HAVE YOU ACCEPTED THE #48HC

Particularly if you follow me on twitter (if not, do it, now:  www.twitter.com/markpaul0) you would have seen a fair amount of talk about the #48HC.  As I’d hoped, I’ve had quite a few people messaging me asking “what is the $48HC all about?”.  Here’s the answer:

Our church is currently on a 40day journey based on the theme of “The Most Loving Place in Town”.  To this end, I preached Sunday morning and Sunday night on topics that will help us be a loving people – because in order to be a loving place, we first have to be a loving people acting out the love of God in a hurting, broken and hopeless world. As part of the messages, I put a #48Hc – or, 48 hour challenge, to the congregation based on the following thoughts:

1.  HOSPITALITY

Hebrews 13:2 reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”.  Hospitality in “bible days” (for lack of a better term) meant inviting people into your home, usually for an extended period and feeding them, hosting them and often giving of yourself to them in your home.  Today, we live in a different environment and, if you’re anything like me, you spend very little time at home.  Your entertainment happens outside of your home at coffee shops, restaurants etc.  So as I shared with the church on Sunday morning, I believe hospitality in our day has more to do with inviting people into your life, than into your home.  The #48HC in this context then, was for people to go to people whom they know, but don’t know well, and invite them into their lives for a period. This could mean anything from having a cup of coffee in the work canteen with someone you wouldn’t usually hang out with, to joining the elderly man for his daily walk around the block, or literally inviting someone to your home for a meal.

So… if you would like to join the #48HC, your first challenge is to do that:  Within the next 48 hours, to go out of your way to bring someone a little closer into your life.

2.  Speech

James places a lot of emphasis on the power of the tongue, and one of the things I shared with our evening congregation is how we could so easily help others to feel loved, just by the way we speak to them.  This is what James writes in 1:26: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

The second part of the #48HC was for people to identify a stranger in the next 48 hours who they could encourage or build up by sharing positive words.  This could be in the form of acknowledgment, a compliment or a positive word.  Are you going to join this part of the challenge?

As a sideline,  you may want to watch this clip if you need some inspiration to know what positive words is all about!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8bm2llxxjU

3. LOVE THE NEGLECTED

James 1:27 says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Widows and orphans represented the most neglected in that society.  Today, this situation has been overtaken by beggars, the homeless, and the elderly sitting day in and day out with little dignity in old aged homes.  The third part of the #48HC was for our congregation to actively show love to someone who would be considered the “neglected” of society – the people that are sometimes difficult to love.  Love requires dignity, and to show dignity to someone who is scorned is, for me, one of the greatest ways of expressing the love of Christ in our lost world.

So in summary, that’s the challenge.  I would love for you to join us and be part of the #48HC.  If you do decide to join us, then be sure to start off with a tweet or facebook status saying:  “I AM TAKING UP THE #48HC – ARE YOU?”

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