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According to Pastor Lynn Cory, developer of Neighborhood Initiative, the key to loving our neighbors is to be soaked in prayer. Pastor Dana’s men’s small group has been trained by the leader of Pastor Lynn’s Prayer Team, Anthony Rodriguez. They have been praying for this series and focus on loving our neighbors since the beginning of July. They have been praying for a softening of your own neighborhoods to be receptive to what you are doing.

Now that our focus has started, this team of intercessors will be praying more specially for you that you make progress in loving your neighbor by following God’s call to do just that.

Practically this means that there are going to be challenges and opportunities along the way. Think about this.

Realistically, Satan does not want you focusing on loving your neighbor or having your neighborhood change for the good. So, there will be your own personal challenges where the evil one will try to trip you up.

Also, there are going to be many needs you discover concerning your neighbors, that need prayer.  Some examples:

Physical healing, healing of relationships, favor in their work life, jobs for those unemployed, wisdom and energy for those raising children and/or caring for elderly parents, and the overall safety of your neighbors.

Along with these and other concerns, we know God is present. As Anthony Rodriguez says, “Most of all, we listen to the Holy Spirit and try to go and join him in whatever he is involved in through prayer. In John 5:19, Jesus said, ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son does also.’

When we see where the Father is and what he is doing, we then go there also and join him. We pray that we might see, join him and accompany him. We pray so that those called to lead may do so without encumbrance.”

Prayer needs for you and your neighbors may be sent to Pastor Dana, pastordana@lifehouse.la Of course your confidentiality will be respected.

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Our LIFEhouse community has begun our intentional focus on sharing the love of God with those closest to us. Pastor Lynn Cory spoke of how much impact we have together when we look at our own homes as a lighthouse for the neighborhood.

This week, many of us have begun the practice of walking in our neighborhood and praying for the people who live in each home. We may know them or not know them, but Pastor Lynn gave us this wisdom.

On the “prayer walk” cards we were given at worship, being intentional in our neighborhood focus is made clear. It looks like this:

• Pray for your neighbors by name, considering their physical and spiritual needs, concerns, and health. Ask the Father what He is doing in your neighborhood. While you are walking and praying, engage any neighbors you may meet along the way.

(If you don’t know your neighbors’ names, you will find opportunities to connect. In the meantime prayers of general blessing are helpful)

• Wait on God. Your Father is already at work in your neighborhood. Wait for Him to invite you into what He is doing. This is a waiting with great anticipation.

(If you expect God to be there with you connecting you to people, he will. It might start with just saying, “Hi,” or waving at a neighbor driving by. God wants your neighbor to meet you way more than you want to meet them:))

• Watch to see what the Father is doing. As you are praying, He may reveal things through something He puts on your heart or speaks to you, as you talk to a neighbor, or as you see a need.

(God is the Lord of your neighborhood, and if he is your Lord, he will make sure anyone who is in need of encouragement and joy in their life will meet you!)

• Join your Father as He invites you into what He is doing in your neighborhood. Enjoy the adventure!

(God is a God of surprises and as you step out in faith, you will find yourself saying, “Wow!” More than once…)

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Another way you are responsible for loving yourself is not letting others take advantage of you. Sacrificing to put your neighbor’s needs before yourself is a good thing if it is done with their good and your good in mind.

But, to sacrifice ourselves for others, does not mean to suffer silently and willingly when some person or organization demands more from us, consistently, than is offered in return.

We are not called to support tyranny, or allow ourselves to be treated like slaves. It is not virtuous to be victimized by a bully, even if that bully is yourself.

I am a sinner but I need to love and forgive myself just like I am called to forgive others.

To start with loving yourself means defending yourself against others taking inappropriate advantage over you. You must learn to bargain for yourself so that you don’t end up being stepped on. In the long run this will only make you resentful, vengeful and cruel.

You need to determine how to act toward yourself so that you are most likely to become, and to stay, a good person. It is good for you to be good to yourself to make the world a better place. It is good for you to treat yourself like God wants to treat you. As his precious son or daughter.

 

Pastor Lynn Cory, author and founder of Neighborhood Initiative, is our guest preacher as we launch a six week series based on his work. We are learning how to practically connect with our neighbors, and through prayer and acts of compassion, be a blessing right where we live.

We encourage you to do this series in small groups, ask a couple of friends to join you, or do it in your own home.

Pastor Lynn’s book is available at worship or you can download the Kindle version here. 

Download the participant’s guide here.

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This month, we begin a series on Loving our Neighbor. Like the Gospel Primer Series we followed in the Spring, we will use a book in group and individual studies to help us all make progress in connecting with our neighbors.

We launch this series on Sunday, September 16. Everyone, teen-adult, will receive a copy of Pastor Lynn Cory’s book, “Neighborhood Initiative and the Love of God.” Pastor Lynn will preach on this day to kick things off. Then each week, the theme for Sunday will have to do with loving our neighbors.