!

Reach out and gather in.

If there's room in your heart, you'll make room in your home. - Karen Ehman #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

Don’t just make loving your family your aim during this challenge. As a family, reach out and bring others into your circle of love! Brainstorm as a family a person—or perhaps even another family—whom you can make the object of your love and kindness this week.

Maybe it is a “necessary person”—someone who helps your family to get life done like the:

mail carrier
grocery store clerk
dentist
garbage collector
first responder
or teacher.

Perhaps it is a family new to your church or neighborhood.

Do something as simple as thanking them verbally and offering a small gift, such as a gift card or other small token. Or, light that candle, fire up that oven (or order pizza—it’s all good!) and open your home for a little old-fashioned hospitality.

Stir up one another to love and good works—just like our verse instructs us to! Not so others will be wowed by your family’s generosity but so others will be pointed to Jesus.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. - Aesop #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

Throw Another Cup of Water in the Soup

When I was a young girl, people seemed more willing to stretch whatever food they had and welcome others to their table. I often heard people of my mother’s generation say how their parents—who lived through the Depression—simply used to throw another few cups of water in the soup to make it stretch further when company dropped by. But today, in a culture saturated with Pinterest images of perfection that showcase lovely tablescapes, stunning décor, and gourmet fare, we aren’t so willing to have others into our home to break bread or share a plate of nachos.

What has happened?

We have mixed up the notions of entertaining and offering hospitality.

Entertaining puts the emphasis on you. Hospitality puts the emphasis on your guests. - Karen Ehman #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and your home and seeks to impress others. In contrast, hospitality puts the emphasis on your guest and seeks to help them to feel refreshed, not impressed, when they leave your home.

When I think back on my life and the people whose hospitality I’ve enjoyed, what comes to my mind most often is not the food they served but the attitude with which they served it. They were welcoming. Interested in my life. Concerned for my comfort. In most of the circumstances, I couldn’t even tell you what was on the menu that day. What I enjoyed most, and what I carried with me for years, was the feeling of love and acceptance I received when I was around these people, inside their homes.

Think of those in your life today.

Would they say that your home was a safe place—a haven for them when they were stressed or troubled?

Will you pray and prepare, both your heart and your home, to be a part of God’s plan in their lives? Will you adopt a perspective that all we have been given—from our home to our car and everything else—belongs to God and is given to us to share with others?

When we willingly open our homes we aren't being nice, we are being obedient. - Karen Ehman  #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

So, what if you want to throw open your doors and invite someone to share a meal—or simply a snack—in your home? Don’t fret.

Here are a few helpful tips and some easy menu ideas.

Number one rule. Do not try a new recipe out on company. Stick to the ones you have tested that have turned out well. Been there. Burnt that.

Don’t try to be fancy. Gourmet food isn’t necessary. Try instead to stick to this guideline: serve simple foods but plenty of them. Better a hearty meatloaf and mashed potatoes with enough to go around rather than a small fancy casserole that includes ingredients no one has heard of and is rather skimpy, so folks feel they can’t take a heaping helping.

Inquire about allergies or sensitivities. Be sure to check with guests to see if anyone has any allergies or sensitivities to any foods, and then plan your menus accordingly.

As we scatter kindness, we help create a safe place where we can share the gospel. - Karen Ehman  #WomenLivingWell #homemaking #friendship #hospitality

And now, some ideas of what to serve:

Baked Potato Bar.
Bake up several large potatoes (russets work best) and then serve them with various toppings, such as chopped ham, crumbled bacon, sautéed mushrooms and onions, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, cooked broccoli, or prepared chili, in addition to the standard butter and sour cream. To create a theme, also serve root beer floats so you can call it “Suds and Spuds Night.”

Build your own burger.
Make it a retro diner night! Bake up a big batch of French fries in the oven as you grill hamburgers on the grill. Provide buns and various toppings: sliced cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and so on. Serve milkshakes to go with them. Don’t forget the whipped cream and cherries on top.

