A church conference was over for the night, former procrastinators, and I prepared to walk home. I stood at the top of many steps leading from the sanctuary to the sidewalk. I stared down, trying to get a grip on myself. “If somebody doesn’t speak to me, I’m afraid I’ll burst out crying… If somebody does speak to me, I’m afraid I’ll burst out crying.” Nobody did.
We all long for connection with other people because that’s how the triune God created us. To grasp the magnitude of God’s amazing plan in creating us for connection, go through The Engagement Project. This is a ten-week small group study presented on DVD and includes discussion guides.
The course leader, Dr. Del Tackett, is also author and presenter of The Truth Project. In the Engagement Project, he begins with three questions:
Why did Jesus leave? Why does God send? What is God’s end game?
Many scriptures come alive and make more sense as we see their relationship to each other. We realize we’re called and equipped to have sacrificial zeal that seeks the true good of our literal neighbors – beginning with friendship.
We see the depth of God’s love. Because of the agony Jesus experienced in being separated from God the Father, you and I will not experience that. He will never leave us or forsake us. This God of steadfast love has entrusted to ordinary everyday families and singles the work of His kingdom.
We realize we are part of God’s design for fruitfulness from creation on. Life begetting life begetting life. Satan wants us to delay this, to have dead, fruitless lives. Though it goes against our natural bent, saying no to self is part of what actually leads to life and fruitfulness.
We’re reminded that if we pray, asking God for something He wants to do, He’s going to do it. He turns strangers into friends, adversaries into allies.
God knows our address and our neighbors’. In His providence, we live where we do because our neighbors are here. They live here because we are here. Somebody’s son lives next door. Someone’s mom across the street is lonely.
We learn to carry out His royal law, love your neighbor (James 2:8) by engaging with grace, wisdom, and truth. We see simple acts of sacrifice opening doors to friendship. We witness welcoming hearts saying “yes” to God by engaging with their neighbors.
What an amazing God to entrust us ordinary folks with the work of His kingdom!
Which neighbor will you pray for and contact this week?
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