5 People That Need Your Hospitality

This world is full of people needing to be loved and ministered to, especially this year. This has been a rough season for so many with financial hardships, health scares, and social isolation. While everyone deserves our kindness and hospitality, I’ve realized that there are groups of people that sometimes need a little more than others. These are people that often feel loneliness first and it effects them the hardest. Maybe you’ve identified some of these people in your own circle. If so, that’s great! You can start extending hospitality to them in practical ways. If not, I’ve broken down into 5 categories the main groups of people I think we can start with. Out of these groups we can easily identify those who need a helping, or encouraging, hand. We can then use our talents and God given gifts to bless them while we practice hospitality as Christ commands.

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1.) College/Seminary students


Think back to when you were in college. You were broke, away from home, and sometimes just needed a hot meal and an ear to listen. Consider connecting with a local college or seminary. Work with student services and maybe offer to host a dinner one night for a few struggling students. Seminary is a great way to reach out to families that need a little hospitality. Care packages are another way to show some hospitality to college students. Little baskets filled with nutritious snacks, soaps, and office supplies are much appreciated. This is a practical and tangible way to be a huge blessing to this demographic.

2.) New parents


When you’ve just had a brand new baby, sometimes it’s all you can do just to survive. Offer to babysit the older children, or come rock the baby, while they nap. Consider taking them a meal a few nights during those first weeks. A great tool is a website called Meal Train. It helps set up meal schedules for new parents. See link and description on my Resources page for more information. Even just dropping off a package of diapers and wipes can be a huge blessing to overwhelmed new parents. Consider mailing them a congratulations care with words of encouragement, practical advice, or favorite parenting books.

3.) Church family


Our church family is in desperate need of our hospitality. Look around the room and you’ll see hundreds of faces crying out for help in some way. One family might need a meal or even a bag of groceries. One couple might be desperate for a date night without kids. A housewife might need to be invited out for coffee and a listening ear. Some teenagers may need a fun safe game night with friends. Visitors may need someone to sit beside them and ask about their story. There are endless opportunities to show hospitality and love in our church if we look for them. Pray as you walk int o your worship service and ask God to reveal someone that needs your hospitality this week.

4.) Out of town/country guests (for parties, weddings, or funerals)


I’ll never forget the time my husband and I had to unexpectedly drive to Florida for a funeral. It was last minute and we were searching for hotels are we were driving. We got a call that said a sweet lady that knew the family reserved a hotel for us. It was such a blessing, we wept at her kindness and praised God for His goodness. Maybe you have room in your home and can put someone up there instead of a hotel. Either way, it’s such a blessing for people to not have to worry about the hassle and cost of lodging while they’re coming in from out of town. It’s a special way to make them feel invited and welcomed.

5.) Your own family


We have to be careful that we don’t spend so much time offering hospitality to those outside our home that we neglect the ones inside our home. Our family needs our hospitality too. Your husband may need you to put down your dishrag and watch that movie with him. Your child may need you to cook their favorite meal or surprise them with their favorite dessert. Maybe it means packing a backyard picnic and leaving your phone inside to focus fully on them. It could mean a full on family vacation away from everything else. Whatever it looks like, be sure your family doesn’t suffer at your hospitable hand. Our family is, and should always be, our first mission field for hospitality. Our family should never feel like they are not as worthy of our love as our guests are.

As we practice the art of hospitality, it gets easier and we get more comfortable with it. We get more comfortable reaching out our hands, inviting in to our home, and opening up our hearts. Let us live a life of constant practice so that through us someone else may find love, healing, and rest. Keeping an open heart, and open door, is a beautiful way to fulfill our biblical command to extend hospitality.

Blessings,

Paige

4 Easy Meals for Guests

Hello and happy September! I love the Fall season so much. I love a cooler air, and color of the changing leaves, the clothes, and ALL THE SEASONAL FLAVORS! Fall is my favorite season to cook and bake (followed closely by Christmas but we’ll wait for that). There are so many warm and comforting flavor combinations and textures you can take advantage of during this season. I’m going to share 4 easy meals (with recipes) that you can whip up either very quickly, or ahead of time for company.

