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

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: A blessed fragrance or an awful odor

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Kristi, my wife, and I take a walk most every day. As we trod around our neighborhood, we encounter various aromas. Some are so pleasant, like the wonderful sent of someone smoking meat. It’s that wood burning goodness that you know will flavor whatever happy smoked-delight they are cooking. We have also wafted in the smell of fresh baked bread or cookies, or some amazing garlic-curry-spicy goodness. What a joy and oh my, does it make us hungry! As well, we have walked by different trees and bushes in bloom and the wonderful scent of the blossoms fills our nostrils and brings a huge, eye closing, grin of delight to our face.

Also, on these walks, we encounter some other smells…some not so pleasant aromas. Like the offensive odor of manure that someone must be using to fertilize their lawn or flower bed. Yes, I know it will help the plants, but at that moment I felt like it was choking me out. Then there is the gagging stench of some trash containers on trash day. Whew, we have had to hold our breath and quicken our pace. There is also that skunk-type odor that is so strong we actually have to change to the other side of the street. Each of these odors seem to push away the pleasant feeling of those nice fragrances and overpower any sense of joy or happiness.

In all this thought of blessed fragrances and awful unpleasant odors, I wonder what kind of aroma our actions put off? Do our actions waft off a blessed fragrance that bring joy, delight, and a smile? Or do our actions leak out a stench, an awful odor that repulses or pushes people away? Is the way we treat people, the words we use, the way we respond, the attitude we convey a blessed fragrance or a stinky, awful odor? The proverb above (Proverbs 27:9) says that a friend’s counsel is like perfume and makes the heart glad. Kind actions of being good friends or nice human beings does have a way of gladdening our hearts, helping us pull our minds out of our struggles, and bringing us joy.

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

1 Peter 8-10 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 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.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 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! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible is an amazing example of one who wafted off a beautiful fragrance to humanity. He loved people and was moved with compassion to help them (Matthew 9:35-36, Matthew 14:13-14). Jesus helped a desperate father (Mark 9:14-27). Jesus went beyond social norms and touched a leper (Matthew 8:1-4) and spent time with delinquents (Mark 2:13-17). Jesus was an amazing fragrance, and we are called to be like Him.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

There is a lot of stench in our world today of people being mean, unkind, hurtful and self-centered. Let’s be people who bring a blessed fragrance. Let’s be that overpowering fragrance of Christ-like love.

Church can be a place where we learn how to be that blessed fragrance. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We have a 9am live-stream gathering from our Cypress campus and another pre-recorded gathering at our Los Alamitos campus. In addition, both of these locations and times are now opened for in-door, in-person gatherings. There is also an in-door, in-person gathering at the Cypress campus at 10:30am. 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 to be that blessed fragrance along with you,
Mike