Having missed a few Sunday’s at church, I’ve been trying to catch up on the sermons. This morning I chose one entitled ‘Neighborhoods that Connect’. Please watch it as it’s quite good, but I will give some of the highlights and my thoughts in this post, all credits for the original material go to the pastor.
The basic premise is this;
If you want your neighborhood to connect, move in like a child.
God sent the savior of the world, not in like a general as many in the Jewish world wanted and was looking for (and perhaps many are still waiting for), but as a child. Jesus entered this world, not as a conqueror, but as a baby, just as we all came into this world. God’s answer to a fallen and corrupt world, was to send a child. He moved into our “neighborhood” as a child. What can we learn from this.
The Word became flesh and blood, and made his dwelling among us – John 1:14
When asked who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus answered with this;
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:2
So, if we want our neighborhood or our community to connect and we are called to be missionaries in our community, maybe we can learn something from looking at the children and see if we are becoming more like “little children.”
The sermon goes on to list three things about children and encourages us to think about how we are doing in becoming more child-like in our community.
Little kids actually believe their parents can handle it.
When our children are young, they truly believe that we as parents have it all under control (yes this does change as they get older — enjoy it while it lasts). Children never worry about bills or where their next meal is coming from. They just suspect that their parents will provide. My children used to automatically grab my hand when crossing the street. Why? They knew that as long as they held my hand, they were protected, so they never had to worry about crossing the street.
My adult daughter recently after working a 12-hour shift came home and told me, this adulthood stuff is awful. Not because she is lazy and doesn’t want to work, in fact she can be one of the hardest workers I know. But because she worries about working enough to pay her car-payment, to put gas in her car and pay the insurance. She worries about saving some money back so she can have a safety net in case her hours drop. She works hard at work so she can get ahead and be promoted and make her self more invaluable to her employer.
These are all things she never had to worry about when she was a child. Never thought about a car payment, mom and dad took care of that. Never had to worry about food, we did what we had to, to make sure our children were fed. We were always there to hold her hand and wipe away a tear.
Do we live a life where we believe our heavenly father can handle it? Do we live this way? The way of a child?
Little kids don’t know how to be fake or official.
Are we turning people away because we are “over” religious? Many people are turned away from the gospel, because it sounds too “religious.” When we come across as over spiritual or as “super religious” people tend to look at us as “those people.” God wants an authentic relationship with us. Pastor Lantz shows us some illustrations of the prayers of children.
Listen to the prayers of adults and how we talk with God and do a comparison. Who has the more REAL relationship with God? When we talk REAL with God, then we can do better at talking real with our community. A true authentic faith with God allows us to be real and authentic with our neighbors. This can bring about real change
Kids pray just by talking to God. Do we have a REAL relationship with God.
￼￼￼￼￼￼When was the last time we were that real with God? When we are that authentic with God, we can be that authentic with people in our neighborhood.
Little kids don’t care what your job is. They just want to play.
They don’t care about your position, your title, they just want to play. Kids don’t lead with what their title is, they just lead with who they are.
God doesn’t accept us for what we are, because of our title, because of what we do. He accepts because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:4-5
Can we accept others as Christ accepted us? Those that are on the margins of society? Or the homeless? Or the unsaved? Do we accept and welcome them in our neighborhood?
My mother told this story of when my older sisters were very little in the late 60s, before I was born, my mother was walking downtown with her young girls in tow, and across the street were another family with small children who happened to be of another race. My mother asked, thinking to teach a lesson in the differences in people and how they were still much the same as us, “What is different about that family over there?” My one sister promptly stated, “They have ice cream cones and we don’t.”
Children don’t see the difference in people, they don’t see color or status. They just see people.