Monday, April 7, 2014

Sully Notes 6 | The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Front Door Part 1 of 3

Sully Notes 6: Books in 25 minutes or less

Sully Notes are more than a book review. They are meant to provide you with direct quotes from some books I've read in the last year, so you can get a taste of the overall theme of the book and then begin to chew on what your life might look like if you applied what you read. 

Here are links to the previous Sully Notes books:

Emmaus City Church Sully Notes The Art of Neighboring Missional Community
This week's Notes begin with Part 1 of Jay Pathak's and Dave Runyon's The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Front Door. Breezed through this book the first time I picked it up. It's a fun read. It's easily accessible. And it's convicting. If Jesus was right in that our love for God is deeply connected to how we love our neighbors you know, the ones on our streets than I have some growing to do. And this book and the Art of Neighboring website are such great benefits to me and Emmaus City in helping us better understand God's heart through being a good neighbor in Worcester. Also, please note this book is worth purchasing for the exercises inside. These notes will not include all the wonderful and simple resources and practices that Pathak and Runyon provide.

The Art of Neighboring | Sully Notes 6: Part 1 of 3

Foreword by Randy Frazee, author of Making Room for Life and The Connecting Church 2.0: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community

The journey begins when we choose a lifestyle of conversation and community over a lifestyle of busyness and accumulation. It's about making room for life and choosing to befriend those God has placed around us. ... There is a huge need today for followers of Jesus to become better neighbors.– pgs. 11-12

Chapter 1 | Who Is My Neighbor?

“In 2009, (we – a group of twenty lead pastors) invited our local mayor to join us and asked him a simple question: How can we as churches best work together to serve our city? ... the mayor said something that inspired our joint-church movement. 'The majority of the issues that our community is facing would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors.' ... He went on to say that relationships are more effective than programs because they are organic and ongoing. The idea is that when neighbors are in relationship with one another, the elderly shut-in gets cared for by the person next door, the at-risk kid gets mentored by a dad who lives on the block, and so on. ...  In a word, the mayor invited a roomful of pastors to get their people to actually obey Jesus. ... It's a teaching found in Matthew 22:37-40 and repeated in the Bible for the purpose of reminding us how important it is. In Galatians 5:14 the apostle Paul says it most succinctly: 'The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' ... Jesus is a genius! He is asked to pick one commandment that is more important than all the others. And he shares something that would change the world if only every person who believes in Jesus would actually do it. ” – pgs. 18-20

"The next time we gathered, we invited the assistant city manager to attend our meeting. We had heard her talk about neighboring in the past and we wanted to hear her thoughts on how to begin. As she talked about the reasons neighboring matters, Vicky said, 'From the city's perspective, there isn't a noticeable difference in how Christians and non-Christians neighbor in our community.' This was a moment that galvanized us. We realized something was wrong. We thought, This isn't the way Jesus wanted it to be." – pgs. 20-21

"The solutions to the problems in our neighborhoods aren't ultimately found in the government, police, or schools or in getting more people to go to church. The solutions lie with us. It's within our power to become good neighbors, to care for the people around us and to be cared for by people around us. There really is a different way to live, and we are finding that it is actually the best way to live. ... Whenever we center our lives around the Great Commandment and take very literally the idea and practice of loving our neighbor, there's great freedom, peace, and depth of relationship that come to our lives. By becoming good neighbors, we become who we're supposed to be. As a result, our communities become the places that God intended them to be." – pgs. 22, 25  

Chapter 2 | Taking the Great Commandment Seriously

"Throughout the Bible, God tells us to love our neighbors. He emphasizes that along with loving him, this is the most important thing we can do. God invites us to love the way he loves. He challenges us to put our love into action." – pg. 30

"(In Luke 10:25-37, The story of the Good Samaritan) It is important to note the statement 'he wanted to justify himself.' The man wanted to define this word neighbor in such a way that he could not be found blameworthy. If his neighbor was someone he could choose, then he'd be okay. By asking Jesus to define the word neighbor, this man was looking for a loophole. Think about it: are we also trying to find a loophole in what Jesus said is the most important thing for us to live out? ... (Also) when we insist we're neighbors with everybody, often we end up being neighbors with nobody. That's our human nature. We become like the lawyer (in Luke 10:25-37) looking for a loophole. We tell ourselves that we've got a lot going on in our lives, so surely the Great Commandment applies only to the wounded enemy lying beside the road, doesn't it?" – pgs. 33, 35

" ... take a minute to reconcile the reality of your "how much do you really know about the people in the eight houses close to you" chart with the Great Commandment. Jesus says that your enemy should be your neighbor. He says that you should go out of your way to be the neighbor of someone who comes from a place or history of open hostility toward you or your way of life. Clearly he's stretching our understanding of what it means to love." – pg. 39

Chapter 3 | The Time Barrier

"It's vital to take a step back and ask ourselves if we live at a pace that allows us to be available to those who live around us." – pg. 43
"Lie #1: Things will settle down someday. The truth is that things will only settle down when you die or when you get intentional about adjusting your schedule. 

Lie #2: More will be enough. With this lie we convince ourselves that we're just one more purchase or achievement away from contentment.

Lie #3: Everybody lives like this. This lie makes us believe that being overly busy is simply a way of life in our culture.  

The healthiest person who ever lived was Jesus. He got a lot done, but when we read about his life, the word hurried never comes to mind. Jesus came to offer us a different way of living. He said, 'I have come that they may have life and have it to the full' (John 10:10). He wasn't talking about 'full' in the sense of having a packed schedule. He meant it in the sense of abundance. In other words, a good, meaningful life." – pgs. 45-46

"A friend of ours recently said something to us that resonated. 'In this life, we can do only a few things really well; I think it's a good idea to make certain that one of those things is what Jesus says is most important.' His attitude echoes what we believe is an important first step to good neighboring – taking stock of our priorities and analyzing how we spend our time. As Psalm 90:12 says, 'Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.' The psalmist is saying that if we can grasp our limitations, we may choose to prioritize differently. No question, we all have limited time and energy. And if we don't purposefully choose how we will spend it, those choices will be made for us." – pgs. 50-51 

"Take another look at Mary (in Luke 10). In particular, this one sentence is significant: Mary 'sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.' In Hebrew culture, to sit at someone's feet indicates a relationship between a disciple and a teacher. In that culture, however, women weren't supposed to be students, much less disciples of a rabbi. ... But Mary defies the cultural norms of her day. Instead, her life is centered around the main thing. Similarly, if we're going to love our neighbors well, we, like Mary, must go against the grain. We must make time to listen carefully to the teaching of Jesus in the Great Commandment. Our purpose in life is to love God and love others. That may mean that sometimes we need to forgo some good things to devote time and energy to better things, the main things  loving God and loving our neighbors.– pg. 52

"(Author John Ortberg) Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don't have. ... By Michelangelo's own account, he simply started with a block of marble and took away everything that wasn't the masterpiece. He was a master of the art of elimination. In the same way, when we take the Great Commandment seriously, we, too, must practice the art of elimination. We must focus on our top priorities and choose not to do the activities that keep us from that focus. The idea of being interruptible is being willing to be inconvenienced. It means developing a mind-set that accepts the interruption of others.– pgs. 53, 55  
Curiosity piqued? Something inside you being stirred? Go ahead and connect
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