Host a soup and salad luncheon.
You don’t have to make all the food. Guests are usually more than happy to help out with the cuisine while you provide the place for a get-together. Hold a soup and salad buffet potluck. Guests bring either a cold salad or a hot Crock-Pot of soup to share. You provide bread or rolls and butter.

Old-fashioned ice cream or pie social.
This idea is inspired by friends who always hosted an ice cream social on June 21, the longest day of the year. Simply have all your guests bring a topping for the ice cream: chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, chocolate chips, hot fudge, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, bananas, chopped nuts, sprinkles, or whipped cream. You provide gallons of ice cream and table service. Everyone can craft their own sundae and enjoy visiting as they eat. Or make it a pie social, inviting everyone to bring a pie to share. You provide the ice cream to go on top!

Get ready. I think I hear a knock on the door. Time to throw another cup of water in the soup. Or to grab another soul and head out for a cup of cheer. Anything to share love with another person in your life.

Now…for our final weekly giveaway….and conversation…

Who would you like to invite over for a meal or snack in the next few weeks and why and what would you serve?

Or tell about about a time you had someone over and the blessings you received from opening your home.

listen-love-repeat-at-computer-1

One person who comments will win a book and Bible study bundle of my new book (that releases November 15th!) called Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World  ALONG WITH a $50 Amazon gift certificate to buy something for your home to make it welcoming. 

This giveaway has ended.  Sarah is our winner and she has been contacted via email.

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The winner will receive one copy of the book, one six-session DVD Bible study and workbook. You can read the book and do the study alone. Or, you can grab a few friends, and host a study in your home!

*If you want to know more about this book, you can visit the new website set up for it that includes tons of lovely, shareable images for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc… and see why 5.16% of all the profits from the book will go to the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Thank you all SO MUCH for joining us over the past several weeks as together we attempted to make our homes haven for not only our families, but for all the people that God sends our way. I can’t thank Courtney enough for allowing me to hang out with you all and share my ideas. I would love to stay connected with you, so please feel free to sign up to get my blog posts automatically or hang out with me on InstagramPinterestTwitter or Facebook.

Happy Haven-making and keep on stirring one another up to love and good deeds!

God Bless,

Karen Ehman

*This post contains an affiliate link.

86 Comments

  1. We do this every weekend, I am always running out of ideas what to make, I love the idea of suds and spuds definitely want to try that next time! ❤️

  2. I want to invite some of my husband’s new co workers over for a warm fall meal in the next few weeks. I love to make people feel welcomed and cared for!

  3. We have three sets of friends who are moving and I would love to have them over for a peaceful meal where the decor is not moving boxes meets chaos. I get that it would be brief, but it would be a meal they don’t have to make in a peaceful setting and involve taking leftovers and breakfast home with them!!!

  4. Hello!

    I’m a single mom of two amazing, active kids. Between all their stuff, work, and I am in school, I have a difficult time opening my home to my family. For the most part my house is neat and clean, and I wouldn’t mind company, but I sometimes feel like my home is not good enough for others. This is definitely something I am praying about and asking for His help and guidance.

    Anyways, last Christmas I put my fears aside and invited my entire family over to decorate Christmas cookies. I provided all the cookies because I love to bake, and all the decorations. We had an absolute blast, and there is something comical about watching grown ups decorate cookies. Everyone had so much fun they asked if we could do it again this year.

  5. A few months back we had friends from out of town here to check out a university for their son at an open day event near us. Last minute we invited them to come over for dinner, and we ordered Chinese since I hadn’t planned a meal. We had some lovely time to fellowship before they hit the road for home. At first I felt really bad because I hadn’t prepared our small two-bedroom apartment for guests. The bathroom wasn’t the cleanest and there were projects and bits of clutter everywhere. I have fibromyalgia with pain struggles and not much energy, and normally I have set days for clean-up. It had been a few days since I’d done a tidy, so it was obvious I wasn’t prepared. Our friends were very gracious, they didn’t mind the clutter, and I pushed aside the worry and enjoyed their visit.

