Book Review: Who Is My Neighbor?

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“God expects us to take the initiative, crossing boundaries and overcoming barriers, to show His mercy by serving others. How you respond to the needs of others depends on who you love the most.” Steve Moore, Who Is My Neighbor?

 

 

 

Our theme verse at North Cobb Christian School this year is Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  As a result of that, we have been studying what that verse really means…especially in light of Matthew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  At the same time, we have really been digging in to what it means to celebrate diversity within our community realizing that our individual differences make our experiences so much stronger as we learn and grow together in Christ.  Steve Moore’s “Who Is My Neighbor?” was recommended by a friend and it was well worth the read.  In our connected culture, it is so easy to get lost in the device in front of our face and miss the need right in our circle of influence.  How am I leveraging my influence and the very Gospel itself in a way that draws people to Christ and allows me to serve them well?  Rather than making someone earn the right to be my neighbor, Christ has called us to serve first and just go ahead and assume that person was put in our path for an eternal purpose.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • In our global village, answering this once straightforward question, “Who is my neighbor?” has never been more complicated.
  • The curses of globalization can become blessings of increased opportunities to serve others.  God is at work in this Google-ized world, and technological advances in the hands of Spirit-empowered Good Samaritans can set the stage for the “even greater things” Jesus said His followers would do. (John 14:12)
  • From Jesus’ perspective the burden of responsibility is not on others to somehow qualify to become our neighbor.  The responsibility is on us to take the initiative in being a neighbor to others.
  • Every culture has blind spots that filter out aspects of reality.
  • “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  Luke 6:27-28
  • In redefining the neighborhood, Jesus erased the logical barriers we construct in our minds and hearts to keep out the people we have been culturally preconditioned to exclude from neighborly initiatives.
  • God expects us to take the initiative, crossing boundaries and overcoming barriers, to show His mercy by serving others. How you respond to the needs of others depends on who you love the most.
  • Information leads to compassion.  Compassion leads to action.
  • Genuine passion produces a self-directed commitment to learn more about, participate in, and influence others toward interests or issues even when it requires, as in the case of Christ, sacrifice or suffering.
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9
  • When you pursue your life purpose, God receives the greatest glory, you receive the greatest joy, and the kingdom is most strategically advanced on the earth.  There is nothing you could do in the time you are granted on earth that will bring God more glory than to fulfill His purpose for your life.
  • What relationships have most significantly imprinted my life or shaped my journey? What significant events, experiences, or accomplishments have serves as building blocks for my journey? Have I experienced special windows of opportunity or made definitive choices that opened new doors or expanded my horizons? Can I see an overarching theme or storyline that weaves together the threads of several  life-shaping experiences into a single fabric? Have I had ‘unexplainable coincidences’ or spiritual experiences that have shaped my life and marked my journey?”
  • Throughout history, the people who have had the greatest impact on the world have been those who embarked on a God-honoring journey of passion-fueled purpose.  Their passions surfaced through life-shaping experiences that heart linked them to causes they cared deeply about.  Information stimulated compassionate action as they crossed boundaries and overcame barriers to show God’s mercy by serving others.
  • There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.  Deuteronomy 15:11
  • Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18
  • Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.  Isaiah 1:16-17
  • Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
  • Life in a connected world can seem like an out-of-control roller coaster, but what we are exploring together in this journey, the process of PageRanking your passions to fuel the highest purpose for your life in order to leverage your giftedness in ways that make an eternal difference, is not nearly as complicated as you might think.
  • The core message of the Good Samaritan, taking initiative to cross boundaries and overcome barriers to show God’s mercy by serving others.  How you respond to the needs of others depends on who you love the most.  If you love God most, you will be others-focused, even when they are not like you and can’t repay you.
  • The two factors affecting the level of accountability we have before God are knowledge and resources.  The more knowledge and resources one has, the higher the level of accountability.  The stakes could not be higher for those of us privileged to live in a connected world at this moment in history.  The world is getting flatter as we are in virtual proximity to needy people all over the globe.  But it is also tilted.  We have more information and resources that translate into even greater levels of accountability before God.

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