The Blessing of the Trustworthy

Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

The word integrity in the Bible means a wholeness or completeness. It holds the idea being trustworthy or faithful. It is the image of a clay pot being whole, not cracked, trustworthy and faithful in its use. In ancient time sellers of clay pots sometimes hid the cracks in their work with wax and covered it with a thin layer of a clay slurry. To see if the container was whole, with no cracks, the buyer would hold it up to the sun to see if it was a vessel of integrity, trustworthy and faithful in its use. Because being trustworthy matters.

Being trustworthy matters greatly in the products we purchase, the organizations we are involved in, the leaders we follow, and the people we relate to. When something or someone is trustworthy, it is a blessing. We appreciate the quality of the product, and we feel at peace with the leaders and people we relate to. Teams struggle to do well when they don’t trust their coaches. Businesses, schools, organizations, governments, and yes, even churches, lose their effectiveness when trust is lost or waning.

To be trustworthy is to have integrity, honesty, to be truthful and consistent with words and actions. I saw a post on Facebook the other day about a portable air-cooler that was not trustworthy. Oh my, was the person upset! We read reviews that give details to the trustworthiness of restaurants, potential purchases on Amazon, places of business, and professional services. I even get asked at some stores to give a positive review if that is my experience. Trustworthiness is desired and needed.

We have come through a season where we are not sure who or what to trust. Our experience with the pandemic, how the government has been functioning, the economy, and the bias in the media all have caused us to be more careful with who and what we trust.

Trust is earned and built as we follow through with what we say and live truthful, kind lives. The Bible encourages us to be trustworthy.

Micah 6:8-9 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Luke 16:10 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Let’s be people of integrity. Let’s bring in the blessing of trustworthiness. It will change our world!!

The Bible does teach us how to be trustworthy and church can be a good place to learn what the Bible teaches. 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 build trustworthiness along with you,

Mike

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See Good – Do Good

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

About a month ago, our church took a team to help a faith-based nonprofit show kindness to refugees on the island of Lesvos, Greece. It was a great time. Each day we were able to bless, encourage, help, show kindness, and do good to people who have found themselves in a refugee situation. These displaced people have been through much difficulty. It was an honor to help and bring a bit of goodness into their life. Doing good is a good thing. Many articles express benefits of doing good. Doing good decreases stress, brings on better physical health, infuses a positive outlook, increases happiness, promotes mental health, and some articles say it makes us more attractive! Doing good is a good thing. It also helps us move out of or keep us from a victim mentality. That mindset where we blame others, believe the world is against us, run from responsibility, and take on an entitlement stance where we feel we are owed much. Seeing good and doing good can help us not to slip into that attitude.

These days it’s rare to see and hear of people and companies doing good. One of the reasons is because bad news and fostering that victim mentality is both popular and attracts followers on both social media and mainstream media. Yet there is good happening all around us. I found this fun website all about good people doing good things, goodnewsnetwork.org.

God encourages us to be those good people doing good.

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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.

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.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

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

So, let’s be people who see good and do good. It will change our world and maybe even you!

Church can be a great place to encourage us to do good. 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 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.

Looking for good and seeking to do good along with you,

Mike

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The Importance of In-Person

1 Peter 4:8-9 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

We had a few of our grandkids over and we were having fun learning the powers of certain Pokémon, battling Beyblades, building spaceships with Legos and talking. Somewhere in the conversation my phone buzzed, and they gathered around the phone with me to see what it was. It was a text from someone. Actually, it was a person from our church needing prayer, so I excused myself to the other room to answer the text. A few more texts and emails came in and so I just thought I would answer them quickly. Before long I was looking back and answering a few more emails, then something popped up from Instagram. I opened up Instagram and got caught up in viewing fun photos. That led to a quick view of Facebook. As I was scrolling, I heard from the other room, “Where’s Papa?” Then a few young voices yelling out as they were running through the house, “Papa, PAPA, Papa! Where are you?” They found me on the couch in the front room, “Oh there you are Papa! Look at this cool spaceship I made.” Now I had been fairly wrapped up in some Facebook post/story of someone’s latest adventure and did not notice they were all right in front of me. Then came the statement that pulled me out of the numbing time of flipping through post after post, “Papa please put down that phone and look at me!” The words brought me back and made me realize the importance of my in-person time with my grandkids.

