Our worship gathering on Sunday was our Annual Celebration: looking back at God’s faithfulness in this past year and eagerly looking forward to where He is taking us. We heard from all 4 of our Branch Pastors and explored how we’re all unified under the name of Neighborhood Church! *Feel free to pick up our new church swag from our office ;-)
We find the call to love one’s neighbor in the Old Testament (for example, Leviticus 19:9-17). This directive is then developed deeper by Jesus. A local religious law expert tried to trap Jesus with the tricky question:
Matthew 22:36 “…which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Jesus saw through his sneakiness, his party-lines, affiliations, and angles. Jesus answered:
Matthew 22:37-39 “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
By “neighbor,” Jesus didn’t just mean your family, friends, or people like you. He meant any other human being. This includes our literal neighbors, our neighborhood, and our city (see Jesus’ “Good Samaritan” explanation in Luke 10:25-37). Jesus said one of the most important instructions from God is to love, help, invest in, care for, support our neighbors…just like we would do for ourselves (see also Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:13-14, James 2:8).
This also speaks to the tension in our world today. Building real friendships with our literal neighbors…
• breaks down fear
• clears up misunderstandings
• creates care for others who are different
• helps us work together more
So how can we put these ideas into action?
Take a moment to meet with God regarding these thoughts. Remove distractions, sit still, and listen for His voice. Thank God for the neighborhood and city He has placed you in.
Then, consider Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:16 - “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
- How well do you know your literal neighbors, if at all?
- How could you try our 3x4 challenge: this week, learning the names of neighbors of 12 homes near you: 3 to your right, 3 left, 3 across, and 3 behind?
- Simply “walking your block” can be a great first step (new video)
Or, consider Jeremiah 29:7, where God encouraged His exiled people to pray to the Lord on the behalf of the city they currently lived in.
- How could you establish a rhythm to pray for your city?
- Feel free to pick up a free yard sign from our church. Every time you see it in your yard, let it remind you to pray for your city! As we pray as a church community, feel free to share a photo of your family gathered by your sign too.
Or, like Galatians 5:13 taught, how can you “through love serve one another” in your city?
- What place or group could you put love into action by volunteering? Your school, sports league, senior center, clubs, neighborhood group, etc?
Bible Reading Plan for the week
Join us this week as we read through many parts of the Bible addressing how we love God by “loving our neighbors.” Use an easy-to-read printed Bible, or even an audio bible while you exercise or commute! (or explore other Bible reading plans). Enjoy!
1. Monday, June 29 Leviticus 19:13-18
2. Tuesday, June 30 Jeremiah 29:4-7
3. Wednesday, July 1 Matthew 22:34-40
4. Thursday, July 2 Romans 13:8-10
5. Friday, July 3 James 2:8-13
Explore, learn, and grow more!
Learning alongside you,