Let’s Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Doesn’t it feel great when someone says thank you to you!? I know it does for me. Most people enjoy the acknowledgement of a job well done, an expression of gratitude for help, being appreciated for a gift, a kind word, or just being available. It’s nice to receive a thank you. We feel seen, noticed, acknowledged for something we did or said, or had part in. We may even feel that sense of accomplishment or connection and that we do matter to another or some cause. In addition, we can feel a sense that we made a difference, had an impact, added something of significance to another’s life or project. We do naturally like to be part of something bigger than ourselves. There is something amazing in these little words of “thank you.”

Now, true, sometimes we can feel a bit surprised because we wonder if we really merit a ‘thank you.’ We can easily think we are not worthy of it or that deserving of the appreciation. I know I sometimes struggle in receiving a thank you. I know it’s mostly because of my past in experiencing harsh criticism, so it does take some thought to let the wonderful aroma of the blessing of thanks encourage me. But it does bring on much joy and a thankfulness to God for the opportunity to bless another.

Counselors, life coaches, and psychologists tell us that there is a great benefit in giving thanks. In an online article from Psychology Today, entitled 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude, seven powerful blessings of thanks are revealed. When we are thankful or express gratitude, it opens doors to more and deeper relationships, improves our physical health, builds empathy, reduces aggression, and even brings on better sleep! There is proven research showing that expressing thanks is truly a blessing. The Bible encourages us to be thankful.

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Much of our thanks should be directed to God who does provide for us according to Philippians 4:10Matthew 6:31-32 and James 1:17.           

Psalms 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,for His steadfast love endures forever!   

Psalm 9:1-2 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.I will be glad and exult in you;I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Giving thanks also greatly encourages others. The Apostle Paul was good at thanking others.

Ephesians 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.

As we approach this season of thanksgiving, let’s give thanks. Yes, to God for who He is and all the blessings we have from Him, but also let’s be generous with thanks for others. Who could you bless with thanks this week?

Church is a perfect place to give thanks to God and others. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to give thanks along with you,

Mike

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The Good of Wait

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,to the soul who seeks him.

How do you react when you have to wait? How about when traffic is heavy, and you have wait at another looooonnnnggg light? What about waiting in a line to get gas? How do you feel when you have to wait for what seems to be over the normal time for your food at a restaurant. “Your call will be answered in the order it was received…wait time is estimated at 45 minutes.” How does that reality hit you?

Well, if you are like most people, we hate to wait. We live in an instant world where if a video takes more than a few seconds to load, we are ready to move on. We don’t like waiting for our coffee, food, or a response to an email we just sent. We like instant, on-demand, and at our fingertips. But yet, is not patience a virtue and good comes to those who wait? There is a good in wait. Good food does take time and the taste is way better. Good friendship and relationships take time and multiple experiences to go deeper and secure stronger bonds. Good investments usually take time to accrue value. Good talent is tested and perfected over time. Good character is forged on the anvils of time. Yes, there is a good in wait.

I read an article about the benefits of waiting. These benefits range from clarity, to developing perseverance and patience, to tolerance and empathy. Waiting can be a good thing. To some, it’s even an opportunity to be more productive in using the wait time to catch up on emails and texts. I know for me, I was actually a bit disappointed I did not have to wait at the dentist’s office because I was looking forward to that time to respond to a few emails.

Now there is also a good in waiting on God. To wait on God is a trust in His love, grace, kindness, sovereignty, help and guidance. In that we have hope. To wait is not passive but an active dependence on the Lord, trusting in Him. Waiting is being taken with belief in all of who God is, what He has done, and how active He is in our lives and letting that infuse courage in us! Because God can! If God can rescue Daniel from the lion Daniel 6:1-28, He can rescue us. If God can give David ability to slay a giant 1 Samuel 17:1-58, He can equip us to slay our giants.  If God can cause a virgin to be pregnant who has not been with a man, nothing is impossible for Him Luke 1:26-38. Because God can, we can courageously face life. That courage is found in waiting/trusting in our awesome God!

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint.

Psalms 27:14 Wait for the LORD;be strong, and let your heart take courage;wait for the LORD!

Psalms 25:3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Psalms 33:20-22 Our soul waits for the LORD;He is our help and our shield.For our heart is glad in Him because we trust in His holy name.Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,even as we hope in you.

There is good in the wait and in the wait for the LORD.

Church is a wonderful place to learn of waiting on the Lord. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Experiencing the good in waiting along with you,

Mike

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Making the Move from Fearful to Fearless

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.

