Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 24, 2016
Turning your home over to God
Fifty-five years ago my wife Dean and I built a small concrete-block house in Elmore County not far from Wetumpka, Alabama. It was our hideaway in the woods, a place of retreat from parsonage life. We called it “The Cabin.”
Our little house grew from 600 square feet to its current size, about 3,000 square feet. Our son Steve, who moved from studying biology to building homes, added a spacious “great room” just before we retired. With a high ceiling and a fireplace, the room is larger than the original house. I enjoy telling people we have a beautiful room with a cabin on the back.
Dean suggested we dedicate the room to the Lord and invite others to use it. We did that and sharing the room with others has brought us great joy. Family members have used it for small group meetings. One church used it for an all-day staff planning retreat. We have used the room for sewing groups, prayer meetings, suppers, birthday parties and Bible study.
Turning one’s home over to God is not a new idea. The church began in homes. New churches usually begin in a home. In countries like China today there are thousands of “house” churches. The work of Christ thrives when homes are open to God’s servants. As a pastor and preacher I have been blessed repeatedly by the gracious hospitality of those who opened their homes to me.
A home can be used to draw people to Christ. When we make people feel welcome in our homes, they can more easily believe that God will welcome them into the kingdom. Telling a man God loves him is one thing. But if you invite him to break bread at a table in your home, he is much more likely to believe God loves him.
David met Larry in the gym where both men were working out. David invited Larry to his home to meet a few other men and to share in their Monday night Bible study. Touched by the welcoming spirit of the men, and hungry for a relationship with God, Larry soon gave his life to Christ.
The door to the kingdom for Larry was David’s home. The genuine acceptance he received motivated him to fall in love with Jesus Christ. The home of a Christian man made a difference.
God guides people into our lives. We are not like oak leaves adrift on the sea of life. The meeting of Larry and David in that gym was not happenchance; it was a divine appointment.
The Bible tells about the Spirit guiding Paul on his missionary journeys. Forbidden to go one place, Paul had a dream. In the dream God gave him a vision of going to Macedonia to help people who were calling for him. Paul went and there in Philippi he met Lydia.
The wealthy Lydia must have had a lovely great room with a cabin on the back. The Lord opened her heart and she opened her home, saying to Paul, “Come and stay in my house.” Soon she was hosting a new church in her home; the door of her home became the door to the kingdom for many new believers.
There are lonely, hurting people in every neighborhood who desperately need the hospitality of God’s people. What might happen if you turned your home over to God? Imagine a group of people meeting in your home, sharing their struggles and finding rich fellowship at your table. People may meet God more easily in a loving home than at a church altar. Church furniture and stained glass windows cannot save us; God alone can save us.
If your home is dedicated to the Lord, you may meet a Larry, or a Mary, who might fall in love with Jesus through the gift of your hospitality.
The door of your home would then be the door to the kingdom for someone hungry to know God. Imagine that.
When we open our hearts to God, and open our homes for his use, amazing things can happen. Please excuse me now. Dean is calling. We must get ready for the group meeting at our house tonight. + + +