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September 20 - October 17
There have probably never been so many obstacles to being a good neighbor as there are today. Most people save their home as a place of silence and solitude from all the world’s noise. We get home, close the garage door, and only emerge when leaving for work the next day. But God has higher plans and expectations for us. He wants us to be good neighbors and love those around us and live out the Gospel!
In the book, The Art of Good Neighboring, we see a great truth when it comes to neighboring.
“The journey begins when we choose a lifestyle of conversation and community over a lifestyle of busyness and accumulation. It’s about making room for life and choosing to befriend those God has placed around us… When Jesus was asked to reduce everything important into one command, he gave us a simple and powerful plan that, if acted on, would literally change the world…The number-one obstacle to neighboring well is time.”
In light of this concept’s importance, we jumped into a four-week Sunday series called “Next-Door.” Here is the overview that will update weekly:
Week 1 (September 13): Love your neighbor
Action Point: Join us in a Youversion Bible App devotional – click on the picture below to start the plan. We had over 280 people respond to take this step and begin praying for their neighbors.
Love Your Neighbor: Outreach, One Step at a Time (5 Days)
Reaching out to your neighbors can be a counterintuitive thing to do. Most people who consider themselves Christians do not even think about stepping outside their ordinary responsibilities to follow the quiet nudges of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and He wants to show you the way—one small step at a time.
Week 2: (September 20): A Call to Prayer
Action Points: (1) Join us in a Youversion Bible App devotional – click on the picture below to start the plan.
(2) Post a picture of the neighborhood you are praying for. The photo challenge is just an encouragement for us to walk our neighborhood and pray. The two main things we can ask God to do are:
1- For our neighbors to be open to the gospel when they hear it
2- For God to give us boldness to share Jesus when an opportunity arises
As you walk, take a photo of your neighborhood. For example, it could be from the middle of your street showing all the way down the road— but be safe 🙂 and be aware of privacy. Once you do, upload your photo to the FBBC Commons page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FBBCCommons). Let’s encourage one another as we pray for God to do a work in the lives of those closest to us!
Prayers for Your Neighborhood (30 Days)
There is something deep and transformational that happens when we walk the streets of our neighborhood while talking with God. You’re invited to make a 30-day “practice” by walking and praying through your own community. Let the adventure begin!
Week 3: (September 27) The Power of Investing (Pt. 1)
Action Point: Make/purchase a gift basket for a neighbor and deliver with the provided card.
When God went about to show his love, He didn’t write it in the sky or send each of us a Hallmark card. He DID something. He showed love through His actions. “But God commendeth (demonstrated) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
We would all agree that talk is cheap and that love is a verb. This truth is also real as we learn to love our neighbors. Words of care are never as powerful as acts of kindness. As we continue in our NEXT DOOR series, we will discover the power in investing in those close to us. Jesus called us to the privilege of loving those closest to us.
We put together a simple card with (8) ways to love your neighbor.
This is just a sample of ideas to get you thinking. We all know that investing can take creativity as you get to know your neighbors. We also designed some small cards that you can put in a neighbors gift basket. It includes a place for you to sign. This is what the card says:
“As your neighbor, we are aware of the extra strain and stress we are all experiencing in 2020. This gift is our way of letting you know our family is praying and cares about you!”
Week 4: (October 4) The Power of Investing Pt. 2)
Action Point: Text the FIRST NAME of the person/people that you are investing in to (585) 332-2010. We will then put them on our NEXT DOOR prayer wall.
Actions are the most significant evidence of love. Love does for others. Love craves opportunities to show kindness, meet needs, and uplift others. God calls us to love our neighbors in practical ways. Actually, He commands it. When the Spirit of God enters someone’s life, there is no other option but to love those in our lives.
Week 5: (October 11) Learning to Invite People to Christ
Action Point: Use the “8 Ways to INVITE people to the Gospel card” to help you as you invest in your neighbors.
Relationships are the foundation of all the influence we have on the lives of others. As we pray for and invest in others, we have the responsibility to invite them to Jesus. This step can be scary, but yet so simple. When we say INVITE, we are talking about inviting others to the gospel or an event that would provide the gospel. We do not need to be a theologian, but we need to be ready for gospel opportunities. We would encourage you to prepare in three ways:
1- Get better acquainted with the gospel story. Understand the basics that someone needs to know to trust Christ. It would help if you highlighted key verses like Romans 3:23 or Romans 5:8.
2- Write out your own salvation story. Writing your testimony will help you clarify what happened in your life when you trusted Christ. Your testimony is one of your most potent tools in sharing Jesus.
3- Watch for events where someone else will present the gospel. These times can be a perfect chance to invite someone with less pressure on you. Major holidays like Christmas are perfect examples of an excellent setting for someone to hear how to be saved.
There is probably no more incredible honor for a believer than to introduce someone to the Savior. We never know what God may be doing in the heart of those close to us. Our neighbors may be ready to make this incredible decision in their life. If we prepare, we can be ready to help them!
We anticipate God teaching us and moving us to be better neighbors who love people to the gospel.