Happy Birthday Loving Community…Four Years, Four Gifts!
June 2014 seems almost like yesterday! That’s when Loving Community came to be in our little corner of the world in Lewisville, TX. The founding rally cry of “love the 067” (our shorten zip code 75067 representing 12 square miles and 61,000 residents) continues to guide our daily rhythms.
And now celebrating four years, who would have thought! I’m ever grateful for the many prayers, supportive voices, and thousands of volunteer hours that have given fresh breath to the enduring good news (the gospel) message. It mirrors the words of Revelations 21:5, “Behold, I’m making all things new.”
Loving Community’s good neighboring, relationship building, and community serving approach seems to resonate with a jaded American public which polling continues to show is loosing confidence in the “big box” church. At a recent neighborhood picnic one friend pined, “All they want is your money and to push their political agenda. Whatever happened to good morals and helping people.”
Of course not accurate across the board, the local/parish, incarnational, and low budget underpinnings of missional expressions like Loving Community feel more like, as a local business owner recently said, “what Jesus would do” (so I guess some of our WWJD church marketing did stick!) 🙂
And who knew that “still small voice” would progress into a holy nudge, followed by a few hesitant steps of faith, leading to wading into our community waters. And now four years later, on any given day the love of Jesus is being shared in big and small ways, from reading to and mentoring children, caring for and acknowledging the value of senior adults, helping local businesses give back, and cheering on city government leaders as we seek the good of our community.
Our prayers are simple, “to bring a little heaven to earth” and seem to align well with the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
On this four year celebration, I smile as Loving Community has personally been a life-giving gift as we follow God’s unique plan for our lives. Of course our hope is that it has been a gift to our community as well, sharing the love of Jesus one relationship and one act of service at a time.
If preaching this day I would choose my text to be Matthew 9:36-38 from The Message. My four points on this fourth birthday would be (see inserted) — Community, Compassion, Confusion, Call
“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places [Community] and reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. [Compassion] So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. [Confusion] “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” [Call] ~ Matthew 9:36-38
Happy birthday Loving Community! Thanks for the gifts of loving our community with the compassion of Jesus, introducing calm into the confusion, and living into the call, inviting others all along the way into the harvest fields!
Jim & Sharon