WE ARE THE LIGHT of the WORLD – Be a party starter.
Our Prayer Focus today is for our place of influence – our home, neighborhood, workplace, community, our kids’ school – wherever you can be a light. Matthew 5:13-14 says this “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Ask yourself what are you known for in your neighborhood? Would anyone miss you if you moved away?
What if you were known for having parties? Or celebrating victories or prayers answered? If we read further in Matthew 5, verses 15 and 16 say this “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” So, what if you started acting like everyone was invited to THE party? Everyone. We need to start treating everyone around us like they are all on the invite list to the greatest party ever thrown because the invitation was extended from the Creator of the Universe. Everyone is invited to come.
I’m going to repeat words authored by Reggie Joiner to communicate this point.
One of the reasons this generation has become disillusioned with the church is because too many of us act like everyone is NOT invited. We do this when we … discriminate against those who don’t look like us. Eliminate those who don’t measure up to us. Isolate ourselves from anybody who doesn’t believe like us.
We segregate the Gospel, but the Gospel doesn’t segregate, it integrates. But one day we will all be integrated. In the same kingdom. In the same room. At the same table. Because of the Gospel. What if we started acting like the party has already started and everyone is invited?
Let’s examine 7 Habits of a Party-Starter and pray about impacting those around us with these principles:
- Invite someone new to the table. And not someone you simply don’t know but someone who’s not like you. When you invite someone new to the table, you almost always learn something new about God.
- Fast forward someone else’s dream. Start a party that’s not about you. Something will happen to your faith when you fast-forward someone else’s dream. Help someone else win. We all have resources that we can leverage that will help someone else get ahead. We can give, lead, encourage, advocate, and guide so another person’s dream becomes a reality.
- Inspire every kid you meet. You can always have a 2-minute party with a kid. You should always be investing in someone who’s following after you. It’s good for your faith. Every time you see kid, take a shot at making them laugh. Making them believe. Making them dream.
- Create beautiful spaces. Nothing says you care for others like creating the right environment. That’s what hosts at parties do. They prepare for the guests. They will spend hours creating the right context so people can enjoy each other. The environment matters because people matter.
- Speak up for someone else. Leverage your voice in the right way, for the right reasons. Remember we have a responsibility for those who are marginalized, to stand up for those who don’t have the access or influence to stand for themselves and stand beside those who are advocating for a better way and a better world. Keep this in context: We have enough opinions on social media about politics. What we don’t have are enough leaders standing for people who are hurting.
- Discover life together. There is a difference in owning your own faith and doing faith alone. If you don’t have people you trust in your life, you will make some ridiculous decisions. That’s one reason you need the church and a small group. You need a circle of people in your life who believe in God and believe in you. This works both ways – this is also the reason the church needs you. There are people who need for you to be that kind of voice in their life.
- Do something you don’t have to do. You don’t do something because you feel like it. You do something in order to feel like it. If you only do what you have to do, you will be limited in what you do. It’s the stuff that you don’t have to do that ultimately changes your faith. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He suggested this to a group of people gathered around Him to hear Him teach: “Suppose someone forces you to go one mile. Go two miles with them.” To us, this sounds odd. But in the context of the Roman law imposed upon the Jewish people two thousand years ago, this was a bold challenge. The Jews resented and even hated the Romans because of the Roman Empire’s heavy-handed taxes and laws. One of those laws required anyone twelve years or older to carry a soldier’s gear for an entire mile if they were asked. It was in light of that law that Jesus taught the principle of going an extra mile.
We need to find better ways to reach those around us to move people toward Jesus, to become a part of their lives and to earn the right to have influence. That’s why parties should be a priority. Maybe that’s why Jesus seemed to love parties so much.
Jesus knew the potential of what could happen at a party. He went to parties. He told stories about parties. He compared God’s kingdom to a party. It was like Jesus was saying, “Sometimes it just takes a party…”
Think about it. Jesus did His first miracle at a party. When they ran out of wine, He made sure it wasn’t a party-stopper. So, Jesus did what His mother asked Him to do. He turned the water into wine to make sure they didn’t run out. It was like God was making a statement at the very beginning of Jesus ministry…
For the complete writing “Sometimes it Takes a Party – Love Your Neighbor, Change the World”, go to starttheparty.org for the free E-Book by Reggie Joiner.