About the Guest
Is the idea of evangelism intimidating to you? Perhaps it wouldn't be if you could do it in the comfort of your own home. Nan McCullough shares how easy it is. All it takes is a willing heart and a little dose of hospitality.
Nan McCulloughNan McCullough and her late husband Sam loved to have people in their home. They both graduated from Houghton College. She has done graduate work in Evangelism and Discipleship at Capitol Bible Seminary and Columbia International University. After college they both came on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ where they have practiced hospitality with almost everyone they have met. Sam worked along side Nan making heavenly hospitality a vital part of his life too. Hospitality is not just a...more
Is the idea of evangelism intimidating to you?
Bob: Butit worked for him didn’t it? When people ask you because you’re involved in full-time ministry – you and your husband working at the Christian Embassy – so they say so what does Sam do? What’s your answer to that?
Nan: I usually try to get off the hook and just say, “Well, he leads Bible studies on Capitol Hill.”
Bob: And that’s typically sufficient to give them?
Nan: Yes. You find someone who you can really read them right away. When the word Bible studies comes out you see a look on their face – whoa, I don’t know about this family. Or, you can say you can see a puzzled look on their face, and you think well, I put the bait out. Jesus said we’re going to make you fishers of men. He didn’t say hunters! We’re going to go out and Bam and drag them in!
Dennis: Bag them!
Nan: No, He said we’re going to throw out bait and we’re going to watch that bobber on the water, and it might not be for a couple months before you start to reel them in a little bit.
Dennis: Okay, I have to stop you right there because there’s undoubtedly a listener right now who’s thinking you know I hate to admit this but even though I’ve been a Christian for a number of years, I really don’t have a burden to share my faith with other people. What would you say to someone who’s kind of you know?
Nan: What’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you Dennis?
Dennis: Coming to know Jesus Christ as my Lord.
Nan: What’s the greatest thing you can do for another?
Dennis: Well, I’ve heard these questions, and I know the answer. It’s introducing them to Jesus Christ.
Nan: Okay and why did Jesus come? What was His purpose?
Dennis: To seek and to save the lost.
Nan: Well, do you believe it?
Dennis: I do!
Nan: Well, then what’s the big deal?
Bob: Well, here’s the big deal…
Nan: If you had the cure to cancer or aids would you keep it a secret?
Bob: But, here’s the big deal. When you tell people my husband leads Bible studies on Capital Hill some of them take a step back and think Uh. Well, nobody wants that right? Nobody wants to be the kind of person that people take a step back from and say Oh so you’re one of them – you’re one of those narrow minded, bigoted Christian types right?
Nan: When I see a look like that I take it as a challenge. I am going to disprove them. I am going to love on them so much and I’m going to show them that all those things they have going on in their head aren’t true. I’m going to out love them.
Dennis: So, back to my question – why do you think so many Christians are so passive and lethargic about sharing their faith? We all live in some kind of neighborhood. Whether we’re in an apartment, or whether we’re in a neighborhood, or even like Barbara and I do which by the way I was going to mention. We live in the country and we’re not real close to our neighbors. So, I have a little bit of an excuse for our poor hospitable…
Nan: Dennis our neighbors are on two-acre lots, and we all had different builders. We have nothing in common to draw us together.
Dennis: Yes, I understand. I see the look on your face. You’re getting me here!
Nan: I’m not buying that one!
Dennis: No – okay! But, anyway why do you think Nan. You’ve worked with people for a long time – why don’t they share their faith?
Nan: I don’t think they really believe that people’s lives, their eternal destiny is hanging in the balance. They don’t really believe there is a Heaven and a Hell.
Dennis: I just said that a few minutes ago to a friend. I said, “I think today we don’t believe Hell exists.” When’s the last message you heard from the pulpit about Hell?
Nan: Well, the other thing is we’re tiptoeing all over the place to be politically correct.
Dennis: Well, judgment you know – that there’s a God who judges that’s just not acceptable right?
Nan: But, there’s a God who loves Dennis – that’s what we want to show them.
Bob: I like this conversation but could we get back to brisket, or desserts or something?
Nan: In the back of the book, yes! I didn’t want to put recipes in this and women kept hollering well, we want to know what can we do that’s easy you know.