It’s all too easy these days, though we are around people, not to be there in-person. I was out to eat one evening and the people at the table next to me were not interacting, for each were on their phones off in some other world. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my smart phone and it can be a great tool of communication and connection, but we can get drawn away from the in-person interaction around us. The truth is, we need each other.

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

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

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.

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

Yes, it’s awkward and social skills along with communication skills need practice. All the isolation due to the pandemic has gotten us out of practice and maybe a bit lazy in interacting with others. People feel disconnected, many feel lonely, maybe even you. Yet a little in-person time could be helpful. Sure, it may take a bit of slogging through the awkwardness of small-talk and learning the art of asking questions, as well as improving our listening skills. Yet this effort of in-person interaction could really help others feel connected. Maybe even you. What could you do today to have an in-person experience?

Church is a wonderful place to practice in-person interactions. 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 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 those in-person experiences along with you,

Mike

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The Hope in Hospitality

1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

A few weeks ago, my wife Kristi were on a mission trip working with refugees in Lesvos, Greece. We were working with All4Aid that runs a hospitality center for women refugees living in a refugee camp located on the island. The center seeks to be a welcoming place that shows the love of Jesus in practical ways. Women can come and enjoy the air conditioning, do crafts, take a shower if needed, shop (with tickets they receive when then sign in) for clothes and food. Each activity and opportunity is to build back the dignity lost in the refugee experience. Kristi and other women had many opportunities to interact through broken English, gestures, and even using Google Translator. They would paint nails together, do hair styling, help sew, hold their kids while they play a game or do a craft. The ladies felt special, like they belonged somewhere, and safe.

Many times, men would accompany their wife to the center and wait for them. This gave us guys time to connect. We would talk through broken English and Google Translator about soccer, their travels to the camp, and life. Most every guy I encountered wanted to talk, even with the awkwardness of not knowing each other’s language and trying to work through the translation app. One man offered to help us do one of our maintenance tasks. After he and I were chatting, and he was appreciative to do some work. It helped bring back some dignity that he could do something to contribute. One other man shared how scary and frightening it was for the 6-mile ocean crossing to get to the island. I think I was one of the first to hear and feel with him. Another shared how frustrating and terrifying it was for the new government in his country to burst into his house and force him and four kids and wife to leave, at gunpoint! Some had been in the camp for years! It was an opportunity for me to listen to their story and have them vent their feelings.

In the verse above the word ‘hospitality’ means to be kind or love strangers, those different than you. Our team could tell our interacting and welcoming them brought them hope. The Bible encourages us to be hospitable.

Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 12:9-10 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Leviticus 19:33-34 When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

To love our neighbor is care about them. Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) to demonstrate what it looks like to be this hospitable, lover of others. Being hospitable does not take much. It’s being kind to the new kid at school, new person at work, new neighbor on your street. It’s helping the sick, the hurting, the lonely, and anyone in trouble or struggling. It’s being kind and compassionate to the foreigner, immigrant, refugee, and those who are displaced from their homes. Wow, how different and hopeful our world would be if we would be a bit more hospitable. What could you do today to bring on the hope of hospitality?

Church is a great place to learn about and practice hospitality.  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 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 bring on the hope of hospitality along with you,

Mike

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Outside has Inside Value

Psalms 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech,and night to night reveals knowledge.

Romans 1:20 For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.

