Hurry Up and Wait

Timothy Nelson

READ : Exodus 14:10-14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (v. 14 NIV) In many traditional North African cultures, when someone breaks the law or causes harm to another person, they and their family are held responsible for the damages. In fact, it is rare that the offending party is even able to testify for themselves in court. The extended family of the offender is liable for the damages incurred as well. Depending on …

Welcomed by God

Timothy Nelson

READ : Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary . . . and I will give you rest. (v. 28 NIV) Have you ever been around someone who has a tough time being cared for or waited on? Maybe it is someone in your immediate family or maybe it’s you who becomes uncomfortable as others begin to serve you. I know I have a hard time being waited on. I usually start to squirm soon after entering …

Welcomed by Name

Timothy Nelson

READ : Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God. (v. 19 NRSV) It’s easy to call people we don’t know something general like “hey you,” “man,” or even “friend.” While these impersonal greetings work for a while, they quickly become unacceptable once a real relationship develops. People feel known and welcomed when you address them by their name. Using someone’s name …

Surprised by Others

Timothy Nelson

READ : Romans 15:7-13 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (v. 7 NRSV) I will never forget the day that my church invited a local family, all very musically gifted, to lead us in worship. As they were setting up, I heard that one of the young men had a skin condition that affected his scalp. He asked me if it was okay for him to wear a hat during the …

Welcoming the Alien

Timothy Nelson

READ : Leviticus 25:35-38 If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. (v. 35 NIV) A few years ago, there was a news report about a woman who had been held captive as a sex slave for years in a typical American suburb. The neighbors had noticed when this woman “moved in,” but no one …

Welcoming the Poor

Timothy Nelson

READ : Leviticus 25:35-38 If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger. (v. 35 NIV) My church used to take groups into our city’s downtown to serve food and lead games at a homeless shelter. One time I observed a member of our group serve food to, and then recognize, an old friend from high school. I was amazed at the man’s story. …