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Sharing the Gospel Through Hospitality (Part 1 of 2)

Sharing the Gospel Through Hospitality (Part 1 of 2)

In this Best of 2019 broadcast, Dr. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield challenges listeners to share God's love by opening their home to strangers, neighbors, and anyone in need, in a discussion based on her book The Gospel Comes With a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: January 30, 2019


Dr. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield: That practically means you, Christian, share the gospel with a house key. That practically means you, Christian, share the gospel with an invitation that, hey, you know what? Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving – my house. There’s no question about where you’re going to spend your birthday. You’re my brother. You’re part of a family. And the Christian community exists sometimes on what I like to call a starvation diet of community.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Some great insight from Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, who believes that many Christian families today are missing out on a life-changing ministry opportunity. And you’ll hear about that today on this “Best of” edition of Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, it’s absolutely amazing how God works. Often in ways that we can’t even imagine. The simple act of hospitality that Rosaria just described is what transformed her life. Years ago, she was about as far away from God as anyone could be. She thought Christians were the enemy and she was happy with her life as a lesbian, a feminist, and as an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights.

But God orchestrated something impossible. A Christian couple, Ken and Floy Smith, invited Rosaria into their home. And through their friendship she experienced a radical transformation, and eventually gave her life to Jesus Christ.

And today, Rosaria is a pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mom. And she has a powerful message to share about how all of us can have that same amazing impact through hospitality, that Ken and Floy had in her life.

I can’t think of a better message to come back to here at the end of the year – the week before Christmas – when we’ll be celebrating the birth of Jesus with so many friends and family.

This is such a great time of year to show hospitality and share our faith in that context. And I hope everyone listening will be challenged, and a little convicted, by what Rosaria has for us today.

John: And I must say that her book, The Gospel Comes With a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality In Our Post-Christian World, is a terrific resource. We have it. It’s the foundation for the conversation today.
I should mention, Jim, our Sunday School class is just finishing up going through this book and it’s been eye-opening and really inspiring for us to open up and have better community.
Find more about that book at

Let’s go ahead now and hear how we began that conversation, a Best of 2019 broadcast with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield.

Jim: Rosaria, welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Rosaria: Oh, thank you so much. It’s always an honor and privilege to be here with you.

Jim: It’s just good to see you. My heart…

Rosaria: It’s good to see you, too.

Jim: …Is leaping inside… (Laughter) Because it’s so much fun.

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: I just love the way you think and what God has done…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …With your life. Uh, and what a background. And we’re not going to cover all that ground. We’re getting into a new direction today, but I so appreciate what the hand of God has done in you…

Rosaria: Amen.

Jim: …In your husband, in your family.

Rosaria: Praise God.

Jim: It’s a powerful testimony. In fact, if the listeners missed it, you can get it through Focus on the Family…

John: We’ll link over to the download, yes.

Jim: …Because it is something that you should share with friends. It’s one of those, um, amazing stories of God’s work in someone’s life.

Help us understand why you are so passionate about hospitality. You know, we read that in Scripture, and we think, yeah, be kind, be joyful, be hospitable, OK. And we keep moving.

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: But it is the…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …Key…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …To unlocking the heart of…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …Especially nonbelievers.

Rosaria: It is. And it’s also connected to what it means to be a radically converted person in this post-Christian world.

Jim: Why?

Rosaria: Here’s why – when I share with people what Ken and Floy Smith did for me in my conversion process – now, we – I don’t believe that I’m discipled into conversion. I don’t believe that, you know, it was a casserole that brought me to faith. It was… (Laughter) it was the spirit of God…

Jim: Yeah, this is love.

Rosaria: …Which is a supernatural – you know, the power of heaven coming down to save a sinner like me.

But the highway that that traveled on was Ken and Floy Smith’s tireless Christian hospitality. I was in their home at least weekly for two years. And while in their home, I would argue with them. And after I would argue with them, I would go back to campus where I was a professor at Syracuse, and I would demean them. I would mock them. And I would go back the next week and do it again.

Jim: Why did you say yes? I mean, what…

Rosaria: Well, because I was doing research on a book for the religious right. And I thought of Ken Smith is my unpaid research assistant – it was…

Jim: So, he could, uh…

Rosaria: Yeah. No, I just…

Jim: So, this came with a little bit of an undercurrent.

Rosaria: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: No, an agenda.

Jim: OK.

