Monday, June 18, 2012

'Moving In' Is Different Than 'Dropping By'

   There is a big difference in visiting someone and moving in. I don't care if you drop by and all but if you bring a suit case or three and say your moving in well, that's another story. In a very real way that is the difference in living a missionary lifestyle and doing evangelistic events. When you are a missionary somewhere you pack your family up and move in. If you are on a 'missions trip' you visit for a week or so and do some good and go home.

   We're convinced that here at home the 'trip' approach doesn't work. When we first began visiting our neighbors we discovered that we weren't alone. As a matter of fact, everywhere we went other churches had already 'visited' on a trip. Whether it was a block party or a Backyard Bible Club, an Evangelism Explosion visit or a Roman's Road excursion... the neighborhood had already been 'visited'. What hadn't happened is that no one had remained, moved in, taken up residential relationship and friendship.

  When Jesus was going to go to neighborhoods he sent His followers ahead of Him to prepare the field. Many of the things Jesus told His disciples to do, the church today does also. He told them to pray for more harvesters, to go and do good, to preach the gospel. But there is one thing that Jeus told His followers to do that we rarely see His followers do today, remain. Jesus said if we were received as we were going, remain. Move in. Make friends. Build genuine friendships (just like the ones you go out to eat with). Put names in your cell phone and more importantly, let them put yours in theirs.

   I've got a story I want you to see, it's short and very sweet. It's the story of a single dad, trapped in a cocaine addiction. This story took four years to unfold. There were hours of friendship building, days and months of tutoring children, lice removal on more than one occasion, a complete removal of all furniture and replacing of same after thorough cleaning, trip after trip to the job center, extended family, child protective services, the police, rehab and finally Jesus and breakthrough and peace.

Four hard years. Worth every minute. Remain.


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