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cropped-coffee-time.jpgFirst Love – Have We Separated?

I don’t know about you, but there was a time I had been growing leery of being uncomfortably comfortable with my Christian life, including church.  You know the old adage, be careful what you wish for!
Within the last year, the comfort of church has been anything but that.  We are in new surroundings, and a few months ago, the Pastor was persistently admonishing us to examine our relationship with our First Love. He started by saying we need to be present in our neighborhood.  Ouch.

Let me start there.  Almost 15 years ago, my sister and I—both school faculty with summers off—decided we no longer could sit by without telling our neighbors the Good News.

We started with lovely ladies and morning coffee.  Quite deceitfully, we asked them if they would like to get together for activities and if so, what they would like to do. There were suggestions for taking in local attractions together as well as taking turns sharing information about any travel adventures.

We knew all along we were going to study that ancient love story—the book of Ruth in the Bible. During the course of the summer we did go to a museum, and two of the ladies brought granddaughters with them. Both young women showed up as my students in school a few years later even though one lived out of state and I didn’t work and live in the same town at the time.  That was a bonus. I also took a couple of the ladies to a local theater performance one summer evening. But mostly, we wanted to present the gospel.  With the exception of a friend not from our neighborhood who was about our age, the other three were elderly at the time and have since passed away. Iwas disappointed that the woman who wanted to talk about sites we had seen dropped out.  My nearest neighbor didn’t come at all; and a neighbor whose husband later became our realtor only came once.

No matter what, it was a wonderful experience. I loved getting to know these lovely ladies in that setting, and I am convinced they had a good time.  One of them said, “I haven’t studied the Bible since my Sunday School days as a young girl in Canada.”

The study ended, fall came, and we went back to school.  I’m afraid that’s where our story ends.
Great experience though it was, it is not good enough.  As we think of how we are to spur each other on to good works, what are some of your ideas to reach your neighborhood?

Here is what our Pastor has added since the first challenge.  He talked about the church at Ephesus and how they had left their First Love.  Oh, they were a busy church.  Many, many programs did they offer.  Many, many good works were performed.

On yet another week, he talked about the fact that we need to get together with other Christians in addition to Sunday mornings.  Definitely this is essential, and I’ll talk more about this at another time.

Ihaven’t drawn any conclusions with you as yet, but let me leave you (for now) with this.  Certainly, as our Pastor pointed out to us, expressing our love for Christ has very much to do with how we approach the Word, prayer, and the treatment of others.

So, please leave comments and ideas on how to spur each other on to good works in:  devotions, prayer and godly living.  Beyond that, how we are reaching out in His name to those in our neighborhoods and what are your ideas?
Hopefully I’ll be back next week with some tangibles of my own.