Dennis: But you know the thing I want to underscore here is hospitality just to entertain that’s a worthy purpose – it really is good. We don’t reach out to our neighbors enough. I already confessed that on an earlier broadcast. But, hospitality with a purpose and hospitality ultimately that has as a goal and a desire to ultimately share the good news of who Jesus Christ is and your own personal relationship with Him – that really is the ultimate hospitality right?
Nan: Oh, it is! The word hospitality comes from the word hospice. It’s the same place where the core word means a place of healing. Well, Jesus brings healing. Let’s bring them to the place of healing.
Dennis: You had some neighbors who came over to your house and had some bacon and eggs on the spur of the moment after they’d taken…
Nan: I didn’t even serve bacon!
Dennis: You didn’t?
Nan: I didn’t have any bacon.
Dennis: Okay, so they just had eggs, and they were scrambled. But, nonetheless you developed a relationship with your neighbors at that point – what happened with them?
Nan: Well, my son had said this was a young couple, and I was old enough to be their parents, and he told me they’ll never be interested in the Gospel, and that just gets the challenge going in me.
So, I just befriended them. You know shovel the driveways together. Talk over the back fence and ask how are you doing? You know that kind of stuff and I knew that Kelly was interested in exercise so I introduced her to Julie you know who was a younger friend of mine who was into exercise, and I think we went out to lunch once – something like that.
When Kelly got pregnant you know she couldn’t jog anymore so she was power walking and I said, “Well, do you want to power walk with me”? My son said what she’s power walking with you? She wants to spend time with you – like I’m ancient you know?
So, the next fall I was typing up my e-mails to my girlfriends to come over for Bible study – I do Bible study in the neighborhood once a week and I just kept thinking I ought to invite her. I thought well, she’s not going to be interested.
I thought well, what’s it hurt – you know e-mails easy. So, I just typed her an e-mail, and she wrote back – right away – I was really surprised. I thought well, she’ll just ignore it if she’s not interested in spiritual things. She wrote back and she said, “Well, I’ve never been in a Bible study – I don’t have a Bible – can I still come?” I wrote her back of course, and so she came and the word of God just washed over her. After about nine months being in the Bible study we all went away on a retreat and Kelly gave her life to Christ.
Dennis: But, it all started that one morning after you’d come back from taking your power walk and running into them and just inviting them into your home and developing a safe relationship with them.
Bob: Eggs – no bacon, eggs – no bacon was how it happened!
Nan: Yes, and Thanksgiving before last we were empty nesters and the kids were all going to their other houses with their in-laws and Kelly says, “Well, you have to come over and have Thanksgiving with me.” So, here we are Sam’s carving the turkey over there and we’re meeting all of her relatives.
Bob: Now, you talked about the importance of getting your husband involved in this. Some of our listeners are saying I’d love to do the hospitality thing. In fact I’m kind of wired that way but my husband just wants ESPN and the remote, the house to himself, and he doesn’t want to have people in, so what do I do?
Nan: Well, pray. It’s shut up and pray time. I don’t have a husband like that. He doesn’t do that. But, start with something with couples that he would appreciate and that he would like. Maybe he likes to barbecue – you know? Start with a super bowl party at your house. There are lots of things in the chapter on men that you can try to get the men involved.
Bob: You can sit down and just say could we you know a couple of times maybe have some friends over, and just find something that would be people he’d like, and stuff he’d like right?
Nan: Right! Get the children involved and say honey I want to have the Cub Scouts parent’s over or you know I want to have the kids from the soccer team over.
Bob: Men do like cooking if fire is involved or dessert. If you have a good dessert the guys are usually up for that right?
Nan: I have an idea for both of those Bob okay? We had to change our deck and we tore this wood off and it was sitting in a pile in the woods and I said to my husband, “We need to cut these up, and make benches and make a fire pit.” He says, “What in the world do you want a fire pit for?” Well, I’m an old girl scout. He never was a boy scout. So, he let me do it – we built these benches and had some old pieces of concrete, and we just put a little circle there, and we had fires.
This family came over and I said, “Let’s make s ‘mores.” And, there we were, and their kids had so much fun they said when are we going to back to McCullough’s?
Dennis: Speaking of your kids on another occasion you were on your way back from someone’s house where you’d been and you kind of turned to your kids for a reading on what they thought of the home they’d just been in, what’d they say?
Nan: They said, “It was wonderful, wasn’t that a great family, didn’t we have fun?” I said, “Didn’t you see and I described some messy rooms and some chaos of the evening.” They said, “No, what are you talking about Mom”?
