Jon Acuff: Be For Our Neighbors
Neighbors are Weird
In your neighborhood there are weirdoes. Now with technology, you know more about your neighbors. The Story of the neighbor who saw the UFO. That’s not even my weirdest neighbor. The neighbor who said that their cat has been kidnapped returned it and shave half of it. But she didn’t give all the info; which half?
Neighbors are Helpful
The story of the big black furry rat in the garage. Traps that kill them. Brown rat stuck in a trap. Jon tells his wife to get a broom. Did you know that rats can scream at you? Mrs. Lynn who takes care of it. That’s weird but that’s what a neighbor does.
For Our Neighbors:
It’s a thousand drops in the bucket for when it matters most.
What if Christians were known for what they are for and not what they are against.
We are all in this tougher. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, it can be small. Watching your neighbors kids.
It’s not the easy neighbors. Not those who have the same views as us. Jesus said to love our neighbors, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Dog Whisperer story. That’s who I have to be deliberate about.
It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual. When you know a real person it changes how you look at your neighbors.
92% of goals fail. As parents it’s hard. We think it will organically work in our family but it never happens. Finish.
Carlos Whittaker: Look Past a Situation and Into the Story
Culture is different in Las Angeles than it is in Atlanta.
The story of his two daughters and adopted son.
His daughter is in kindergarten for four days and hides on Marta from the brown people. She had her entire life not seen the color of dad’s skin until someone told her to look at the color of skin. Look past a situation and into a story. If we are going to be for our neighbor that’s what we need to do.
The story of the good samaritan.
All 3 men saw the man but only one saw past a situation and into the story.
There is the potential in this room to help a generation see into the story.
For those we are leading we need to look past the situation and into their story. It gives permission for other’s to do just this.
Raise up a generation of good samaritans who look past a situation and into the story.
Reggie Joiner: Stay Focused on What Matters Most
When we look for the best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we are doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbors, we are participating in something sacred.” Mister Rogers
Sometimes we think Bible studies, worship, and prayer is sacred, but what if we decided that in our thinking about being for our neighbors was participating in something sacred.
Love the Lord your God with heart soul mind and strength and neighbor as yourself.
How we treat those around us is a sacred issue.
We want to measure our ministries, what are the yard sticks we put up to measure?
Challenge to change the year sticks. What generation are we leading? How do we measure that success?
As leaders, we have to be reminded of where the compass is. Sometimes we get so busy we lose sight of our north star.
Story: Moving in, Tom there waiting, can we call you the Rev, but then with hairline it became the pope. This man was completely different than Reggie. Maybe you want to do an easter egg hunt for my family. $1000 easter egg hunt. Asked Reggie, “Do you ever pray at parties?” Kegger party. The Pope is here and we are going to pray. Tom was crying and said that he wanted to be Reggie’s best friend. Next day, next week, and next month the relationship was different. Don’t know why and can’t explain it but something happened at that party. Showed up in his world and the question’s changed. He started talking about real life. The relationship went to a different play. The power and potential that a party has in relationships when you go the extra mile for your neighbors. Sometimes it takes a party. If he had never gone to the party, the relationship wouldn’t have happened. Tom taught Reggie, what it means to be a neighbor.
Sometimes it takes a party…to CHANGE how we SEE each other.
Party- Any effort to CELEBRATE, SERVE, or ENJOY each other in ways that adds value to life.
Christianity is more like a party than a class. We need to invite a generation to have a different experience than what we’ve been doing.
In the New Testament we see that Jesus likes a party. Was accused of all kinds of things, told stories about parties, compared eternity to the party, first miracle.
Sometimes it takes a party…to DEMONSTRATE that God CARES about people who party.
The prodigal son.
Sometimes it takes a party…to CONFIRM that we can always be FORGIVEN.
Sometimes it takes a party…To prove that people MATTER MORE than our opinions
Tax collectors house
Jesus tells the story about the rich man throwing a party and the VIP list people are getting ready to come. Send out invitations. There is a twist. Rich guy opens the invitation to everyone and anyone. Sends messages into the street to invite. Jesus changed the rules and gave an identity crisis.
Sometimes it takes a party…to remind us all that EVERYONE is INVITED to the party.
The basis of our faith. Everyone is invited. This one concept and idea show change how we do ministry and how we see each other. What if we started acting like everyone was invited.
An important time in history. Where the church should lead the way to say to a generation behind us that everyone is invited to the party. The gospel does not segregate us, it integrates us. The reason the generation is dissolution with the church is because of the history of marginalizing and discrimination and isolation. We’re so much better at debating the gospel than we are at demonstrating the gospel. They are watching how we treat those around us. There is coming a day when we will be in the same room at the same table because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s the point. If we are going to be intentional about inviting a generation to the table, it starts with us. This can be contagious and have a ripple eggiest through the generations.
If you would start thinking in terms of inviting others to the party and inviting yourself to the party of those who are different than you, something will happen to you. Move out of stagnation.
DO SOMETHING you don’t have to do.
Suppose someone forces you to go one mile. Go two miles with them.” Jesus
By law, the Jewish boy had to carry gear of a Roman soldier for a mile. Imagine a 12-13-year-old boy actually does this. On the second mile, the conversation changes. The relationship begins to change. Mile one fulfilled an obligation. Mile two changed the nature of their relationship. When we do ministry, as usual, we do what is obligated. Something happens in your ministry when you go the second mile. Because of one step from mile one to mile two. Wonder why you aren’t motivated or don’t have passion. When you invite them to this kind of experience it changes everything. What have you done that you didn’t have to do? What have you done that you weren’t obligated to do? Busy doing everything you have to do so stop and do something you don’t have to do. Volunteer. This is what happens, it changes you in ways you never imagined. You care about things you never cared about before. Care about what time DQ closes, who is on the education board, about what the pastor in the town is struggling with. You care because where you invest your treasure your heart follows. You don’t get a burden and go do something. You get this generation to do something they have never done before and they will get a burden for this new thing.
Do something because…If you do you feel something deeper, you tap into something sacred, you experience a radical type of love. We are called to invite a generation to step over the line and go the extra mile for the party. God has called you to some important things.