    A few weeks later we had different out-of-town guests and it was such a lovely time of fellowship with them. With their small children I quickly realised that our newly-wed home isn’t really child-proof or child-friendly. As a former teacher I have many children’s books, but very few toys. Despite that, it was so lovely to open our home to our friends. I used our slow-cooker to it’s full potential and had many make ahead meals worked out over the four days they were in town. They stayed in a hotel, but ate dinner with us for four nights. It was exhausting for me, but very much worth it to offer them food and enjoy a great time of catching up.
    Thanks for sharing your suggestions and encouragement.

  6. My dd (age 5) has a heart for this–inviting people in. She recently told me who she would like to invite for Christmas this year.

  7. We just had my husbands brother and his family over for dinner. It was so nice just to watch our kids play and enjoy the company. We try to have people over frequently to listen and share with.

  8. So, I would love to invite our pastor and his wife in. They have encouraged both my husband and children and I in so many different ways. I love to give our time by being hospitable however more often feel like I would love to give more. MStewart, I am not, and she has 100s making her look amazing! My task is being my best version and serving a cup of cool water in Jesus’ name.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  9. I am actually already planning on having a family that is new to town over on Friday night for supper! I am so excited to help them feel welcomed!!

  10. We are a military family and recently moved across the country. We went from a home we owned to a rental home that just didn’t feel like “us”. We always had people over before but I just couldn’t get into it. Then a friend from home came to visit her family who live nearby. They made a stop at our home to catch up and see how we were settling in. After they left I couldn’t believe how the atmosphere of the house had changed. We were home! I learned that opening our doors to do what we love (visit) can be the key to making a house a home. Let the Son-shine in.

  11. Thank you so much for encouraging me to make my home a resting place. I have been worried about how to entertain with 3 kids 5 and under but your tips offered me some practical ways to do it without the stress.

  12. Wow! What a great series this has been….truly impactful!
    This book of yours, Karen, sounds intriguing and much needed in our culture. I absolutely love the concept or differentiation that you make between entertaining and hospitality. Something that I need to always need to keep in mind. I need to not get hung up on what to make and more so just be obedient.
    THANKS for your inspiration!!!

  13. I would love to have my neighbors over for dinner, because they have been so kind and helpful since we moved in about a year ago. Thanks for the encouragement and ideas to do it, Karen.

  14. I invited a friend and her kids over for dinner at the last minute on Sunday. – I would never think of doing that before because my house wasn’t “perfect.” But I did and I’m so glad! The food was simple…burgers, hot dogs, mac & cheese, fruit and veggies, but no one cared. The kids had fun playing and the adults enjoyed visiting. Thank you for encouraging and reminding me that hospitality means putting the emphasis on our guests and their comfort, rather than striving to create a fancy meal and maintain a perfectly clean house.

  15. Being new in town, I would like to invite the neighbors for a soup potluck or ice cream sundaes, so we can get acquainted and see how we can encourage them. Thank you for your encouragement and great ideas!

  16. I had our small ladies group over from church for potluck and fellowship, I was feeling overwhelmed at first wondering where we all sit but it was such a blessing forming deeper relationships and getting to know one another better.

  17. I’d like to invite a girl from our church over one afternoon soon, just for lunch + coffee & treats. She’s my age, but works nights a lot. She’s also recently found out she’s pregnant, but isn’t married, and I think it’s made her feel awkward about coming to church. I hate that she feels that way! I’d like to let her know that she’s loved and so is that baby!

  18. Hi Courtney and Karen!
    I have so enjoyed this series! I printed the verse and shared the challenge with my Bible study group. One simple way I have been showing hospitality is by having a friend for coffee once we take the kids to school. I bought some cute napkins and set out some fruit and store bought muffins. I’m not a cook, so this was best for me. My friends and I enjoy the quiet time to sip and visit! It makes my heart glad, and I feel encouraged as they leave with a smile and thank you. 🙂

  19. I had a group of women over from our church. Their husbands were going to a meal at church and meeting afterwards to be charged/questioned before being ordained as deacons the following Sunday. I’ll never forget how grateful these women were to also be enjoying a good meal and having a good time of fellowship. More than that, I’ll never forget the joy I received from having these women in my home ????

