It was in January 2015 when I found myself sitting in the Colorado Springs airport waiting for my flight back to Austin, Texas.
As I sat there waiting for my plane, I saw a poster that said FLY COS. I read the poster and thought, “I wonder what FLY ‘CUZ’ means?” My wife, Kristin, and I were about to move our three kids to Colorado Springs so COS translated was interpreted “cuz” to me who was brand new to the area. It finally clicked… Fly COS was a poster encouraging people to fly out of the Colorado Springs Airport (duh!).
That was the defining moment when the phrase “COS I love you” (pronounced “cuz”) came to my mind. The next week I shared the idea with a group of leaders from our church here in Colorado Springs and they loved it. From that moment we began to plan a four week message series for the fall of 2015 around the idea of loving our city.
I never really dreamed of how God would take this simple idea and turn it into what it has become, less than two years from that moment in the airport.
I mean, I kind of thought it would be cool if I ran into somebody that I didn’t know, serving in our city, wearing a COSiloveyou t-shirt, but never did I think it would take off this quickly. Looking back now, one of the reasons I think that COSiloveyou has become contagious is because it was never designed to be something just for our church but more importantly, it’s focus has always been about loving the great city of Colorado Springs.
I’ve heard so many stories over the last 12 months about people seeing somebody in a COSiloveyou t-shirt or hoodie all across the country.
I’ve heard stories of groups of people serving in the city. In fact, last weekend over 1200 volunteers served the city under the umbrella of COSiloveyou through an event called City Serve.
I’ve heard the story of a number of youth pastors in our city getting together to combat the issue of youth suicide under the umbrella of COSiloveyou.
But perhaps my favorite story is one that I received in an email this week from a gentleman who attended our first COSiloveyou series last fall. It is stories like this one that remind me of why COSiloveyou stands on it’s own platform. It reminds me of how powerful one person can be when they love their neighbor, because that’s what Jesus did and wants us to do. Here’s what my friend Jeremy sent me this week…
“I wanted to share with you how I have chosen to minister to my neighbors. Last year when COSiloveyou launched, I sat in the service that first week and instantly, God put it on my heart to shovel the sidewalks of 4 of my neighbors throughout the winter months . I have a 45 year old disabled Vet and his family next door, a young family with little ones on the other side, a Widow across the street, and a Widower next to her. I invested in a quality shovel and a nice pair of snow boots. At times it was easy. And other times, I’d be up at 4:30am to shovel in the dark. I don’t say this to brag, but to say that, in those cold, dark, and quiet mornings, God poured into me a love for my neighbors. With every scrape of the shovel against the ground, I heard my heart say “COSiloveyou”. This Winter I’ve chosen to expand my efforts and take on 2 new neighbors’ sidewalks. God has given me the ability to tangibly love my neighbors and I am so excited to love on them again this winter.”
What a powerful story. As I reflect on Jeremy’s words I am convinced that if each follower of Jesus in our city were to take seriously the command to love our neighbor, this city of Colorado Springs would be a better place. I’m excited about what the future holds for the COSiloveyou movement and I cannot wait to see what God does as we obey His command to love our neighbors.