When Matthew met Jesus his whole world was turned around. He abandoned his corrupt occupation and embraced Jesus’ invitation to follow him. He became one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and later wrote one of the books of the Bible. But the first thing he did after his encounter with Jesus was throw a party.
Matthew invited all of his friends over to have dinner with Jesus. The greatest force of love had touched him and he couldn’t help but share it with the people around him.
Let’s be honest, Matthew’s friends were messy. They were guys whose moral compass was a little wonky and girls with bad reputations. The religious people freaked out when they saw Jesus with these characters. Jesus responded with kindness and grace.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 NIV
What I love about Jesus is his courageous love. He doesn’t avoid people with messy lives, he moves in.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 MSG
Jesus left the perfection of heaven and moved into our very messy neighborhood!
What if it’s not an accident that you moved into your neighborhood? What if you are the agent of God’s kindness and grace to the people who live around you?
We are partnering with hundreds of churches in Austin to love where we live. We believe that begins with knowing our neighbors. Less than 50% of Americans know their neighbor’s names. We’d like to change that! number! We have a great opportunity to meet our neighbors and strengthen our communities through National Night Out on October 6th. 2015.
Austin Chief of Police, Art Acevedo said good neighbors are just a bit nosy. They pay attention. He invited people to connect online through Nextdoor and then meet their neighbors face to face.
Will you host a block party on your street? We’ve provided some quick links for you on our website. Throw a party! Get to know the people around you so you can love where you live.
Maybe you believe that you live where you live because it’s what you could afford, it was convenient for your commute or the property taxes are lower than that other neighborhood you really liked. We want to propose another reason why you live where you live.
What if it’s not circumstantial at all? What if there was some divine orchestration?
From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. God did this so that people would seek him. And perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. Acts 17:26-27 NIRV
Your life was dropped on the planet for a specific time in history and where you live is not an accident.
Let that soak in for a while.
Does it change how you feel about your neighbors or your city or the Austin metroplex?
Shoreline is teaming up with churches all over Austin encouraging people to Love Where You Live. It’s not just about loving our fine city; it’s about loving – right there – in the geographical locations of your life.
Love your neighbors.
Love your co-workers.
Love your fellow team sport parents.
Love the people you find wherever your life journey takes you.
Jesus commissioned his followers – which includes you and me – to love.
I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 13:34 NIRV
Go ahead and cultivate feelings of compassion and love for the world in general but then love ONE.
Love one, and then love another.
Love takes time.
Slow down and look around you.
See the people walking their dog. Notice the kids on their bicycles. Have a conversation with the fans in the stands.
The greatest casualty of a hurried life is the diminished capacity to love. So clear some space in your schedule and open your heart to interruptions.
Create some margin in your life to love where you live.
Partner with us this week as we pray for The City: Pray that the Lord would increase your burden for our city. Pray that your love for Jesus would produce a desire to see others saved and growing in their understanding of who God is, what he has done and what he is doing here in Austin.
In any game or sport, it’s important to have a definable win. Score the most points. Put the ball in the hoop. What is the win of Christianity?
Jesus defines the win of Christianity in John 13:35:
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
The win of Christianity is love. The win of the church is love
Of all the things we could aim for or strive to be and do, love is supreme.
If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
Love is greater than gifts – Before and after his famous “Love Chapter” the apostle Paul describes some of the gifts God gives. He is bringing perspective, because sometimes we’re impressed with the wrong stuff. God gives gifts to everyone but without love, it’s just noise.
Love is greater than knowledge –The Bible tells us to get knowledge. The more we understand the things of God the better we should be at loving.
Love is greater than power – Power without love destroys.
Love is greater than self-promoting sacrifice – Love gives. Love lays down its own life. But if we give and sacrifice just for bragging rights, that’s awfully shallow.
God gives lots of things. He gives gifts. He gives knowledge. He gives power. But there is one thing God is. God IS love. Love is what/who he is. Love defines him. As bearers of his image, we want love to defines us.
Join us this month as we Love Where We Live. We are beginning the journey with prayer. Stay tuned in to our Facebook page for the weekly prayer focus, and pick up a magnet the next time you are on campus. This week we are praying for the people in our neighborhoods.