5.11.2008

May's Love Your Neighbor

What do you value?

Do you value time with your family? Perhaps you value a promotion at work? Do you value having a clean car or a manicured lawn? Do you value a good steak or a cheesecake made to perfection? Maybe you value some time to yourself or a chance to watch a basketball playoff game uninterrupted.

One of the things I value is a good CD. I love good music. One of my favorite things to do is to buy a new album and sit back on the couch and listen to the entire CD while I read the lyrics for each song. I know, I’m a little bit of a freak when it comes to music, but an afternoon spent like that is worth more than gold to me.

Have you ever wondered what God values? Because He is God right? He can get whatever He wants. He is the one who spoke all of creation into existence. So what is it that He would say He really values?

Jesus tells us what God values in Luke 15. In this incredible chapter of the Bible Jesus is shown hanging out with “sinners and tax collectors.” The on-looking Pharisees can’t believe it. They begin to mutter in disrespect. So Jesus addresses them by telling three stories all with the purpose of explaining why He welcomes and eats with sinners.

In each story Jesus makes a very clear point: God values people. He tells all three stories, the story of the lost sheep, the story of the lost coin and the story of the prodigal son to show why He welcomes and eats with “sinners.” Simply put, Jesus welcomed sinners because God values people.

Since God values people Jesus valued people. Since God values people we too, as Christ-followers, should value people. Sadly though, more often than not we value our own comfort more than we value people. That is why Jesus commanded us to “love our neighbors.” He knew we needed a little instruction to get us to love people like He loved them.

On May 25th we have an incredible opportunity to show that we too value people.
Sunday the 25th is StillPoint’s CD release party at the Nutty Brown. This party is
going to be great with awesome food, great atmosphere and incredible music. It is also going to be great because it is the perfect opportunity for you to show that you value your neighbors. All you have to do is simply invite them to come to the Nutty Brown with you. You can love your neighbors by inviting them to come to some thing you know they will enjoy.

On top of that, if you buy the new StillPoint CD in advance you will get a ticket to the show that you can give to a neighbor. You can tell them that you really want them to come and you already have a ticket for them. After they say they would love to go you can go into your house and put in your new StillPoint CD in your CD player, kick back on your couch and listen to incredible music, read the album liner and know that you just loved your neighbor well. And that will be a moment you and God can both really value.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband recently confronted me with my lack of "neighborhlyness". It seems I have little to no desire to stop and chat with my neighbors. Generally as I'm heading up the stairs to my apartment, my hands are full, my mind is busy with all there is to do, I'm tired from my day at work and I know as soon as I crack the door open a little dog will come running out. It never seems like a convenient time to stop and talk with the neighbors - but I think it's more than that. Sure, it's somewhat uncomfortable but I think really it's that I don't really want to make the effort at forming another relationship. I know it probably sounds terrible, but that is the harsh reality of my discovery.

Of course, it seems God tends to take those 'terrible' things about us and throw us into situations that we would never have put ourselves in on our own. I know I'm supposed to love my neighbors, reach out to them, build relationships, etc...but I'm so lazy and selfish! So, last week when that big storm hit Austin, Jeremy and I had our tv on and were avidly watching the tornado warning that was coming towards our apartment in Cedar Park. A loud noise took us outside of our apartment where we ran into our neighbor, Bill. Jeremy has spoken with him several times and he seems like a nice guy. Jeremy (being Jeremy) invited him in for a beer to 'weather' out the storm. We sat on the couch and watched the tv and the swirling sheets of rain outside. He started sharing with us about his life in New York and how he was homesick. I was struck with how lonely he is and how is just looking for community, how we have it to offer and selfishly hoard it to ourselves. He left our apartment momentarily to fill up a rather large plastic container full of the lasagna, meatballs, and Italian sausage that he had been working on in the kitchen for two days - just wanting to share it with someone.

It was a good experience for us (even in the midst of the somewhat scary weather conditions). So amazing how when God asks us to do something and we are dragging our feet, sometimes he just brings people to us. We finally finished the amazing food that he brought us and have cleaned out his container - next stop - returning the container along with our own container of homemade pesto and an invitation to the concert this Sunday night. Baby steps for me...often I think I just need to start doing so that I will start feeling (doing what God is asking me to do, so that eventually I'll feel like doing what he's asking me to do instead of just complaining and making excuses.)

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for my neighbor and I have been excitedly awaiting the delivery on my new Stillpoint CD so I could invite them to go. The day it came I went over and invited he and his wife...I was bummed when he told me that they where going to be out of town. But I continued to pray...last night they came over and said they were getting back in town early Sunday and they would like to come if they weren't wiped out. I don't know if they will come or not but I know they have and awesome CD that is filled with songs about Jesus and our love of each other and I know that I am praying for them.

Chuck

Paul said...

I also have invited my neighbors to come to the CD release party. This might not seem extraordinary since I am the front man for the band and it makes sense that I would want as many people as possible to come. But, while I might be the front man for the band, I am also just a regular guy(husband and father) who wants to have meaningful relationships with the people who live around me. I want my son to grow up next to people I trust while we go through similar difficulties and joys in life. So since Charis (my wife) and I have only been living in our neighborhood for about 4 months we have been praying that God would give us opportunities to connect with the people we live next to. In these past 4 months we have met 10 of the families that live around us. They have all expressed an interest and excitement about going to the CD release party. But more than that, through my invitation, we have begun to be neighbors…not just people who live next to each other. We have become friends that can walk through life together and as we do they have begun to ask questions about what I believe. God has opened more than doors. He has opened hearts and we are overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

Being the front man for this band is one of the greatest things I’ve ever had the privilege to do. However, it is also one of the hardest. Just when it seems like I’m running out of energy to push on I get an email like this form a family in our church…


“I must tell you - the excitement is really building with everyone I see.
Everyone at our Bible Study group this evening was really looking forward to Sunday(the CD release party). One of the ladies who has been with us since fall and the Revelation study - very lost but has never agreed to come to our church on Sunday - is very excited about coming to the concert (and we are excited that she wants to be there). I have had an amazing response from all the neighbors - many of whom I've been trying to get to come to church. They will all be there - in fact I haven't had anyone turn me down yet! What a great opportunity.
There is a large contingency of youth from Pflugerville, Round Rock and Hutto traveling here for the event and a family that moved to San
Antonio is coming up for the day and evening. Etc., etc. - many stories.
I believe Nutty Brown won't know what hit them - I hope they're ready for this.”


Thank you for sharing this stuff with me!
God is Good!
Peace,
PaulE

Anonymous said...

I invited my neighbors to come to the concert but unfortunately they were unable to come. However, as a result of the invitation my neighbor invited me over to his house later that week to hangout. We spent 3 hours talking about how being a Christian impacts political decisions and my world view. It was a really good conversation, very cordial and deep. I think God is really at work in that relationship, giving me more and more opportunities to point my neighbor to Christ and to show him God's love.

So it was a cool evening. I was sad he and his wife didn't make it out to Nutty Brown, but the invitation did lead to a solid conversation. So all is good. Praise God!

- Jake