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The Art of Neighboring - Week 1 - Daily Steps

Posted by Debbie Eaton on

Welcome to Daily Steps
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings and application/action ideas to help you spend time with, and build a relationship with Jesus.

Acts 17:24 - 27 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us."  (NIV)

You Are Divinely Placed

Technology today provides a view of our vast world; all along with the ability to pinpoint and find your exact location. Crazy!  Playing around with the satellite view in Google Maps illustrates how big our world is and then with a click, it slowly zooms in to an exact location showing the street view and everything surrounding it. Our world is made smaller. Behind every door are people living lives that are filled with everyday ups and downs just like you.  Have you ever wondered why God placed YOU at this time in history, in the place you are now?  As we zoom in even closer,  how can you become a great neighbor?

It is no accident that you live in your neighborhood, whether that be a house, condo, apartment, or dorm room.  In all creation, God knew the exact location you were placed in so that you would make the invisible God visible to your neighbors just as Jesus did when He walked the neighborhoods of his time on earth. (Colossians 1:15)  You are his ambassador to those seeking to find Him; Not by selling God to your neighbor but by being a friend who listens, learns, and loves while challenging yourself to ask the question "What does love require?".

So what if God is using you to reach out to a neighbor who is seeking His presence in a real way and they find God through your friendship? 

God will use your life experiences to bring care, compassion, and love at just the right time. When you bring a meal, mow the lawn for a sick neighbor, share a tool, help with a repair, invite a family for dinner, exchange kids for a day, set a bouquet of flowers on the doorstep or ask about something specific going on in their life, you are bringing the essence of God to them in that moment. In return, over time, people become more open to deeper conversations about God because of your kindness, gentleness, hope, joy, and love.  You are the conduit for someone seeking and finding a God that is near, a God that loves them so much that they placed you in their life.

So just like Google Maps, when you zoom in and build friendships with your neighbors the influence of that relationship zooms out to show the impact it can have on a more vast community.  And just like that, we may find the answer to why God placed you in the exact neighborhood you are in today. You have been divinely placed in your neighbor for this time in history. 

Daily Bible Readings and Application/Action Ideas

Monday - Read Acts 17:24-27. Read this passage slowly a couple of times. Write down the phrases or words that resonate with you. How do these phrases or words illuminate the importance that your presence has in your neighborhood? Pray that God will guide you to meet or care for a neighbor that is seeking His presence as you are the conduit for His love.  Maybe this is a great moment to reach out to one of them this week and get to know something about them (their name even!)?

Tuesday -Read Matthew 22:37-40. It is so easy to gloss over these passages because we have heard them so many times.  As you read these words ask yourself, why is this so difficult to actually live out? Spend time quietly praying for God to reveal areas you need to confess regarding these two commands and ask for forgiveness. Write down one practical way you can live out the commandments today.  Share that with someone. 

Wednesday Read Romans 12:13-16. Fred Rogers taught such Biblical truth and truly lived out these passages. As you read these passages and the quote from Mr. Rogers below, take some time to sift these through your own life experiences. Write down the names of people whom you have seen live out some of these attributes and then write down the names of people whom YOU have extended these attributes to. 

"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors--in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver." - Fred Rogers

Thursday - Read Luke 10:25-37. Read this passage slowly imagining yourself in the story. Focus on the religious expert of the law and the question he asked, “And who is my neighbor?”.  He wanted to justify himself to find a loophole to the question. Are you trying to find a loophole in what Jesus said is the most important thing for us to live out?  Think about this question today.  If we are honest with ourselves, we all struggle with this.

Friday - Read Luke 10:25-37. Read this passage slowly imagining yourself in the story. Think about times you have been one of these characters.  Let's focus on a time you have been the Good Samaritan.  Write out that story as a prayer of gratitude thanking God for how you were used in that moment. You made the invisible God visible for your neighbor!

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

Want to Go Even Further? 
If you are not already using our weekly study guide with your community group or family members, you're missing out on thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study. 

STUDY GUIDE - THE ART OF NEIGHBORING - WEEK 1

Watch CF Beyond Sunday this Monday!
After each sermon, our pastors and various church leaders sit down for about 20 minutes to have a discussion about the sermon topic. It will be posted on our YouTube channel and our website on Monday night, August 3! 

BEYOND SUNDAY ON YOUTUBE

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