Rosaria: I mean, if I thought evangelical Christians had an agenda, believe me, as a gay rights activist, I had a bigger one, in my opinion.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: And I thought I had the winning one.

John: Hm.

Jim: So, you said yes. You go to the home.

Rosaria: I said yes. And…

Jim: And boom.

Rosaria: And week after week, it’s the sort of – it’s the same thing. Lots of people come in. Good food, simple food – sort of like how I cook – simple food, but plenty of it. People come in. They talk. Then at a certain point, the – you know, the Bible’s open, the psalter’s open. They sing the Psalms exclusively – four-part harmony. The aesthetic beauty of the Psalms was compelling to me. And the words, quite frankly, were disgusting… (Laughter) I don’t know what else to say.

Jim: To you at the time, right.

Rosaria: To me at the time, absolutely.

And after years and years of that – and I talk about this elsewhere – something happened. The Bible got to be bigger inside me than I. And that’s what changed. And when I came to Christ, I did not stop feeling like a lesbian, but I knew Jesus was who He said He was.

Jim: Yeah. To paint that picture a little more fully…I mean, you even referred to their home as the cult house…

Rosaria: Oh, I did. Yeah.

Jim: …Probably to your students.

Rosaria: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Jim: I mean, and the reason I’m asking…

Rosaria: Well, and especially to my lover at the time, you know.

Jim: Yeah, right.

Rosaria: Because she’d be like, what are you doing again? Oh, I’m warming up my vocal chords, like that was just the most common thing for me to do, you know.

Jim: So…

Rosaria: But we were going to sing…

Jim: Yeah. And the challenge…

Rosaria: …Which was compelling.

Jim: Yeah. And the challenge there is this tension you had to feel…

Rosaria: Yes.

Jim: …Between your life and what it was…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: …Then as a sinner not drawing – or knowing God…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: …And then this odd attraction…

Rosaria: Yes.

Jim: …With this couple…

Rosaria: Yeah, very odd…

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: …Disarmingly odd…

Jim: How long did that process…

Rosaria: …Attraction.

Jim: …Take before you said, Lord, I get it?

Rosaria: Two years.

Jim: It was two years.

Rosaria: It was two years.

Jim: Let me just turn to listeners again because this is critical. Think of somebody in your life that you think is so beyond God’s reach they could never become a Christian and start praying for them. Start inviting them over, right? I mean, that’s the thing.

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: Why – let me ask you this question, Rosaria. Why do we stumble with that simple idea?

Rosaria: Well, because I think the spiritual warfare that we experience is disarming to us, and it’s unusual. And instead, my invitations is for Christians to just – just relax and step into the conflict.

But I think that we want it to be nice. We want to have a nice dinner. We want the table settings to match. We don’t want the cat to have a hairball (Laughter) as soon as the guests come in. You know, we want – and we certainly don’t want our guests to be potentially offended. We don’t want our guests to offend us. We have lots of anxiety. And this is spiritual warfare.

And instead, I think what we need to do is what Ken and Floy Smith did. They said, “You know what? If we’re going to be agents of grace, then we need to get close enough to this stranger to put the hand of the stranger into the hand of the Savior. And you know what? Somebody here is going to get hurt.”

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: “May God be given all the glory.”

Jim: Yeah. And – and I – I love the idea that you’re – um, what’s the right way to say this? – you’re deconstructing the complexity…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …Of doing something like this.

Rosaria: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: It doesn’t have to be something huge.

Rosaria: And this doesn’t happen in la-la land. Guess what?

Jim: Right! (laughter)

Rosaria: Guess what? You know, 20 years ago, people could sit together at the same table even though they voted differently. Today we’re told that’s impossible. A good question is why? And those are some of the things that I try to unpack in this book and some of the practices that I think are necessary. But here’s what I know – as I’ve shared with people my testimony, and I share with you what Ken and Floy Smith did for me, I have so many people just walk away rich, young ruler-style.

Jim: Mm.

Rosaria: And they say, “Wow, they’re super Christians. I could never do that.” And I’m here to say I think we all – I don’t think anybody’s called to be a super Christian. But I think we’re all to be – we are all called to set our boundaries a little differently.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: In the past, we’ve set them according to our checkbook and according to our calendar. In a post-Christian world, we’re called to set them according to the blood of Christ. Ken and Floy Smith were just a little ahead of the game.

Jim: Yeah, but it’s where we should all be.

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s why I like the subtitle of your book, which is Radically Ordinary Hospitality.

