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Summary: How to truly love your neighbors, not metaphorical, but actual neighbors.

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Growing as a God-Orienting Neighbor

Series: Art of Neighboring

Brad Bailey - November 24, 2013

Intro

Today we are concluding our series focusing on Rediscovering Art of Neighboring

Jesus affirmed that what God desires could be summed up in two great commands... to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and..

"Love your neighbor as yourself...."Do this and you will live." - Luke 10:27-28

God says this is what we are to reorient our lives around. And it is the second we have been seeking to engage this month. Love your neighbor as yourself.

I want to begin on a personal note.

As most of you know...a few months ago...my mother passed on... this past Monday... my father passed on. It's certainly a season of loss...and sadness...but I have been filled even more with the blessing they have been ...and so much peace in how their lives were blessed.

My parents life... captured the art of hospitality.

When I was in Jr. High School… with older sisters in high school… we had a foreign student become a part of our family for a year... and to this day she is like family. In the years that followed… they were presented with situations that led to several years of back to back women who became like family… and sisters in my life. Few of you may know, that before I ever became a part of this church, I was living abroad for two years… attended a Vineyard conference and knew that when I returned to attend seminary I would likely make the Vineyard my new church home. Meanwhile my parents wrote to tell me that they had taken in a young woman in full time missional ministry at the Vineyard. I arrived home with a Westside Vineyardites gathering in my parents home.

You may have heard of the term "refrigerator rights" which captures having some you so open up your home to that hey have freedom to share use of your refrigerator. My parents had "cookie cupboard rights"..."TV rights"..."sleepover rights." For years my best friend Skip would ride is bike from Santa Monica to our house on Saturday mornings...crawl through the pet door...get a bowl of cereal... and turn on Saturday morning cartoons...before anyone in our home was even up yet.

> My dad captures a life that cared for others more than himself. He was always focused on people over possessions....over privacy...over his own pride.

In my heart...this whole series has carried a sense of honor and dedication to my parents.

And as we conclude, I want to hear the words of Scripture... the words of one who knew he may be at the end of his earthly life. The Apostle Paul... imprisoned and now writing to those in the city of Colossi… what is commonly called the Book of Colossians. Paul brings us into a life filled with mission.

These are the words of one who knew he may be at the end of his earthly life… so he wants to convey what matters most. He wants to help every life discover and develop what matters most.

Colossians 4:2-6 (NLT)

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. 3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. 5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Paul sees his life bearing a mission... but he has no savior complex… he has gotten over any sense that he is the hero of the story… and we need to get over that too. He sees his life not as an answer to what others needs… but as a bridge… a bridge to hope.

• Important… because any assumption that those who claim to receive this life of Christ are superior will deflate everyone… because we know it’s just not true.

• If you are hear today… perhaps just exploring… I’m sorry for the way you may be made to feel like you are not as good or smart as those who claim to know Christ.

• Paul held no such pretense… referring to himself as the ‘chief of sinners’ …one who was simply met in God’s timing and plan.

But he does see his life as having great meaning...for it's surrounded by an opportunity to share the hope he has found.

He realizes that his life is a relational bridge in the grand drama that we are living in… a bridge which can manifest and make clear the mysteries of Christ.

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