The Art of Neighboring - Taking the Great Commandment Literally
What if Jesus really meant what He said? What if Jesus really does expect us to love our neighbors? I’ll be honest, I’ve often spiritualized that teaching of Jesus to such a degree that I’ve often missed the real point. I’ve often focused on my neighbors in faraway places like Puerto Rico, Honduras, Shiprock, and other such exotic locations. But what about my actual neighbors in my neighborhood, my circle of friends, and my family?
Growing up in a very rural area of Oklahoma our nearest neighbors lived over one mile away. Ollie and Alpha Haynes were their names. They were an older couple who lived in a little cinder block house full of farm and ranching decorations. Us kids would often help them with chores around their house like mowing their lawn and moving downed tree limbs. Our parents were adamant that we be good neighbors to the Haynes family. Up the road were the Clem, James, and Ferrell families. They were two miles away, a bit too far for us to be too terribly neighborly, but we did what we could. And certainly, anytime there was a need or tragedy in our area of the country we all gathered around the family in need and helped out. That was what good neighbors did back then.
Today, though, it’s a little different. I wave at my neighbors as I drive my car into our garage before I close it for the night. And then, I sit out on our back patio and enjoy the evening, alone, in the quiet of my own backyard. I’m not sure I know the names of the neighbors I just waved at, but at least I waved at them. To be honest I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when He taught about loving our neighbors.
In our newest sermon series we are going to be examining what it means to be a good neighbor, how being a good neighbor is one of the primary keys to turnaround at First Church, how we can become experts in the art of neighboring, and some practical keys to reaching out to our neighbors. When we truly follow Jesus’ teaching on loving our neighbors our world, our community, our neighborhood, and our church will be impacted for the Kingdom of God.
I pray you will join us for this extremely important sermon series. I anticipate it will be the most critical series of sermons I’ve preached in my two years at First Church. I hope you will join us beginning this Sunday at First Church OKC.
Remember if you are out of town and want to still join us for worship we livestream our worship services on our First Church Facebook page. You can tune in live or join at a later time.