  20. I love this challenge and the simple reminder of where our focus needs to be …off self and on others. The outward focus is always best as we must daily kill our pride and love others. I have several young women I’m connected too and I will offer a soup and salad time. Then actually I’m going to just take turns inviting each of them to join my family for dinner. A simple reminder of what a Christian family/home looks like ..chaos and all LOL! Thanks!! Julia Petrie

  21. Morning ladies! I have been going through a very hard time since end of ssummer and I aa so blessed to have some of the most wonderful and supportive people in my life. My sisters and one of my girlfriends came oove and or called me everyday during this time. They are my angels from God. I want to invite all 3 over for a meal to thank them. Love this challenge and thank you for all the amazing ideas!

  22. I’d love to have my pastor over for dinner. My home is less than perfect and I fret over that. This article has helped me overcome that issue and I am going to go for it! Thank you!

  23. Thank you for this study! I look forward to it every year. This year I used this study to encourage my daughters teacher at school. Each week I would adapt the topic to a classroom setting and sent her little gifts to encourage her to make her classroom a haven. For example, week one she was given scratch and sniff stickers to use on the kids homework assignments. Week two, I baked some pumpkin muffins for her class. Week three, I gave her some cute stationary and encouraged her to listen in for those heart drops from her students. Week four, two Starbucks gift cards, one for her and one for her to reach out and bless another teacher with. It was so much fun!

    This week we are having a newly married couple over for dinner and I am making tortilla soup!

  24. you are so right – I think we often stress on the details. I can remember last year getting ready for a bridal shower and we had it planned for outside. It rained all day – and I stressed the whole week coming up to the bridal shower that it would not be as good or as fun and we had 33 ladies. it all worked out wonderfully and everyone kept saying how nice they thought it was. After that I have started learning to just roll with the punches. Just had a group of ladies from church over last Friday night – I had a hectic day – went to pick up groceries in the morning and 3 business appts. in the afternoon and got home at 4 pm and people were arriving at 6 pm. So my 9 year old and I went in to prep mode, ran the vacuum, swiffered the hard floors, wiped down surfaces very quickly and I bought some snacks and each lady was bringing a snack. And it truly was more about the fellowship than anything – it was great!!

  25. About a month ago we invited one of my husbands soldiers over for dinner. His fiancé isn’t here right now and he seemed so lonely. Since then my husband has gone over there and he’s been over a few times. It’s amazing to see how much he appreciates someone taking the time to notice him.

  26. Thanks for the reminder that your house doesn’t have to be magazine perfect to invite people over. Love the easy ideas for dinner.

  27. My husband and I love having company over for dinner. It is a little hard to have people over since we live so far out of town, but during the winter months we try to have people over once a week.

  28. We enjoy hosting family / friend gatherings and will look forward to using some of your menu ideas as the theme. Thanks for sharing!

  29. I have so enjoyed this series. Thank you for taking the time to put it together.
    We would like to have a family in our church who will be moving soon over.
    We have 7 children, so we like to have friends over for game nights, we just do things very simple. Either just snacks and drinks or sometimes just dessert and drinks. We love having different people over to our house to have fun and fellowship.

  30. Over the years our house has become “Bailey bed and breakfast” to our family. Most of my family has had to live with us at some point. I have finally gotten to the point where I can relax and enjoy those God has sent and not put myself down for not being Suzy homemaker. Dishes can wait….people can’t. Love these ideas to help me keep my door and my heart open.

  31. Thank you for sharing this series. I have enjoyed it so much! I am going to invite an elderly neighbor over who lives alone for dinner and conversation.

  32. My family and I just missionaries in our home quite frequently. We support many missionaries in our church, and we they come to share their ministry, Roby and I tend to have them over for dinner. We love getting to know more about these servants of God. They usually stay overnight. We will give them our bed, so they can have their on bathroom. Then we will make breakfast for them, the next day, before they head to their next destination. We just did this Sunday night/ Monday morning. We opted to just get Subway, for dinner, since we had church Sunday night. We brought it home, gathered around the table, and got to know one another more. They had their 2 kids with them, which stayed in our guest room. Then we woke up the next morning and made pancakes and bacon for them. They loved it! We love being able to host missionaries.

