Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

I've been traveling for work a lot lately. I've been on airplanes more in the last 2 years than I had in the decade before that.

Richmond, VA from the sky

More often than not, I try to choose a window seat. Perhaps it's my inner 6 year old that is still excited about looking out that window and imagining I can fly. It's exciting and foreign. It's a different perspective on the world. And, it's beautiful.

I especially love flying into the Tampa Bay area at night and trying to figure out what I'm looking at. Is that Oldsmar? Odessa? Clearwater? Sometimes it's hard to tell, but inevitably we end up over the bridges and then it all comes together. I love seeing the city all lit up at night. It's like a beacon calling to me, letting me know that I'm home. Soon, I'll see my family and go back to my house so I can sleep in my bed.

We are called to be that same kind of beacon to the world. Each of us carry within us the same power that brought Jesus back from the dead... the same light the connects us back to our creator. Whether you feel it or not, we are not at home on this planet. This is a temporary stop on our eternal road trip with God. We are foreigners in this land because it is broken and filled with sin. We were not created to live in such a place. Because of the sin that entangles this world, there are those that are lost and wondering. They've moved so far into darkness that they no longer feel God's love which make it impossible to see that he is standing right there with them.

You are the lamp when you call your self a Christ follower. You are a reminder that there is a better way to live; that people don't have to spend their lives living in fear or lust, in sickness or addiction. You are a reminder that people can overcome the sin in their lives when they hand their lives over to God.

Are you living your life that way?

Are you using the power you've been given to shine a light on God's goodness and his great love for his greatest creation?

Or are you trying to shine a light on yourself, on your accomplishments, or on your goodness?

What's cool about being a Christ follower is it frees us from that need to put ourselves on a pedestal. We no longer have to compare ourselves to the rest of the world. We no longer have the burden of judging others. We get to just live life the best way we know how, trying to do what God has called us to do. We don't have to try to fix people. We just get to live in peace and love others.

Doesn't that sound good? Shouldn't we as a church body seek to live life that way and encourage others to do the same? After all, it is what we've been called to do.

Matthew 7:1-5 (NLT)

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

I challenge you to try it. For the next few days, let go of your prejudices towards other. Stop worrying about other peoples' lives and the choices they make. Try on love and see how it fits. If it doesn't work for you, then go back to your old ways, and carry the burden of judgement again. That's your choice. But, I think you'll find that love is a much lighter load.

Be different. Love people.

Gather with us this Sunday as we conclude our series on The Kingdom. Find out what Jesus meant when he told us to make disciples of people.