Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!

I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.

I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.

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I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)

For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.

Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kingdom Gifts Unwrapped: Hospitality

During the summer I really felt like I wanted to do a series (I have no idea which topic I'll do next) where I look at some of the words that get thrown around, like hospitality, and really explain what it is - that though it might also mean cooking a great big meal, it's much more than that and actually therefore, open to everyone, and being named as a Bible Gift, something we should therefore all try and grow in.

So what is hospitality? To me it's not so much about what you do or make, but more how you are open to receiving people. Is your home/flat/business etc open to a visitor or do you have to give them a special invitation first? If someone knocked on your door now (breaking your reading of this blog maybe!), would they be welcome? Can people just drop in on you (OK, people you know...but many do also entertain strangers, and in doing so maybe have hosted an angel...well that's what the Bible hints at anyway!)

You see, while hospitality does include inviting someone over to your home (usually) for some type of meal, it is much more than that - it's more to do with your attitudes and character than your ability to cook a great roast dinner.

Here are a few things we can all do, whoever you have over, to help make yourselves more hospitable;

1 - Greet your guests at the door. Both adults if possible, even if one is busy with the cooking/children etc, it's at least great to acknowledge your guests (ie, they are there anyway because you asked them to come!) arrival.

2 - Take coats/bags and tell them what to do with shoes etc. Every house has it's own 'rules' so make them feel at home straight away....maybe you'll let them do what they do at home, but don't leave them standing, wondering if they should put there coat down somewhere. If you'd like them to take shoes off, just easily say "You may leave your shoes here!" (Simple!?)

3 - Let them know where the toilet is (they might want to wash their hands) - but it makes people feel greeted and warm to your home. NB - Always make sure before your visitors arrive that you have enough toilet roll available, and a spare roll showing, if it's not obvious. Every house has their own places for these and you want your guests visit to be a happy, calm and relaxing time - not one when there is no paper in the toilet and they can't find the spare rolls you happen to keep in the shed at the bottom of the garden!

4 - Offer them a drink. This will come straight away after they've come in, or returned from washing their hands. Cold, hot, make some suggestions, don't just say "do you want a drink", say "We have hot, cold, juice. What can I get you?"

5 - Show them where they can sit down (this means, clear away at least enough seats for those that are coming in....no one likes to sit down on a messy sofa). Even if it's an unexpected drop in, clear while talking and make them feel they are not intruding (you need to mean it...lol...!)

6 - Listen to them, ask them questions. Don't just carry on with what you were doing (especially if they have dropped in - it would just say to them "Yes you are here, but I wish you weren't). If you do have stuff to do, at least given them a minute or 5 and make sure they have a drink etc.

Doing these things you are well on the way to being a very hospitable person! Of course, for friends and especially family, numbers 2 and 3 will be known, but really the rest should be followed, and besides, it's always good practice.

So, I hope these simple things have shown how you, whether you live in a castle or one room, can be hospitable to all that come your way. And a hospitable home is a happy ( and blessed!) home.
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