Biblical Hospitality

The following is Part 2 of Gwen Brodd’s workshop on “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease.”

Let me ask you a couple of questions.

  1. Do you enjoy having people in your home?
  2. Do you enjoy watching people meet and have fun at parties and events you helped to plan and host?
  3. Is your home the kind that most people feel comfortable in and drop by to visit unannounced?
  4. Do you consider your home as a place of ministry?

If you responded “yes” then maybe you have the spiritual gift of hospitality which is considered one of the “serving” spiritual gifts. It is the special ability God gives to some to provide an open home and warm welcome to those in need of food, lodging, and fellowship. It involves a readiness to invite strangers to your home for the sake of the Gospel.

It is the ability to welcome strangers and entertain guests, often in your home, with great joy and kindness, so that they become friends. These people tend to have an “open home” where others are welcome to visit. This gift is often combined with the natural talents of interior design, cooking, and event planning.

The Bible tells us that every believer is given at least one spiritual gift for the purpose of building up God’s church and serving the body of Christ. In other words, our gifts are given not for our own benefit, but for the enrichment of others. We should be serving those around us, including the body of believers, family, and friends.

welcomeWhether we have the spiritual gift of hospitality or not, it can be a part of our way of life. None of us deny that it’s easier to share hospitality with family and friends than with the stranger on the street. But the New Testament teaches us that Christianity is about open hands, open hearts, and open doors. When we open our hearts as well as our homes, we’re practicing Christian hospitality.[2]

Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were at home. – Arnold H. Glasow

I love and enjoy hosting guests and events in our home. I plan on remodeling my kitchen in January to make it possible to hosts more guests and events. Most of my extended family events are held at our home. Every time, without fail, my father-in-law would say to me as he left our home, “Well Gwenie….you did it again…. the hostess with the mostess.” My sister-in-law has said “You don’t just host an event … you make it a memory.” My heart’s desire is to make people loved and welcomed in my home.

Practicing Christian hospitality isn’t about glittering, glamorous table settings or platters of picture-perfect food; it’s about practicing servanthood right in the middle of your practical Christianity. More important, it is about loving others through Christ and making people feel special.

Hebrews 13:1-2 “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

“Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:9–11)

The Bible Study teacher in me has to give you a little Greek lesson. The Greek word “serve” means to wait upon someone, to attend to someone. It is akin to the word for slave or servant. It has sometimes been translated “minister to”.9

Maybe you are here and you would like to learn how to show hospitality….how to entertain others in your home…especially during the coming holidays.

Would you love to invite others into your home during the Christmas holidays but don’t think you have the time, energy or know-how? In this workshop you

Gwen's table decor~
Gwen’s table decor~

will learn how it is possible to plan, prepare and present food and table decorations for an easy yet elegant event.

I trust that when you registered for this workshop you really wanted to know how to entertain elegantly but with ease!  Is that true?  This is not a Pinterest/Martha Stewart/Rachel Ray class. I am going to give you simple… easy ideas to help you host an event in your home. The most important ingredient in hosting a successful event is planning.


Plan ahead for the holiday season…. which is already upon us. There are 26 days till Thanksgiving and 51 days till Christmas! Your schedule will fill up fast. Here are a few suggestions to make the season go a little smoother and less hectic and chaotic. These suggestions will free you up so that you can entertain with ease.

  1. Do not schedule any unnecessary appointments between now and New Year’s. Schedule your root canal and doctor appointments for January or February when you don’t have anything else fun scheduled. Of course you have to schedule your hair and nail appointments but keep everything else off your calendar. That will give you time to attend or host church, family and neighborhood events.
  2. Get all your Christmas shopping done in November. My family is required to have their shopping list completed by Thanksgiving Day. I online shoppingdo about 95% of my shopping on cyber Monday…the Monday morning after Thanksgiving. No fighting crowds or driving around for an hour looking for a parking place. I am parked on my couch in my pjs with coffee in one hand and Jeff’s credit card in the other. It is easy to shop for the lowest price and have everything shipped to my house. Sometimes I have to pay for shipping but it is worth every dime not to have to leave my home.
  3. As the orders arrived, I unpacked them and set them aside. Then, they would all get wrapped at one time. That way I did not have to have the wrapping materials out for a month.
  4. Order your Christmas postage stamps online instead of standing in line. I ordered mine in September…even before they were available and I received them the 2nd week in October.
  5. If you are ordering a family picture Christmas card from the internet…do it early. I have the envelopes addressed and stuffed waiting for Jeff to write our family letter. It is his contribution to making Christmas happen (other than paying the credit card bill when it arrives in January).  Last year they sat on my desk for a month waiting for “the letter.” To save time I have printed address mailing labels as well as return address labels.
  6. Sit down with your husband and plan what activities you want your family to participate in during the season, such as church Christmas programs or opportunities to serve in the community. Heads up: if you ornament~have not been serving in a church ministry all year long, chances are you will not be able to serve during the holidays. You might want to select a family from Social Services that needs help and go shopping as a family for them.