Last Minute Dinner Company

You got a call, dinner company coming in an hour. That’s great right? Of course it is! You’re already prepared and you’ve got a delicious fall inspired meal you can produce in less than an hour. You’re making:

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pumpkin Alfredo

For the Roasted Chicken Thighs: 6 Servings

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs (I always like to do a few extra in case a guest is really hungry)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 3 tsp Dried Parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400o F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl mix together dry herbs and spices.
  • Use a paper towel to pat chicken dry, then rub both sides of chicken with olive oil.
  • Rub the dry mixture all over chicken.
  • Arrange chicken skin side up on your baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165o F.
  • Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Pumpkin Alfredo: 6 Servings

  • 1 LB Fettuccine cooked, reserve 1 cup pasta water
  • 6 TBSP Salted Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (be careful not to grab the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup Half & Half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Parsley (optional for garnish)

Directions :

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add fettuccine. Cook until chewy, but firm. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and discard the rest.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat and stir in garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Stir in Half & Half, Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, and nutmeg. Stir until cheese is full incorporated and mixture is heated through.
  • Stir in pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until sauce is your desired consistency. ( A thick and creamy sauce need only 1/2 cup, thinner sauces will need more.)
  • Add fettuccine and cook additional 2 minutes until pasta is well coated.
  • Serve garnished with fresh Parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.

*NOTE: Utilize frozen vegetables here to add brussels sprout or green beans. I always like to keep one shelf of my freezer stocked with bags of frozen veggies that I can pop in the microwave at the last minute. Aldi has a great selection of these bags!

Feeding A Crowd

You’re talking to your husband and he asks “hey babe, do we have plans for Sunday?” He wants to have his whole family over for a Sunday lunch and catch up. Great! Let’s pull out a Fall themed feast that won’t stress to the max having to cook for 10 people. We’re making:

White Chicken Chili and Cornbread

For the White Chicken Chili: 10 Servings

  • 1 1/2 LBS boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (I like white pepper for this recipe, but you can use either)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (small) diced green chilies
  • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans (Drain and rinse ONE CAN ONLY. You want the liquid from the second can)
  • Desired garnishes (can include sour cream, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, etc)

Directions:

  • In a 6-8 quart crock-pot, mix together chicken stock, spices, and chilies.
  • Add the white beans and place chicken in liquid.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Discard Bay leaves and remove chicken from crock-pot.
  • Using a hand immersion blender or stand blender, puree approximately 2 cups of the chili. You want the rest to be intact.
  • Slice or shred chicken and place back in the crock-pot.
  • Serve with desired garnishes and cornbread (recipe to follow)

For the Cornbread: 16 Slices

  • 2 cups Four
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 TBSP Salted Butter, melted (plus more more serving)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 3 Lg eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350o F and butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal. sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together butter, oil, milk, and eggs.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Pour into baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
  • Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serve with butter.

*NOTE: You can use a store bought box of cornbread mix if you’d rather.

Meal Delivery for A Sick Friend

Your friend, or family, or neighbor, etc….is sick and you want to take them some Fall inspired soup that will be both delicious and healthy. You’re taking them:

Carrot Ginger Soup with Whole Wheat Bread

For the Carrot Ginger Soup: 4 Servings

  • 8 medium Carrots
  • 2/3 cup Red Split Lentils
  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 tsp grated Ginger (fresh)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pumpkin seeds for crunchy garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • Wash, peel, and cut carrots into chunks. Rinse and drain lentils.
  • In large pot, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until onion starts to soften.
  • Add carrots and lentils. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add stock, salt, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add in coconut milk.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.