  33. Just started bible study at my house 2 weeks ago with ladies I don’t know because I’ve only lived here for 10 months. I make sure the house is picked up and clean but not perfect. i want folks to feel like my house is a home, not a museum and I want the ladies who come to realize that they’re NORMAL if their house isn’t perfect! I do think my home is welcoming and a haven. My friends all know they can call on me any time and I will be there. I want my kids to grow up serving and having others over to their homes.

  34. Love this and you just finished teaching your hoodwinked study to a group of young mommas-blessed!
    I have two favorites of gatherings in our homes this year it seems everywhere I turned I was hearing of marriages falling apart, crumbling or women simply asking how do I get my husband to lead?? Since this is not part of my story praise the lord the only thing I knew to do was to walk along side of and encourage so….. I hosted a game night with dating divas marriage games – so fun we had 10 couple ranging in age from 20- 60 as well as our pastor over – For us older ones to simply model Godly marriage the newly weds and forever weds were our teams it was such a great way to bridge that connection of the generations!!

    And the other time was a young girl’s bible study my then 5 th grader wanted to share Jesus with a little girl bully at school so we invited over a few friends and started a Friday evening bible study at times we had 25 girls – the study lasted 2 years . The girls are now 20 and I recently was being served by the most precious waitress and she shyly said do you remember me … I used to come to your home each week! Of course I did!!!
    Love sharing his love with others!

  35. Ask a handyman to share lunch. Had pork chops topped with sauerkraut and potatoes. Later he said he was not fond of kraut but enjoyed what we served (homemade kraut – in a jar). ( Have since learned as a family we prefer kraut canned in jars not metal cans. Prefer the taste)
    Thank you for this series

  36. Karen, I love, love, love this from the post: “Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and your home and seeks to impress others. In contrast, hospitality puts the emphasis on your guest and seeks to help them to feel refreshed, not impressed, when they leave your home.” Wow. Powerful.

    We’ve lived in our house for almost 4 years and other than immediate family for birthdays and “just because” get-togethers, we haven’t really opened the door to others. Not because we don’t want to, but we haven’t made the time. We did invite our neighbors over last year for a little football party.

    My husband and I used to host a Christmas party every year for several years inviting the same large group of friends. It was really neat to see friends connect with other friends at our party. Everyone looked forward to our Christmas party every year. And you know what? I think I put more emphasis on entertaining when planning the parties, but focused on hospitality during the parties. Looking back, and taking your phrase into consideration, I get the difference.

    Thanks!

  37. My husband and I don’t have many people over, honestly we would love to but we don’t feel like we have many friends or aqantences where we live. My husband’s job is on call 24/7 and we are always in the middle of a project or cleaning and he is called to work. That task we were working on lays around the house for days until we can return to it. We also live in a 40s farm house that has no storage, and our spare room is the place for storage. However, we are having company here in a week! My sister who has been through a tough past 4 or 5 months is coming to visit for 3 days. She’s also bring her 3 kids! We are very excited and it is going to be fun to love on them and help them relax and enjoy some time was a little family whose gone through huge changes in the last bit.
    Yes having my sister over is just having family over but, we’re getting to help her and her three kids make memories as a family of 4 now.

  38. We are in the middle of a remodel, so our house has been in chaos for months. It’s hard to want to open your home when it’s a disaster, limited seating and the fear of being judged. I would love to have a teacher and his family over for dinner and games. There are a couple of other families in our circle of people, we have discussed having over.

  39. My Uncle Pete is who I would love to have over for coffee or soup. He was my Dad’s best friend and since my Dad’s been in heaven he’s a link to my dad. He and my mom are both widowers so they also share a special bond. It’s been about a month since we’ve all got together but I want to make it a priority for me and my kids to spend more time with him. He’s in his late 70’s so we don’t know how much time we have left with him.

