Filed under Fun Stuff Girltalkers
Today we’re all packing and cleaning and running errands to get ready for our annual family vacation (some more feverishly than others—can you guess who?). We leave on Sunday and hopefully we’ll be able to post pictures from our vacation as we’ve done in the past, so check back on Monday for updates. But we want to sign off for the weekend with another wedding story. Joanna is our latest winner. I laugh everytime I think about this poor father of the groom!
Have a marvelous weekend!
Nicole for the soon-to-be vacationing girltalkers
While at a wedding, the bride was certainly showing signs of nervousness. It seemed that she was so excited and so in love with the groom that she wanted to have everything go perfectly.
Well, everything was going smoothly for awhile. That is until the minister, who had done countless wedding ceremonies in his older age, asked the following:
“Who gives this man to this woman?”
For a moment, the entire church seemed in shock. Even the parents of the groom and the bride were silent. Nobody knew what to say and the minister had no clue that he had said something abnormal.
Finally, the parents of the groom nudged each other and the father of the groom cleared his throat. He had not been expecting to say this phrase, since it is the job of the father of the bride so say this, but since the minister had said “Who gives this man”, there was no escaping it. He spoke up loudly with, “His mother and I do”.
At this, the shocked silence was broken and throughout the church was heard scattered laughter by those who dared to laugh aloud. The laughter seemed to calm the bride and she and the groom were happily married in front of all, despite the irregularity of the “Who gives this man to this woman?”.
“When most Christians hear about their responsibility to practice hospitality, they can think up an amazing number of creative excuses to explain why they cannot be hospitable. Yet Christians are commanded to be hospitable.” Alexander Strauch
Our budget is too tight.
Our home is too small.
We don’t have a couch.
We don’t have a dishwasher.
The painter’s plastic hanging in the middle of our living room isn’t very attractive.
I’m not good at this.
It’s been a long week and I’m tired.
I’ve used all of these excuses to apply for hospitality exemptions. But Scripture has denied all my claims. The Bible is clear about who is to show hospitality: all Christians. By God’s grace, that includes me.
All Christians—not just the rich, or the creative, or the organized, or the gourmet cooks, or the outgoing personalities or the ones with lots of free time. All Christians.
Members of the first century church understood that: “loving one another demanded being hospitable” (Dict. of NT Background, emphasis mine). So where genuine Christian love exists, there you’ll find hospitality. Or, in other words, we can’t claim to love others and refuse to show hospitality. It is, “a matter of obedience” (Alexander Strauch).
And it has particular application to us as Christian women. It is “a natural extension of [our] authority in the domestic sphere” (Dict. of the Later NT) and thus a primary qualification for the godly woman (1 Timothy 5:9).
All Christians are to practice hospitality but not all in the same way. “As each has received a gift” we are to serve one another, “as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:7-10).
My hospitality may not be as frequent as my friend Taye’s. My house may not be as clean as Alyssa’s. My food won’t be as delicious as Bonnie’s or my presentation as creative as Lesley’s. But God has given me grace. I must use that gift of grace to serve and love and show hospitality.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:7-10
My friend Rita sent me this letter from John Newton to his wife, Mary. The author of Amazing Grace was sixty years old when he wrote these words. He and his wife—whom he loved very much—had been married for thirty-five years. She would pass away five years later and he would live for another seventeen years after that.
CJ and I have been married for thirty-four years, so I feel I can relate to much of what John Newton writes about this season of life. His beautiful letter is long, I know, but it is worth taking a few moments to read.
Let pastor, husband, author, and Christian John Newton instruct all of us in the joys of marital fidelity and love, the peace of trusting in the faithfulness of God, and the hope of future grace for the journey.
August 6, 1785
My dear wife,
I long to hear that you had a comfortable journey to Southampton, and that you are now with our dear friends. Nothing has taken place among us that can be properly called new; which is a great mercy. For, though you have been gone but one day, a single day, or a single hour—may produce painful alterations in a family. The Lord has preserved us through a long course of years, and in different situations, from various calamities which have overtaken others. Our obligations to thankfulness are singular and numerous.
When the carriage drove past the corner, my heart seemed to go away with it. It contained what was of more value to me than the cargoes of a whole East India fleet. Tell our niece Eliza that I love her very dearly. She would soon be well—if I could make her so. But she is in better hands than mine! I have a comfortable hope that her illness has been, and will be, sanctified to an end far more desirable than health or life itself. Therefore I leave her to the wise and merciful direction of the Lord, who loves her better than I can.
