by Marquis Murray | Jun 27, 2018 | Sunday Conversations
Watch This…TIM HORTON’s COMMERCIAL
Is that not an amazing commercial?
Say what you will about their coffee (you may or may not be a fan), but Tim Horton’s knocked it out of the park with this creative genius. Sure…there are 100’s of other drinks or food choices one could use to bring people together, but the point was well made.
And how timely is this commercial?
You could show this in any season. But this past week, with all the talk about borders and the lack of human dignity, we needed to be reminded just how important it is to break down walls and both love & see our neighbour as our selves.
(The southern US border issue has totally taken over the news these days, has it not?)
We’ve been asking this question the last few weeks…won’t you be my neighbour?
And challenged ourselves with this other question…what kind of neighbour will you be?
You know what’s at the heart of this conversation? Why neighbouring is difficult? Because human beings are diverse and complex beings.
So here’s a third question? How can I connect with those who are different then me? How can I be a neighbour to someone who looks, talks, acts, lives, and believes differently than me?
Glad you asked this question 🙂
TWO important statements we must get out of the way…
We’re all different…
You know this to be true simply because even the people who are closest to you are different than you…in character, personality, interests, etc.
We’re also all the same…
You also know this to be true because we all share similar needs, food, rest, relationships, shelter, etc.
If we’re all the same, but also all very different, why is it that we have such a hard time relating to people who are both the same and different if every one is both the same and different? A bit of a tongue twister, but worth asking.
Let me got this out of the way: we should appreciate people’s differences! People who follow Jesus should appreciate people’s differences! Because Everyone Matters to God. Period.
– – – – – – – – – –
We’ve been coming back to the same story, week after week. It’s found in two gospels, Mark 12 & Luke 10.
In Mark Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment. In Luke he is asked how one experiences eternal life. The response is the same: Love God & Love Others.
Love God…how…with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love your neighbour…how…as you love yourself.
Let’s jump to Luke 10…after this exchange the religious teacher asks a follow up question…
“And who is my neighbour?”
Know that this question is more about ‘who is pure?’, ‘who is to be loved?’. Up to this point, they’re pretty sure neighbour would be someone close to them, like them, in their clan or tribe or culture or religion.
If you were here in week one (or read our recap), we learned that Jesus is quoting Leviticus, a book for Israel, to help Israel live in community. So the initial reference is about someone who was close, in culture and experience.
Jesus…as he does so well…expands our understanding of neighbour…and by doing that also expands our understanding of love.
Jesus responds by telling the (well known) story of the Good Samaritan…
- A man is hurt on the side of a road…robbed, stripped, left for dead
- A priest walks by and moves to the other side of the street
- A Levite (religious leader) also moves to the other side of the street
- A Samaritan…had pity on him, helped him, bandaged him, paid for his hotel room
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I love that Jesus doesn’t just say, ‘correct answer’, he says, ‘go and live this out’.
This isn’t just about who has more compassion, it’s about who the Samaritan is in the story? Samaritan’s and Jews didn’t get along. Samaritan’s were different. They weren’t ‘pure’. They were ‘other people’. YET…the Samaritan is the neighbour in the story who loves on the other (needy) neighbour in the story. Jesus identifies the neighbour in need, and the neighbour with love.
The original listener, a religious Jew, thinks the priest or the Levite is correct? (stay clean…they’re not one of you…they’re not your neighbour…they’re not the same culture) But…by obeying the Torah (Law), they disobeyed it’s intent (Loving others).
Remember this: Loving others beats loving the Law. Love people more than you love your Bible. Why? Cause if you love your bible more than you love people, you’re probably not falling in love with the Jesus we find in the Bible.
This week was both a wild week in the news, and ironically also had a designated day… #RefugeeDay/#WithRefugee Day
Here are some of the quotes that caught my attention in relation to our conversation…
The busier we are living our lives the less we think about others. Don’t neglect those important to you. (D. Ridgley)
Neighbouring is so important because the way we treat others is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.
We encounter Jesus in those who are poor, rejected, or refugees. Do not let fear get in the way of welcoming our neighbour in need.#WithRefugees (Pope)
A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity. #WithRefugees (Pope)
“Being a Christian is not about having new ideas; it’s about having new eyes. It’s about seeing Jesus in our neighbours.” @ShaneClaiborne
“We get the sense that the closer we are to God the less we should want to throw stones at each other. None of us are beyond redemption and none of us above reproach”
Hospitality is more than an open door. It’s an acknowledgement of the gifts the stranger brings. (Joan Chittister)
Do not spend time bothering whether to love your neighbour, act as if you did. (CS Lewis)
Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart and one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them. (posted by Kristen Mauceri)
This is all bound up in, “Who is my neighbour?”
A better question might be, “to whom can I be a neighbour?”
