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Making a Mark in Your Neighborhood: Chris & Elizabeth McKinney

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 7, 2024 5:15 am

Making a Mark in Your Neighborhood: Chris & Elizabeth McKinney

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 7, 2024 5:15 am

We cross paths with our neighbors all the time, but how often do we really connect? Chris and Elizabeth explore the power of genuine neighborly love, showing how it can make a big difference. Learn how to challenge the norm and inspire a passion for building meaningful relationships right in your own neighborhood.

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Chris and Elizabeth McKinney and catch more of their thoughts at placedforapurpose.com, and on Instagram @mcwifey or X @crmckinney

And grab Chris and Elizabeth McKinney's book, Neighborhoods Reimagined in our shop.

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper about Loving your Neighbors by listening to Being Like Jesus.

Want to hear more episodes by Chris and Elizabeth McKinney, listen here!

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There are some people in the neighborhood that wish, you know, why do we need to spend money on this and why do we need to do all these things? But I think as we've sought the common good, it's built a lot of trust and it's built a lot of relationships.

It's not, we didn't do that to try to get those, but it's just happened and it's been really special and really neat. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at familylifetoday.com. This is Family Life Today. So we're sort of talking about one of my favorite topics today. This is your favorite topic? It is definitely something, you know this, I get passionate about. Make a dent where you're sent. It's true. And you know, a preacher, it has to rhyme, so you know.

And we're calling it neighboring. Yeah, and that's the thing, when you think about making a dent where you're sent, I think a lot of people think, I need to go on a mission trip. And that's often right away what goes in their head. And that could happen, and God could call you to do that, and he does often. But we often don't think, make a dent where you're sent, where am I sent? Because people ask me all the time, well we know where you're sent, you're a pastor, you're a missionary. Where am I sent? You're sent right where you are, in your neighborhood. So that's why we're talking about neighborhoods today. Yeah, our mission field is many times our neighborhood. And so, I was convicted, as we talked about this the last time, and I know our guests don't want us to feel convicted, they want to inspire us.

So we have Chris and Elizabeth McKinney back with us today. You guys are great, and you're inspiring because you are doing just what Dave said. You are impacting and loving your neighbors, the people around you. It's not just they are a project to lead to Christ, because that's, as believers, we want to fulfill the great commission. But you're there just to love each other.

You need them, and they need you. So, listen to the last episode, if you didn't, where are we going today? Well, you know, one of the things you do when you start the book. And it's called Neighborhoods Reimagined. Yeah, and I wrote down in the notes, somewhere along the way, as a society, we culturally broke up with our neighbors.

That grabbed me, because it's true. Yeah. So, how do we do that?

What's that mean? I mean, I don't think it was intentional, and I don't think we purposely, as a culture, set out to stop interacting with our neighbors. But if you look now, I think if you were to ask anyone, hey, what does it mean to be a good neighbor? In most neighborhoods across the country, I think most people would say, well, like, leave your neighbors alone.

Don't get involved in their business. Take your trash out when it's supposed to go out, keep your lawn up, keep the noise down, your barking dog inside. But generally, that's what it means to be a good neighbor. We live in this culture, as believers, and if we don't realize it, we'll just swim in those waters and be like, well, I guess I'm being a good neighbor.

I'm leaving my neighbors alone. But what we see in the Beatitudes is Jesus inviting us to move out of our insulated and comfortable lives, out into people's lives, out into the neighborhood. You can't follow in the way of Jesus as outlined in the Beatitudes and stay inside, right, in Jesus.

I mean, you see him, he is out there, and that's what the Beatitudes are calling us to do, is get out there. Yeah, and we sort of started yesterday, you know, walking through the Beatitudes a little bit. And by the way, you know, when I picked up your book, I thought I've never seen somebody take the Beatitudes and apply them to neighboring. Yeah.

Which makes perfect sense when I was like, of course, but you don't read it that way. Yeah. And what you said, you know, it's sort of like we want to be comfortable.

Yeah. I'll read you the second Beatitude, because you have the false Beatitude, which I love. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, the false Beatitude, which I love how you do this.

Like, here's what Jesus said, here's what we think it means. Blessed are those who numb out, for they will be comfortable. Hmm. That's sort of what we do in our neighborhoods. It's like, I want to numb out, I don't want to be uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable is walking over and talking to somebody I don't really know very well. Yep. And yet, Jesus calls us to that.

