Thursday, October 16, 2008

noise and neighbors

I read a great post the other day about neighborhoods and being neighbors with those around us. I encourage you to read it here. It reminded me of two things: one, we are truly blessed to be where we are; and two, where we are is no accident.

I know most of you can tell just by the title of my blog that I believe nothing in life is random. Where we are, what we do and love, and all the things that happen to us in life have a specific reason. Thise especially true about where we live.

When we purchased our home we took a long time to find the right place at the right price. What we didn't fully realize at the time was how God was strategically placing us right where we needed to be. Not only is the home itself a perfect fit for what we are doing in life; besides raising kids we serve as youth pastors, our home weekly holds about 15-20 youth in our house. Now our house is not that big, but the layout lends itself really well to this kind of thing. Maybe the biggest blessing is the large "bonus" room upstairs, a perfect place our kids to hang out under the watchful eye of a soon to be youth we adore.

But even bigger than that is the neighborhood itself. When we moved we took the initiative and walked the street to meet our neighbors. Our amazing kids did the rest and have proven to be very effective ice breakers for everyone we hadn't met. Now, this a loud neighborhood. There's lots of activity and noise. Why? The neighborhood is full, I mean full, of kids. Just last night there were about 15 playing outside our home-and that's not even all of them! We are blessed to be seen as the "cool" parents, and usually everyone ends up at our house, if not inside they play out front or in the back. It's not unusual to have light saber fights in the front yard and girls driving strollers around the driveway. Or a handful inside playing the Wii or building Lego's. It's great that our kids love to have friends over and even better that this the place the friends choose to be.

All of this reminds me of my job as a Christ follower. In the book of Acts there's a story about Peter and John. It shares how after they boldly proclaimed Christ and healed a crippled man that those around them noticed that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13). Because they had been with Jesus there was change in them, a new boldness and courage that came from knowing him. That became evident to all around them and it testified about who God is and how he loves. That's what my life is to do and be, but it only comes from me being with Jesus. Once I've done that it's easier for me to love on my neighbors and be Jesus to them, even if only in actions and deeds.

So this is the reminder for me and perhaps the push to you, get out and meet your neighbors. If you haven't seen one in a while take them some sort of treat. Hang around outside on Halloween, share hot chocolate and stories while the kiddos trick-or-treat. (We did that last year and it was a blast.)

It's no accident that we live where we do, God wants to use those that know him to bring others to him. God wants to use us to reach our neighborhoods. Would you be that person who does so?

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