For the Whole Wheat Bread: 1 Round Loaf

  • 2 cups Water, warm
  • 2 tsp Salt (I like using flaky sea salt)
  • 1 tsp Yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Directions:

  • In large mixing bowl, mix together water, salt, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add in flour and mix until well combined.
  • Cover dough with buttered plastic wrap or clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours).
  • Place a dutch oven in your oven and pre-heat to 450o F. Once heated, carefully remove dutch oven and place on counter.
  • Flour you hands and shape dough into a circle. Drop into dutch oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove bread from dutch oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or wrapping in clean cheesecloth for transport.

*NOTE: You can always save yourself time and buy a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread from your local grocer or baker.

Overnight Guests

You had some company in town and you want to make them breakfast. You don’t want them to feel like they have to get up and come to the table to be able to eat, they need to relax. You make them:

Cranberry Orange Muffins and Coffee in Bed

For the Cranberry Orange Muffins: 18 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 TBSP freshly grated orange peel
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBSP cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 LG Eggs, beaten

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, crushed
  • 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 TBSP orange juice

Directions for muffins:

  • Preheat oven to 425o F and butter a muffin tin (or you can use muffin cups).
  • Wash cranberries and drain off water. Place in medium bowl.
  • Add in nuts, orange peel, and 1/2 cups sugar and stir well to combine.
  • In large bowl combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  • Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender.
  • Add orange juice, eggs, and cranberry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and top with streusel mixture.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at 425o F.
  • Reduce heat to 350o F and bake for an additional 16-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire rack and drizzle glaze on top of muffins.

Directions for streusel:

  • Combine flour, brown sugar, and pecans in a small bowl.
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender.

Directions for glaze:

  • Combine powdered sugar and orange juice to make glaze. Use more or less orange juice as needed to reach desired consistency.

For the French Pressed Coffee: 4 servings

  • 8 cup (34 oz) French press
  • 10 TBSP Coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • 6 cups fresh boiled water
  • Milk

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil, then let sit for 2 minutes.
  • If grinding your own beans (highly recommended) grind to coarse grind.
  • Measure out 10 TBSP (can add more if you like stronger coffee) and place in French Press
  • Pour hot water over ground and stir to coat all grounds.
  • Let steep for 5 minutes, then push plunger down.

* NOTE: Place plate of muffins on a tray with French press, mug, small carafe of milk, and cloth napkin. Take to guest bedroom and leave on table just outside door.

Hopefully this guide will help you in someway this Fall season! Read through the recipes, or come up with some of your own, and then make a list of things to always have on hand for an easy quick prep. I love cooking for guests, and I really love cooking for guests in the Fall season. The delicious aromas that fill my house alone are worth inviting guests over! If you have any cool Fall inspired recipes or tips that you’d like to share, drop a comment below. I would love to feature your recipe here on the blog!

Happy Fall!

Paige

Invite, Welcome, Love

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Matthew 10:42

I am often asked why hospitality is such a big deal to me. Why is it that I enjoy having people come to my home? There are several answers I can give. First, I like to feed people. I think for me, this is the biggest reason. I like cooking for people. It’s my love language. Food offers so much more than physical satiety. Food can be a comfort to some,  fun for others, and sometimes it can literally be necessity for someone going through a hard time. Second, not only do I like to feed people, but I like to make them comfortable. Sometimes people just need a refuge away from their own busy chaotic life, or to see something beyond their four walls (especially true during this global health crisis). If my home can be that refuge, then I will swing my front door wide open and welcome you in faster than you can ring the doorbell. Third, sometimes you just need to feel invited. That YOU specifically matter enough to be invited into someone else’s sanctuary. Even when I have a packed full schedule and life is spinning out of control, I still smile when I receive an invitation. I may not be able to accept that invitation, but it makes me feel so loved just that I was thought of.

If we are to lead others to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, it will be through His attributes displayed in us and extended to them. How do we do that? It’s quite simple when we go to God’s Word. We follow Christ’s model that He laid out for us throughout the Holy Scriptures. Throughout Scripture we see a rhythm of three steps used by Christ. He invites us to come, He welcomes us in, and He loves us sincerely. We too can use this model as we cultivate relationships with one another and with strangers around us.