It was like the Lord slapped me upside the head and said you have your things all out of whack Nan. It’s not Better Homes and Gardens who are coming for photographs. It’s about people and people don’t notice the things that you’re worried about and uptight about.
Dennis: Yes, but we as adults we really are worried about image, and I think today more than ever it seems that seems to stop us in our tracks when inviting people over because we’re concerned at what they’ll think about us. That they’re going to draw a conclusion about our lives because my desk is littered with mail and various stacks. The reality is who doesn’t have a desk that from time to time gravitates to that disorganized state, okay? So, live with it, you know and invite them over and break out.
Bob: You know I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on anybody here, but if you look at the Bible and if you take the book of Romans the first part of the book of Romans is all about what God has done for us in Christ right? How God has in the midst of our depravity God rescued us, drew us to Himself, Christ died for us, and then you get to chapter 12, and it says okay because of what Christ has done for you here’s how you ought to live.
Roman’s 12:1 says that you are to live as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable. You read down a few lines and it says share with God’s people who are in need, practice hospitality.
Nan: Well, I think in one of the modern translations it says get in the habit of practicing hospitality. It’s not if you feel like it, it’s something we do, and God will bless you. Even the simplest first try.
Dennis: Yes, and I’m looking at this passage here Bob what you’re talking about Romans 12 verse 9 says, “Let love be genuine.” Honestly what’s the phrase that the old song we used to sing they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
I think as never before genuine love is going to be so attractive, so winsome, so authentic and real that people will want to come into your home and say why are they different? What makes them joyful, or what makes them as a family so effective so that they seem to get along? I think inviting people into your home is a great way of breaking down barriers, and ultimately building relationships to be able to have one of the most important conversations we’ll ever have with another human being and that is where are you going to spend eternity?
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord, Master, and Savior? Have you made a commitment to Him? What’s your religious background? Let’s get into some of the nitty gritty of life and not debate it but share about how Christ has made a difference in your life. I think that’s what people are looking for today those kinds of authentic discussions with real people who truly care about their neighbor.
Bob: This book is really a labor of love for you. I mean this is your life’s burden put into book form. I know we were talking earlier and you were thinking I wish I could just stand on the street corner, and hand this out to Christian young women, and say here take this, read it, do it. That’s really what you’d love to see happen this book get into the hands of women and men who have a heart to want to reach their neighbors.
Obviously we can’t stand on the corner and just hand it out but we can invite people to come to our web site FamilyLifeToday.com and order a copy – go on-line and there’s more information about Nan’s book on the website. Again it’s FamilyLifeToday.com or if it’s easier just call 1-800-FL-TODAY – 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY. When you get in touch with us we’ll let you know how you can get a copy of Nan’s book sent to you.
Let me just mention it’s a beautiful book. It’s four color on every page, lots of photographs, lots of illustrations. This took a lot of time, and a lot of effort on your part and I’ll also mention again that there are some pretty good recipes in the back of the book for folks who are looking for a way to come up with some quick meals that are pretty easy, and affordable and work out well if you have friends coming over and you want to serve them a nice meal. So, again there’s more information online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY.
Now, I want to refer back to something that you brought up at the beginning of today’s program Dennis, and that is the matching gift opportunity that’s been made available to us here at FamilyLife. We had some friends of the ministry who came to us and their desire is to see regular FamilyLife Today listeners make a donation. So, they said is there something we could do that would just help motivate people to either go online or call and make a donation during the month of May?
We told them about a matching gift fund that we put together and they said that sounds like a great idea. So, these folks have agreed that during the month of May they’re going to match every donation that we receive here at FamilyLife on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of now more than $300,000 dollars that they have given to this matching gift fund.
Of course we’re pretty excited about that, but in order to take full advantage of the matching gift we need as many FamilyLife Today listeners as possible to call or go online and make a $25 or a $50 or a $100 or whatever you can do. Make a donation to FamilyLife Today and again your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar during the month of May up to this total of now more than $300,000 dollars that’s been given to the matching gift fund. So, you can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY. Help support the ministry of FamilyLife by making a donation this month and let me say in advance how much we appreciate your support and your partnership with us in this ministry.
We hope you can be back with us tomorrow when Nan McCullough’s going to be here again. We’re going to continue talking about how we can open our homes and practice hospitality, and about how God uses that profoundly in people’s lives. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I hope you can be with us.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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