Start Somewhere

Sarah was nervous about getting to know her neighbors. She and her family had lived there for more than ten years, what would it look like to start getting to know the neighbors now?

As a family, they decided they would invite and see what happens. The journey to get to know their neighbors started with cookie baking and then cookie delivery. Knocking on the door and beginning a conversation with, we have lived here a long time, sorry we haven't done an excellent job of being neighborly wasn't easy but the response was warm and accepting. What Sarah and her family quickly discovered is that many of their neighbors were thrilled to begin a friendship even after ten years of very little communication. By the time Sarah delivered cookies to 5 neighbors, there were five invitations and acceptances to dinner.

Weeks later, relationships are being built over delicious meals and long conversations. What started at one neighbor coming for dinner has developed into two different neighbors coming on the same night and maybe even a block party in the spring.

Sarah and her family knew; they just had to start somewhere!

grace brandon
Read a Book in your Neighborhood

Sarah would not consider herself outgoing, but she did have a desire to love her neighbors to Christ. The idea of a book club seemed overwhelming and a little scary, but also a way to meet many women in the neighborhood at once.

Fast forward a year, book club #2 has started in Sarah's neighborhood with more neighbor women than the first year and now meeting at a different neighbors house with even more opportunities for growth. It's not that every week when they gather to discuss the book there is a Gospel conversation, but friendships are growing, and more profound life questions are asked, and it certainly has been a way to develop relationships with the women God has placed close to her.

Don't be afraid to start something new in your neighborhood!!!

grace brandon
It's the Little Things

Sometimes when we desire to share the Gospel with people around us, we are overwhelmed by the idea that we must do something big, or have a long, meaningful conversation with a definitive decision for Christ. It is important to remember that any opportunity we get to proclaim the name of Christ as we live life, is an opportunity for the Gospel.

It may be as simple as noticing a tattoo that sparks a conversation or commenting on a rainbow in the sky as the reminder of God's covenant with His people. There is no such thing as "just" saying something about Christ- when we speak His name to give glory, we are sharing the Gospel.

grace brandon
The patient Bible

Abe was planning on attending the church's annual men's conference. He had worked up the courage to finally invite someone close to him, and they accepted. This was a great opportunity, and Abe decided that buying this person an excellent Bible would really show support and offer encouragement. Everything was planned perfectly until the guest canceled and Abe was left to go alone and have a beautiful new Bible to sit on the shelf as a memory of hard work with no results.

Abe kept a small pocket version of the Bible on his desk at work for inspiration, wisdom and just general study over the lunch hour and free time.

Months later one of Abe's co-workers walked by his desk and asked what version of the Bible he was reading. They talked for a few minutes, and he commented that he was getting older and needed larger print when reading. When Abe got home, he remembered the Bible he bought back in the winter just sitting on the shelf, so he took it to work and when his co-worker stopped by again to chat, Abe presented the Bible to him. The Bible had a leather cover, quality pages, and a dust cover and his friend really appreciates the offer and the quality of the gift and said he intended to start reading.

We are all guilty of following our own plans and letting God know when it's His time to work instead of following His plan and being obedient when it is our time to work.

Abe was upset when his plans for the retreat fell through, and he didn't consider giving thank to God for humbling him and reminding him that God always has a perfect idea. Abe may never know what will come from gifting a Bible to a colleague, but he plans to order another Bible to place on the shelf and be ready for when God brings someone into his life who needs to have the Words of Life.

grace brandon
The heavens declare His handiwork

Romans 1:19-20, reminds us that through creation, God is clearly seen so that we are all without excuse.

Sarah was more than happy to assist her neighbor with moving a few household items to the garage. As they walked in and out of the house, the sun rose before them with the handiwork of creator God. Sarah spoke of God's goodness, faithfulness, and love as they enjoyed the beauty of the morning.

Before they parted ways, Sarah's neighbor shared her sorrow of a family member with a severe health diagnosis. Sarah was able to encourage her neighbor and offer not only comfort but the gift of prayer for her and her family.

grace brandon
Don't share the sickness

Abe and Sarah had been making plans all year to bake cookies at Christmas time with their children and deliver them to the neighbors. They had been praying that God would use this connection with the neighbors to provide opportunities to build relationships and share the Gospel.