Something amazing happens inside us when we are out in nature. We see God’s handiwork as we notice the details of His creation, the beauty of what He designed. Like the bible verse in Romans 1:20, we see power and creative wisdom from the majestic redwood trees to the incredible fragrance of the ponderosa pines. They smell like vanilla! Yes, I sniff trees and that amazing aroma reminds me of God’s attention to detail and the fun He must have had creating it all. Yes, getting outside does something for us inside. Kristi and I are up at Hume Lake Christian Camps with our church. The camp is nestled in Kings Canyon in Sequoia National Park. It is awe-bringing beautiful! There are tons of trees, including those humongous redwood trees. Looking up at those redwoods reminds me of the grandeur of God and His efficient design. These giant trees have a unique structure that not only pulls water from its vast root system but draws it all the way up to the top of each tree. There are no pumps or irrigation pipes, just God’s perfect design of the tree. I also love the look of those mountain ferns that God placed to bring that light green color to the canvas of His creation. I also love the mist that hovers over the lake in the morning. It reminds me not only of the glory-mist of God that filled the temple back in ancient times (see 2 Chronicles 5:13-14), but also the covering of God, the Holy Spirit who is like a mist that hovers over and around our lives (see John 14:16-17, 26). Wow! WOW! Nature reveals God. Read again Romans 1:20.

Last night the night sky was incredible! The heaven burst out with millions of twinkling stars. It takes my breath away. The vastness of God is seen. He is without limit or end. He is eternal. He is huge, grand, oh, and all powerful. Oh, how awesome is He!

Yes, getting outside broadens our perspective, but it also can connect us once again to our Creator. We spend too much time indoors. We need to get outside and revel in God’s creation. Go out to a park. Take a hike. Sit in your backyard and take in the wonder of your plants. Enjoy the magnificence of all that God has made. For yes, outside has inside value to us.

Lord, thank You for all You created. Help me to see You and enjoy what You have made.

Church expands our view of God so when we do go outside, thoughts of Him fill our souls. 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 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 enjoy the outside for its inside value along with you,

Mike

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If You Want to Be Heard, Listen

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

It’s tough being a kid. There is so much to learn and figure out. You have all these feelings, and you don’t know where to put them or even how navigate through life. That’s why God gave kids parents and grandparents to help them, coach them, train them, guide them, and mentor them. One of our grandkids was having trouble expressing themselves. They were trying to talk to their cousins, and something was not working. The one trying to express themselves was getting frustrated because they wanted to just talk and have no one say anything. They were looking for an audience to listen intently to their monologue instead of having a conversation. It did escalate to where the one frustrated just started screaming. We stepped in and talked about conversation. I got a ball and said let’s play catch. I asked, “How do we do that?” The kids looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Papa, everyone knows how to play catch. I throw the ball, You catch it and then throw it back.” I responded, “What if I only want to throw the ball and don’t let you throw it back?” They replied, “Then that is not playing right and it’s no fun for everyone.” I explained that talking with people is like playing catch. I said, “You say something, and the other person receives it. That’s called listening. Then you say something and that is like throwing it back, and they listen to you. That’s a conversation. For if you want to be heard, you need to listen.” They seemed to get it because we had a great conversation as we passed the ball back and forth.

The Bible encourages us to be good listeners.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears,it is his folly and shame.

Proverbs 19:27 Cease to hear instruction, my son,and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

There are too many monologues these days from politicians, to activists, to influencers, to the various avenues of social media. Maybe more could be accomplished if we actually had some good conversations. Yelling louder seems to make things worse.

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

Let’s try to have more conversation. For if you want to be heard, listen.

Church is a wonderful place to have great conversations. 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 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 play catch in conversations along with you,

Mike

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Why Not Celebrate!?!

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

Today, I attended a special promotion of one of our grandkids. She was moving on from her Pre-K class. As well, my wife was celebrating the completion of her school’s kindergarten. In each of these events parents, grandparents, and other relatives showed up to celebrate with gifts, affirmation, and heart felt joy of an accomplishment. Kristi, as a teacher, was also celebrated by parents with gifts of love and appreciation for her investing time into their kids lives. Our granddaughter was beaming as were all the kids as they received hugs, little presents, and kind words. It was fun. I felt blessed just watching it all.