So, walk us through what that would look like in your neighborhood. What we learned from the Beatitude that invites us into lives of mourning is that grief is really what happens on the inside, on the inside of us, when we're sad and we're sorrowful about something that's happening. And mourning is what happens on the outside. It's how we express it. And we see in the Old Testament, there's really built into the people of God, a beautifully structured culture of mourning. The Israelites know how to express on the outside what's happening on the inside, whether it's tearing their garments or shaving their heads at time or wearing sackcloth and ashes. And they kind of hold up their picket signs and say, no, this is not right, that this is the way things are.

I'm not okay with this. And for us as Westerners, a lot of times our grief is more quiet and we don't always know how to bring to the outside what's happening on the inside. And I think as we see the brokenness of our neighborhoods and that we're insulated and isolated and we're lonely and we're over scheduled and we're depressed. And we know that our neighbors are experiencing those things because we're experiencing those things. And so when Jesus invites us into lives which mourn, we lament, we say, I'm not okay with this. I'm not okay with the fact that there's this brokenness in my neighborhood. Yeah, and a really great way to do that is to pray a prayer of lament, to take a walk in your neighborhood and you identify something that is not right. It could be as simple as we are all so independent and isolated.

Nobody knows each other in this neighborhood. And then you identify something that's true about God, but God, I know that you've created us for relationships and you have the power to connect us. You could do that. And then you ask him to do that and you say, God, would you please work in this neighborhood? Show me what you want me to do.

Help me find some neighbors. And we could start gathering people so that people don't feel so alone. And that's kind of a structured prayer of lament that will help you mourn. And the promise there is that you will receive comfort. Jesus will comfort you in that. And we don't have to look for comfort in other things. We don't have to numb out and not feel the weight of some of the sad things about our neighborhood, but that Jesus can stir that within us. And you see Jesus doing this in his life as well. He mourned. He didn't numb out. He didn't isolate from the hard things of this world. He, he was right there and he let that out.

And so he's inviting us to follow in his footsteps. Yeah. I haven't really thought through that, especially in the old Testament, as they're wearing sack cloth, they're putting ashes on their head. They're tearing their garments. I can imagine if we saw someone do that in our neighborhood, what are their kids thinking? But they're saying, Oh, he's mourning.

They're showing us and it's okay. And even a necessary and good thing to do. And I'm thinking the other thing that you said, I thought, Oh man, what an easy way to start this whole idea of neighboring is walking and praying.

Yeah. You know, like I'm thinking, Oh, I could walk my call to sack Dave 10 times, you know? But I do walk the neighborhood a lot and just start praying. We did that when we started our church in our neighborhood at a high school. We started walking around the high school. We started walking around the football field. We put stakes in the ground, begging God that people would come to know Jesus, that the students at the school would come to know Jesus.

And I think there was a revival. That prayer piece is essential as we start looking to our neighbors and loving them. And walking grounds you to the place you live. So when you're walking your cul-de-sac 10 times, you're saying, this is my place. I live here.

God, I want you to be at work. It's taking back territory. I like that.

Yeah. And we, we've recently started doing some guided prayer walks with our podcast because sometimes if you don't know your neighbors, it's like, well, what do I pray even? And so we've started releasing these 15 minute guided prayer walks where you put us in your headphones and we just kind of walk you through prayers to pray, some different liturgies. Some of them are themed like we just did one on new beginnings and just praying for your neighbors and for new beginnings. But I think prayer walking and praying is a great place to start.

I'm guessing they have no idea, but you are praying for them probably by name, cause you know their names. Yes. Yeah. When we switched over to make neighboring our full-time focus and we wrote our first book place for a purpose, our neighbors, they were a part of that whole transition. I mean they had seen our neighborhood go from being completely isolated to having an actual social fabric where we were interconnected and needed each other and where people know each other's names. Yeah.

It was kind of a transition, but our neighbors also know they're not our projects. They know who we are. They know we need them as much or more than they need us. Do they know that we have ultimate motives that they would know Christ? Yes.

They know that. But the ulterior motives of trying to bait and switch and try to get them to come to our church when they're not spiritually interested, no, cause they've, they've seen us bear with and hang in there over the long haul, even when they're not spiritually interested. And I'm sure, have you found situations in your neighborhood where somebody's going through something hard and you show up?

Oh yeah. I mean, as you build relationships with people, hard things are going to come up and if there is a level of relationship and trust, you sometimes are invited into that. And what a sacred and incredible opportunity to walk along side someone. You know, we had a neighbor who was going in for surgery. Elizabeth was talking to her and offered to, you know, drive her there and bring her back. And Elizabeth said, Hey, could we bring you a meal? And she said, that would be incredible. And that no one had ever done that for her. She doesn't really go to church a whole lot.

