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What does home represent to you? Hopefully, the word conjures up an image of the place where you belong. It’s the spot you can be who you really are, where you’re accepted, loved, encouraged, and nurtured so you can face the rest of the world with confidence. Granted, not everyone is blessed with that kind of scenario. Some deal with abusive situations, hurtful relationships, and negative influences that can make things more uncomfortable than they should be. And that’s all the more reason why the church needs to step up to the plate.

In this week’s readings of Irresistible Invitation: Responding to the Extravagant Heart of God, we see the church called the “home of grace.” It’s a beautiful image, isn’t it? That concept of grace means that everyone—no matter who they are, no matter what they’ve done—can find acceptance, love, and rest. But that’s not always an easy pill to swallow. Sometimes it’s hard to accept people who are different than us. In God’s eyes, though, it doesn’t matter. When we truly understand the acceptance that God offers us through Jesus, we find ourselves extending that grace to others. We also find that we want to do more for others, and cultivate the practice of putting them before ourselves.

This week, as you consider what you individually can do to help make this church more of a welcoming presence, keep this Scripture in mind: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7 NIV). As Christians, we have been tasked with passing on what we have received from God, and acceptance of others is just the start. The church has a mighty calling to fulfill, but without everyone’s help—even those we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves—it won’t happen.

Never forget that you love because God first loved you. Who, in your own life, could you help welcome home?