Earlier this year I decided to take a day trip to San Antonio, TX to visit the church and meet disciples. I had lived in Austin for well over a year, but had never visited our sister church in the neighboring city just an hour away. I recalled meeting a sister several months prior who attended Mission Point. We had met in New York City while she was there on business and I was there for my annual 'NYC fix’. During the fellowship that Sunday in the New York Church we were connected by others as “the two sisters visiting from Texas”. It is such a small world.
I called her up to see if she was planning to be in town the weekend. What she exclaimed next really caught me by surprise….”yes, I’ll be here. Come, stay with me! I have room and would love to have you!” “Wow”, I thought. I really wasn’t expecting that response.
I planned to get up early on Sunday, drive down to church, hang out with disciples afterwards and come back home later in the afternoon. It never occurred to me to plan an overnight trip. I was encouraged by her response to freely open her home to me, having only met me once. Her willingness to offer without even being asked or expected to host impacted me. It made me feel loved and protected. And grateful for all we have in Christ and the special connection we have in our community of churches.
Her eagerness also reminded me of the power of mutual encouragement. Accepting her offer to stay with her would have given me the opportunity to encourage and connect with her in a special way. Opening our home to a traveler extends way beyond our natural tendency to view hosting as simply meeting the physical need of a guest. It is much deeper, reaching into the heart of what it means to be one in spirit.
I believe this was also true for the exchange between Paul and Lydia in the book of Acts. Lydia’s heart was opened to receive Paul’s message and she got baptized as a result. Not only did she become a disciple, but her entire household became Christians that day as well.
Knowing that Paul and those with him were on a journey of preaching the word throughout Europe, she was prompted immediately by the spirit to open her home to them to stay overnight. They had only met once, but that encounter was spirit-led and life-changing for all involved. And through her words in Acts 16:15 “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house“, she expressed overwhelming warmth, love, and gratitude for what she now had in Christ. She wanted to do what she could to help spread the gospel throughout all nations.
It is with this heart that Come & Stay has come into existence. And over the countless conversations I have had over the past month, God has revealed that many disciples share this same heart.
The HEART to CONNECT with him and with others in order to grow in spirit.
The HEART to SHARE freely that which has been given out of gratitude.
The HEART to EXPERIENCE God through the beauty of his people and places around the world.
It is with this heart that I invite you to join me on this journey. Together let us uncover all the possibilities that await.