Entries tagged with “Good Samaritan Parable”.

Two Saturdays ago, we went with our church to go out and love some of our neighbors.  You may recall our church is in its toddler stage, but from its birth the church’s goal was to be outward focused loving our neighbors.

Webster defines neighbor as one living next to or near another or fellow man. I think the story of the Good Samaritan shows that our neighbor is anyone in need. I think almost all of the people who attend our church our involved in some type of personal ministry to our neighbors at our house and about half of us intentionally live in the “inner-city.”  As a church we are fortunate to have a Minneapolis Housing Authority building located almost directly across from the church (Google say is is just over 200 feet down the street).

The pastors of the church have been engaging people from that building through the years getting to know some of the residents.  Some of our students from our Somali Adult Literacy Training school live in that building.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that as a church and for Team Cross we already know people there and are at least somewhat involved in their lives.

As a group we took homemade cookies, tea, music, boxes of love and stockings of love and spent a good 3 hours meeting some of the residents, talking with friends and just hanging out.  It was a lot of fun and everyone was very appreciative of our love and kindness. There are a lot of fun stories, but the coolest one of all is that they want us to come back.  Both a staff person and the tenants group leader want us to keep being involved.  As a church who wants to love its neighbors I am sure we will go back often and Team Cross will continue to visit our friends there as well.

Oh, just a thought… our boxes and stockings weren’t full of cheesy little gifts, but real useful items.  The boxes were actually designed for Thanksgiving time and are full of non-perishable food items.  The stockings had things like toothbrushes, hats, gloves, long underwear, and the like.

I share this story with you today so that you might be inspired to find a way to love your neighbors.

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What in the world does Incarnational Living mean? You are about to find out!

Continuing the review of ESA’s March/April Prism Magazine, the second article is Reimagining Relocation: Can Christians walk with the poor without leaving their neighborhood? by Eric T. Iverson.

Webster defines the adjective Incarnate as: 1 a : invested with bodily and especially human nature and form b : made manifest or comprehensible : EMBODIED <a fiend incarnate> but the verb form of Incarnate is: : to make incarnate: as a : to give bodily form and substance to <incarnates the devil as a serpent> b (1) : to give a concrete or actual form to : ACTUALIZE (2) : to constitute an embodiment or type of <no one culture incarnates every important human value — Denis Goulet>

BLAH BLAH BLAH what does it really mean?

Incarnation is usually referred to Jesus becoming human and living on earth for thirty years.  The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) uses the word Relocation in their 8 component philosophy. Incarnational living is just another way of saying that you are investing and moving yourself into a new area, becoming a part of your new neighborhood.

Back to the Article at hand.  Iverson’s main premise for the article is that while all Christians might not feel called to relocate or move into a more “urban neighborhood”  can still help impact those neighborhoods:

I worry that too many assume that picking up and moving to places like Lawndale [a CCDA community in Chicago] is the only way to be involved in the principle of relocation. I fear that many Christians use relocation as the bullet to shoot down the entire message of the CCDA: “If I have to move to the ghetto to build the kingdom they’re talking about, then I’m gonna find somebody else to listen to, ’cause I ain’t moving’.”

Iverson uses the example of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 to illustrate his point.  He draws five points from the story:

  1. Went to the person in need
  2. Recognized there was a problem
  3. Decided it was important enough to act
  4. Met the need
  5. Walked with him

He continues by saying:

I know a lot of people performing steps one through four, but it is number five that many struggle with.  Walking alongside those in need can lead to real change and healing for all parties involved. (When you walk beside the poor, they walk beside you, too.) But walking with the poor physically – for those who choose to move – is only one option.  Walking with the poor spiritually – for those who won’t or can’t just yet – is another.

He later interchanges the idea of walking with the poor spiritually and walking with them mentally.  I think spiritually we should pray and intercede with God on their behalf, but mentally is the more practical stuff that we can do each day.  Iverson uses the illustration of purchasing a new SUV.  Typically its an easy mathematical and mechanical decision on which car to purchase, “Can I afford this car, that is brand new and meets my needs?”.  Iverson adds into the equation the thought process that the cost of the car might equal someone’s yearly wages or even their wages for 5 years.  He would argue that we should purchase a used SUV and then take the extra $10,000 or so saved and use it to help the poor among us.

He closes with some practical applications, and so will I:

  • Relocate, or work to create a livable wage for the poor

  • Relocate, or stop for a minute before yu hire someone from within your network. Is there a group of people not represented in your workplace?

  • Relocate, or think about the purchases you make – How will this purchase impact the poor?

  • Relocate, or support someone who has

  • Relocate, or send somebody else’s kids to college

  • Relocate, or help someone make a down-payment on a house.

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While doing research for talking with the youth group tomorrow night I ran across a Congregational Toolkit from Evangelicals for Darfur.

I really liked the many scripture references it gave:

Proverbs 24:11-12
Isaiah 2:3-4
Micah 6:6-8
Proverbs 3:27
Luke 21:15
James 3:17-18
Matthew 25:31-46
Luke 18:1-8
Luke 10:25-37
James 2:15-17

I’m not sure which one I’ll use yet… some seem more powerful and in your face than others… I read back through them and bolded the ones I really like. The Bible is full of so many good passages :)

My first inclination was to use the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) and the Least of These (Matthew 25). But the James 2 passage really speaks about taking action… and Micah 6:8 is great and I have heard that as the definition of worship… “8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” The Proverbs 24 passage is good for people like the President…

Anyway… these are my thoughts for now… maybe later I’ll post what I talked about!

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