I cannot write a long letter tonight. What could I, indeed, say, if I had more time, that I have not said a thousand times over? Yet there still is, and will be, something unsaid in my heart, which I have not words to express. May the Lord bless this little separation to quicken us to mutual prayer, and to lead us to a thankful review of the mercy and goodness which have followed us through the many years we have been united.
How many changes have we seen! Under how many trials have we been supported! How many deliverances have we known! How many comforts have we enjoyed! Especially, what great advantages have we possessed, in knowing those things which pertain to our everlasting peace!
The years we have passed together—will return no more. The afflictions are gone, the pleasures likewise are gone, forever. The longer we live, such pleasures as this world can afford, will, more and more, lose their power of pleasing. Only our love, I trust, will exist and flourish to the end of life—yes, beyond it! It will always be a truth, that the Lord, in giving you to me—gave me the best temporal desire of my heart. But the shadows of the evening advance. Old age is creeping in upon us, and the days are approaching when we shall have no pleasure—but what we can derive from the good Word of God, and the consolations of his Holy Spirit. These, if we are favored with them, will sufficiently compensate for the abatement, or the loss, of all the rest. The streams may run dry—but the fountain of living waters will always flow! May His presence be near our hearts—and then all will be well.
I am too fully employed to feel time hang heavy upon my hands in your absence; and, if I am permitted to come to you, the thoughts of the journey’s end will make the journey pleasant.
Nikki is the fifth winner of our funny and crazy wedding story contest. Keep this in mind next time you volunteer to help at someone’s wedding…
Fourteen years ago, two of our former “kids” from youth group were getting married. Since my husband was officiating at the wedding and I was matron of honor, we tried to help out wherever we could. The two of us, along with another bridesmaid, offered to do up the birdseed that would be thrown at the happy couple following the wedding. We set aside one evening to package the birdseed in tulle and tie with pretty ribbon.
The wedding day finally arrived! It was absolutely lovely. Everything went smoothly and without a hitch.
And then came the time to bid farewell to the newly married couple as they prepared to ride away in their limo. The mood was light as all the guests assembled to see them off. Guests untied their little tulle pouches and tossed the birdseed at the couple. The birdseed rained down on the laughing bride and groom as they ran to their waiting limo. And then the guests returned to the reception.
It wasn’t long before small children began crying. Noses began bleeding. Eyes began watering. Commotion and chaos broke out all throughout the room. Someone called 911.
We watched and listened in horror as the ambulance pulled up to the church. And we shrunk away in embarrassment as we soon learned there are different kinds of birdseed! Who knew??? We had inadvertantly purchased a kind that included red pepper—-evidently to keep squirrels away!
We later learned that even the bride and groom had not escaped the effects of the red pepper bird seed. While riding in their limo, their eyes burned so badly they had to get the limo driver to pull off at a Burger King so they could rinse out their eyes with water!
And yes, we did fess up…eventually. And yes, they do still love us. And together we laugh about it…a lot.
For my church’s ladies meeting on hospitality, my friend (and a great example of hospitality!) Nancy Rogers compiled a list of questions to help us get to know the people we invite into our homes. These conversation starters will help you show God’s love to strangers. Thank you Nancy!
Hospitality Questions (Downloadable PDF)
Questions to Get to Know People Better
1. Where did you grow up?
2. Where did you go to school and what did you study?
3. How did you meet your spouse and how long have you been married?
4. What dreams do you have for the future?
5. What is one thing you have never done that you wish you could do?
6. What is the most important thing you have accomplished in your life?
7. What do you enjoy doing with your spare time?
8. If you could do anything other than what you are doing now, what would you do?
9. Ask questions about their work, their kids, where they like to vacation or their favorite foods.
10. What books are they currently reading?
Questions for Biblical Fellowship
1. What is one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year and what are you doing to this end?
3. Who is one person you would like to spend time with asking questions about their relationship with the Lord?
4. What is one new way you could help strengthen the church?
5. What is one thing you could do to improve your prayer life?
6. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
7. Who do you most want to encourage this year?
8. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
9. In what area of your life do you most need growth and what will you do about it?
10. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year?
Questions to Get to Know Internationals Better
1. What country are you from?
2. Can you describe your daily life and family traditions in your home country?
3. What was your education like and what are your interests?
4. What are your impressions of our country?
5. Were you brought up in a religious home?
6. What foods are unique to your country?/ what food from our country do you enjoy?
7. Would you teach me a few words in your native language?
8. Are there any questions you would like to ask me?
9. What are your special holidays and how do you celebrate them?
10. Is there any way I can serve you?