Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who is my Neighbor?

A well known parable in the New Testament tells the story of a man badly beaten and left on the road.  A priest walks by and next a Levite--religious people of Jesus' day.  They both side step him.  The final player is a Samaritan and he helps the fellow out but giving him a ride on his donkey, taking care of his immediate needs and paying to have extended care provided.  (Read the whole parable here.)

The parable is Jesus' answer to being asked, "And who is my neighbor?"
It's a good question.  Jesus answered it in a way that challenges our preconceived ideas today just as much as it must have in its original setting.

I want to use that question, And Just Who is My Neighbor?, to ask you if there is anyone in your life who is not, to the best of your knowledge, trusting in Jesus for forgiveness of their sins?  
I want to ask you to consider your neighbor (friend, family, co-worker, and actual neighbors) and courageously ask them to take a next step with you.

It is not my slogan but I love it and we use it at church, Invest and Invite.  

There certainly are people who need a Good Samaritan to be their neighbor.  I believe Christians are to be about the work of Justice and Mercy.  I also believe that our church's greatest outreach tool is you.  You have relationships with people--they are your neighbors.  You have invested in them.  Could now be the time to invite them to join you at church.  Could this Sunday be the Sunday they sit next to you?

If you Invest and Invite watch and see what happens
  • Your friends will appreciate you inviting them (I doubt many of them will kick you to the curb.)
  • Your friends will not be completely weirded out by our church.
  • You will start to see your neighbors through a different lens.
  • You will start to see our church with renewed perspective--you'll wonder if our church is truly an inviting place for those who are unchurched.  You may even help us make improvements in this regard.
  • You will see the Spirit of God at work in your friend's life and your own.
Invest and Invite.

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