I mean, the meal train, we're used to that life, but that was not something that she had experienced. And it just, again, reminded us again of like, man, these things that we take for granted in the church are things that we need to bring into our neighborhoods and see God use them to bless people and to reach out and serve. That's really sweet.

Yeah. And it's interesting to think, and I know we know this, but I don't think we often do it when somebody is going through either a mountain top and they had a great thing going on or in a valley and a Christian neighbor shows up and doesn't do anything but celebrate or walk beside them, that is preaching the gospel. Because they expect you to show up and say, well, if you'd done this right, you know, you wouldn't be under judgment, you know, which is what we're known for rather than just being a good friend, a good neighbor. Sometimes you have neighbors who start expressing more of a spiritual interest when they're going through those valleys. And what I maybe wasn't prepared for is that then at times when they come out of the valley, the spiritual interest can wane. And I've had to just learn just how important it is to still show up and not pull back. If they pull back spiritually, they're not rejecting you necessarily, and to not give up hope.

But I can keep praying because we have the snapshot, but God has the whole picture. And if you pull back, when they pull back, it says to them, you were really a project. Exactly. You weren't a friend.

I wasn't interested in your entire life. And so that's why, yeah, we talk about those ultimate motives. You value every single step in the process and you match their spiritual pace. If they're kind of getting more spiritually interested, like a running partner, you speed up with them. But if they're slowing down, you don't run out ahead of them. You slow down with them. Sometimes you crawl with them.

And if they're crawling or barely taking a step, you barely take a step with them. Chris, as you were talking about the beatitudes and what Jesus said and how this applies to neighboring, one of the things that you were saying, you like when Jesus said, blessed are you who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Why does that connect with you? That was one that, again, I just never really understood until I took a deeper look because what I thought on the surface was that Jesus was saying, blessed are you who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. Like when you're justified, you receive the righteousness of Christ.

And I was like, okay, I just don't understand what that means. But really what I think Jesus is saying here is it's a more of an Old Testament righteousness, which is more of putting things right. So pushing back against the effects of the fall in this broken world, you think about, you know, there weren't a lot of Kings that did this in Israel's day, but Hezekiah was described as a righteous King because he did all of these things. He followed God's law.

He set up storehouses of food and took care of the poor and the widowed. And so then I was like, oh, okay. So Jesus is calling me to hunger and thirst like I would after a good meal or when I'm really thirsty to do good things in my neighborhood, to do good deeds and be satisfied by them. Because if you think about it, there are so many things that we turn to in our culture and our lives to satisfy us, right?

There's success, there's money, vacations, and we all know they always leave us wanting. But I think even that God has designed us, even our bodies, to experience kind of the dopamine when we even do good things. God has hardwired us to do good things. He wants to call us to do those good things.

Even if they're, you know, we talk about removing the word just from your neighboring vocabulary. It's not just a wave, just a smile, just a little fish fry. Those are significant ways that you can hunger and thirst for righteousness.

And Jesus promises that, you know, now in part we'll be satisfied and one day we'll be fully satisfied by doing those things for the rest of eternity. They're umami bombs. That's right. Like I said, we're wannabe foodies and there's this thing in food called umami. It's the savory flavor.

What's it called? It's the fifth flavor. So you have like sweetness, you know, tart or sweet, bitter, salty. So umami is the savory. And so foods like mushrooms, cheeses, some of the meats, truffles, black garlic bring this savory flavor to your dishes and you can have what they call umami bombs. When you do, let's say like a mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese and black truffles, they all come together in this synergy. It's eight times the flavor. Eight times the flavor.

This makes me hungry. And so I think when we pair our good deeds with the good news, there is a umami kind of synergy there where if we're showing up and we're serving, we're helping, we're seeking the common good of the neighborhood. Then when we start talking about our faith in Jesus, those things pair together and it's a kingdom explosion potentially. Right? Right.

That's good. Everybody usually has a neighbor they don't like. Just a hard neighbor. And hopefully we're not that neighbor. If you don't have one, it's probably you.

I think I've shared this before. I mean, there was one neighbor. She was just draining. Every time she's like talking for an hour and you know, I've got kids and I think I've shared this. This is so embarrassing.

She'd come over all the time, but I saw her come over. I just dropped to the floor, dropped to the floor because there's some windows at the top. And so I'm laying on the floor. I'm hiding. You guys. See how good of neighbors we are?

