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Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Influence matters

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.

Those who we follow, those who we let influence us, matters. We can either enjoy the blessings and benefits of letting good people influence us or suffer the consequences of being influenced in a not-so-great or bad direction. I learned this truth the hard way when I was very young. I was hanging out with a group of other boys my age and one of the guys got the bright idea we should all go steal something from the corner grocery store. Now I am not sure why we all agreed, but it is a known fact that when boys of any age get together there is a great possibility that foolishness is close at hand. Now I knew stealing was wrong. Even not being a church going person at the time, I was taught we should not steal. But I wanted to be part of the group and the risk and thrill was enticing. We entered Skunkey’s Market with big jackets on in the middle of a hot summer and I’m sure no one noticed!?! I could see my friends slyly grabbing candies, toys, and snacks. I kept looking, strolling down the aisles. The guys were passing me on the way out, saying, “Hurry up McKay! We will meet at the bike racks over in the park.” I started to panic. I really did not want anything, nor did I want to steal something. Out of desperation I grabbed something, slipped it into my pocket and causally walked out. Then burst into a run.

We meet up and showed our conquests. There were loads of candy bars, games, one guy got a cool model and then they all looked at me, “What did you get McKay.?” I slowly pulled out my ill-gotten gain, my contraband, my illegal rewards. The guys strained in to see what it was. Then the leader said with disbelief, “A mouse trap?? You are such an idiot!” I had to agree. I had no idea why. We all went to our homes and guilt of my unlawful action was eating me up inside. I was a criminal, a cheat, a bad kid, a loser, and even a lousy thief. I felt so guilt-ridden I told my mom. She marched me down to Skunkey’s, got the manager, and made me tell him what I had done and return what I had stolen. I think he was fighting back laughter that I stole a mouse trap, but he gave me a talking to and said I was not allowed in his store anymore. On the way home, my mom asked me why I let those boys influence me. And instead of just punishing me, she helped me see I have choices. I have the power to choose what I will let influence me. That day, I let the group influence me over what I knew was right. It was a good lesson that has carried me through life because influence matters, and who we let influence us makes a huge difference.

Jesus is and can be that great influence in our life. As He said to His disciples, He says to us, “Follow Me.” In other words Jesus says ‘ choose to let Me be that ultimate influence in your life.’

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 10:27 My (Jesus’) sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

See, Jesus loves us John 15:9-17 with an amazing loving kindness that not just cares about us but desires and coaches us to be who we were created to be, to follow, be influenced by Jesus. This is how we thrive (see John 10:10). In this we can be a positive and good influence on others.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me (the Apostle Paul), as I am of Christ.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

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

Influence does matter. It matters who we let influence us and who we seek to influence. Let me encourage you to choose to let Jesus be that ultimate influence in your life. It matters, and I believe you will be better for it.

Church is a great place to be influenced by Jesus. If you don’t have a church you regularly attend we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. We would love for you to join in. You can also 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 choose to be influenced by Jesus along with you,