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CHRIST’S PEOPLE AS AGENTS OF HEALING IN CRISIS

The news from Beirut of a devastating explosion on Tuesday has us all shaking our heads and sighing. Corrupt leadership over decades has weakened the country so much that there are few resources to respond to yet another crisis. As the only Middle East country with a sizeable Christian community, Lebanon’s churches and Christian organizations have an opportunity to be one of the best resources available. “Now is the time for the wounded church to rise again,” said pastor Hikmat Kashouh, “and be a healing agent of God’s restoring presence in a practical and caring way.” What an admirable way to see this crisis! I am inspired by these brothers and sisters, responding in Christ’s name to their neighbors.

The Garden

This is the story of a garden…no, not that garden…and not that garden either. This little garden is in Milford, Ohio. Two years ago, some neighbors had the idea of making a community garden. The garden crew had an industrial designer, an elementary school teacher, an attorney, a sales manager, a home inspector, a mother or two, and an FBI agent, all retired. Was there a horticulturalist or farmer…

Going the Extra Mile…The Art of Forgiving

I hope each of us has had the blessing of someone going the extra mile for us. Most of the time it is a family member, dear friend, or a good neighbor who has gone the extra mile for us. Rarely – a stranger or someone we have difficulties with goes the extra mile for us. Why is that? Did Jesus teach us to love only the “loveable” people in our lives and on our street? No, in Matthew 22, Jesus was…

Better Together

By now, I hope you’ve finished reading, The Art of Neighboring. I you haven’t actually started the book it’s never too late. Pick it up and start today. If you haven’t quite finished it, keep going to the finish line. The last chapter of the book encourages us to join with others as we seek to be loving neighbors.   

Here are my favorite quotes from chapter 12.

“As one…

Making a Difference

We have been studying about how to be good neighbors this summer at Kenwood. I like to meditate on the Great Commission, our first text on the matter:

 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go…

A Basket of Puppies

Imagine a large litter of puppies in a small basket. That, I’ve often thought, is the ideal world of an extraverted person. But I imagine myself to be the introverted runt of the litter, who is always getting somebody else’s paw in my eye. With that kind of defensiveness in the back of my mind, I’ve been challenged by the reasonable and moderate nature of The Art of Neighboring.  Chapter…

The Art of Setting Boundaries

In our neighborhoods, the clearest examples of boundaries are our property lines. The county recorder holds the deeds where our properties are legally described and defined. Our property lines show us the limits of our ownership and therefore our responsibilities. Through them, we know the limits of our mowing and gardening. We know which trees to trim and which to leave alone. It would be rather…

Love Your Neighbor

My children and I have been reading through the book of Acts during our nighttime Bible reading. We recently read through chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit is poured out and Peter addresses the crowd. Peter explains to the crowd the redemptive plan of God through Jesus starting in the Old Testament and culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In verses 38-39, “Peter replied, ‘Repent…

Time

“Our lives are packed already.” This is one phrase found in chapter 3 of The Art of Neighboring that we can all relate to. From school to work and housekeeping, we barely have any time left for ourselves to spend on something insignificant. We are always thinking of the next step in our day...what I need to finish for work, what I need to do for lunch, what I need to do when…

Give and Receive

The authors of The Art of Neighboring say that “a bond is created any time someone serves you, or whenever you serve someone else.” I’ve experienced this time and again in my neighborhood which, over twenty years, has provided countless opportunities for both giving and receiving. It is downright unneighborly to follow the injunction in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “Neither a borrower…

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.