Jim: Describe what that looks like day to day.

Rosaria: Yeah. Well, day to day, it means two things. First of all, conceptually, it means always looking at the objective of the Christian life – the purpose – your purpose for being here. And that is to seek strangers – and seek them you must, they don’t actually fall from the sky – to seek strangers and make them neighbors and embrace neighbors, praying that God would make them family of God.

So that’s, conceptually, the journey. And once you cross those thresholds, everything changes. When you cross the threshold between stranger and neighbor, you never go back to stranger. The bridge is burned down. You can’t go back there. And when you cross the bridge from neighbor to family of God, you can’t go back either.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: And so that’s conceptually what it means. And what it means practically is that for the last 17 years of marriage, Kent and I have just done this thing that we thought was normal. But we, you know, we are in the world, so we know that Christians don’t think it is.

Jim: (Laughter) Right.

Rosaria: And so, we sort of – so think of this book as our coming out party, if you will. Um, so for – when Kent and I got married, we were the only believers in our extended families. That means that we were lonely people.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: And our commitment to family of God meant that – that we believed that our home was a place where a family of God gathers. Not by invitation only, but organically and regularly. So, we started practicing daily hospitality with our family of God from the very beginning of our marriage. One of the nice, little, old ladies in the church had bought us one of those little guest books (Laughter) that you fill out. Well, after four months of marriage, we had filled it up entirely. And we looked at each other and said, “We’re gonna throw this sucker away…

Jim: Get a new one.

Rosaria: …And we’re” – no… (Laughter) we’re never gonna get a new one because we’re gonna have God keep these tallies…

Jim: Oh, wow.

Rosaria: …Because there’s something about keeping these tallies that is going to spook us…

Jim: Hm.

Rosaria: …Because we were noticing then a crisis of loneliness in the church.

John: Hm.

Rosaria: And, you know, part of how the post-Christian world became a post-Christian world is the secular world capitalized on some real sin issues in our church. I’m not talking right now about sexuality.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: I’m talking about cold hearts.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: I’m talking about the willingness to allow crushing loneliness to reside in the hearts of the people who are our fellow shoulder-rubbers in the pews.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: And why? Well, because it was a sin that just went under the radar. We started to feel that our time was our own, that our homes were our castles. And that really the scriptural command that the Gospel would come with a hundredfold, practical, nurturing connections within the family of God – and that’s in Mark, chapter 10 – we might get to that in this conversation – is we started to see that as somebody else’s business. We started to prefer programs over relationships.

Jim: Hm.

Rosaria: And we – we looked at the singles in our church as people who needed to be fixed or fixed up.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: And that’s – those are sins that we are revisiting in this post-Christian world.

Jim: Well, and I so appreciate that – the way we started the program, that heart for truth and understanding.

And I think that’s true. When we really dissect where we’re at, we’re in a cold place. We have automatic garage door openers. I would assume that, like me, I know some of our neighbors, I don’t know all our neighbors.

And even when I’m in, you know, Christian company, many people don’t know any neighbor. And I – I think that’s an indication of what you’re talking about – this – uh, you know, it sounds harsh, but that cold-heartedness…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …That we don’t really care. The other thing is just with modernity, you have so many things pulling at your time. Uh, you know, we’re busy people, and we make excuses…

Rosaria: Yes.

Jim: …That we’re busy people…

Rosaria: Yes.

Jim: …And therefore, we don’t have time for hospitality and getting to know the people around us. And that…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: That’s really an error, isn’t it? Because…

Rosaria: Yes, it is.

Jim: …Um – an old book – I think Paul Tripp is the author – Instruments in the Hands of God

Rosaria: Love that book.

Jim: …There’s a line in there that caught me for today’s program and that is our relationships belong to God.

Rosaria: Uh-hm. That’s right.

Jim: Think of that – that our relationships belong to God. And it’s how we nurture them and how we steward them…

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: …That is important to Him…

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: …The Heavenly Father. When you start looking at it from that perspective, wow…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: …That’s a lot of responsibility.

Rosaria: Right. Absolutely. And I would say in addition to modernity creating a kind of self-absorption, the idea that somehow I’m really busy and that I’m really…

Jim: (Laughing) I’m guilty of that!

Rosaria: …I’m really busy doing important things, and maybe I should have a blog in my own name. I mean, can I just tell you that I think the Puritans would call that sin?

Jim: Mm.

