Next Door as it is in Heaven
Have you ever been in a bible study or worship service and just knew, I mean just knew, that the teacher was talking directly to you? Talk about not liking your toes being stepped on.
In this book, Next Door as it is in Heaven – Living Out God’s Kingdom in Your Neighborhood; I felt that I was being called out for not doing what I know I should do.
I had fallen into the trap of thinking that because I help with vacation bible school, mission trips and give to support mission around the world, this is enough.
Or is it?
If we really dig into scriptures we will find that the first thing the disciples were told to do was to go. Go tell people about the Christ. Get busy!
Okay, I am busy…but am I really meeting the requirements? Do the people that live right next door know Jesus? Have I taken the time to get to know them enough to sit down and study the Word or do I just wave as we see each other outside and maybe attend a holiday block party together?
In this book, the authors Ford and Brisco, challenge Christians to be good neighbors. They point out that in the past, our families and friends overlapped a lot. Today, not so much. We have become single units instead of family clusters. This leads to feeling isolated.
But since Jesus is all about love, how can we not show that to our neighbors if we claim to be a child of God’s?
While it is nice to support those in the mission field, I agree that we are all called to a mission field a lot closer to home. Your neighborhood is your mission field. You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to be a witness for Christ.
I like the quote they used from Frederick Buechner: “If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors.” We should be practicing biblical hospitality, not just entertaining them. As Christians, we are called to love others and that would include our neighbors.
First thing we can do, it to look for Jesus in our neighbor: “We desire to be in the presence of the Lord. What we so often miss is that his very presence is available right now, through the presence of those made in his image.”
Next Door is practical, yet convicting. They don’t beat the reader over the head, but they do want to snap us out of our too-often insular existences. I tried to justify myself. “I know my neighbors. . . . I am connected to others on my street. . . .” But I have to face up to it. My neighbors will be blessed (and my life will be enriched) to the extent that I “neighbor” better.
There was a time when neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the old and infirm alike had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighborhoods were our closest communities.
No more. Neighborhoods have become the place where nobody knows your name. Into this neighborhood crisis the words of Jesus still ring true: Second only to the command to love God is the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Next Door as It Is in Heaven points out principles and ways to make our neighborhoods into places where compassion and care are once again part of the culture, where good news is once again more than words, and where the love of God can be once again rooted and established.
How about your neighborhood? Do you see it as a mission field? How would you start building relationships with those on your street?
You will find this book at your local retailer or on Amazon. It is available in both Kindle and Paperback versions.
Don’t have a Kindle? Grab one for yourself. They are so nice to use for reading. I love my Kindle Fire and my little one uses the e-Reader version (just for reading without the added games and internet options).