The Bible encourages us to celebrate others often.

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

Hebrews 12:24-25 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.

We can bless others with appreciation, kind words, affirmations, and maybe even a fun gift. I think the best thing my granddaughter loved was bubble gum tape. It brings joy, smiles, and more.

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,but a good word makes him glad.

Now sure we have many planned celebrations: birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, new homes, new jobs, new kids. These are great times to bless others. We as a church are having our Annual Celebration this Sunday, June 12th. It’s a time to enjoy time together and thank God for another year of togetherness and all He has done in and through our church. We have seen many come to faith, grow in faith, saved marriages, lives enhanced, and we have learned how to better live life God’s way. Even through these years of pandemic!! Even as many have moved away, there are yet more now attending.

So, yes, planned celebration events are great, but what would happen if we did some spontaneous celebrations? Get a card and some bubble gum tape or whatever, and celebrate your spouse, a friend, a neighbor, a city employee, a volunteer, or a family member. You could make their day. And I know you would feel great! So yes, why not celebrate!?!

Church can be a good place to find someone to spontaneously celebrate. 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 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 celebrate others along with you,

Mike

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The Present of Presence

1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

The word hospitality in the Bible literally means “love of strangers.” It is a challenge and an encouragement from God to treat all people with dignity and respect through kindness, care, time, and attention. It’s being friendly and treating people in a warm, generous way. It’s giving the present of presence. It is taking the time to notice, to engage in a conversation, to give eye contact and show value to another through sharing a moment.

A while back, my family and I were out for some ice cream. It was one of those old-style creameries where they also served some sandwiches and such, but mostly the huge ice cream sundaes where the homemade whipped cream was slowing sliding off the side onto the plate. Their hot fudge milkshakes were my favorite. It was raining, so we quickly packed inside with the other customers and waited for a coveted seat. As we hurried to get in, a man, shabbily dressed, with a cup of change in one hand, moved out from under the awning to let those of us waiting not get wet. He said nothing and had a kind expressionless look on his face. I watched, and as we moved inside out of the cold, he slowly moved back under the covering. We were all laughing and having fun, but I kept looking at this guy. He seemed to be invisible to all who passed by. We finally got our seats and ordered. I looked again and decided to go out and talk to him. I found out his name was Mike (yes, my name too). I mentioned that and he smiled with broken and yellowed teeth. We talked about where he had been, the struggle he was having, and how he was just out asking for some money so he could buy some food. I asked if I could get him a sandwich. He said sure. He said he would prefer to wait outside as the owners had asked him not to come inside. I went in and asked if they could make the meal to go for my new friend outside. The person behind the cash register asked why I would do this. I answered that he is a precious creation of God (see Psalm 139:13-16). Not only that, like all humans, he is made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26). This means that we were made to resemble God and the likeness of God. It sets human beings apart from the animal world, equips them for the dominion God intended them to have over the earth, and enables them to commune with their Maker. It is a likeness: mentally, morally, and socially. ‘Mike’ has value and in seeking to live out those scriptures that call us to be hospitable and care about people, I sought to take the time to interact and bless him with some food.

Leviticus 19:33-34 When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.

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.

I brought the bag out to Mike. He smiled and looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you.” But then he reached out his hand to shake mine and once our hands met, he pulled in a little and said, “Thanks for noticing me.” I think more than the sandwich, presence was the better gift.

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

Let’s love with presence. We live in in isolated, separated, quarantined world. Why not make time to be present with someone, a family member, a coworker, a fellow student, a neighbor, a person in line at the store, a person you happen to meet at the mall, your letter-carrier, or maybe even a long-ago friend. See them and make a contact. It may turn into a conversation or just a short exchange. But even in that, you are giving the present of presence.