The difference is, you’re not sifting through your options, but looking to live out Jesus’ love of others.
This means that neighbourly love is whenever love and wherever love… (BIG)
That sounds extravagant, I know, but it’s the kind of love God has for us…and the kind of love that should pour out of us for others.
For this to happen; for us to love those who are the same & different…we need to practice these things…
– Understanding & Appreciation of where people from
– Empathetic of others situation or circumstances
– Non-Judgment of peoples differences
– Hold your views with conviction & humility
– Instead of walking to the other side of the street to get away…walk to the side they’re on to get to know them.
Here are a few things to think about when trying to connect with people who are different than you, and loving them, your neighbour, at the same time…
1) Start with Common Ground (the Tim Horton’s clip does this well)
2) Read a book with an opposing view as you
3) Build a relationship with someone who is different. Examples would be…people who don’t have your sexual orientation, who is of a different faith, who is of a different class or financial bracket, who sees the world differently than you do.
– If you look into each of those persons eyes, they matter to God!
– This is not to say that you should stay in a toxic relationship…or allow others to bully you or abuse you…not at all!
4) Pray…for those you love and for those you have a hard time loving.
In the words of the king of Wakanda (Black Panther) “Build Bridges, not walls”
by Marquis Murray | Jun 19, 2018 | Sunday Conversations
Spider Man (1970’s old school video)
Any Spider Man fans around? He has a multi-generational group of fans. What is your favourite of his super powers? Web, strength, agility, stick-i-ness, spidey sense? As cool and effective as his powers might be, I think his most powerful attribute is his title that reflects his character:
Friendly Neighbourhood Spider Man.
When his uncle found out about his powers he told him a very well known statement: With great power comes great responsibility.
The reality is that no matter how much skill, talent, power or money we may have, if we’re not neighbourly or friendly, it will never leave an impact.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13…you can have everything, but without love, you have nothing and you offer nothing.
– – – – – – – – –
Last week we started a conversation that is depicted by one question:
WON’T you be my NEIGHBOUR?
Neighbouring is the most common and everyday activity we engage in. Yet so many of us have a hard time being neighbours to one another.
As we make this invite and ask this question, the truth is this, weather we accept or decline, the reality stays the same, WE ARE NEIGHBOURS.
The real question is, what kind of neighbour will you be?
Next week we’ll dive into the issue of diversity and neighbouring: acknowledging that we are all the same, and yet all different, and of course, how do we move on from there.
We’re going to close it up on Canada day with a ‘Neighbourly Challenge’.
Today, let’s remember why we’re discussing this – we get to this conversation because Jesus is asked a question. The question isn’t about a neighbourly dispute, rather, it’s about faith and spirituality. Jesus connects our faith to our neighbourliness – he connects our love of him to our love of neighbour.
Love God…how? (heart, soul, mind, strength)
Love your neighbour…how? (as yourself)
The second most important question in this story comes in Luke 10:29…
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Who is my neighbour?
Why this question? Because the expert in religious law wanted to know exactly ‘WHO’ he should be loving as himself. Fair question. Which we’ll answer more in depth next week 😉
Jesus responds with a story.
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Three words helps us describe the Samaritan’s actions:
Opportunity / Proximity / Practicality
As he travelled… (opportunity)
– The Samaritan wasn’t intentionally going anywhere, he was simply travelling and came across this opportunity.
Came where the man was… (proximity)
– The Samaritan walked across the road to get close to get close enough to serve his neighbour.
Saw him…took pity…bandaged him up…gave him a lift…paid for his hotel fee… (practicality)
– He did what he could with what he had. Simple. Practical.
The Samaritan is the unlikely hero in this story. He is aware enough to see the need that faces him. He is close enough to do something. He does what he can with that he has.
He has no super powers. No extra-ordinary ability. No cape, no x-ray vision, no super suit, no webs, no team of avengers to help him. He does what he can with what he has.
Well…he does exhibit some kind of power:
If we want to become the kind of neighbour Jesus is inviting us to be, we don’t need any powers, we don’t need more money, we don’t need more time, we don’t need a fancy suit. All we need is what we already have…coupled with compassion & presence.
– – – – – – –
Back to Spider Man. I know he has a cool suit, and some interesting and useful powers, but the what makes him stand out is simply found in his title: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider Man.
Fathers & Men. Listen UP: (this talk was shared on Father’s Day)
We’re fooled to think that we need more of anything to make a difference. You have all the gifts and tools you need to make a difference. As long as you are a man who is able to be Present & Compassionate, you will influence and encourage your kids and/or anybody God puts in your path.
by Marquis Murray | Jun 12, 2018 | Sunday Conversations
Who remembers the children’s show, Mr. Rogers? Boy does that show take you back. A simple show that kids all over North America watched growing up. This year they’re releasing a documentary of the Mr. Rogers. (Check it out HERE)
Rogers took risks, pushed the envelope, was super creative with very simple tools, and taught a generation of kids how to be neighbours. He knew that living with humans is harder than it looks, and rather than taking it for granted, he wanted to help people get along.