3 John 1:8  “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”

Invite

Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Throughout Scripture we see a rhythm of invitation from God extended to His people. We see God inviting us to rest in Him when we are weary. He invites us to drink from the Living Waters and never thirst again. He invites us to walk with Him in peace and harmony. The final invitation is to Salvation and a place at His table for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Over and over again we are invited to “come” and take part in something He’s provided for us.

We should be following Christ’s example and inviting others to “come”. We can, like Christ, invite others to rest, to participate, and to dine. For those of you who face anxiety about opening your home, take heart. This doesn’t always mean inviting into your home. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, then pray about it. Ask God for clarity, wisdom, or a change in heart. In the meantime, there are so many other ways to invite others. You could invite a friend out to coffee or to a movie. Invite a friend or co-worker to a picnic in the park. Invite the new couple at church to dinner out and maybe catch a concert after. Invite your mom or mother-in-law to join you for a spa day. Plan a trip to the zoo or botanical gardens with your small group or mom’s club. The opportunities for invitation are endless, but they are meaningful if done in the spirit of hospitality.

Keep in mind that not all invitations will be accepted. Today more than ever schedules are packed full of commitments, and others take a while to open up to new relationships. Don’t get discouraged by these obstacles. Keep showing Christ-like hospitality and extending those invitations. God will honor your hospitable spirit.

Welcome.

Luke 9:11 …He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 

Romans 15:7 “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Webster’s dictionary defines the word welcome as “received gladly into one’s presence or companionship”. God is once again our example as many times throughout scripture he welcomes us into fellowship with Him. God has gladly received us as believers into His family and will welcome us into His presence one day in Glory. In the scriptures, Jesus welcomed the crowds as He traveled and taught the Kingdom of God. Even when He went to be alone and the crowds would follow Him, we see Jesus welcoming those in need over and over throughout the His Earthly ministry.

What does this look like for us? While we’re no longer in middle school welcoming other girls into our club, we as women still have social clubs whether we think we do or not. How about welcoming the new woman in your small group by making a effort to include her in conversation. Not only include her, but engage her in the conversation by asking open ended questions. Show her that you are interested in her, and not in what she thinks of you. Welcome the new mom into a play group by placing a hand on her shoulder and telling her you’re glad she’s there. Send her a follow up text message after play date letting her know how good it was to see her. Welcome a visitor at church by allowing them to share your row. Welcome one another with a smile, a hug, a fist bump (or elbow bump if you’re still doing that). Make a decision that you are going to make someone feel welcome wherever you may be.

The biggest way to make someone feel welcome is to simply include them in the activities and conversation. Pray and ask God to place someone on your heart who needs to feel welcome, then follow His leading in obedience.

(HOSTESS TIP: If you’re having a large event, try to greet everyone as they arrive. However, enlist the help of a trusted friend or two to help engage all of the new attendees or guests. If you have an event with 30+ women, chances are that you’re not going to be able to sit down and engage in meaningful conversation with everyone. This is where you ask for help so no one feels left

Love.

I John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

Kindness is the best way to show love to one another. Kindness not just in words, but also in our actions. Kindness can take many forms, and can be so simple once we take the time to stop and recognize the situation. Walking in the park, you might not think about all of the opportunities for simple kindness. But if you purposefully go into to the situation asking how you can show kindness, then opportunities will leap out at you. Are you walking with a child? Be patient and let them stop to pick that dandelion for the tenth time (I was that child). Are you about to pass another person on the path? Offer a smile and a hello. Is there a dog someone didn’t clean up after? Yes that’s right, get a baggie and clean it up yourself.

Kindness can be paying for coffee for the person behind you, inviting family to dinner, offering to pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor, a “thinking about you” card sent to a friend, an offer to babysit for new parents who desperately need a date night, and so much more. You can find a kind word or action in any situation. There can be so many opportunities is we are willing to recognize that we have the power to make someone else’s day better.

