“Won’t You be my Neighbor?: Take Down Fences”

Week #3: Take Down Fences
 
CARE: Compassion, Action, Relationship, Empowerment
 
Compassion: An emotion that, seeing a person in need, moves us to sacrificial action.
Action: Identify that person’s need and offer your best
Relationship: Enter into a person’s world to learn & love them as they are.
Empowerment: Loan your life & influence to lead a person
 
BIG IDEA: Neighboring is entering into a person’s world to learn, love & lead the person to Jesus
 
Further Conversation
1. Have you ever felt left out or on the outside looking in? What is it like to have someone reach out to include you?
2. We aren’t really neighbors until we swap recipes or borrow power tools. Why do we have to “enter into a person’s world” if we want to build a relationship? How can we do that?
3. How do you define empowerment? How can we “loan our life & influence”? When has someone empowered you?
4. Read John 4:4-10. What did Jesus do to intentionally neighbor?
5. Read John 4:25-30. How did Jesus help this woman feel safe & loved? When have you felt open and safe? What is it like?
6. Read John 4:39-42 How did Jesus and this woman build relationships and empower others? What happened for them?
7. Restate the BIG IDEA in your own words. Why is a relationship with Jesus always the goal? Whose world do you need to enter?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – Matthew 11:25-30
What does it feel like to be invited? I remember the excitement of receiving birthday invitations as a child. Wow! I couldn’t wait. I was a special friend. Even today, invitations suggest I matter. I’m wanted. Please be with me at this special moment. Jesus begins his prayer stating the exclusive relationship between him and God the Father. This is unique, special, and revealed to only those whom Jesus chooses to invite. Then he turns and invites us. “Come to me!” Jesus invites us into his relationship with God. How does it feel to be invited? How do you respond? Who will you invite to join you?
Pray: Heavenly Father, I am so thankful to know you and be loved by you because Jesus invited me. I’m so glad to be with Jesus!
 
Tuesday – Acts 11:1-18
Peter didn’t want to go. He was a devout Jew. He prided himself on the company he kept, the food he ate, and the way he lived. But Peter was also obedient. God sent him and he went. He went and formed a relationship with Cornelius and led his entire household to Jesus. This opened the door for all of us Gentiles to know Jesus. It happened because Peter went. We too are commanded to go and lead others to Jesus. We are called to live our faith and boldly invite others. Who is missing an opportunity to know Jesus if we don’t go and invite them? Who do you need to reach out to and love them enough to lead them to Jesus?
Pray: LORD Jesus, you love the people of this world. Help me love them too as I follow your commands and go lead them to you.
 
Wednesday – Acts 2:1-12, 38-41
For fifty days, from the moment Jesus was arrested, these disciples lived in hiding. They feared that what happened to Jesus would happen to them. Even after they watched him ascend into heaven, they hid. Then they received the Holy Spirit. Then everything changed. They became bold. They began sharing the Gospel, leading others to Jesus. They had power! Have you experienced that kind of change? How do you show it?
Pray: Holy LORD, you have given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to lead others to your Son. Fill me and use me to share your love!
 
Thursday – Jonah 4:1-11
Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. When God called him to go to them, he ran in the opposite direction. Finally, after being swallowed by a whale, Jonah does what God commands. Amazingly, the people repent and God gives mercy. And Jonah is angry! Where is his compassion? We can ask ourselves the same question…where is our compassion? The majority of our community does not have a saving relationship with Jesus. Hell is their destiny. We need to go to them, build a relationship and lead them to Jesus. But we don’t. We build nice places and hope they’ll come. We wait to welcome instead of going to invite. Why won’t we go? Why do we too lack compassion?
Pray: Loving Jesus, someone invited me to know you. Thank you for that person. Refuel my compassion so I can lead others to you
 
Friday – Acts 1:6-8
Do you remember the old Popeye cartoons? Brutus or some other villain would get the best of Popeye. Every time Popeye was about to lose it all, he would pull out a trusty can of spinach. Pow! Instantly Popeye received power, super-human power. I always wondered why he waited until it was almost too late to eat the spinach. We Christians could learn something from Popeye. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit. We have the very power of God residing within us. We have this power for a purpose: to live and share the Gospel. We have power. God has loaned us himself. What holds you back from fully living out sharing the Gospel?
Pray: Holy Spirit, remind me every moment that you reside within me. May I live empowered for your purposes to bless the world!
 
Saturday – Luke 4:14-21
Do you have a mission statement? Do you have a clear statement that defines who you are and what you do? For Christ Church, ours is “Helping people take a next step with Jesus.” This passage is a prophecy from Isaiah. Jesus claims it at his mission statement. This is why he lives. Notice that both statements offer direction. The Good News found only is Jesus is the goal for which we must always aim. Are you leading others, sharing the Good News and helping them take a next step with Jesus?
Pray: Almighty God, may my life’s mission be to proclaim the Good News and lead others to their next step with Jesus.