Rosaria: I really do. And maybe you all have blogs in your names, and so you’re just kind of like, ah, Rosaria, I can’t believe you nailed me but…

Jim: Well, I happen to have a blog. (Laughter)

John: I’m going to plead the Fifth… (Laughter) …Because I never do anything with it, but I have one, yeah. (Laughter)

Jim: But speak to our hearts.

Rosaria: But…

Jim: Tell us…

John: And we’re open, yeah.

Rosaria: Here’s the deal, I mean, in modernity, the idea was the self-autonomous individual finding meaning in nothing but himself.

Jim: That’s the American creed.

Rosaria: But now we’re at even a more dangerous place because we’ve moved from modernity to post-modernity. And we are now in a place where we have the quote, unquote, “intersectional person” finding purpose and meaning in nothing but victimhood.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so true.

Rosaria: And, you know, that is damaging in a different way. But that’s what makes it impossible today or seemingly impossible. I argue, in the book, it’s not impossible. You just have to have enough hutzpah (laughter) to…

Jim: I like that.

Rosaria: …To move on with that. But often Christians feel that, how can I talk to my neighbors who identify as lesbian when everything I say is hate speech?

Well, here’s how – you make sure that your relationship with that person is stronger than the words you’re going to use.

And how do you do that? Well, get off Facebook, stop thinking that anybody really cares what you have to say on Twitter…

Jim: (Laughter).

Rosaria: …And peel some potatoes, put on a pot of coffee…

Jim: Invite them over.

Rosaria: …And invite him over. And you know what? It’s not efficient. We’re talking about one person at a time.

Jim: Yeah. It’s tough. But you’re really hitting it. I want to highlight some of the critics that you’ve had in your church. I mean…

Rosaria: Hm.

Jim: …Because I think that’s an important place to go, and that – that will be something that you face.

Rosaria: Sure. Absolutely.

Jim: Um, People that say, you know, I just don’t have people over. Maybe their personalities are more introverted. Speak to the temperament…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …Issue, too…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …Because this is hard to do for some people that aren’t bent toward relationship in that way.

Rosaria: Right. Right. And I would say, too, that everybody doesn’t have to do this the same way, all right. So, there are lots of things that you can do, and if you do what you do, and you open your arms a little wider, you’re going to find that you have a niche that I don’t have.

Jim: Hm.

Rosaria: And so, there are various things. When it comes to seeking the stranger, one of the best things you could do is go get home studied. You know what? The welfare state has cornered the market on strangers.

And if a couple of families in the church do it together, that means that you all can support another family in crisis.

Now, all that means is that you have access to people in need. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything. There are seasons of life when you can’t. If you’re a mom with small children – and let’s face it, 7 o’clock is not the time you’re having dinner with friends. That’s bath time.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: Um, is there a time during the day that you can open your home to other moms with small children but make it explicitly Gospel-focused? I think this is the challenge – Christians need to do what you do but realize that the Gospel’s not gonna transmute by osmosis.

So, if you’re having, you know, lunch with people, how are you going to move from egg salad to eternity? Well, figure that out!

Jim: Ask good questions.

Rosaria: Ask good questions. But, I’ll tell you in our house it helps to have a routine already established.

John: Hm. Dr. Rosaria Butterfield is our guest on Focus on the Family.

And, uh, we’re talking about her book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key. And you can get copies of that, a CD or a free download of our conversation at

And I want to ask you about that because earlier you said, you know, if Christians have an agenda, you had an agenda. All right…

Rosaria: I did.

John: …So go back to me. I’m inviting a neighbor over for coffee.

Rosaria: Uh-hm.

John: Um, I feel like I have to turn it to Jesus right now.

Rosaria: Yeah. And so, here’s what I would say, too – that’s a great question. One of the reasons that we have found making open invitations to our neighbors so useful, I mean, one is I talk in the book about a crisis in our neighborhood that – that kind of conjured that up.

But it became so useful to just say, “Thursday night is neighbor night. Thursday night is soup and prayer. I put on pots of soup at 6:00. Come join us. Anybody’s welcome.” We put this out on the Nextdoor app, invite 300 households, no kidding.

And then at 7 o’clock, we’re going to have a short Bible lesson, and we’re going to sing a psalm, and we’re going to pray. And, you know, what – first of all, neighbors already know what we’re going to do. So…

Jim: So, it’s not a surprise.

