Front Yard Friendships

 

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One sunny morning, loyal dog at my feet and hot coffee in hand, I sat in my favorite spot with my Bible and journal and wrote: “I’d like to share what I’m learning with other people.”

The journal was soon filled with dozens of different ideas, topics and verses the Lord and I explored together . . .  but I had no idea what to do with this list! Maybe, I thought, I was going to have a very holy dog.

Soon I attended a conference sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries called She Speaks. At that conference one of the speakers uttered three words that made my heart race, and as soon as I heard “neighborhood Bible study,” I knew what I was going to do.

I returned home from that conference so excited to get started I could see it all in my head, exactly how it would play out: I would lure my neighbors over with cookies and coffee then spring a Bible study on them!

It was going to be called The Rosewood Cafe because we lived on Rosewood Drive. I opened the same journal and drew a little logo, jotted down what I would say on the invitation and even set the date.

There was only one problem with my plan to start a neighborhood Bible study… I didn’t know my neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? Only half of us know some or all of our neighbors. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 28% of us do not know ANY of our neighbors! Not knowing my neighbors put me at great risk of disobeying God’s command to love them, and it made it difficult to even anticipate their needs, their joys or their sorrows.

Whether you live in a downtown condo or a country ranch, on a tree-lined lane or a gang-infested street, I know this fact about your neighborhood: Inside every house, women are starving for personal attention, meaningful relationships and real friendships. This is universal among all women, everywhere.

God planned your neighborhood long before any Homeowners Association Handbook or zoning code! He determined the time you would be born and the exact places where you would live.Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 12.53.22 PM

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. Acts 17:26b-27 NIV

Each of us has been purposely placed in our neighborhood to help our seeking and reaching neighbors find God. That annoying neighbor with the long grass? God knew your patience would touch their heart. The godly girlfriend around the corner you haven’t even met yet? He put her there to encourage you. The lonely widow who always wants to talk just a little too long? He gave you the gift of compassion just for her.

It took me far too long to realize that this crazy idea wasn’t about me, my desires, my obedience, my excuses. It was always about Him, and He is all about them. When I finally met my neighbors, I found friendships and fellowship in my own front yard!

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Amy Lively (23 Posts)

Amy Lively is a speaker and the author of "How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird" (May, Bethany House). She provides tips and tools for Christ’s #2 command drawing from her own experience knocking on her neighbors’ doors and leading a women’s neighborhood Bible study called The Neighborhood Cafe. She is passionate about helping people identify their unique ministry gifts and use them in their community. Amy lives in Lancaster, Ohio with her husband, their daughter, a holy dog and an unsaintly cat. Learn more at www.howtoloveyourneighbor.com.


Comments

  1. Amy, I have purchased my Neighborhood Cafe and am praying for my neighbors. They are of a different culture and speak a different language. I, in my limited thinking, don’t know how this is going to work out, but, I am consoled in the knowing that God knows. To God be the glory.

  2. Hello, Janeen – how lovely to hear from you! You have a beautiful way with words… “I am consoled in the knowing that God knows…” This gives me faith that God will also equip you with words in your neighbors’ language to speak His words of love and kindness. He does have a specialty in making His ways known in native tongues (Acts 2)! Please keep in touch and let me know how I can pray for you and your neighbors.

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