My grandkids are amazing! They are so much fun and such a joy. I also learn a lot from them!?! Like how fearless they can be. Now, fearlessness is not the absence of fear but the leveraging of fear to press on…to move from fearful to fearless. One grandson came over to our house and I noticed his arms were a bit scratched up. I asked what happened. He said he was trying out a new move on his trampoline and had fallen on his arms a few times, well, a lot of times. I asked if he figured out the new move. He said not yet but he was going to try again tomorrow. I suggested he may not be ready and might want to wait until he was older. He sharply said, “No Papa, if you’re going to try new things, it’s scary and it’s going to hurt, but you have keep trying.” Wow, great insight from such a little guy. He was making the move from fearful to fearless.

Another grandson came over with scraped up knees. I asked what happened and he looked at me and said, “I fell, Papa!” But the look was one of those expressions like I should have known. He saw the questioning look on my face, and before I could ask why he fell, he stood up, threw up his hands, and said, “I got a new skateboard.”  He went on, “And you know, you’re going to fall a few times before you get good. I’m not that good yet!” He went on, “It doesn’t hurt much now, but it did when I first fell. I cried. But I got back up because I can’t get better if I just cry and don’t keep trying.” Again, wow! Some incredible wisdom from a kid who has not lived that long. He went from fearful to fearless. He knew this venture was going to be painful, but he chose not to let fear inhibit him but to empower him to press on. Yes, from fearful to fearless.

God knows life will be full of painful, difficult, and fearful experiences and circumstances. Some are horrific. I know I have had a few of those experiences and it sure has helped to get counsel from a wise friend or professional counselor. Other circumstances can be more of the level of the fears of everyday life, like learning a new skill or craft, achieving well at our job or school, being a good friend, participating in our families, dealing with the economy, political and social issues, and even in our faith journey. In all this, God challenges us not to let fear hold us back as we move from fearful to fearless.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you;be not dismayed, for I am your God;I will strengthen you, I will help you,I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

One of the reasons my grandsons continue to move on fearlessly is their parents are right with them, encouraging them. Sure, comforting them when they have a setback or a fall, but also encouraging them to get up and get back at it. When we put our faith and trust in God, He will comfort us, encourage us, and help us get back out there. For in the wise words of my grandson “I can’t get better if I just cry and don’t keep trying.” I don’t know what has knocked you down and skinned your knees, but you can move from fearful to fearless.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Church can be a place that emboldens and builds our courage. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to be more fearless along with you,

Mike

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Participation Creates Connection and More

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

The above Bible verse comes from Luke’s account of some practical teachings of Jesus. He is encouraging people’s connection with others and giving them good, godly ways to interact. Jesus teaches to be good even to those who are not nice to us, see Luke 6:27-29. Jesus challenges us and also gives us the ‘golden rule:’

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

The ‘giving’ in Luke 6:38 is not just money, but the giving of ourselves. For when we participate with others, connections are made, and relationships begin to form. Yes, building friendships takes effort and time and risk and energy. Some make friends easily. For others, it takes a bit more effort. Yet, there is great benefit in those connections.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron,and one man sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

To enjoy the blessing of connection we must join in, participate. I saw this at our All-Church Lunch a week ago. We had planned to have a fun party to officially welcome our Spanish congregation into our church. To make this happen we needed a lot of people to participate. Our Spanish and Khmer (Cambodian) congregations brought side dishes. Our Smokin’ Crew cooked up some 280 pounds of chicken. Many in the congregation brought in desserts. Our staff set up and a bunch of volunteers served the food, ran the kitchen, cleaned up the kitchen, and took down the tables and chairs. In all this participation, people connected, not just in the time around the tables eating, but in their helping. See, participation creates connection and the joy of being together. People were sharing their dessert recipes. Guys were interacting over their grilling techniques. People were learning names and stories of others they had not yet met. In all this there was a great sense of belonging, togetherness, and love. What made this all happen was each one’s choice to participate.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

It is all too easy not to make the effort to join in and be part of something. Sure, connecting and interacting takes something of us. But it will bring about connection and so much more. How could you participate a bit more with others?

Attending church in-person can be a great place to participate. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to participate a bit more along with you,

Mike

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Build Up not Tear Down

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

The word corrupt in the Bible verse above comes from a Greek word meaning to tear down, or cause to decay. The word also means harmful, worthless, rotten, or bad. It other words, we should be careful with our words. In that we are to take responsibility with what we say and how we say it, and make sure it’s not harmful. Ephesians 4:29 also says we are to use words that build up others. Those are words that encourage, help, affirm, uphold, are supportive, and breathe hope into others. Now, this not tearing down and building up is not only in speech, but should also be in actions. The things we do should build up and not tear down, contribute not counteract, help not hinder, and enhance not diminish.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

A good question to ask when we leave an interaction with someone or involvement in something, is did we enhance or depreciate the experience? The truth is, we were designed by God to help the encounters we have to thrive and be even just a little bit better. We can make a compliment, affirm, say kind words, or even just smile when we engage others. If we are part of an activity, we can find a way to participate, help, and contribute. Even in going to the grocery store, we can put the cart back, help bag our own groceries, and again, smile.