Rosaria: …It’s not a surprise. And because we do this every single night – Kent has been leading family devotions every single night. At a certain point the – you know, the kids bring all the dishes up to the dishwasher, and they send the Bibles and the mugs of coffee and the psalters down.

And you know what? Sometimes neighbors say, “Uh, hey, I got to go.” That’s fine. But they don’t always.

But the reason for these open and regular invitations is this – many of your neighbors, I might even say most, are afflicted with abuse and addiction. And that means that as noble as your invitation, you know, Tuesday night at 7:00 might be, quite frankly, many of your neighbors do not know if they’re going to be sober or safe that particular Tuesday.

But, you know, if it’s regular – hey, we do this every week – one of those weeks, they will be ready. And so, we turn it in this way, and it’s a known reality. And we’ve had neighbors say, “Wow, is this some strange ritual you do?” I don’t care what you call it, but we’re going to go there. And the reason is because we’ve just talked about heavy things, we’ve just talked about important things, and now we want Jesus to enter this conversation, not to stop the conversation but to deepen it.

And then you know what? We’re gonna come back and do this tomorrow, and we’re going to do this the next day. So, we don’t have a one-time opportunity to talk to our neighbor. This is the problems – that people have very shallow understandings of the relationships that they are to create. I’m not talking about a shallow relationship with my neighbors. God never gets the address wrong. He gave me these neighbors. He appointed these relationships. And I’m going to build them for as long as He keeps me there.

Jim: Yeah.

Rosaria: And so, to spend a good amount of time listening is very important. I mean, how will you know what the Gospel bridge is to your neighbor?

Too often, Christians think in false categories of personhood. They think, oh, there’s got to be some special Gospel for my neighbor who identifies as lesbian or a – a different way of approaching the Gospel for my neighbor who identifies as Muslim – or not.

You know, I mean, a big question that Christians have to ask – this was a question Ken Smith asked me 20 years ago – “Rosaria, do you believe that what is true determines what is ethical? Or do you believe that what is ethical will determine what is true?”

We are all image-bearers of the holy God – every single person. I don’t care what category you have slapped onto yourself. There’s only a few that are going to survive eternity. We know the word of God will survive eternity, so we want to make sure that our neighbors, who might never hear it elsewhere will hear it from us.

But we also know that our gendered bodies will be in eternity in one way or another. You will be male or female in the New Jerusalem or, God forbid, you will be male or female in hell.

Jim: Hm.

Rosaria: And so, you know, the world we live in has created all these false notions of personhood. And, you know, it’s the Christian neighbor who can call out the image-bearing of a holy God that each and every human being does.

But here’s what we need to also remember – life is hard. And some people have one cross to bear, and others have 10. So rather than pretending that the Christian life is democratic, why don’t we just work hard to roll up our sleeves and help carry some of those crosses? But we can’t do it until they – we know what they are.

Jim: Well, and here’s the issue with that – it’s hard work.

Rosaria: Yes.

Jim: You know, and this, uh, Scripture that comes to my mind, Rosaria, is, uh, you know, do these good deeds so that they’ll honor your father in heaven. It doesn’t say, “Say these good words.”

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: Do these good…

Rosaria: Amen.

Jim: …Deeds because through those deeds, someone’s heart typically is opened. Even the most crusty of hearts…

Rosaria: Absolutely.

Jim: …is opened in that way because they see what’s real.

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: When somebody’s willing to do the word…

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: …Um, it…

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: …Changes the relationship, doesn’t it?

Rosaria: Yes. And what we’re talking specifically about is the way table fellowship does that – that these aren’t just good deeds of changing – I mean, it’s good to change a tire – a flat tire. I personally don’t know how to do that, so you really don’t want my help.

Jim: But helping neighbors and…

Rosaria: …But helping…

Jim: …You know.

Rosaria: …Neighbors, those are very good things. But – but to gather nightly at the table, um, that – that has the thumbprint of Jesus all over it.

You know, have you ever wondered – I – I’ve often wondered in Luke 7, how it is that Mary, this woman of the streets, wanders into this dinner party? (Laughter) And the next thing you know, she’s at Jesus’ feet – oil, tears, loose hair. I mean, I’ve thrown a lot – I do hospitality every night. I’ve never had…

John: Have any – anything like that (laughter).

Rosaria: …A party crasher like that.

Jim: Something like that.