  40. Loved your article. It was so encouraging!
    I am going to invite my neighbors over. I am going to call it Nachos with the Neighbors! I am so excited to see what God does with it!

  41. Thank you for the encouragement! I’ve been feeling the pull to have people over, but I’ve been too embarrassed and feeling insufficient. I have a friend joining us for lunch tomorrow and I’m pushing away those negative thoughts so that I can focus on making their visa enjoyable time for all of us. I’m tired of missing out on deepening my friendships just because my house isn’t perfect!

  42. I can’t believe this challenge is almost over already. I have enjoyed it so much again, this is my 2nd year doing it. This week is hard as we don’t have people over very much anymore. When the kids were young we always have people over and had so much fun cooking out and just goofing off talking and laughing together. We showed up at each other’s house on birthdays unannounced with cake and whatever to eat. I miss those days so much. Now the kids come home but since they are late 20’s they come and then go hang out with their other single friends. At least they still like coming home which is a blessing to me.

  43. We have some friends who typically go to Texas for the winter (we are in MI!) Some of us won’t be able to go this year, so we thought it would be fun to have a Winter Texan Party to get together before some start heading south. Our house is not really large enough to host 12 adults around a table, but we did have garage space. So, in the midst of all of the garage stuff (we did clean it as best as possible) we set up folding tables and chairs and had a bunch of mis-matched table cloths. Drinks were set up on top of the freezer – the outdoor dining table hosted the food – the workbench hosted the crock pots! And I bravely tried some never-before-tried Texas themed recipes. I confessed to my guests that I had never used some of these recipes before. They wanted to know what was new – what wasn’t – and wanted recipes. We had lots of fun even though the “setting” was not fancy!

  44. This series has been wonderful! I have so many new ideas! You have inspired me to open my home more often. I love people and love to minister to them. I plan to invite a few ladies from my Connect Group to join me for a soup/sandwich meal.

  45. I would love to invite over a relative who has passed and I never had the honor of meeting and knowing. I would most definitely cook up some family favorites and our favorite blueberry muffin recipe that has been in our family for at least three generations now. 🙂

    Looking forward to reading this book! It looks awesome!!

    Joy and peace,
    Elizabeth

  46. One of my sister-in-laws. Haven’t had the chance to just sit down & talk with her in over a month & we would have a big steaming mug of something & hot cookies. The other would be my sister & my brother. They live out of town & I haven’t seen them in over 1-1/2 years. At that time our discussion was stressed & all about our father that was dying of cancer. He passed away several months after that & we didn’t see each other for the funeral either. I would prepare an entire buffet on the kitchen counter of what we call “snicky snacks” (all kinds of horsdevores). We would just sit & talk & talk which we haven’t been able to do in forever.

  47. Had my regular bible study ladies over to my home for impromptu birthday celebration. Was such an honor to serve them and love on them in my home.

  48. This makes me want to re-read A Heart That Says Welcome. Hospitality is definitely something that I need to do more of, but I’m always nervous about inviting over anyone but relatives. There are several ladies from church, our homeschool group, and my girls’ AHG troop that I would love to have over sometime. Guess I need to start planning. ????

  49. Great ideas! I don’t like anyone leaving my house hungy…. When my teenagers have friends over, I never say, “ok they need to leave by 3:00” or whatever….I always say “stay and eat with us”. So If I make nachos, I just add a few more ingredients. I want everyone to feel welcome at our house and feeding them is one of the best ways to show hospitality. 🙂 I look forward to your posts and blogs!

  50. Loved the series! I am a introvert so I really struggle with entertaining. My want-to is there but I don’t always get it done. I have family at my house all the time though. Will keep working at it!!

  51. I love the focus from entertaining to hospitality! My husband and I thoroughly enjoy having people over, but we just get busy and put it off to next week. This is the reminder that I need to open up my home this week!

