featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Be an instrument of peace

Psalms 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

I stood there in disbelief on Wednesday as I heard some people in the office talking about the protest taking place at the U.S. Capitol. People were actually breaking down the doors, smashing windows, shooting, and a person died. I kept shaking my head as I read the various reports. I slumped down in my chair, put my head in my hands, and thought back to the civic unrest, the vengeful angry mobs, the strife and conflict of all the political mudslinging, the turmoil brought on by the escalation of the pandemic with more restrictions and more isolation and more deaths. I cried out to God, “LORD we need You! We need Your help, Your grace, Your mercy…Your peace.”

The Lord’s answer was this Bible verse in Psalm 34:14, not to contribute to the hurt and pain and wrong taking place. But seek to bless, do good, be helpful to others, initiate connection, engage in conversations, to smile, say ‘hi’, to affirm and compliment, and to be kind. This is what it means to seek peace and pursue it. Actually, the word ‘pursue’ means to run after. We are to run after peace.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

I love the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What a great prayer. What a great challenge. What great way to seek peace and pursue it.

Here is a challenge. Pray this prayer every day for the next 10 days and see how much peace fills your own life and how much peace you bring to others.

Church is an amazing place see God’s peace, both peace with God and peace from God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have a 9am live-stream gathering from our Cypress campus and another pre-recorded gathering at our Los Alamitos campus. At 10:30am, at the Cypress Campus, we have an in-person, outdoor gathering (Los Al has one at 9am at their campus). Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or you can 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 and pursuing peace along with you,