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This past weekend I attended the Oklahoma Baptist Women’s Retreat. I could talk for days about the different things I loved about it, but I’ll stick to one of the topics for the sake of your sanity.

Roasaria Butterfield was one of the main speakers this weekend. Her testimony is an incredible story of transformation, love and healing—and it started with a Christian choosing to show her love rather than bigotry and hate.

Butterfield used to be an LGBTQ rights activist, women’s studies professor at Syracuse University, and in a lesbian relationship, until she encountered a pastor who began to be her friend.

Now, she is married to her husband of 17 or so years (not sure if that’s the right number) and they have several children. I’m not great with specifics, but what she shared about hospitality as Christians was especially fascinating.

The name of her most recent book is “The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post Christian World.” I have moved this book to the top of my to-read list because I could not agree more with Butterfield here.

In order to love the lost world, we have to first be willing to invite them into our lives. In a world saturated with fake news and false prophets, people crave authenticity.

Authenticity begins by building relationships, and Butterfield suggests that you start building relationship with the people in the closest proximity to you, your neighbors.

I grew up in the country, with a good distance between my house and my neighbors’. However, now I live as close as 12 feet to my neighbors on both sides, making this form of evangelism much more attainable and, quite frankly, rather easy.

Being residents of the northeastern United States, Butterfield and her husband host people in their home often when weather isn’t favorable, or in extraordinary circumstances. She told a story where a meth lab was found in a home in their neighborhood. She and her husband invited the neighborhood over to process what their neighbor had done.

There are so many ways to connect with your neighbors. I personally love to go on walks, as I’ve mentioned on my blog before. I was raised with a very outgoing dad, and a mom who is kind to everyone, which means that I’ve never met a stranger in my life—sometimes to a fault.

But I like to use this character trait to my advantage. I love to say hello to people, and welcome their adoring words about how cute my son is, since I like to take him on walks with me.

What do you like to do at your home? Do you enjoy yard work? Or are you like my husband, who likes to spend hours in your garage creating things? Whatever it is you enjoy doing, or even if you don’t enjoy doing it, stretch yourself a little bit and open up your home to your neighbors.

Would you throw them a life raft if they were drowning in the neighborhood pool? Yes, of course! Then why wouldn’t you choose to tell them about God and how much He loves them and sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins when their eternal life is figuratively in your hands as much as that life raft is?

This Sunday is a great opportunity to bring a friend to church as we celebrate Easter Sunday. I suggest you start by inviting them to church on the Super Bowl Sunday of all Sundays in the Church!