March's Love Your Neighbor

What is the greatest thing you’ve ever been invited to?

Was it a football game? Maybe the Rose Bowl three years ago? Was it a ski trip with some friends to some place like Tahoe? Was it an invitation to see a comedian or a great play? Maybe it was an invitation to attend college at Texas A&M or an invitation to take your dream job.

My greatest invitation came my senior year in college. I had it real bad for a certain girl that went to my church. Yet I had never mustered up the courage to even carry on a conversation with her. One day at church I happened to be at just the right place at the right time and as a result I was able to open the door for this girl and one of her roommates. As they passed by they were talking about the TV show ALIAS; which just happened to be one of my favorites. So I quickly mentioned that I loved that show and then there it was…the greatest invitation of my life. This girl, Krista, and her roommate invited me to come watch the show with them that night at their place. Nine months later Krista and I were engaged.

Now that was a great invitation; for that invitation changed my life. In John’s gospel he records an invitation that also ended up changing someone’s life.

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathaniel asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.” John 1:45-46

Philip had just met Jesus. He was convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah and so he ran to his friend Nathanael to tell him. Nathanael’s response to Philip was just a bit cynical. Yet, Philip extended a life changing invitation anyway. With three simple words, “Come and see,” Philip gave Nathanael the greatest invitation he ever received. As a result Nathanael meets Jesus and three verses later Nathanael has placed his faith in Christ.

You see, invitations can be life changing. This week you have the opportunity to extend some life changing invitations. Easter is next Sunday. Next Sunday! And the question is, who are you going to invite to come to church with you this Easter?

Each month of this year we are putting together these “Love Your Neighbor” letters for the purpose of encouraging you to bless your neighbors with the grace, truth and love of Jesus. We are doing this as a church because your neighbors matter much to God. In fact they matter so much to God that Jesus died for them, something we are going to remember together as a church body this Friday. He loves them and He has commanded us to love them as well. So each month the “Love Your Neighbor” letter will contain a simple step that you can take as an individual or family to bless your neighbors.
This month’s step is to invite three of your neighbors to come to church with you this Easter. This step might seem really hard for you, but the truth is most people go to church on Easter. Also, according to Thom Rainer in his book The Unchurched Next Door 82% of people would accept an invitation to church if they were invited. That number only increases on Easter.

So this week take some time with your family or your roommate and pray for your neighbors. Then invite them to church. It just might be the greatest invitation they will ever receive.


Anonymous said...

Krista and I are looking forward to inviting our neighbors to church this Sunday. Right now we have two families we are wanting to invite. We would love your prayers as we seek to bless them this week by inviting the to our Easter service. I will be sure to keep you all updated with how it all goes down. -Jake Box

Anonymous said...

Well, inviting people to Easter wasn't a huge success for me. I invited two neighbors but neither of them could make it. So I figured that I need to do more to cultivate relationships with my neighbors. Last night I had a cool opportunity to begin doing that. Two weeks ago I printed off fliers for a poker game in my garage and I passed them out that week to all the neighbors I saw hanging out outside doing their lawn work. I got a great response from a ton of them, which I was very excited about. Last night was the poker game and I had nine neighbors come play. Two of the neighbors that came I had never even seen before. It was a pretty cool night. God really used it to deepen and begin some relationships with my neighbors and I can't wait to see what comes from them as a result. Just wanted to share that with y'all. I am pretty excited about it. As it turns out, it is a lot of fun loving your neighbors and very rewarding.