Reaching your Culture
This morning I was out for my early prayer walk. Since I live in a very diversified neighborhood I take different path all the time. Within a 10 block radius there is white, black and Hispanic families living and mixed together rather randomly as well ( perhaps the way it should be) . I live in a parsonage and probably among the nicest homes in the neighborhood, but to look at it from the outside it still seems to blend in with the overall area. After living here nine months we have gotten a feel for the neighborhood in general. Before we moved here we spend the last 9 years with just a few neighbors and among them were farms with cows and roosters. Our yard had lots of room and very different from our present home and neighborhood. Within the first few months my teens girls with a few friends got jumped in what seems to have been at the time a random weird thing. They were ok, just rattled some at the time. We use to leave our home and cars unlocked for years including when we were gone for day as well. Never anything stolen in 9 years.
Just last week after leaving our bicycles outside since moving here we had two of them stolen and a third one that was left in our yard a few months ago by who knows who ? So technically 3 bikes stolen. At first I was mad and since then I have released it to the Lord and asked the Lord to provide back a 10 speed for me when He desires. I trust he will work it out. My son's old bike got fixed so he is good to go again and now the bikes stay in the garage.
Anyway, there is reason for the backdrop as it relates to the title. So this morning I'm walking the area going through a poorer area as well as passing a security locked neighborhood. Wow interesting feelings I got as I prayed about reaching people in our area. I got thinking about how to reach people that live around us. First I thought I could go door to door requesting prayer. Then I thought maybe I could just pray over each home as I walk by and then that day send out a postcard or card to the home owners telling them that they were prayed for today. Which led me to think about who does Jesus want us to reach. While I walk and pray I listen to music and the new testament intermingled on my mp3 player. I keep hearing from scripture today the word poor.
I thought yep we got poor folks around the church, but not everyone is poor. Also, I thought we got thieves around our neighborhood, but again not everyone is a thief. I am ok now that our bikes go stolen and I am ok that there are a lot of needy people in my area. After all this is what Jesus came for. He came to help the poor and sick and broken among society. And God has planted us right in the middle of it all. If there ended up being a drive by shootings every night I might feel different, but for now I feel honored to serve Him in my very diversified neighborhood where our church is a beacon of hope.
My biggest challenge is the language barrier as several of my neighbors only speak Spanish, so recently I enrolled in a free Spanish course at the local library hoping to learn to read, speak and understand Espanol some. I know after nine months I am just getting going to reach my local culture, but I am determined to touch lives one at a time as He leads and as I learn my culture. As scripture says, To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.1 Corinthians 9:22
Are you reaching your immediate culture? Do you know your neighbors?