Here’s the thing though friends, we’re not taught to just love strangers and non-believers. No, we’re told to love one another. This seems like the hardest concept for some Believers to grasp and it’s sad. In John 13:35 we’re told “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We can show love to strangers as much as we want, but if they don’t see us showing that same love to one another, it will all be in vain. We cannot fight and bicker among ourselves as Believers and expect the world to want anything to do with the Savior we claim as ours. Love starts in the heart, floods into the home, spills over into the church, and then cannot be contained in our community.

Friends, with Christ as our example, let us continue the rhythms of inviting one another into a relationship Let us welcome one another with open arms, and then love one another as Christ loves. The difference we can make to a dark and lost world is limitless if we follow the example laid out in Scripture.

~Paige

An Unexpected Party

Expected company can be stressful enough to someone who is not used to, or warmed up to, the idea of opening their home. But unexpected company? What goes through your mind when you hear that phrase? To some, this is delight. To others, it’s sheer panic.

IMG_20190321_154115_767-01When my husband and I were married, we decided that our home would have an open door policy. Meaning anyone could stop by at anytime. We felt the desire to be available, and for our home to be a safe comfortable haven when needed. I’m not going to lie, I’m an introvert. Not as bad as I used to be. After a year being married to my very extroverted husband I actually score closer to the “E” side of the Meyer’s Brigg scale now. I still don’t get energized by being around people all the time. I enjoy it and I feel fulfilled, but I don’t recharge by being around people.  However, I wasn’t called to be an introvert sitting at home recharging myself and enjoying God’s blessings all by myself. I was called to practice hospitality. Sometimes it’s hard. The anxiety gets to me too. But my desire to be there when someone needs me, to make someone feel loved and safe, to offer a hot cup of tea and listening ear; those desires are so much stronger than my anxiety.

So I’ll put the kettle on and share with you 5 ways to stay prepared for unexpected company:

1.) Remember why you’re doing this.

I love this quote:
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” S. Niequist
If you feel the strong desire to open your heart and home to others that’s wonderful. We are told throughout God’s Word, to practice hospitality, give to those in need, and treat one other with kindness. It doesn’t need to be big and dramatic, but it does need to be loving and warm.

2.) Keep a stock of tea bags and pre made snacks on hand.baked-beverage-breakfast-2377474

You don’t need fresh baked goodies or a 5 course meal every time someone pops by for a visit. I like to keep a box of crackers, popcorn, or fresh fruit on hand. This makes it easy to put into a bowl and sit out. If you have the space for a guest shelf, or dedicated cabinet, this can be a huge time saver. Keep things such as crackers, cookies, tea biscuits, snack mix, and sugar alternatives for sweetening coffee and tea.
Asking the question “Can I get you anything?” can make people feel like they’re inconveniencing you. I usually sit out a snack and give them 2 choices for beverage, one cold and one hot. This lets them know that I’m already preparing something, and I just need them to make a decision. I usually don’t offer more than 2 choices because this can be overwhelming.

3.) Utilize that empty laundry basket.

663b5342af1425ab56cf2b144216b517I like to keep a laundry basket ready to grab and go. If there are any items laying around the living room or kitchen, they can be tossed into the basket and sat aside for a quick tidy up. This is especially useful if you have children and there are toys scattered about your home. You can also find a cute basket like this to match your décor to keep in your living room for those toys.

4.) Keep a canister of Lysol wipes on hand.

A quick and easy way to freshen up your bathroom and kitchen is wet wipes. I like the lemon scented Lysol wipes. I will run one over the bathroom sink and another over the toilet to give it a fresh sparkle. Easily wipe down kitchen countertops and appliances for an all over fresh feel.

burning-candles-decor-1832562.jpg5.)  Candles.