  52. We have been friends for almost 15 years with a couple who host wonderful Christmas Eve open house parties for family and friends every year. People come after church services and stay until 10:00 pm or so. The children go downstairs, eat Christmas cookies, and play games. Each child receives a gift..one toy and one outfit! Our friend cooks and bakes such a wonderful meal..and it’s a large meal. Usually 40 to 50 people attend! Our friends have such a giving and generous nature! Such good memories have been made at their Christmas Eve parties. True hospitality at its best!

  53. As a pastor’s family, we enjoy connecting with folks in our church in a casual setting. We’ve learned that “simpler is better” as we can all enjoy the evening more! Love the Spuds and Suds idea!

  54. Three years ago my husband and I decided that our New Years resolution would be to have people in our home twice a month for supper. We did not realize how much God would bless us through that. Our home is now always full of friends and neighbours that feel that our place is a place of rest where they can kick up their feet and rest with a big cup of coffee and a visit.

  55. I have really enjoyed this series, thank you so much for sharing! We have 5 kids, and as they grow, I want our home to be the haven they retreat to, and that their people feel at home in, too.

  56. What a great study. Coming from a home that didn’t communicate love or fellowship and my husband came from the same type of home. So it’s very hard for us to open up. Right now our home is a total disaster because my husband has been diagnosed with Altzheimer’s and we’re trying to downsize to see what our next options are. To look at it you would think we were hoarders. There has been several members in our church that have had surgeries and other health issues that our stepping out is preparing a meal to take them. To us this is a big opening up. As things settle down I hope to get back in to volunteering. That’s my heart’s passion. Thank you again for your encouraging and insight. Love you.

  57. Ever since I was a little girl, the verse in Hebrews about being gracious hosts to strangers always resonated with me – “you never know when you might be entertaining angels”! I love to welcome people into my home and I pray that it will be a place for them to find peace. I’d also love to win this prize in particular for my bible study group!! Hehe. We have been making our homes havens together.

  58. I love the-time to throw another cup of water on the soup!! And it is so true we are worried our house or food isn’t good enough! When honestly most people love to just come visit and not have to cook themselves. We need to stop missing out on sharing with others and caring about them because we care too much what they might think of our stuff. Love loved your article!

  59. Thank you for t h e encouragement and conviction to open our homes. I love the reminder that it doesn’t have to be gourmet or our homes perfect. Just be welcoming, kind and loving. My mind goes to so many people I could invite. One is a group of widows in our church. Another is a group who serve silently and unnoticed every Sunday. Bless you for your words of encouragement!

  60. Thank you for all the reminders to keep it simple. We had some folks over, having chili and cornbread, and spent hours talking. It was a great time and we spent a lot talking about God and all things biblical … we covered a lot of ground and it was delightful.

  61. I would like to invite for dinner our next door neighbor, Nita, a sweet lady in her upper 80’s, who recently become a widow. Her sweet husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, and met Jesus this Spring. It has been very hard for Nita without him, but she keeps busy with gardening and often spends time with her daughter. My family invited her to dinner soon after the passing of her husband, but she said she “just wasn’t ready yet”. Perhaps NOW would be right time to ask her again! Your challenge of reaching out to help someone in need has made me think of Nita! If she accepts our invitation to join our family for dinner, I might serve homemade soup or vegetarian chili, with fresh baked bread (topped with homegrown honey), a mixed green salad, and a hot fudge brownie with ice cream for desert. Since we both share a love for gardening, I know Nita would appreciate fresh, natural foods. As a gift, we would give her a small jar of honey from our bee hives. It would be such a blessing to have her in our home with us!

  62. What a great post and all the awesome comments with ideas! I am really more of in introvert/shy girl, but I married an extrovert/must-be-with-people guy. I figured our home would constantly be full of guests. Due to “life”…it has not been. But we have been so blessed by all the times we do open our home. At three different churches we went to, we took initiative and invited other families over to have dinner and really get to know them. We were actually told by one wife that our gift was hospitality! I really never thought I would hear that. Her comment definitely encouraged me to continue stepping out of my comfort zone. My Hubby and even planned an Eight for Dinner night one time where we invited 3 new-to-the-church couples over by invitation and specified formal dress (and no children), and we played our own version of the Newlywed Game. I dream of having my house neat as a pin all the time and something in the crock pot so that I can invite people to stay to dinner, or just come over. My house is currently a disaster, but I will keep dreaming and make the most of every opportunity we have to fellowship with others. I would love to have my brother and his new wife over for dinner. I wanted to have them over before they got married, but never got around to it. I just need to pick a date and invite them!