December came and so did every virus imaginable! Attempting to purchase a gift for every neighbor was not an option, they would need to pray and ask God to help them be creative. Homemade Christmas ornament is the idea that came to Sarah. She gathered her virus recovering kids, and they began crafting the ornaments. Who would have known that making Christmas decorations could be just as fun as making cookies? Not only were the neighbors touched by the loving gesture, but they were also grateful that Sarah and Abe had chosen to share the Christmas spirit without the germs.

grace brandon
Passing up a bargain

Everyone loves a bargain! Sarah needed to make a large purchase of material at the local fabric store and was happy to have a thirty percent off coupon.

Her trip to the store needed to be quick, so she chose her items and hurried to get in line

As Sarah checked out with her things, she realized she was getting a way better deal than she had planned, too good actually. When Sarah returned to her car and scanned her receipt, she realized that she was grossly undercharged. There wasn't time to go back in immediately, it would have to wait a day, but she knew she must be fair in her actions and pay the difference.

Several days later, Sarah returned to the fabric store with her purchase and receipt. She explained to the clerk that she had was undercharged for her, and she was there to make things right. The clerk immediately called the manager and explained the situation. Although the clerk and manager were relieved to receive the proper amount of money for the item, they could not help but ask why Sarah chose to come back to the store to correct a mistake that she was not responsible for and was now costing her money.

Sarah spent several minutes explaining that she was a child of God and because of His love, she wanted to do what was right and pay what she owed for her items. Sarah honored God by choosing to glorify Him for her choice to do right.

Sarah's story reminds me of I Peter 3:15, always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you of the hope that you have. Do this with gentleness and respect.

grace brandon
Unashamed

God provides opportunities for each of us to communicate the story of the Gospel.

Sarah decided she would be intentional about looking for these opportunities, and God provided quickly. The teacher assigned Sarah an oral book report. This report was the opportunity God provided. The book Sarah chose was the Bible, and the story would be Noah’s ark. God used this presentation to begin conversations of God and the Gospel with Sarah’s classmates.

Friends from our childhood

It’s fun to catch up with friends from our childhood. Sarah was headed to see her family for a few days and meeting up with a girlfriend from school was part of the weekend plans. When her friend invited Sarah to attend church with her on Sunday, Sarah was excited about the opportunity. During the service, Sarah realized this church was not preaching the Gospel. Sarah knew she had to bring this to her friend’s attention, so she prayerfully and graciously began a discussion about truth with her friend. God used this conversation to deepen the friendship and provide the opportunity for long distance discipleship through the reading and discussion of God’s Word.

grace brandon
Everywhere we go

We spend our days going to work, school, doctors appointments, grocery stores, and many other places. In our busyness, we can miss the opportunity to care for the people we meet.

Sarah realized that by going to appointments, she was frequently seeing the same individuals. Sarah started having conversations with women in the offices she frequented. God used this short time of relationship building to lead to coffee and then a visit to church and dinner. God has taken this grace-driven effort and brought it to a relationship of discipleship where God’s Word is being studied.

grace brandon
Neighbors are friends too

Abe knew that God was working on his heart to get to know his neighbors he decided to take walks and look for neighbors who were available for conversation. Abe quickly met up with a neighbor who seemed to be outside frequently.

Conversations lead to a friendship and the opportunity to share the Gospel. As the relationship continues to grow, Abe realizes that his neighbors are the people God has placed in his network. It is important to build friendships with the people we have to opportunity to see every day.

Window to the world

Wouldn’t it be great if nothing in our homes ever needed to be repaired? But furnaces and air conditioners will cease from working, seals break in our windows, washers stop washing, and dryers will someday end drying.

Abe and Sarah decided it was time for some home improvements. They desired that they would be a blessing to whomever God chose to send to their home.

As workers entered their home on a daily basis, Abe and Sarah served coffee and provided lunch. Before the project came to an end, Abe and Sarah invited the workers to have lunch with them around their kitchen table. As they shared the meal, Abe, and Sarah used this opportunity to express their appreciation for the work and shared the good news of the Gospel.