I love candles. They make your home smell great and add a cozy ambiance. Hint: I like to keep a long lighter on hand so it’s a quick start. The last thing I want to be doing is burning myself on a match or fumbling with a traditional lighter. Also, fabric freshener is great for freshening up your sofa or that bucket of blankets in your living room. I recommend a light clean scent that won’t overpower a room.
I would love to hear your tips and advice for always being ready for company! Drop a comment below.

Happy hosting,

Paige Baldwin

 

Choosing Rest

Life tends to hit us out of nowhere doesn’t it? You think you’re doing great, going about your daily life, tending to your responsibilities, serving in your ministry, giving it your all. Then out of nowhere, you feel totally drained. Every ounce of energy is gone and you feel nothing. You want to close your door and your heart and retreat into yourself.

You want to know what happened? You were so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, that you failed to take care of yourself. You didn’t rest.

This can happen even if our intentions are good. We’re trying to be there for everyone, be a good hostess, reach out to the needy, and counsel the broken. But somewhere along the way we lose our drive. We get tired. If we’re not careful, that tiredness can lead places we never wanted to be.

Three things happen when we don’t take care of ourselves and rest.

1.) We make poor decisions.

A great example of this is Esau in the Old Testament.

Genesis 25:29-34 ESV: Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!”… Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob…

Esau was a hard worker and a good son. But amidst exhaustion and extreme hunger (other translations use the words famished, starving, or faint), he made a terrible life altering decision. This may seem like an extreme example, but how many of us have made poor decisions when we’re tired? How many of us had said or done things we regret under the influence of fatigue? When our bodies and minds are tired, we cannot think clearly and we are unable to make informed decisions. We were not made to function without regular rest.

2.) We get sick.

Philippians 2:25-30 ESV I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

We don’t know for sure what illness Epaphroditus was suffering from. But the Bible says “for he nearly died for the work of Christ”. My belief is that he worked himself into exhaustion and his immune system failed. Sometimes we get so busy running around and we use God as our excuse for being exhausted! “Oh I’m so tired because I do so much for Jesus.” Stop trying to sound so spiritual. You’re not doing God any favors by wearing yourself down. You’re only opening up your body to harmful bacteria and viruses that you won’t be able to fight off because you depleted the charge on your immune system. He created you to need rest. He created the Sabbath for YOU. A whole day set apart just to rest! And it wasn’t a suggestion. He devoted an entire commandment to tell us to keep the Sabbath. We have to rest to keep our bodies and minds healthy.

3.) We experience burnout

Exodus 18: 14-23 ESV “When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

Moses was sitting there handing all the people’s problems, all the time, all alone. If he hadn’t have listened to his father-in-law at this point, he would certainly have experienced burnout. We see burnout a lot in ministry. Pastors try to carry the load of the church all on their own. Whether out of obligation, a sense of duty, or a need for control. They try to counsel all the people, visit all the sick, teach all the classes, preach all the sermons, make all the decisions, and they simply were not made to do it all. We were not created to do everything all the time. We were not created to do everything. We were not created to “do” all the time. If you’ve been running and serving to the point where you feel drained, it’s time to step back before it turns to burnout. Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. Burnout can be destructive in the ministry, in a marriage, in a caregiving role, or really in any area of life. It’s ok to start saying no to things and people to preserve your emotional and physical state.

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So what do we do to avoid exhaustion or burnout? The Scriptures have a lot to say about resting. Resting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes we need to put up the Do Not Enter sign and rest. Look with me at 4 steps we can take to avoid exhaustion and burnout.

1) Return to the practice of resting:

Psalm 116:7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”
Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

You have permission to step back, take a break, and rest. Get into the habit of practicing the Sabbath weekly. Every month, take a weekend for renewal. And at least once a year, take a full week. Turn off your cell phone and have a staycation. Or get out of town and away from your daily routine. Use this time to lay on the beach, hike up a mountain, read by a lake, or picnic in the countryside. Rest.