  63. My husband rent a townhouse and have more stuff than it should hold as we both lived separate before. Although we’ve purged a ton, it still feels suffocating even after I’ve cleaned and it’s really been getting to me. It’s hard to want to invite others over when I don’t even want to be there, and we talk all the time about the kind of house we want to have and how we want to be good hosts. I guess there is no harm in practicing, maybe it will help me to be at peace with where we live, like someone earlier mentioned. I think I will invite a few people over for dinner and a game night. Thanks for the encouragement and the challenge.

  64. I’ve loved this series! It’s been a great reminder to keep my focus on God and others before myself. I especially liked the distinction you made between entertaining (for ourselves) and hospitality (for others). It takes a lot of pressure off and reminds me that it’s all about relationships, not the perfect Pinterest centerpiece!

  65. I love the explanation of entertaining versus hospitality! It helps me focus on the important instead of getting anxious over the unimportant. Thank you!! We once invited a missionary couple over to hear of the work they would be doing in Vienna. It was not a fancy thing – just spaghetti on a week day. We became sweet friends and see them every time they come back to the states!

  66. Thank you so much for this series! You made everything sound so easy and fun! I loved the heartdrop series! We don’t have a fancy house, and it needs a lot of work! But, I’ve been trying to be a little more open to letting my teenage daughter have a friend of hers over. Last weekend we went on to a corn maze, and brought pumpkins back here to make jack-o-lanterns from. When the day went a little longer than originally planned we just got a pizza for supper. Trying to look at things from a different perspective, and rather than worrying about myself and what people are thinking, to be available and think of others! 🙂

  67. I would like to have my mom and her sister (my aunt) over so they could mend their relationship. I would serve dessert, apple crumble and a rich vanilla ice cream. There’s nothing like a dessert to put you in a good mood 🙂

  68. I am going to invite my neighbor and her children to come over after they get home from school for A homemade after school snack. I have a preschooler and I think it would be the perfect, low stress, situation. I often feel awkward about inviting people over that are new friends.

  69. I think I’m going to leave a bag of Halloween candy for the mail carrier tomorrow. Everyday, she has to deal with the sound of my dogs barking and carrying on even though they are just doing their job.

  70. My family and I are moving into a new home. It has been chaotic to say the least. We will invite everyone over for dinner that helped us. This will help us break in the new home!

  71. My husband is a pastor and I would like to invite each one of the staff families into our home, then the elders, then the deacons. Pot roast with potatoes and carrots always goes a long way and most people like.

  72. Thank you so much for this post! I almost skipped it thinking …”I invite people in all the time…I got this….don’t need any advice in this area”….then God said…”read on, Joy” And I was so encouraged and blessed by it. Yes, I “entertain” but with it always comes anxiety and nerves about making it “perfect” (which I always thought was “hospitality”) instead of focusing on the fellowship. I love your ideas and will be putting them to good use this upcoming season. Thank you again. God knew just what I needed to hear from you.

  73. The scarcity mentality has taken over our culture. Time is a luxery and therefore many people put off hospitality because of the harried lives we live. In a time where people lock themselves in their homes and watch t.v. or sit on a computer, hospitality is getting to be a rare occurrence. People don’t even have time to cook a warm meal for their own families, so takeout and restaurants dominate. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was invited for dinner. So I must try harder imitate Jesus and make time to open my home a Nd invite people in. I think of how Jesus fed the 5000 with only a few loaves of bread. Even then, the disciples had the scarcity mentality, but Jesus proved them wrong. All it takes is a little faith and prayer to pull off something amazing and unforgettable!!

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