Next two Posts~
1. Want to cook the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey? 

2. Organization is Key to Hospitality

Entertaining with Elegance and Ease

Prepare HIM Room! I treated our daughter, Kristen, who is a Pastor’s wife and busy mother of five to this incredible church event. It was a special mother/daughter time.



Prepare HIM Room


As Kristen and I entered the banquet room, we were greeted by my precious friend, Barbara Haegele. As table hostess, her centerpiece was a tall white vase filled with curly willow branches. Attached to the branches were the Names of Jesus. I love studying the Names Of Jesus to know Him. I am so grateful that Jesus is my Beautiful Savior and Glorious Lord!


Of course, we signed up for Gwen Brodd’s workshop! Gwen is a delightful hostess, and has a way of making everyone who enters her home feel special and right at home.

The following is Gwen’s workshop on “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease.”

As I was preparing for our time together and had finished the written part of my

Speaker: Gwen Brodd
Speaker: Gwen Brodd

workshop I thought “I really would like to change the name of the workshop to “Open Heart Open Home” but programs had already been printed….. (sigh)

The reason I would have changed the title is because I realized that for a lot of years what I have been doing falls under hospitality and not entertaining. Stick with me for a moment and let me explain. There is a difference between hospitality and entertaining.

  • Entertainment is a show place.  Hospitality is a safe place.
  • Entertainment focuses on things. Hospitality focuses on people.
  • Entertainment is host centered. Hospitality is guest-centered; their needs and comfort are priority.
  • Entertainment is meant to impress the guests.  Hospitality strives to empower them.
  • Entertainment host guests.  Hospitality serves guests.
  • Entertainment showcases houses and decor.  Hospitality demonstrates love and honor.
  • Entertainment is based on a budget.  Hospitality is based on generosity.
  • Entertainment is exclusive; some belong and others do not. hospitality~Hospitality is inclusive; all are welcome.
  • Entertainment is something we do.  Hospitality expresses who we are.

Here is a portrait of entertaining:

  • What can I do that will totally knock the socks off of my guests?
  • How beautiful can I make the table settings?
  • What delicious gourmet dishes can I serve that will totally impress my guests?
  • What outfit am I going to wear that will make me look great?

Years ago when I use to just entertain, I would obsess over my house and how clean it was, how beautiful it was, and how great the food had to be. I would get so grouchy preparing for an event that my husband didn’t want us hosting anymore. Then something changed in me when I began walking with the Lord. I wanted to use my home and gifts and talents to minister to others.

Entertaining is about impressing. Entertaining gives the glory to the hostess. The hostess’ intentions are to totally impress her guests with her amazing culinary abilities. She wants to put forth the notion that she is pretty close to perfect and so is her home. I was there way too many times. Anyone else?

I learned entertaining is so superficial.. How can you be real with your guests if you can’t even let your guard down for them to see your imperfections or weaknesses? If you’re so worried about what your guests are thinking about you and your abilities, how can you even begin to truly focus on them and their comfort? You might think that you are, but as long as your attention is focused on yourself, there is little mental energy left to really devote to your guests.

Romans 12:13 “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

Here’s a portrait of Biblical hospitality:

toysI’m in the midst of a pretty typical day. The kids’ toys are scattered throughout the house. The kitchen counter is cluttered and there are way too many dirty dishes littering the sink and counter-top. Maybe I didn’t even have a shower that morning. Then the doorbell rings.

It’s a girl friend or one of my Bible Study students. Oh no. If I invite them in, they’ll know that I don’t always have it together like I want everyone to think. What to do?

Well, if I practice Biblical hospitality, I invite them in, even if I have not showered, and for those who know me….probably still in my pjs at 1:00 in the peanut butter sandwichafternoon…. and maybe the house is a mess. I serve them lunch, even if it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on paper plates. I don’t apologize for the toys or the dirty dishes, because that puts my guests on the spot and probably makes them feel just a bit uncomfortable. But instead, I invite them into my real, imperfect life and treat them like a friend.

That looks a lot different, doesn’t it? Hospitality is not at all about “me.” It’s completely about others. It’s about opening myself up and being real with others. It’s about taking the time to love others with my time and resources (even if they’re limited), even if I haven’t had hours or days to clean and prep.

Biblical hospitality is not about cooking out-of-this-world dishes, setting a beautiful tables, or having a perfectly in-place home. You don’t even have to be a good cook to practice Biblical hospitality!

cleaning kitchenBiblical hospitality is about focusing totally on our guests and their needs. It’s about being okay with leaving the dishes in the sink until later, so that we can linger longer at the dinner table and talk with our guests.

