Everybody Always

You do business with buyers; you do life with neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? I just moved out of my childhood home, and I knew most of the neighbors on a surface level. I did not really know them, but we would do the wave and talk to one another when we were outside. I think this is how a lot of Christians know their neighbors. We never take time to invite our neighbors to dinner or get to know them. I know I am guilty of this, and I hope in the future- once I settle in a community to call home- that I am able to put this into practice.

I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven.

WOW! This statement is hard to take in because it is hard to love people that have hurt you or taken advantage of you. I think most people expect a lot of Christians to fire back, but we as Christians have to learn to love through trials. I think social media has painted a bad picture of a lot of Christians, and unbelievers will judge a lot of Christians by what they post and how they respond to others. We have to stop beating each other down and learn to not post at all. We show more strength by not posting at all than we do by trying to be right.

God isn’t always leading us to the safest route forward but to the one where we’ll grow the most.

Embrace the journey through the uncomfortable. Loving people can be challenging, but it is people that shape us along the way. Each of us can learn important lessons from people that are different from us. Sure, people will take advantage of our love, but that is okay because we learn to forgive them through God’s love towards us. Love is not safe, and it is painful, but it is worth the journey.

People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.

I think this is a shift that is taking place. People want someone to talk to more than they want vision. I think this shift is happening because of social media. We see so much of others that we, in the end, simply want someone to talk to. Our vision has been blinded by our unavailability.

Loving people the way Jesus did either changes everything in us or it changes nothing.

Jesus loved people expecting nothing in return. Too often we make loving people a job instead of a calling. We cannot look at people as a job, but rather we should look at them through the eyes of Jesus. When we see people the way Jesus did, then we will be moved with compassion, and that changes everything in us. We have to quit using the language of “they are a piece of work” or “they suck the life out of me” because those are the very people Jesus would choose to be with. Love people to the point of being uncomfortable because that is when Jesus will change more in you as a person.

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Compassion and Culture

I just started a new book by David Platt called Counter Culture. He is breaking down nine areas that our culture has basically allowed to become social norms. The book has me thinking a lot about the word compassion and how to be compassionate in a world that is broken and without compassion.

First, compassion moves us to action not anger. We as Christ’s disciples have to realize that he didn’t call us to be angry at the world but he called us to love it. This doesn’t mean we must keep silent about issues but there is a right way to standup for what you believe and protesting isn’t one of them. We have killed our witness over social media platforms because of us “protesting” in the name of Christ. It is easier to protest against someone than to love them. We have gotten really good at protesting but lack in love.

Second, everyone is called to be compassionate not just a few people. I do not like when you people say, “Daniel, you are so compassionate.” It makes me upset because it is almost like they are saying “thank you for doing my part as a disciple for me”. Compassion is a call for everyone. The issues and the cries of this world should break your heart. It shouldn’t make you look around and encourage people that are living out a compassionate life. Your encouragement doesn’t replace your responsibility to be compassionate.

Third, GET INVOLVED! Nothing makes me more upset than people that talk about an issue but aren’t doing anything to help. The world has seen enough talkers, they are looking for doers. Your greatest witness to the world is to show them you care further than your pew seat. Pews keep making the Christian church more comfortable while the world is crying out. Don’t be afraid to get involved in someone else’s mess.

Don’t be a bystander anymore. Get involved in some mess. It is time that we quit making the word compassionate about how big of a check we write. Checks don’t replace your compassionate duties. My prayer is that we don’t just write checks but get involved with the place our check is going towards. What would happen if we activated compassionate loving disciples in a broken and dying world?

Why it is Important to Serve on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day

The only thing I do not like about Christmas is that there is a lot of receiving but how many of us actually are giving. I am not talking about giving a present to another family member. I am talking about serving with a nonprofit or church or providing Christmas to a family that might not be able to afford Christmas.

I realized this morning that Christmas is about serving. Jesus came into the world in one of the dirtiest places on earth. My biggest fear is that we have gotten good at being “Christian” but have lost the touch of going into the dirtiest places. We can’t be like Christ if we are not willing to go into the dirty places. This is why it is important to serve.

This morning, Transition Furniture (the nonprofit I run) delivered a washer/dryer to a deserving family that was once homeless. We helped them get furniture but we were never able to find them a washer/dryer until yesterday. We surprised the family this morning at 9am but that wasn’t the beauty of the story.

The volunteer who helped me deliver the washer/dryer made it a family affair. His wife and two kids were there ready to help. They are only four and five years old but they are seeing the importance of serving at a young age. The mom we delivered the washer/dryer to has three kids of her own and was having to go to the Laundromat to get her clothes done. I am not married or have kids but I can only imagine taking five, seven, and twelve year old boys to the Laundromat. The mom was so happy to have her own washer/dryer. She said, ”this will make my life a little easier and save me a lot of time”.

Everyone who was involved today saw how serving can make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you are on the receiving end or giving end. We need each other to make it sometimes.

It’s the simple things in life that we take for granted and we don’t realize the items in our house are the very items that will make someone’s life a little easier. This Christmas season remember your neighbors and try to serve someone around you. Go to where they are; don’t wait for them to come to you. Jesus told us to go, not to wait and see if they come. Go and put Christ in Christmas!