Rosaria: That’s crazy, right? But what’s also so amazing about it, I think – I mean, I think it’s amazing – is that it shows us how accessible that home was. And that home was accessible because these first-century homes had a kind of outdoor, um, easy-access, uh, porch, really.

Jim: Yeah. Rosaria, uh, I need to ask some tough questions, too, about our attitude as Christians.

Rosaria: Uh-hm.

Jim: …And the issue about our tongue and how we use our tongue. And I, I want to get into this. And I’m going to have you come back, if you can – let’s come back next time, tomorrow, and continue the discussion.

Rosaria: Love it.

Jim: But – but this idea – I think it’s partly born out of insecurity, that we don’t know enough to spiritually battle competently, and so we turn to this defensive posture…

Rosaria: Yeah.

Jim: …When people knock us off our – our spot.

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: And we attack verbally…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: …Which is utterly the wrong thing to do…

Rosaria: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: …When you’re talking to somebody with the Gospel. I love Romans 2:4, which says, don’t you know it’s God’s kindness that leads one to repentance?

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: I mean, this is what you’re saying.

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: It doesn’t – I often speak in front of audiences, and I’ll ask, who was beaten verbally, emotionally or physically into the kingdom of God?

Rosaria: Right, zero.

Jim: I’ve never had a hand go up.

Rosaria: No, absolutely. And you never will.

Jim: Nobody has said to me, I was so mistreated by those Christians…

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: …That I decided to become one of them.

Rosaria: Right. Absolutely.

Jim: It’s always the other way.

Rosaria: That’s right.

Jim: I saw such incredible love.

Rosaria: Right.

Jim: They treated me with such kindness.

Rosaria: Right. Right.

Jim: And yet, it’s a tool we don’t readily use.

Rosaria: That’s right. No, I think that’s absolutely right. But I would also add to that that those Christians were disarming.

Jim: Right.

Rosaria: I came to them with a sense that this is who I am. I came to them with the sense that I am a lesbian. That’s what I said to Ken Smith my first meeting. Two years later, through his clear Gospel witness and love, I came to realize that lesbian may very well be how I was, but it will never be who I am.

Jim: Which is so powerful.

Rosaria: So, he did not meet me where I was and leave me there. He met me where I was and took my hand and said, let’s go talk to Jesus about this.

John: And that’s how we concluded part one of our Best of 2019 conversation with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, talking about her fantastic book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post-Christian World.

Jim: Rosaria’s message is so powerful. And I hope people are resonating with what we shared today.

The last time we aired this program, a listener said, “You hit it out of the park!”  She was so convicted by Rosaria’s stories of inviting neighbors over to share the Gospel with them. This listener promised to pray about how God might use her in the same way!

And we even heard from a Christian family living in Bangladesh, who was singing worship songs in their home. This family was visited by a Muslim neighbor who asked if they could open their window so she could hear the song better.

John: Mm-hm.

Jim: That’s great.

John: Wow.

Jim: That’s not normally what happens. This led to an opportunity to talk to that neighbor about Jesus.

John: Mm-hm, that is awesome.

Jim: And that is so good.

That’s why Focus on Family is here, everybody — to help you grow bold in your faith and spread the Good News message of Jesus Christ!

Rosaria’s book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key, can be a resource for you, or maybe for a family member or a friend. Maybe even a small group at your church, John, like you mentioned earlier. Contact us today about how you can get a copy.

Better yet — send a gift of any amount today to Focus on the Family and we’ll put a copy in your hands as our way of saying thank you for supporting the ministry.

John: You can donate and get your copy of the book by calling 800-232-6459. That’s 800,  the letter “A” and the word FAMILY. Or you can stop by

Jim: Well, we really need to hear from people right now, especially at the end of the year.  This month we’re inviting friends like you to Share the Gift of Family — that’s the campaign – and with your financial support and prayer support, specifically, so that we can continue strengthening marriages, equipping parents, and being a light of the Gospel in our world today.

Right now, thanks to some generous friends, we have a matching gift opportunity which means anything you give today will be doubled!  So please, partner with us right here at the end of 2019!

John: And anything you can do will be so appreciated whether that’s a monthly pledge or one-time gift. Help us impact more and more families with God’s love.

The website, again, is Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

And be sure to join us next time as Dr. Butterfield shares more about the spiritual gift and responsibility of hospitality . . .


Rosaria: If we’re going to be agents of grace, then we need to get close enough to the stranger to put the hand of the stranger into the hand of the Savior. And you know what? Somebody here is going to get hurt.

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