Tag Archives: hidden agenda

Open House Dinner Party

One of our favorite things to do is throw a dinner party for our friends. Jesse and I have an open house every Sunday afternoon. Note to my friends: If this is the first you’ve heard about it, you are very welcome to show up! I just haven’t remembered to personally invite everyone yet.

My (not-so) hidden agenda: My hope is to bring my church friends together with those who are looking for a church home, to allow them to build relationships before entering a church building. I know how scary it is to feel “all alone” while hunting for a church. Of course, all of our friends are welcome, even if they already attend a different church!

House Prep: I generally clean the house pretty good on Friday or Saturday, and straighten up on Sunday mornings before church. I save the bathrooms for Sunday mornings as well, because they don’t stay clean very long. Once I’m done with that, I go through the house and look for little nagging things. If they aren’t big projects, I try to take care of them right away. Otherwise, they get put on my list of things to do for the next week. It’s been really nice since I started doing this, because my house usually gets completely clean at least once a week. That keeps me from getting sneaky little overlooked spots that build up and become difficult!

Food Prep: Nearly everyone brings a side, but I try to fix the main course. Since we are on a tight budget, it’s usually spaghetti or a big pot of beans. Once in a while, I will have salad fixins and some freshly pressed tortillas. (They’re so inexpensive to make!) For a few weeks there, I was making fresh salsa and chips every Sunday. The chips are so easy – I will post a how-to later on. I make anything up ahead of time that I possibly can – pasta is quick and simple to cook after getting home, but slow cooker recipes free you up for visiting with your guests. (I also like to have a backup plan for extra food, in case the turnout is greater that we expected.)

Heart Prep: It’s good to remind yourself not to hurt your guests spiritually. Try not to be a worldly influence in their lives. Keep the TV turned off, stick with Christian or instrumental music in the background, and engage in activities that will encourage clean conversation. Jesse and I usually like to play board games on Sundays, but if there is enough conversation, you don’t really need any other form of entertainment. Say a prayer, and ask for help keeping your thoughts pure and your conversation godly.

Happy hosting!

By the way, if you don’t have a subscription to Homeschool Enrichment Magazine, here is a direct link to their free digital subscription page: http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/digital/

My latest article is on the Sep./Oct. cover: Asking Questions, Analyzing Answers. Hope you like it! (I also write the “Once Upon a
Homeschool” piece in every issue.)



Every time I tell my son, Ian, how proud I am of the way he’s behaved or of the work he’s accomplished, I try to remind him that he is no better than other people. God loves us all the same. Even if Ian’s a little smarter than average, God loves him no more than He loves those who are mentally handicapped. In fact, I have known many people handicapped in various ways, and some of them seem to serve God more completely than many others I have known. It seems they don’t have any hidden agendas; their lives are focused on loving God and other people.

If my son behaves exceptionally well for a day, I stress that he is still no better than those who commit crimes. We all sin; we all deserve to pay the consequences. Ian has been lucky to have received the gospel at a young age. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is worse for us to commit a sin such as gossip than for an unbeliever to commit adultery, etc. We know better; the Holy Spirit tugs at our hearts and says, “Don’t do that.” Yet we often ignore Him and live and act the way we want to.

As I struggle to improve my life spiritually, financially, and physically, I have to resist the little thoughts that float through my head every day. Things such as, “Wow! They are so far behind on their bills already! Why are they buying another video game,” and “Why is she ordering pizza if she’s trying to lose weight?” The worst thing is, I bounce back and forth a lot and do the same exact types of things. I’m no better than anyone else! – Worse, for being tempted to think I am.

Challenge: base your worth on the fact that God created you and loves you. Base it on nothing else. Do your best to remember that God loves us all the same. The next time you even begin to think that you are better than someone else, be it rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief – pray and plead for humility.