Church can be a good place to be present and learn better how to love our fellow humans. 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 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 the gift of presence along with you,

Mike

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Community Engagement Brings Peace

Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

The word welfare means peace and prosperity. Here in Jeremiah 29:7 it means we should do those actions that create and foster peace in our city, our community, and our neighborhood. One of the most effective ways to bring on peace is to get to the know people you live around: your physical neighbors, the people who work and frequent the stores you regularly shop, people at your local school, people at work, and those you see around town. You could be that blessing and kind soul to brighten someone’s day and help them not go down that negative river that seems to flow in the human heart. It’s learning people’s names, sharing stories together, giving out affirmation, appreciation, and accolades. It’s as simple as a smile. See, when we give attention to someone it shows they matter. God created each of us (see Psalm 139:13-16) and each of us matter. You matter and all humanity matters to God and when we acknowledge someone it makes a difference.

Engaging our community is connecting with others. So is volunteering. Helping at your church, in your community, at your local school, even gathering friends to do a trash pick up is great. Every little action to make our cities and towns better helps bring peace. God does desire to seek the welfare of our community.

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

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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

Luke 6:30-31 Give to everyone who asks of you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Romans 15:1-2 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

When we take it upon ourselves to engage among the people in our community, we love our neighbors as Jesus commanded (see Matthew 22:35-40). These actions bring about the peace Jeremiah 29:7 talks about.

If there was ever a time we need to create peace, it is now. Our world is full of hate speech, anger, frustration, angst, and anxiety. People feel overwhelmed, dejected, disheartened, sad, and discouraged. In that state, people act out and the horrors of yet another violent act, another mass shooting, hits our nation. Now there are no simple answers, but one thing we can do is to be more connected, more engaged in our community.  

Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Church helps us be engaged and engage 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 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 engage our community along with you,

Mike

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Being Brave in a World of Fear

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

It has been horrible! The news and social media are lit-up with images, stories, and the tragedy of more mass-shootings. One in Buffalo, New York. Shoppers were out picking up groceries for the week at the Tops market. One older woman was picking up food for her church, and an angry 18-year-old young man took her life along with 9 others. The New York Times is reporting the killing spree was racially motivated. That was Saturday. The very next day another shooter, this time in Orange County, California, went into a church, according to the Los Angeles Times and as he started shooting, a doctor did all he could to subdue the assailant. The doctor lost his life. Many others were injured. Now take in the war in Ukraine, the lingering possibilities of another variant COVID-type virus, the slap of reality as gas costs more, food costs more, out to eat costs more, services like housecleaning, yard maintenance, and almost everything costs more. Now add the anger of people out and about. I saw a woman lose it in the grocery store because someone got in her way as she was coming down the aisle. The guy behind me was honking up a storm because I had stopped for a pedestrian, who had the right of way. In all this, fear can creep in and make us shy away or disengage. Yet our world needs people to step up and be brave in a world of fear.

Our crazy fear-enraged world needs brave people to step up and not react, but with kind words and actions seek to live and love courageously. Sure, being brave is overcoming great obstacles but bravery is also courageously overcoming our own individual fears. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking wrote in a Psychology Today article that “Courage is a habit, a muscle you can exercise.” The more we make brave steps the more brave we will be. It starts with the brave move to accomplish a goal for today, then a bigger one the next day, then that huge one the following day. So, being brave is not letting our fears rule us. The truth is, we all have the potential to be brave. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Yes, fear comes easy, but we can exercise that muscle of courage and be brave.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them (past fears), 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.”

 

We can be brave because God promises to be with us. (See Psalm 145:18, Jeremiah 23:23, James 4:8)

 

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

Psalms 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

To wait for the Lord is to follow His leading and rely on His strength. It’s not just mustering up courage, but seeking God and asking Him to guide and direct you.

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.

Psalms 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Be brave! It’s in you to step up with courage. What courageous choices could you make today? Your bravery will not only encourage others, but will push back fear and build in you that brave person God made you to be.

Church can be a great place to exercise bravery. It might even be a small step of bravery to attend 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 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 brave along with you,

Mike

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