October 2012 – Update

Hope at the Beach – A Surfer’s Chapel

Worshiping Christ on the sand, North side of Seal Beach Pier

My barbershop holds a weekly prayer meeting. I try to time my haircuts once a month or so on “prayer” day. Today, the owner of the Barber shop, where the meeting was taking place, began to share about his neighbor. It seems that his neighbor had cut down some trees, pulled up the stumps, and left the stumps on the barber’s property. The barber waited patiently for three months, then decided to clean up the neighbor’s left-over mess himself. The next thing he knew the neighbor was accusing him of stealing his stumps and threatening to sue him! The barbershop owner didn’t want to react in anger, but was mostly concerned about his testimony and being a good witness to his neighbor. They resolved the issue, but it got me thinking about neighbors and just what is a “good neighbor.” I began to think about a story I once heard about a very rich business executive.

This executive was traveling from L.A. to New York. He had traveled as far as New Mexico when another car ran him off the highway. The thieves took his car, clothes, cash, and credit cards and beat the “living stuffing” out of him. As the man lay near death he asked God to send someone to help him. After an hour or so, a pastor of a local congregation was passing by, but he was too busy thinking about his next stop to realize that the lump lying on the side of the road was a person in peril. The injured executive tried to move, but almost passed out from the pain. A few hours passed and another person in a big Cadillac passed by, but the lady in the car was too frightened to do anything, and besides, “What a bloody mess!” The man finally passed out. Later that night, an illegal immigrant and his family where driving to the next job after working for a month in the fields of Arizona. Their old run-down truck could barely manage carrying the two little children, dog, his wife, and himself, but the migrant farm-hand stopped and dressed the man’s wounds, gave him some water, and took him to the home of a friend. The friend was leery of helping the person, but finally relented. As the farm worker got ready to leave he gave his friend all the money that he had and told him to take care of this poor traveler, adding that if he needed more he would cover any other expenses. He and his family left.

After a few days the executive awoke and the friend took him to a hospital a few hundred miles away. The friend had no insurance and the hospital, though they wanted to help, had no choice but to deny the hospital care the man required. The executive finally got to a phone and called his family. To their relief they rejoiced when they heard his voice. The hospital finally admitted him and the friend left him in the hands of the hospital staff. Before the friend left, the executive asked him how he came to help him. The friend told him about his friend the illegal immigrant who had given him all his money to help the hurt man. The man was truly amazed and asked how he could locate this “Good Samaritan”. The friend told the man that unfortunately the man had been deported two days after saving the executive.

“Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”

He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”

He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?

How would you answer this question? As Lin and I minister to you and those who may gravitate to Hope at the Beach we are sometimes confronted with the question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Some of you folks are well off and some are struggling. Yet, God makes no distinction between rich or poor, we are all God’s children and so are “neighbors” to each other. God loves us all and that is what we are about at Hope at the Beach.

Thanks once again for all your prayers and support. God bless you all, our dear neighbors,

Pastor Chuck and Lin