Won’t You be my Neighbor: Neighboring 101

Week #1: Neighboring 101
 
We make Christianity complicated. We’ve added rules, systems and strategies, but Jesus’ original mandate was embarrassingly simple: love God & your neighbor. His followers changed the world! Won’t You Be My Neighbor gives us simple, practical ways to show we care.
 
Key Points:
-“Won’t you be my neighbor? Its an invitation to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.” ~ Fred Rogers
-I can try to love my neighbor without loving Jesus but…
-I can not love Jesus without also loving my neighbor.
 
BIG IDEA: Neighboring is not where we live but what we do!
Neighbors CARE:
C – Compassion
A – Action
R – Relationship
E – Empowerment
 
Further Conversation:
1. Why do you think Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was so popular? Why do you think our culture is nostalgic for Mr. Rogers?
2. Read Luke 10:25-28. How are the two “love” statements a summarization the law?
3. I can try to live my neighbor without loving Jesus but I can not love Jesus without also loving my neighbor. Do you agree? Why?
4. Read Luke 10:29-39. What motivated the Samaritan?
5. Neighboring is not where we live but what we do. How do you see neighboring as more about action and less about address?
6. What is CARE? How is CARE demonstrated by the Samaritan? How does Jesus neighbor and show us CARE?
7. Restate the BIG IDEA in your own words. Who do you know that needs a neighbor? How can you CARE for them? How can we assist you?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – Galatians 5:13-14
We are free. Image being imprisoned for years. If you were released, what would you do? The question, even though its rhetorical, is very telling. Most of us would do something we have longed to do for ourselves. We want for us. And freed from the bondage of sin, many still chose to use this freedom to satisfy sinful desires. But freedom is meant for so much more. We are free to live into how God designed us. We are to be neighbors, loving God and others. What are you doing with your freedom?
Pray: Heavenly Father, by your grace I have been freed from sin. Help me live into your neighborhood design of love for others!
 
Tuesday – Genesis 1:26-31
Chances are that if you live in the suburbs you live in a designed community. City planners invest a great deal of time and resources to strategically and aesthetically design neighborhoods to both appeal to home buyers as well as create community. This passage reveals that God was the first community designer. Note in verse 26 that God uses the plural to describe both God and humanity. God wasn’t making individuals but a community of people. God too is a community, three persons in one. We were designed to be neighbors in a neighborhood loving one another and loving God. We were not meant to be lonely. Loneliness is a byproduct of our sinful broken world. So, how are you living into God’s original design? For who can you be a neighbor?
Pray: Holy Spirit, remind me often that I am loved and made to be in community. Direct and empower me be a neighbor!
 
Wednesday – Deuteronomy 5:6-22
We have laws to protect us. They protect us from selfish and dangerous behavior. If everyone was selfless and loving, there would be no need for laws. The law reminds us that our world is broken. The 10 commandments do the same. Yes, they are our excellent guide to living holy. But haven’t we broken them? Yes, they are our constant reminder that we are sinful and desperately need grace? Don’t excuse failure, let it drive you to God’s grace.
Pray: Holy LORD, you gave the law to guide us to holiness and show us how far short we’ve fallen Forgive me. Make me new.
 
Thursday – John 8:1-11
There are consequences to breaking the law. I almost lost my license once for speeding. I went before the judge, confessed and threw myself on the mercy of the court. I couldn’t hide my failure. I was desperate for mercy. This poor woman couldn’t hide her failure. She was dragged before a crowd that was longing to trap Jesus and extract justice. Justice is important. Sin has consequences. But Jesus came to be a neighbor. He had compassion, he showed mercy. His actions humbled the crowd. He invited her to go and sin no more. Mercy freed her. Do you know the mercy of Jesus? Do you show his mercy to others?
Pray: Loving Jesus, I need your mercy. Help me know your love and love others, becoming a neighbor who shows mercy.
 
Friday – John 1:1-14
I love how The Message conveys John 1:14a “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” Jesus basically asks, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Fred Rogers understood that question as “an invitation to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.” So…Jesus extends an invitation. He loves us. And he wants us to know we are capable of great love. With Jesus, we are capable. I think that is a beautiful message of hope, message many need to hear. How do you respond to his invitation? Do you know that love?
Pray: LORD Jesus, you love me and see potential in me even when I don’t. Help me love you and share your love with others.
 
Saturday – Philippians 2:6-11
It wasn’t easy moving from Kings Mountain, NC to Franklin, NC nearly 6 years ago. We had a toddler and were expecting our second child within a month. We moved from family and friends to a far away town where we knew almost no one. Its hard to leave home and move to a new place. Think about Jesus and what he left when he moved into our “neighborhood”. What do you think he missed? He did it to love God (obey)…and love others. He did it to be a neighbor to us. Jesus moved for you. How will you respond to Jesus’ love for you?
Pray: Almighty God, I am so thankful for the grace and love Jesus shows me. Help me think hard about the depths of his love and what he did for me so that I dare not take his love for granted.