This week we begin a new series…about humans…and other humans…and how those two sets of humans get along. We hope that this series comes out exactly how it reads: but more than just a question, it’s an invitation…
WON’T you be my NEIGHBOUR?
Neighbouring is the most common and everyday activity we engage in. Yet so many of us have trouble being neighbours to one another. Every time you’re with another human being, you are practicing the art of neighbouring – you’re either doing it well…or not so well.
As we make this invite and ask this question, the truth is this, weather we accept or decline, the reality stays the same, WE ARE ALL NEIGHBOURS. I guess the question is, what kind of neighbour will you be?
The Bible (NIV) has 144 references to the word Neighbour.
Jesus attaches the word neighbour to the conversation about greatest commandment. (Mark 12)
Proverbs and other OT books give us wisdom and practical advice on how to navigate relationships with our neighbours.
With that in mind, let’s dive in…
Mark 12 & Luke 10
When we think of neighbour and the scripture, the first place we might go to is Mark 12 or Luke 10.
Mark tells us that Jesus is asked this questions, “what is the greatest commandment?”
Luke tells us Jesus is asked this questions, “what must one do to experience eternal life?”
The response by Jesus is the same in both gospels:
Love God – Love Others.
To be clear, Jesus is more specific…
Love God with…all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love your neighbour…as yourself.
He could’ve stopped at LOVE GOD and we would’ve got it. We might even have liked that response better. Sometimes it’s easier to love God than to love people…actually…most of the time. But he doesn’t.
Jesus never stops where we think he should. He always goes further – always goes deeper.
The two best words in the Bible might be BUT & AND. Because when they show up, you know the next thing coming is important.
Love God…AND…Love your neighbour as yourself.
Notice that the example we’re given on how to love others, is how we love ourselves. That’s profoundly interesting, don’t you think? All the good things you want for yourself…all the hopes you dreams you have…all the love you long for in your own life…
Jesus says…this is how to love your neighbour.
Interesting that in other places in scripture we’re told to put others before ourselves or put others interests above ours. But here, Jesus says, the way you love yourself, you must love others.
#1. Love yourself. See yourself in God’s image of you…see yourself the way God sees you.
#2. Love your neighbour in the exact same way.
(For those of you who have a hard time loving yourself, this might be a moment to ask God to help you get over that, and see yourself the way he sees you)
Why do you think we have all the conflict and unrest we see in the world? Why war? Why violence? Why hate? Why unrest? Why walls?
Because we always (or often) only see our neighbours as ‘other’ and not ‘us’.
The word ‘Yourself’ in this scripture is really important!!! It changes everything.
Leviticus & Neighbouring?
We often hear the challenge to be a better neighbour and go right to Jesus and the gospels. Like we just did. Rightfully so, Jesus made that audacious claim about loving God & Others.
However, Jesus takes both the first part of his statement (Love God) and the second part (Love your neighbour) from the OT.
First one is from Deuteronomy 6.
The second? Leviticus. Of all the places to narrow down your most important commandment? Leviticus? Other than numbers, it might be the toughest (and most boring) book to read in the bible.
But…this is in fact where Jesus draws his words:
We read lots about neighbouring in the Leviticus:
- 18:20 No sex with your neighbours spouse (not PG, sorry, but still in the Scriptures)
- 19:13 don’t fraud your neighbour
- 19:15 judge your neighbour fairly
- 19:16 don’t endanger your neighbour
- 19:17 be honest with your neiughbour
- 19:18 Love your neighbour as yourself
It’s important to note the context of Leviticus: this neighbouring is about those who are close by (Israel as a nation and community). There are many scriptures about the foreigner and the alien and the refugee (more on that in the coming weeks), but here, it’s about the people who live close to you.
This begs the questions…
Who are the closest to you?
Who is it that you do life with most?
Who are the ones most effected by your decisions, your actions, your behaviour?
Start there! No really, start becoming a better neighbour with the people who are closest to you.
Be a neighbour first to the people who are the closest.
Here’s the thing, if you can’t be a neighbour to them, how can you be a neighbour to those who are different than you? Who are far from you?
Other interesting instructions
Exodus 12:4 – share what you have with your neighbour if what you have is too much for you
Exodus 20:17 – don’t say false things about your neighbour
Exodus 22:26-37 – return what you borrow from your neighbour
Proverbs 25:17 – Don’t be in your neighbours home too much. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing
Proverbs 27:14 – Even nice and lovely things, said too early in the morning, becomes a curse to your neighbour
Proverbs 14:21 – You can be as kind as you want to your neighbour, it will always be welcomed
TAKE HOME :
Neighbouring takes thoughtfulness & action; wisdom & patience.
