October 23, 2016
Randy Carter
Luke 10:25-37


Pre-Sermon Notes — From the Weekly Gracevine

Gracevine – October 20, 2016 

Who Is My Neighbor?

One day a man approached Jesus with a question: “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” The response that came out of that dialogue was basically what we have come to call the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

That last part, “love your neighbor as yourself,” got him to thinking and prompted another question, “and who is my neighbor?” It’s really a good question, isn’t it? Especially in our day, when many of us are so busy and preoccupied with our own affairs that we don’t really take the time to get involved in the lives of others.

Who’s my neighbor? Here’s another question:  How am I supposed to respond to my neighbor? What’s my obligation to him?

This Sunday [10/23] we’re going to be looking at this familiar story from Luke 10 called the parable of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus teaches us who our neighbor is and how we are supposed to respond to our neighbor. I hope you’ll join us.

Randy Carter

Gracevine – October 13, 2016
Loving Our Neighbor
Have you ever wondered who was your neighbor? If you’re like me, sometimes you’re tempted to keep to yourself and just relax after a long day of work. One of my favorite things about the neighborhood my husband and I call home, is most evenings you’ll find us outside with our neighbors. We have grown to love the people near us. There are times we call one another to take out the dogs or borrow something we need for a recipe. Though they are simple, we have found ways to meet each other needs. The place I often struggle with meeting needs is caring for those who are different than me. The ones with which I haven’t had a chance to grow in relationship.

Erin beautifully reminded us last Sunday that our neighbor is anyone who is near. As I sat in the congregation, I was emotionally and mentally stirred to begin to remember my neighbor is ANYONE I find myself near. Now the challenge is, how do we as followers of Jesus Christ, care and serve for those who are near us? Whether that means at work, waiting at a stop light or in our homes.

The good news is we don’t have to try to figure this out in isolation. We have the amazing gift of being part of the body of Christ. It is good to exist in community and be reminded of the good things Christ Jesus wants to partner with us to do. Things like serving those who are near…even the least of these.

Come Sunday morning as we recall who Creator God was formed us to be.

People who love our neighbors.

And if you get a chance before then, go spend time with a neighbor.

Look over the cubicle or across the street or venture to the other side of town to meet one of your neighbors.

Maybe even meet someone who is different than you…

Join us on Sunday to encounter once again the presence of God and marvel as God teaches us how to love our neighbor. See you Sunday morning!

Katie Henry Murad, Pastor of Worship and Pastoral Care

Gracevine – October 6, 2016

Loving Jesus. Loving Our Neighbor. Living Faithfully.

There is a commercial playing on TV right now about neighbors. A script of the commercial:

A little boy writes letters to his father who is in the military and is stationed away from the family. Each day the boy writes the letter and throws it over the fence into his neighbor’s backyard like the neighbor is the tooth fairy or a mailperson for the U.S. Postal Service.

The neighbor, an older man, picks up 10 to 15 “paper airplane” letters and realizes the letters are for the boy’s father. In a grandfatherly way, he mails the letters to the father in the military. The father responds by writing back to the son, but mails them to the neighbor.

The commercial ends with “paper airplane” letters coming back over the fence as the boy, who is beside himself, sees the letters floating down. What a great neighbor to have.

This Sunday [10/9], our Children’s Director, Erin Winston, is sharing the Word with us as we transition into the second phrase in our mission statement — Loving Our Neighbor. In discovering our mission statement, one of the “wow” moments was this phrase and what God shared with us related to “loving the person who is near.”

Some of us have great neighbors in our neighborhoods. Some of us have neighbors at work, school or church with whom we have conflict. Neighbors come in all types. Yet our commission as believers and a church is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The passage is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (here is 14-21):

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Let’s join together this weekend [10/9] as God gives us a love not just for him (John 17:20-26), but a genuine love for people, especially those who are near us each day.

Pastor Brian Worley