“Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (James 2:8 NLT)
Yesterday, we looked at three initial steps to consider if you want to love your neighbors. Let’s continue with a few more things we did in Dallas, then shift to something we’re doing in Las Vegas.
4. Begin group study. After almost a year we planned our first study at our house. We used whatever the current sermon series was at that time for curriculum and invited our closest neighbors and a few others, including a few from church. Everyone accepted.
5. Get intentional. After we’d been meeting for a while, I invited each person to share their story – i.e. tell me about your family growing up; talk to me about your job, your plans, your dreams, aspirations, religious background/training, and so forth. I then asked them if I could share some things about me, which included my love of Jesus and my desire to live my life to His honor and fame, including loving them without condition.
6. Expand the study. At the end of that first series we asked those who participated if they’d like to continue with another study, which they did, leading to an open invitation to everyone on our street (about 30 houses) for our third study. My wife and I made invitations and placed one on every door on our street.
We read/studied Bob Goff’s book Everybody Always, with those who responded to our invitation. Goff’s book addresses how to love our neighbors with intentionality, which is the goal of this process. Additionally, we wanted to see who may have the heart for and interest in leading a study in their home, reaching out to the ones with whom they’ve been nurturing relationships in and outside the neighborhood.
Since we’ve moved to Las Vegas (about a year ago), we were basically back to “square one,” so we decided to give some invitations to the neighbors we’d met while walking our dogs. We invited about 20 people to come to our house for a “carry-in” dinner. Only one couple didn’t come, but we had a great time and a lot of positive things have grown out of that.
This is a prayer-filled process that focuses on loving our neighbors in response to God’s command (Matthew 19:19). The only agenda is God’s will, because I know that it’s not His will that anyone perish (2 Peter 3:9). He alone can save and I’m only one of many instruments He’s using to draw my neighbors to Himself.
Realizing He’s working powerfully in the lives of each one He lays on my heart to love, I simply want to do my part when and where I can by being available to the Lord to bless my neighbors and by regularly praying for them. I accomplish this every morning when I walk my dogs. I pray for neighbors by name if I know them, and the others I pray by household, that each person in that house would be open to the Lord as He draws them to Himself.
It may sound crazy to some, but the Lord has given me a desire to see “Sin City,” which is a common reference to Las Vegas, become “Son City,” as thousands yield their lives and livelihoods, to Jesus. I’m believing the Lord for an unprecedented move of His Spirit upon the people of Las Vegas, changing lives and eternal addresses of those He’s drawing to Himself.
I just want to be a part of what God is doing. How about you? What’s He putting on your heart to do to love your neighbors as you love yourself? You can’t focus on what you can’t do, you’ve got to focus on what God is calling and equipping you TO DO!
Blessings, Ed 😊