It’s been nice being on Christmas break because it has afforded me time to really focus things I know are important: faith, family, fitness.
I’ve been dwelling a lot on Barry Cramm’s message this week. (Barry was guest speaker at last Sunday’s worship.) What I got out of his message was this: I don’t need to bring people to church, I need to bring the church to where I live and work; I should live my life like I’m on mission.
And this got me to thinking about the people in my neighborhood.
– about my next-door neighbor who we watched pack up and move his household after he sold it recently. We never went over to see if we could help him in any way. (When we found out this past week the actual reason was his wife had died and the house had gone into foreclosure, we were ashamed.)
– about the man with “Antichrist” tattooed across his back who walks his dogs past my house two or three times each day. His house is along one of the routes I use when I walk the Barky Boys. Each time I see him, either walking past my house or when I walk past his, I pray for him. And I think about that tattoo: Maybe he didn’t realize someone tattooed that across his back. Maybe it all happened during a night of drinking. Or drugs. Maybe … (he growls whenever we walk past each other on the street and I’ve said hello to him; he kind of scares me, so my plan is to continue loving him from a distance)
– about the family just a few doors down that moved in 3 or 4 years ago and really seem like good folks
I confess: Hub & I have lived in our home for over 10 years and we don’t know all our neighbors. With the exception of our neighbors on one side and the family next to them, we really know no one. I’ve been praying about how to change this. How do I live my life missionally in my neighborhood when I don’t even know anyone I’ve lived with for over a decade? Looking past this, what did Jesus do? What would Jesus do? He addressed the physical and spiritual needs of the people. How can I … we … bring the church to our neighborhood; how can I … we … address physical and spiritual needs? How can we … Hub and I … be the church to our neighbors?
- say hello to our neighbors when we see them outside
- plan, organize, and HAVE that neighborhood barbecue my next-door neighbor & I have been talking for years about doing
- invite neighbors over for coffee & conversation
- invite the women of the neighborhood to join me in Bible study
My word for this year is “Focus.” Realizing there will always be urgent issues that require my attention, my goal is to live my life intentionally focusing on the important things that will give glory to God.
Who are the people in your neighborhood?