“Look around. Who is not in church today?” (they are our neighbors)

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God wanted to make the glorious riches of this secret plan known among the Gentiles, which is Christ living in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27

With just a week to go until our epic Germany adventure, I’m honestly a little stunned at how much still needs to be done. But don’t worry, we have tickets, passports, and Euros in hand so – regardless of what else does or does not get checked off my list – we will go to the airport, we will get on the plane, and we will land in Prague.

Irrespective of what happens next week, This was week four of the 10 Summer Sundays series at WFPC and it was a joy to worship with our beautiful church family.

Who is my neighbor”

1-Fullscreen capture 7212019 15009 PMThe key question for the summer here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church is, “Who is My Neighbor” and Rebekah preached on the question, “Who is not in church today?”

She wasn’t talking about AWOL members on vacation or working or playing golf, but people here in Wake Forest who for whatever reason have not (maybe never) taken a step toward coming home, accepting Christ’s wide-open invitation, and joining the family of God. Or those who have tentatively started that journey but found themselves judged, not-welcome, or rebuffed…

Let me reiterate that description: People who have:

  • not taken a step toward coming home…
  • not taken a step toward accepting Christ’s wide-open invitation…
  • not taken a step toward joining the family of God…
  • or who have tried, only to find themselves rebuffed.

These people are our neighbors. And Jesus is quite pointed when he talks about our responsibility when it comes to extending God’s love to our neighbor. In other words, if anyone at all in our community/town/city does not feel invited, accepted, welcome at church then that is on us. That. Is. On. Us.

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Here’s the thing about the Gospel. The gospel is not exclusive or exclusionary. Jesus does not care who you are or how you describe yourself he simply wants you to come home.

As to how Jesus wants us to respond to this gift of love and grace once we are home? Well, that is another question. The Gospel can be costly and it may well be that God is going to ask us to deal with our stuff. Fair enough.

What about us?

The other part of this conversation – and Rebekah didn’t touch on this in her message but I have been thinking about it – is why would we not invite someone to our faith community? If Jesus is everything (or even anything) to us, surely that is a gift worth sharing!!! On the other hand if we do not experience Jesus as important enough to share, then isn’t that good reason to go a little deeper ourselves?

It is as Rebekah often says in the most succinct theological creed or confession I have ever heard: “Jesus; Jesus: Jesus.”

I know there is someone in your neighborhood who Jesus wants to invite home. Only it’s up to us to make the introductions.

– In love, and because of love – DEREK



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