2) Enter into the Father’s peace:

Psalms 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Once we realize that we do not control this world, that we are in the hands of a great and powerful God who loves us, we can rest in peace knowing it’s not all up to us. God tells us to cast our cares and anxiety on Him. We were never meant to carry the loads we try to hold tight to. One of my favorite songs right now says “I will rest in the Father’s hands. Leave the rest in the Father’s hands”.

I will rest in the Father’s hands. Leave the rest in the Father’s hands…
I throw all my cares before You. My doubts and fears don’t scare You. You’re bigger than I thought You were. You’re bigger than I thought.

Listen to Full Song Here

3) Sabbath as we are commanded:

Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Ezekiel 20:20 “Sanctify My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.”

Yearly vacations are optional, monthly weekend getaways are a luxury to most, but we have been commanded by our Creator to rest on the Sabbath. For most of us, that’s Sunday. However if your particular job has you working on a Sunday, you should be choosing another day each week to rest, mediate of the scriptures, and renew you body and mind.

4) Trade stress for satisfaction:

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
Psalm 107:8-9 “Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness…For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalms 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

We get so busy with life, running around trying to accomplish so many things. We have all of these activities we juggle, people we’re trying to please, and events we’ve committed to. As humans, we’re hard to satisfy. We crave more and therefore add so much to our plate that half the time we don’t know if we’re coming or going. If you find yourself become weary time and time again, it may be time to give up some things. Re-evaluate what is important and adjust your priorities. Some activities or commitments may need to be cut. That’s ok. Another thing we tend to do is work ourselves ragged to accumulate more stuff. If we could only learn to be satisfied with what we have, we may find rest and peace soon follows.

There’s one more thing that I feel led to share. I recently went through a rough episode of insomnia. As spiritual as I wanted to be about it, no amount of reading my Bible or praying put me to sleep. Growing up I heard a lot of preachers say that if you’re not able to sleep you must have a guilty conscience. That is NOT TRUE. Period. Sometimes there are unexplained medical conditions that can hinder our rest. Let me tell you friend, if you need help, get it. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty about getting help when you need it. You may need medication, therapy, or professional counseling. There may be a severe underlying condition that you desperately need treatment for. Don’t try to do it alone. You will not be able to function without sleep and it will only add to your stress levels and quicken the onset of burnout.

Friends, we desperately need to learn to rest in this modern busy world. Rest was given to us by our Savior to use as a shield against Satan. If we’re always busy and stressed out, we cannot tend to our relationship with Christ and we’ll soon find ourselves defeated. That’s what Satan wants. He wants us tired and stressed so we give up. So we’re not able to be a light in this dark world. Don’t let him win friends. Rest in peace and rest in God. Then stand and fight.

Paige Baldwin

Breaking Bread: The Importance of Meals

Over and over again in the Bible, we see the term “breaking bread”. The Bible uses this baked-baked-good-bread-2067631term for three different events. It is used for shared meals, Holy communion, and even talking about the Crucifixion. I loved my study of each of these specific events. Today we’ll be specifically talking about breaking bread in terms of sharing meals with others in our community for the purpose of meeting needs and providing fellowship.

Acts 2:46  “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

Did you know that 20% of all American meals are eaten in the car? Another study shows that on average, nearly 50% of our meals are eaten alone. In 2010, a journal report showed that only 43% of American families eat together every day. This doesn’t even touch on how many families sit down with one another in fellowship to share a meal. As a nurse, I want to go into the negative physical and emotional health effects of our declining eating habits, but I’ll save that for another time and place. Today we’ll simply look at the importance of sitting down together and sharing a meal. I believe that in regards to fellowship and hospitality, sitting down together for a meal is one of the most important things you can do. Just the act of inviting someone to your table speaks volumes. It is a tangible way to extend love to friends and grace to strangers in need. Christ Himself extended that same grace over and over again, and we’re told that after He calls all Saints home for good, we are invited to sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19)  Not a church service, not a conference, not a seminar. But at the table.

Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, or put on events. He ate meals”
Tim Chester “A Meal with Jesus”

One of the passages I turn to frequently to illustrate the importance of eating meals together is in the book of Acts:

Acts 2:42-46  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”

caffeine-coffee-cuisine-15280133 things happen when you sit down to a meal together

1.) Physical needs are met
It’s no secret that we need to eat to live. Whether it’s a stranger who needs a hot meal, a friend who doesn’t feel up to cooking, or that new college kid at church who could benefit from some home cooking. Romans 12:13 tells us “Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” If there is a need, we as Believers should be the first to jump up and say “I’ll do it!” It doesn’t feel natural at first, and that’s ok. Inviting people into your home can be scary until you have experience. That’s why we’re told to practice. Start simple. Ready-to-cook pizza and bagged salad is a great place to start. Once you start feeling more comfortable having people in your home, you can start cooking. But again, stay simple and work your way up to a “from-scratch” meal. God told us to practice hospitality, not practice fine dining parties with elaborate meals. It’s not about perfection and talent, it’s about presence and togetherness. If that’s a rotisserie chicken and instant mashed potatoes, so be it.

2.) Emotional needs are met
Looking at that same passage, sometimes those needs aren’t just physical. Sometimes there are emotional needs that need to be met in a non-threatening environment. What better environment than around your kitchen table? Those who eat alone can experience more loneliness, depression, and in turn reach for unhealthy options, or skip meals altogether. By inviting those people to your table, you’re not only providing for their physical hunger, but for their emotional hunger as well. Think about how nice it feels to be asked for dinner, or even just coffee. It meets the desire for fellowship. It makes your heart happy. Sharing a meal is about more than food. It’s about friendship, grace, and love. When we sit down around a dinner table, our emotional need for connection is met. “…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

3.) Spiritual needs are met
Looking through the life of Jesus, we see over and over again where he would share profound truths and encouragement with people around a table. It was around a dinner table that He redeemed Zacchaeus from a life of dishonesty and thievery (Luke 5). It was around a dinner table that He extended grace to Mary as she washed His feet (Luke 7). It was around a dinner table that He taught Mary, Martha, and Lazarus the importance of fellowship with Him (Luke 10).  It was even around a dinner table that Jesus told us that He was the only answer to our greatest need (Luke 22). There are times when people need grace or encouragement. There are times when people need to hear a hard truth. There are times when people need to dive deeper in the Word of God and learn together. Through the example of Jesus Christ Himself, we learn that there is no better place than around our table.

Following the example Jesus set for us, we can be encouraged to reach out and extend cutlery-dining-room-flatware-269264the invitation to come around our table and share a meal. You never know what that might mean to someone, and how that simple invitation may change their life. If you are looking for more information, an excellent book that talks about this subject is “A Meal With Jesus” by Tim Chester.  I would love to hear your feedback, as well as any tips you have for simple table hospitality. Drop a comment below or email me here. God bless!

Paige Baldwin

 

 

Recipe for Homemade Bread:

Ingredients:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1pkg)
2 1/4 cup warm water
1 TBS sugar PLUS 1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS salt
2 TBS olive oil
6 – 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Butter for pans and plastic wrap

Directions:
~In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 TBS sugar. Let stand until bubbly and foamy.
~Add remaining sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups of the flour and mix until smooth.
~Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time to form a soft, smooth, and slightly sticky dough.
~Knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and then roll into a ball.
~Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover with buttered plastic wrap.
~Let rise for one hour in a warm place.
~When dough has risen, punch down and divide in half.
~Roll out each half into a long rectangle shape 8 inches wide. Then roll the dough up to form a log shape
~Place the dough logs seam down into a buttered pan and cover with buttered plastic wrap and a towel.
~Let rise for another hour in a warm place.
~Preheat oven to 375º. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped.
~Remove to rack and cool slightly before serving.

This bread can easily be frozen by letting in cool completely and wrapping tightly in plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. I wouldn’t suggest keeping it frozen for more than 2 weeks for best taste. To use, take out and let thaw in refrigerator overnight.