I love it. I'm so embarrassed to say that. What about if people feel like that? I don't like, they just bugged me or they drain me or they're just mean. You can have four daughters. Like we had three boys, they're in the neighbor's yard and you know, we're probably the annoying neighbor. So what do you do when that happens?

Years ago, I remember Jane who was a mentor for me. She would say, if your yes isn't out of love, it's out of compulsion. And so I try to have my yes be out of love and not out of compulsion. So if I have my groceries, which I often do, and I have kids, I need to get inside. I don't feel like I have to out of compulsion, engage in some long conversation. I can say, Hey, I got to get inside.

Let's touch base later. So there's, there's that piece. I think when you're talking about neighbors that we don't like, And this is where we name names.

We changed all identifying details and we mentioned that. But in the last chapter, counting the cost, we really dive into the, the beatitude that invites us into lives of flourishing through persecution. And in that beatitude, we were really reminded, sometimes I forget when I read passages about having enemies like, well, I don't have enemies.

There's no one in our neighborhood that I really hate. But at the same time, there are unseen enemies in our neighborhoods and there there's spiritual activity that happens backstage and in the wings. There's a couple in particular who I think of who they're a little adversarial and they're kind of hostile in a sense. I think they know we're believers and I try to remember that they're not my enemy.

They're not. And also I think of Paul who was initially a persecutor and then he became the persecuted when God changed his life. And I think, okay, this neighbor who's kind of snotty and snippy and they get going on the Facebook page and they're just kind of, you know, think they're a hotshot. That person, God could get a hold of their life just like he got a hold of my life.

I don't know the full story there. So that helps me remember, I don't want to fly under the radar. I don't want to kind of hide my faith, but I can love them. I can pray for them. Jesus says, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Do good to those who persecute you. And it might not be this persecution, I mean, we talk about our lives do need to be informed by the persecution that some of our brothers and sisters face around the world, but it could also be a marginalization or I mean, even our kids trying to live out their faith in middle school, there's a marginalization when you kind of stand up for your faith or speak out about Christ.

That's real. And I think Jesus makes it clear to where we're persecuted or marginalized, not because we're jerks or because of our politics or because of our strong opinions, it's because of him. It's because of righteousness. So if we're experiencing kind of marginalization and it's not because we're talking about our faith and it's probably not persecution in the sense that Jesus is talking about it.

And so I think that's also an important thing to remember. Have you guys experienced some of that? I mean, I'm guessing in your neighborhood, you're sort of known as, I don't know, you tell me. The party people.

The party people. Is that what it is? Yeah. Yeah.

Which neighboring? You've developed a reputation, which is awesome, right? That is awesome. Yeah.

It looks different for everyone. Yeah. So they know you're the party people with a purpose. Yes. Right. Place of purpose.

Yes. Does that ever become- That could be your next book. Party people with a purpose. There's so many P's.

There's so many P's. I love it. Dave likes it. Dave likes it for the purpose, if you don't write it, we will. Is there any negative to that?

Are there people that are like, yeah, they're that couple. There are some people in the neighborhood that wish, why do we need to spend money on this and why do we need to do all these things? But I think generally overall people appreciate the work we do to try to help. We're not doing it all on our own. We are inviting the whole neighborhood to participate in pulling off these events and doing things. I think as we've sought the common good, it's built a lot of trust and it's built a lot of relationships. We didn't do that to try to get those, but it's just happened and it's been really special and really neat.

One of my favorite events that we ever did was an Arbor Day party, which Chris initially told me I would have as much luck getting people to my Arbor Day party. I was going to say what? Yeah. He was like, this is like inviting people to an encyclopedia.

You know that, right? And I was like, no, I love trees. We had moved into a neighborhood, our neighborhood where we still live, that was new and it was treeless.

And we had three spindly little sticks and he would call me a pacing lioness. I would just march through our little living room thinking, how can I get trees? And so I set out to do an Arbor Day party and we partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation and you can order trees in bundles for pennies.

What? And so we had neighbors. Little bear roots, sapling, little guys, yeah.

So we planted as a neighborhood 345 trees in our neighborhood. Come on. Yeah. And we had tree bingo and you know, tree plantings.

Donuts and coffee. Yeah. Oh yeah.

All the kind of Earth Day references, but it was super fun. And so I think our neighbors could see, wow, they care about some of the same things we care about. They care about trees.

Yeah. They care about our neighborhood in a sense of even increasing our property values. Like one of the reasons why we were able to plan so many block parties was because our homeowners association, the former president had lived in a neighborhood where they had seen their property values go way up when they started having some of these social events. And so it was important for our neighbors to see that we care about things that not just what we would consider spiritual. Okay.