- All those practical bits of wisdom from Exodus, Leviticus, and Proverbs are helpful.
- Just like every other role we play, husband, friend, wife, dad, leader…we are getting better at those things, we can be getting better at neighbouring.
- Here’s a statement to adopt, ‘I am becoming a neighbour’.
Law Fades / Love Stays
- In Mark & Luke Jesus turns the religious leader’s understanding of Moses’ law on it’s head…it’s not about how neat and tidy you follow the Law, rather, it’s how lavishly you can live out God’s love.
- As you look back to the OT you start to see what was going to stick and what was going to fade. Remember this, Law Fades / Love Stays
Neighbouring begins at Home
- As we move on in this series we’ll see how far and impactful this neighbouring thing really is
- But first…remember that neghbouring starts where you are…with who’s near you
- your close circle
- behind closed doors
- Less Attention = Bigger Impact
- We have this all wrong when focus on big attention, which might only bring little impact.
- One of the questions you may want to start your day with are, ‘What can I do for _____________ today?’. Ask this about your wife, husband, kids, friend, co-worker, etc. Who knows what God can do with that kind of loaded question.
Accepting the invitation from Jesus to be a neighbour will challenge you, but it will also change you.
So…Won’t you be my neighbour?
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(Quotes from the big screen on Sunday)
“Who is my neighbour?” irrelevant to Jesus, for whom everyone, even your enemy, is a neighbour. The only question is, “What does neighbourly mean?” (L. Sweet)
There is a story behind every person, a reason why they are the way they are. Don’t be quick to judge. Be kind and assume the best. (Nicky Gumble)
Nationalism defines neighbours. The gospel doesn’t give us that permission. We don’t define neighbour by street, block or town.
Not too many people want to actually talk, they only want to tell. If you want to talk, you have to be able to listen.
Learn to be present with others.
Make eye contact.
Ask a thoughtful question.
Don’t interrupt with your story.
Listening for pain & joy
Behold the meaning. (Dan white Jr.)
The biblical test case for love of God is love of neighbour.
The biblical test case for love of neighbour is love of enemy. (Zhahn)
People may hate us because of Jesus, but they should never hate Jesus because of us.
Love your neighbours. Not the neighbours you pick out, but the ones you have.
by Marquis Murray | Jun 5, 2018 | Sunday Conversations
This past weekend we had the privilege of hearing from Todd Lester. Todd works for Be In Christ Canada, the fellowship of churches we are grateful to belong too.
Todd used his time with us to teach through the three values Be In Christ Canada has chosen to reflect and live out: BELOVED, BELONG, BECOME. These values are very much connected to our own values at The Village: DISCOVERY, STORY, COMMUNITY. Can you make the connection?
Below are scriptures Todd used to walk through these values. Take some time to read them, pray through them, and see how God challenges you through them.
SOMETHING TO BUILD YOUR LIFE ON…
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds
a house on solid rock.
I AM BELOVED BY GOD
Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us … and it gave Him
1 John 3:1
See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us his children, and that is
what we are!
The early church theologian, Augustine, wrote: “God loves each one of us as if
there was only one of us to love.”
I BELONG TO GOD’S FAMILY
So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage
In community you are…SAFER…STRONGER…SMARTER
1 Peter 4:9
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
I AM BECOMING LIKE JESUS
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were
confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
– – – – – – – – –
small(er) group questions:
How are these values connected to the gospel, the good news of Jesus?
God loved and chose us before he knew us (Ephesians 1). How does that make you feel?
What do you make of the Augustine quote?
Which scripture speaks to you most about community and belonging? Why?
One of our favourite words at The Village is becoming – what do you think it takes for us to be challenged and grow, while at the same time being patient when we’ve yet to arrive at the place we want to be?
Which one of the values do you resonate with more? BELOVED? BELONG? BECOME? Why?
by Marquis Murray | Jun 4, 2018 | The Park
Each week we will be providing “Take Homes” for you to use to continue the discussion at home with your kids.
An administrative reminder that we are redoing/updating our registration at The Park. Thanks to those of you who stopped by the registration table last week to fill out family registration forms! If you have not done so yet, please grab a registration form this week to fill out. All families (new and old) will need to complete this registration. Get your Family Registration Form here!
JK/SK Take Homes:
Encourage Week 1 – Parent Take Home
Encourage Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Encourage Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Encourage Week 4 – Parent Take Home
Grades 1-6 Take Homes:
Ephesians Week 1 – Parent Take Home
Ephesians Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Ephesians Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Ephesians Week 4 – Parent Take Home