HOSTING THE PRESENCE
Embracing the Mindset of Membership
by Pastor Benjamin
Pastor Daniel Kim, one of our Associate Pastors here at Living Hope, recently reminded me of a time when I invited him over my house for a meeting. I asked him to be there by 7pm, and he arrived on time as requested. The only problem was . . . that I wasn’t there to meet him. The house was empty, the porch lights were off, and Daniel had to sit in his car and wait patiently for me to arrive.
It’s pretty awkward when someone offers to host you and then doesn’t bother showing up on time for the meeting. We tend to expect more of a host, both of ourselves and of others. If I invite you to my house, it is important for me not only to be there when you arrive, but to be there before you arrive so that I can prepare the atmosphere to receive you properly. And when I fail to do this, I feel terrible, as I did on the night that I failed to meet Daniel.
One of our values here at Living Hope Christian Center is hosting the presence of the Lord. When we gather as the Ekklesia (Assembly), our deepest desire is to invite God to make his presence known among us. Our dream is not simply to gather with one another, but to meet with God and to hear a word from him that has the power to transform our lives forever.
But if we are going to host the presence of the Lord, we must be committed to being good hosts. We cannot invite the Lord to arrive by 11:15am and then not show up ourselves until 11:45am! Just as you would feel dishonored if someone invited you to their home and then did not show up on time, so it is dishonoring to the Lord when we are not present at the time that we have asked him to come meet with us.
In order for us to live out this value, we must all adopt what I call the mindset of membership. If you are a member of your church, your church is your home. You are no longer a visitor or a mere attender; this is your house. All of the first time visitors who come are your guests, and the Lord is also your guest. How are you going to host your guests this coming Sunday? Will you ignore your guests? Or will you go out of your way to offer them your hospitality?
The mindset of membership is the heart behind Sunday Shift, our preservice prayer meeting. We gather from 10:30am-11am to prepare the atmosphere of the house so that we can properly host our guests when they arrive. If you are a member of Living Hope, we invite you to take your place! Don’t make a habit of showing up to church late. Let’s join together to host the presence of the Lord, and to create an atmosphere of glory into which to welcome our visitors. This pleases the Lord and facilitates the in-breaking of his kingdom.