When I finally realized what God expected of me as far as having other people into my home, it was really rather freeing. I didn’t have to make everything perfect. I just needed to make things nice and comfortable. And I just needed to stop being so uptight, let go of my obsession of what others thought of me, and show Christ’s love to my guests by opening my imperfect home and family up to them. ([1]

Part 2~ Next Post: Biblical Hospitality

Raleigh State Fair 2013

Excitement is in the air! There is so much to see and do at the Raleigh State Fair.







Fair 001Bundled up and ready to go~



Fair Cant wait to get Krispy Creme hamburgers and deep fried oreos at the fair… just kidding. We opted to go to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch.


Fair Raleigh 2013 Pumpkins and Cuties~



Fair Raleigh 2013 051How many can sit in this whopper chair?


Fair Raleigh 2013 012Cute as a bug~


Fair 043and more cute as bugs~


Fair 059Papa holding a little tiger~



Fair 017A creeper vine is following you~


Fair 054My sweetie of 34 years~


Fair 053Come on and ring that bell~


Fair 057Love this married with 5 children couple~


Fair 038Precious~


Fair Raleigh 2013 034What a sweet family~



Fair Raleigh 2013 073Children’s laughter is a bit of heaven on earth~along with their “I wuv yous.”



Fair Raleigh 2013 078The Grand Finale

ABC’s of Marriage (Part 2)

Parenting class The photo to the right is of our daughter and her husband on their romantic honeymoon.

I took the photo below of the young mothers who attend a Bible Study on parenting and marriage. In this photo, they are getting ready to hear the Bible Study lecture. The lady to the far right on the front row got saved recently at this Bible Study, praise the Lord! How exciting is that!!!! (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)


Titus 2:3-5 teachers





Once a month, the Titus 2:3-5 leaders have lunch together. Gwen Brodd, who started the Women’s Bible Study is seated next to me.

Betsy Watkins, (standing to the right) gave the following excellent lecture at our Women’s Bible Study. Betsy and her husband also counsel married couples.


ABC’s of Marriage Part 2 (continued from ABC’s of Marriage Part 1)

1. A – ADMIT when you’re wrong and APOLOGIZE.  ASK for forgiveness.

2. B – BE an Initiator. (See Part 1)

3. C – Be your husband’s greatest Cheerleader!

LSU fans~Let’s be our husband’s #1 cheerleader!

I think one of the most appreciated actions we can take toward our husbands is to encourage them.  If we are not doing so, then who is?  Encourage him in his leadership role.  Show/express appreciation to him when you see his leadership in your home. Verbally express to him (even in front of others) what you notice about his character strengths.  Yes, brag on him in front of the children!

Now, when we all think of cheerleading, I’m sure we probably think of shouts and noise.  But have you ever heard of a silent cheer?  I learned this about 38 years ago in AWANA.  We had a “silent night” where much of the evening was spent in silence, or at least limited vocal input.

Sometimes silent cheers are in order with our husbands.  Take a listen to this verse from Ephesians 4:29.  “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  I know we all want to have the last word, but sometimes no words are the best!  Silent cheers!  Let’s practice!

4. D is for DATE!

I cannot encourage you enough to continue to date your husband.  It will help you remain connected and healthy even during the years of child rearing.  Your husband and your marriage need to be your first priority after your relationship with God.  I cannot stress that enough!  As in any relationship, you must work on your marriage in order for it to continue to thrive and grow.  Remember back to your pre-marital dating days?  You probably spent hours getting ready and Dateanticipated your date nights with your boyfriend who has now become your husband.

I know you don’t have hours to get ready for anything these days, but dates are such a good thing.  My husband has told me it means a lot to him for me to initiate dates and plan the evening.  I would say he does it most of the time, but reverse courtesy is much appreciated.  Be creative.  I often hear (and have heard this for years) that couples cannot afford dates, cannot afford a babysitter and on and on.  I just have to say that I don’t buy that.  We make a way to do many, many things, so pray, ask God, brainstorm with your husband and with friends to make dates happen!

5.  E is for EXAMPLE!!!!

My encouragement to you today is to give your children the best example of a Godly marriage.  I know we are all imperfect people trying to give an example of God’s perfect plan in his relationship with his people.  We cannot do this on our own.  We must run to Jesus; run to the cross for cleansing and forgiveness when we make mistakes.  We run to the cross for motivation, for a model of sacrificial love.  John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have Faitheverlasting life.”  Although we are imperfect, may we be cross-centered parents who attract our children to the gospel!

I want to close out our morning with this scripture passage, and I encourage you to read it during the next week as well.

