Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Let’s connect

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

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

One of the many sad realities of this coronavirus crisis is the disconnect we have, not only from people, but the places we used to frequent. Most Friday nights, you would find my wife, Kristi, and I taking in the fun and joy of the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland. We would take in a few attractions, get dinner and walk around people watching and chatting. I miss those times. As the evening would come to a close, we would walk the long way through Downtown Disney to view the shops, watch more people, and maybe get a treat! Sometimes we would venture into the Lego store. The store attracts a lot of attention because of the Lego-style sculptures on the outside of the building: a brave knight fighting a fire breathing dragon, Buzz and Woody flying to “Infinity and Beyond,” and more. As you walk into the store you are amazed by all incredible Lego sets you can purchase, but also taken back to your childhood as I was (because I love Legos!) to the fun we had creating and building. As you move deep into the store, there are vats and a wall full of many kinds of Lego pieces in all kinds of colors, some with a few snaps and some with many snaps. Now, the thing about Legos is they were designed to connect. Yes, some have massive connection points, others have a few, but all are designed to connect. For a lone Lego seems a bit pointless as each Lego is either part of a grand plan of the Lego kit, or part of the creative design of the freewheeling imagination of kids of all ages. In all this, there is great joy in the connection.

We are a lot like Legos…designed to experience the joy in connecting to others.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13:34 A new commandment I (Jesus) give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

These Bible verses are written with action in mind, that we would lean in and choose to be loyal, attentive, helpful, and selflessly caring towards others. In all this, there is a great joy in the connection, as we need each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 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!

This Bible passage goes on to explain more in Ecclesiastes 4:11-12. The truth is God created us to connect and those who choose to disconnect tend to not feel all that joyful.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 Again, I saw vanity (a waste of time) under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Unhappy because there is no connection. Sure, we can say, “if people want to connect with me it will be on my terms.” Yet, part of human interaction requires vulnerability, humility, authenticity, and availability. Of course, we need to be discerning, as there are ‘unsafe’ people out there that are users and abusers. But there are good people to connect with. So, let’s connect.

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.

1 Peter 4:9-10 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

So, who could you connect with this week? Maybe you could reach out and connect with a long-lost friend or past acquaintance, maybe a family member, or that new neighbor down the street. It could be that family your child is friends with at school or in soccer. There are all kinds of possibilities. Now sure, some connections take some time and a lot of tries to find the best fit, but the key is to keep leaning into it; to lean in and connect with others.

Church is good place to connect with others and God. Sure, with all the restrictions it is tough, but many churches are meeting outside and in smaller online groups. If you don’t already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to attend Neighborhood Church either in-person on our patio or online. Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or find us on line 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 on the YouTube site. We also have small groups called Life Groups. So, let’s connect.

Seeking to connect along with you,
Mike