So what's your application, Dave? I mean, my first thought was be inconvenient. And what I mean by that is often to love my neighbor and literally in our cul-de-sac or down the street, it's usually inconvenient.

It isn't something that's, I mean, it could be natural. I walk out to the mailbox, they're there. What do I normally do? Go back to the garage and go in the house. So you're embracing the inconvenience.

Yeah. Walk across for us a couple steps and say, Hey, Dean, what's happening? I mean, the other day I shared this last summer, I was mowing the yard and Dean was standing out there and we'd had him, him, he and Nancy in a Bible study and that interest sort of waned and it's been like a decade. And he's sort of standing watching me mow and everything in me is like, I should turn off the mower and talk to Dean. He's sort of looking at me, but I'm like, I got to get this done.

I want to get done by this time. And I, you know, I'm coming back to him and he started to walk away and I turned off the mower. Hey, Dean, what's up? And we have this spiritual conversation, real interest around something he'd seen on TV about religion. He knows I'm a pastor guy. Sure. And before he wasn't interested.

Yeah. Anyway, it was inconvenient. It took me 15 more minutes to do the yard than it would have if I hadn't talked to Dean. But it started something because then a week later he meets me at the mailbox and says, I don't have a Bible. Could you get me a Bible? That's so cool. The Bible I have, I can't understand.

Are there ways you can read it that are better? I'm like, he is on a real journey. But there's still part of me is like, ah, this is what God told us to do. So for me it's like, do the inconvenient thing, take the time and love your neighbor. What about you? I want to have our new neighbors over. We travel a lot and so we're not always home, but they're a young couple.

They're from China. They haven't lived here long and they have a one year old, so I'd love to have them over. We've taken them food, but I feel like we're always so busy and yeah, I want to do that. Yeah. I would just say this. McKinney's, you guys inspire us.

You do. Not just us, but our listeners. And I always say this to our listeners, they're probably thinking, I want to be the party with a purpose people, but I'm not sure a lot of times we don't know really, and I'm kidding about being part, but you guys have created a, it's almost like an adventure to live in your neighborhood. It's like, don't just live there. How could you really love your neighbors and your book is going to help people. So here's what we're going to do. If you become a monthly partner, which means I'm going to jump in and support family life monthly, we're going to send you this book and you'll be within six months, the party people in your neighborhood.

I'm kidding. But no, you'll get a vision. Not only here's what this book does, in my opinion, you guys wrote it, so hopefully this is what you were hoping. It gives you a vision, but also gives you a strategy. It isn't just big picture.

God wants you to love your neighbors. It's like, how? Well, here's some really easy yet creative ways to do that. And so man, you give monthly, by the way, if you do it this month, it's doubled.

For the entire year, it will be doubled. That's amazing. And you get this book and I hope you start sending us emails and stories about how God's using you to light up your neighborhood for Jesus. Thanks you guys for all you're doing. Thank you guys. Thank you.

The party with a purpose. I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Chris and Elizabeth McKinney on Family Life Today. And yeah, just as Dave and Anne were talking about, if you give right now and become a monthly partner, every dollar that you give will actually be doubled for a year.

That's incredible. And in addition to getting a copy of Neighborhoods Reimagined by the McKinneys, we also wanted you to know that when you become a monthly partner, you actually get to be part of a community that's pretty rare. You get to enter into conversations with us here at Family Life, including having access to a live Facebook event with the Wilsons and me on June the 5th at 7 p.m. for anyone who is a monthly partner. So if you want to know more details about that and all about how you can give, you could find all the information that you need in the show notes at familylifetoday.com. And if you wanted to engage more and hear from the McKinneys a little bit more about what it looks like to be placed for a purpose in your neighborhood, they have a podcast called Placed for Purpose. So if you want to hear more from them, you could check out the podcast anywhere you do get your podcast, or there's going to be a link to their podcast specifically in the show notes. And again, you can go online to familylifetoday.com to become a monthly partner. And when you do, we're going to send you a copy of Neighborhoods Reimagined by Chris and Elizabeth McKinney.

You can give online at our website by going to the donate now button at the top of the page, clicking on that, and it'll walk you through how to start that up. Or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. When you're a mom, there are a ton of different challenges as you are raising your kids. And sometimes there can be a lot of despair in that process of being a mom. Well, coming up tomorrow, how can you find hope, community, and grace if you're a mom? Well, Emily Jensen and Laura Wiffler are going to be here with the Wilsons to talk about just that. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-07 06:34:53 / 2024-05-07 06:47:42 / 13

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