See, the truth is we need each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

We live in a world where we think too much about what we can get. We can tend to say, “What’s in it for me?” Why not say, “How can I help enhance this moment?” Wow, our world would be such a better place if we did more building up and not tearing down. How could you build up and not tear down in one of your interactions or moments today?

Attending church can be a place where we are built up, and also a place we can build up others. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking more ways to enhance the moments along with you,

Mike

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Do Good and Give

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

When Kristi and I were just married, we did not have very much. I was still interning at our church, going to school, and working at a pool supply store. Kristi was in her first year of teaching at a Christian school. Neither of us was earning very much. We had just enough to pay rent and cover the little bills we had. Yes, we consistently gave to our church. We understood the biblical exercises of tithing  Malachi 3:10-11, and to be generous as God directs 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. We saw the practice of consistent giving as a blessing and an act of our obedience in faith. With that, we did not have much to buy things for our apartment and very little for our food budget. We managed and found creative ways to stretch our dollars. But what a blessing it was when people would give us food and furniture. Even some brand-new furniture! Years later, we looked around our house and it was full of blessings from others. One blessed giver said her husband was talking about how we needed a new couch and he said to his wife, “Our couch is in good shape, but we want to replace it, so why not give it away to Mike and Kristi!”  We had that couch for years.

Because of how people modeled to us this kind of generosity, we also like to give stuff away. A few years ago, we gave away a couch and a dining room table. That table had been one of those items we had received as a gift. Someone mentioned to us that we could have made some good money on those items, but seeing the joy and excitement on the faces of that young couple was priceless. Sure, I have tried to sell stuff, but that question keeps coming back, ‘Why not do good and give it away?’

God does want us to be giving.

Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,when it is in your power to do it.

Jesus even said in Acts 20:35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So why not do good and give?! Who could you bless with a gift or something you really don’t need anymore? Maybe clean out your closet or declutter your garage. Why not get those things out of storage and find a new home for them? You could bring joy and excitement and truly help another. Sure, also give some of your hard-earned money to helpful organizations. Be wise, of course, and check out that organization. But let’s be people who do good and give.

At church we learn about the giving nature of God and are encouraged to be generous like the Lord. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to continue to do good and give along with you,

Mike

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Your Participation Matters

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We were having one of those fun family gatherings. Everyone was getting dinner together. Some were in the kitchen preparing food, some were setting up the extra tables, some were preparing dessert, and I was out at the grill/smoker cooking up some chicken! The grandkids were helping too. They were setting the table, carrying chairs, folding napkins, and helping prepare some of the food. Everyone who was of age seemed to be doing a job and enjoying participating. Well, except one. He was having a little trouble. He tried to carry a chair, but it was too heavy. He tried to set the table but got so hyper he tried to fling a napkin and knocked a plate on the ground with a crash and shattered plate was everywhere. He tried to clean it up but got a little cut on his finger.  Though a bandaid was not needed, a Pokémon one made it better. He then got back to trying to be part of it all by grabbing the biggest knife in the kitchen and ran, yes RAN to the counter to help cut the bread. His mom caught him in midstride, unhanding his grip on the knife, and redirecting him out of the kitchen in one fluid movement. It seemed this was a practiced move! With frustration and what looked like defeat this little would-be-helper slumped his shoulders and sauntered outside to where I was grilling the chicken. He said to me, “Papa, I want to help, but I’m just not good at anything and I break everything”. He collapsed into a chair and stared down at the ground. Then he looked up at me and said, “Papa, is there anything I can do to help you?” I put down my tongs, scooped him up in my arms, hugged him close, and then whispered into his ear how much I love him and reminded him of the many ways he is helpful and a wonderful part of this family and God’s family. He smiled and I asked him if he thought he could do the important job of turning the chicken. His face beamed. I showed him how, cautioned him on the dangers of a hot grill, and handed him the tongs. He took them like it was a symbolic rite of passage and went for it. He was cautious, persistent when it did not go as smoothly, and he did a superb job! His participation mattered to him and to the production of this family dinner.

God has designed us to participate, to be good helpers, to serve others, blessing them with good works.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

We all can find some way to participate at home, at work, in our local schools, in our churches, in our neighborhoods, at our local senior centers, or in our city in some way. People are looking for volunteers and we are at our best when we participate. Where could you find a place and way to participate? Your participation matters!