Colossians 3:12-17.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye beroses otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

ABC’s of Marriage (Part 1)

Gwen and her grandbaby~
Gwen and her grand-baby

Gwen Brodd is married to Jeff Brodd, mother of four grown sons and grandmother to two grandchildren. Gwen uses her many talents to the glory of God and  started a Women’s Bible Study at our church. She asked Titus 2:3-5 ladies to be mentors. 100 young ladies signed up for Biblical parenting and marriage classes on Wednesday mornings.

At 9:00 A.M., the leaders pray together for the Bible Study time. Arriving at 9:30, the ladies meet for an hour of Bible Study in their small group. Afterward, we all gather in the big room to enjoy brunch and a lecture.

Parenting Bible Study Class 001

The photo is of the beautiful ladies in my small group. They remind me of my grown married daughters. I love meeting with this fantastic group of sweet ladies. We have the best discussions on what the Bible teaches about parenting and marriage. I am always blessed by their desire to do the will of God.


Betsy Watkins, a Titus 2:3-5 leader gave the following excellent lecture at our Bible Study. She and her husband also counsel married couples.

ABC’s of Marriage

Betsy Watkins and hubby
Betsy and her husband~

I asked my husband, Eddie if he thought there are areas in my life where I resist submitting to him.

He quickly responded, “Yes, when you dash out in front of me when we are running and refuse to allow me to catch up!”

Well, we both had a good laugh about that one, and I decided to RUN with his response.  I didn’t ask it again! 🙂

We have learned together this week about the first principle of parenting….our example in marriage.  What our children see in our lives as their parents is what preaches the Gospel to them.  They learn so much more by what they see than by what we say.  Yes, actions do speak louder than words.  And as my husband often says, “Talk is cheap!”

  • What am I modeling to my children in my marriage?
  • Is it attractive?
  • Is it something they would want to emulate?
  • Do my husband and I live before our children in such a manner that they are attracted to our faith, or do our lives tend to repel them from the Gospel?

These are not just rhetorical questions.  Instead, they are ones that deserve careful thought and scrutiny as we honestly answer them.  What kind of example is my marriage giving to my children?

Isn’t it so interesting that marriage preaches the gospel?  Marriage is the very comparison that God uses to convey the relationship between Christ and the church.  Christ’s relationship to the church (to all believers) is wrapped in perfection.  Our earthly marriages often seem to be far from that!

TristonWe learned that the first audience to whom our marriages preach is God and his angels.  The second audience is not our non-Christian neighbors.  Our second audience is our children!   Do they see our marriage telling them about Christ and His bride?


Again, are our children attracted to or repelled from the Gospel?

Eddie and I recently celebrated 40 years of marriage.  I think overall we have a good marriage.  I will also tell you that at about year 18, we hit a wall.  It seems that personal issues we brought in to marriage (our stuff) as well as our own marriage issues collided.  We were at a point of “stuckness.”

Thankfully, God brought another couple into our lives, who imparted life to us through counseling. They gave us a number of tips and tools that I believe will carry us into the sunset!  Let me share with you a few of these.

1. A is for: ADMIT when you are wrong and APOLOGIZE.  ASK for forgiveness.

MarriageHave you ever considered this?  When you hurt your husband, he is not the only one hurt.  God is hurt.  It is not only a sin against your husband, but also God.  It is this sin that Jesus died for.

So what needs to happen when you hurt your husband?


First, confession to God.  I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteous.”

Second, confession to our husbands.  James 5:16 says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. ”  Confessing to God and your husband is admitting that you are wrong….that you have sinned….that you have hurt God and your husband.

Then, apologize.

What is a proper apology?  “Honey, I was wrong when I spoke so disrespectfully to you in front of the children.  Will you forgive me?”  Using the words “I was wrong” rather than “I’m sorry” means so much more.  It means we have taken ownership of our wrongdoing. 

And if we hurt our husband in front of the children, we need to apologize to them as well.  That is parenting by example!

2. B is for: BE an Initiator.

We all have or have had young children.  They come into the world needing many things.  They need food, clothing, care, love, touch, attention, affection, security….. just to name a few.  Do you think children outgrow needs.  I think not!  Our husbands were once boys, now grown up into men.  They have needs.Kiss and make up  That’s how God made people.  Although God can meet people’s needs directly, He often uses people to meet needs in the lives of other people.  We are our husband’s unique help meet.  Perhaps God gave me to my husband to help meet his needs.  I challenge each of you to really study and learn your husband.  What are his needs?  What is important to him?  How can you enter his world?  And yes, do initiate intimate encounters with your husband!

The greatest account of one entering another’s world is found in Philippians 2:1-11.

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

FaithAnd being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What humility!  What a servant!  What an example of leaving your world to enter another’s world!  May this be our model!

Let us leave our world and jump into our husband’s world!

Part 2~ next post!