Love Local (Go Small and Go Home)


Colossians 1:15–20 (NIV)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


It was one of those mornings. My twin sons, Luke and Sam, were about five or six years old. And they once again transformed the drive to school into an open forum question-and-answer session where no theological curiosity was off-limits. I did my best to answer in a way they could grasp. It went something like this:

Luke: Dad, if Jesus is in my heart, how can he be in heaven at the same time?

Me: Great question, buddy. Because Jesus is God and he can be everywhere at once.

Luke: But, Dad, I thought there was only one Jesus. How can one person be everywhere?

Me: Another great question. He is so big that he fills up everything, everywhere so he can be everywhere and right there with you at the same time.

Sam: But, Dad, if Jesus is so big, then why can’t we see him?

These kindergarten/kingdom-sized curiosities are answered in Advent. This season of mystery invites and awakens childlike faith. Not just to grasp the right answers. But to keep asking the right questions.

Author Madeleine L’Engle employed the phrase “the irrational season” to describe this journey we’re on. This moment that asks us to believe the impossible and stake everything on it. That the massive God who fills all things makes himself small enough to see. For all the times he reveals himself through fire and flood and plague and blinding glory, in this moment we see him most clearly. As the Transcendent descends, the Universal localized—the image of the invisible God.

In addition to my role as theology student under Luke and Sam, I’m also one of the pastors at a quirky little church called Love Chapel Hill in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Our name is our mission: love Chapel Hill with the heart of Jesus. In the early days of planting this church, we often heard hyped-up strategists and leadership experts repeat the rallying cry, “go big or go home.” Instead, we took on the counter approach of “go small and go home.” In other words, start small, right where we are. Love local, we like to say, as a reminder that the next opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus is not waiting in the spotlight on the biggest stage, but right in front of us as we walk down the street, hiding in the form of outcast or neighbor or stranger. Every moment is an opportunity to make the highest truth and deepest theology and largest love small enough to see.

Of course, this is no innovation. It is simply an imitation of the image of the invisible God. The one in whom all the fullness of God dwells, and yet he comes and dwells with us. The massive God who fills all things and makes himself small enough to see.


God of fullness who fills all things, make yourself small enough to see through me. And give me eyes to see you made small through others.


How can you love local, or go small and go home? What is one small way you can help one person to see the love of Jesus in you?

For the Awakening,
Matt LeRoy

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. “How can you love local, or go small and go home?” I believe the answer to this question is found in Jesus’s call to us: “Follow me, and do what I do; and make more disciples.” Jesus says as much in his conversation with his disciples when He prepares them to continue His earthly ministry following His death, resurrection and ascension back to His throne in heaven. Jesus, in His answer to Philip’s question about seeing the Father, says, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Any one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe in the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:9-12) When the world sees Christ in us through the expression of His love, some will be drawn to experience His love for themselves. This will open the door for effective evangelism.

  2. I woke up this morning with this thought in my mind. “If you love Jesus go public. Say so and show-so so people will know so.” That’s “one small way you can help one person see the love of Jesus in you.

    Here’s some more of the thoughts that were happening in me when I woke up this morning:

    Notice what the Lord
    Has placed on your heart.
    If you want to be
    Led by the Spirit
    That’s the place to start.

    A heart that’s open
    To God’s presence
    And speaking openly
    Opens the way
    For people to hear
    What the risen Jesus has to say.
    Christianity needs that today!

    If you want to know
    How to grow
    Closer to God,
    Pay attention to what
    Christ is doing in you
    And go
    With His inner flow.

    Jesus is never a no-show. We only think so because we overlook His presence.

    Thanks for the confirmation today, Matt. Let’s go small and go home to the Headship and supremacy of Christ in His gathered body, His ekklesia. Let’s allow the risen Jesus to be the active and literal Head of His body, the assembly of the Christ-reliant, those who come together to depend on the preeminence of His presence and the leading of His Spirit working in, through, and among them in all that they say and do. (“He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence.” –Colossians 1:18 WEB)

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