Yes, church can be great place to participate, but also a place to be prepared to do good works in our community. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to participate along with you,

Mike

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Let Adversity Refine Not Define

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

When difficulty happens in life how do you respond? Yes, there are several emotions we deal with and process through. Processing our feelings is an important practice and an opportunity to strengthen our emotional health. Yet there is another opportunity when we face struggle, difficulty, or adversity. It is to let those times refine us.

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when they has stood the test the will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

When gold or silver are refined, they are put under fire. That heat draws the impurities to the surface and are burned off. The precious metals are now better, stronger, and more of what they truly are. For us, we have a choice as the heat of adversity comes to us. We can let it move us to some self-reflection or let define us.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

In a relationship where conflict keeps happening, to reflect by asking how am I contributing to the issues? In a work situation where my colleagues seem to avoid me, it is to consider how my demeanor and actions may push people away. It’s to look inward and humbly reflect on our own actions and character. Maybe we are being a bit too self-focused, not as diligent as we should, too judgmental, not as kind, not as caring. If we just blame or treat others as we have been treated, we are letting that adversity define us.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

In our times of struggle God says He will be with us.

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,for you (God) are with me;your rod and your staff,they comfort me.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I (God) will be with you;and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,and the flame shall not consume you.

Yes, life would be great without any struggles, and one day God will deal with all that causes pain (see Revelation 21:4), but for now there will be trials, difficulties, losses, hardships, struggles, and the horrible fires of adversity. In this we have a choice: why not let adversity refine and not define. What will you choose?

Church can be good place to seek God and get help in times of adversity. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to be refined by adversity along with you,

Mike

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Serving Leaves a Lasting Impression

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

A few years back I came across an interesting story about Scott Harrison, a former night club promoter, who turned humanitarian and is now the CEO of the non-profit charity: water. His story was all over the Internet and his organization has brought thousands clean water. Charity: water’s vision is to make clean, safe drinking water available to everyone on the planet. Yes, he is making a difference, but what I noticed as I viewed his story is that he became a better person. What changed him was serving others. See, there is something amazing that happens when we step away from a self-focus where we feed our wants and desires and expend energy serving the needs of others. That sacrifice, those selfless actions, change us. We become better and the world becomes better. For serving leaves a lasting impression on us and those we serve.

There are many articles and studies done expounding on the benefit of serving others. One online article from Psychology Today entitled ‘What we Get When We Give,’ gives some of the benefits of serving. When we help others, we live longer, feel better, experience less depression and experience happiness. Serving also brings a sense of belonging and it makes the world a better place. Not only these things, but serving reduces stress, and helps get rid of negative feelings. Serving does leave a lasting impression and just makes sense. The Bible encourages us and calls us to serve.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Romans 15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Yes, we live in a world where so much attention is on our wants, our issues, our desires, and ‘me-time.’ But we can carve out some time to serve. Yes, life is overwhelming and there are always struggles to walk through. And yes, we need to get help, but one help might be to serve others. Where could you serve? What needs are you seeing that you could help with? Get involved at your church. Call up your city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Volunteer at your local Senior Center. Volunteer/serve at one of your local schools. The world is full of needs and God has placed us here to help.

Church can be a place to learn how to serve and to actually serve. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to serve our world along with you,

Mike

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Doing Good Leaves Little Room for Evil

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I was out at a local coffee shop. The parking lot was fairly full. As a spot opened up, two cars both seemed to go for it. I could not tell who was first, but it appeared both felt they had claimed the open spot. There was jockeying for the spot with slight lurches of their cars. Then the honking started. Then the yelling. Neither would back down. The name calling and horrible nasty language started up. It was quite a scene. Well, as this battle of words was going on, another spot opened up, and a third car just moved in, parked, and went in to get their beverage. It does not take much for things to escalate these days and bring out the not-so-nice, and sometimes even evil-like, side of people. One person makes a snide comment only to be returned with an even nastier comment.

The Bible encourages us to overcome those evil-like tendencies with good.

Luke 6:27-28 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Luke 6:35-36 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

It’s being kind, looking for ways to encourage, help, affirm, compliment, and be nice. It’s giving people that cherished parking space or place in line. It’s not responding back with a negative retort, but with kindness. It’s trying to be helpful even when people are rude.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spokenis like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

I believe if we would initiate doing good it could change the climate of our homes, places of work, schools, neighborhoods, and even cities. How could you do some good today? For doing good leaves little room for evil.

One place to both learn and practice doing good is at church. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to initiate good along with you,

Mike

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