Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stretch Your Neighborhood

(Cross-posted on YouVersion)

Stretch Your Neighborhood
Message #4 of "s t r e t c h"
Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church; Federal Way, Wash.;
Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011 (My notes from the 10:45 am service, I pray it will be helpful to you. I would appreciate any prayers for me, our church and our pastor.)

--- Wontchu Be My Neighbor? ---

Performance art. Mr. Rogers on screen and Pastor Jeff on the platform changing into cardigan and sneakers. (no sneakers for Pastor Jeff. ha)

--- Learning from "The Neighborhood Chapter" --- (Luke 10)

The 72

1. Where you are, see yourself as APPOINTED BY JESUS TO BE there. (v1)

You're not there by accident. God put you there.

2. PRAY about your neighborhood. (v2)

Pray that they would be blessed, but not so blessed,they think they did it themselves. Pray about your place and impact on that neighborhood. When to speak, and when to just be a light in how you live.

3. Don't present yourself as SELF-SUFFICIENT. (v3-7)

Jesus didn't send them out so everything they needed. They needed the people around them. Those they were ministering to where also supporting them.

4. Respond to their PHYSICAL needs. (v8-9)

It may open up the chance for a conversation.

5. Respond according to people's RESPONSES. (v10-12)

Jesus didn't tell them to pester people. You will never harass someone to God.

Fish where the fish are biting.
Don't drown any planted seeds.

6. Experience JOY in fruitful faithfulness. (v17-21)

The disciples returned changed people themselves. This wasn't just about telling others about Jesus, this wasn't just about conversion, but about their own growth, strengthening their own relationship with Christ, having a relationship worth sharing.

--- The Good Neighbor --- (Luke 10:25-37)

"What must I do?" (Bottom line, what must *I* do?)
"Love the Lord with everything that is in you. Love your neighbor in the same way."
"Fine... Who is my neighbor?"
Jesus describes what a neighbor is like.

A good neighbor is not...

1. One who is ABUSIVE of others.
2. One who misses other's needs because of BUSY-NESS.
3. One who knows all the ANSWERS.

A good neighbor is...

One who volunteers EFFORT, TIME AND MONEY to serve the needs of those around them.

Jesus said "love your neighbors" - that's it. No other conditional statements. Not if or when or because... Just love them. Love them because they are your neighbors. And God put you there.

How Not To Be A Neighbor

1 Peter 2:12

* Don't be a bad neighbor.

Seven Commandments of the Cul-de-Sac

1) Take care of the lawn. (Go to their yard and look at your yard.). A trimmed hedge will never lead someone to God, but an unpleasant yard may cause someone to form an opinion of what you think of them and the neighborhood.

2) Control your dog.

3) Only park in front of your own house.

4) Keep the noise down. (Warn the neighbors ahead of time, too. And invite them.)

5) Beware of shared walls.

6) Slow down. Everyone likes their children.

7) Avoid border wars. Keep up your part of the fence. And if your tree is putting leaves into their yard, it's still your leaves.

How To Be A Neighbor

1) Introduce yourself. If they're new, share some tips about the neighborhood (not gossip).

2) Be aware of their schedule, yield to it if you're using chainsaws or lawn mowers.

3) Talk to your neighbor. Even if it's been years, it's not too late to be neighborly. Get out and be in the neighborhood. Don't be "Batman Neighbors" (Borrow a kid or a dog.) Smile. Look friendly. Be friendly.

4) Watch our for your neighbor. (if they're traveling, watch for mail, packages, newspapers... Wheel in their cans... Shovel their driveway)

5) Share life and the stuff with your neighbors. (Fun idea: borrow a cup of sugar and then bake them some cookies.)

6) See and serve your neighbors.

Being a good neighbor prevents the barriers from going up.

How To Be A Christian Neighbor

1) Prayerwalk your neighborhood (pray for the neighbors, their children, their finances, the chance to witness to them)

2) Don't push Christ, but do include Him.

3) Use holidays as opportunities for conversations.

4) Use prayer as a door opener. "I like to pray for people. Is there anything I can pray for?". If it's gentle (not forced) but organic and part of conversations, after the third or fourth time you ask, they will have something. Be sure to follow up. (Pray for them even if they decline to offer anything.)

5) When the door opens, walk through.

6) Invite. If it's too early to suggest a church service, there are community events held at the church. That was one of the points of building this new worship center. But there are also special church events people will often be willing to attend, like Christmas.

7) Be a friend and give it time. Evangelism isn't thumping a bible with a "turn or burn" message, it's cultivating a true friendship that allows those who you are trying to reach come to really know you and want to know about the hope and peace you possess, to see that you are real and do still have challenges and trials of your own, that you are still human, but that you possess something that helps you that they want to learn about and possess for themselves. Jesus didn't give you one point blank chance, He wants to be your friend and He's patient. You should be willing to be as well.
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