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Posts tagged ‘love’

Invitation to a Journey

On April 11, BODY | Oak Cliff will host its 3rd Faithwalking 101 weekend retreat. The Faithwalking experience challenges Christians to wrestle with this basic question of our faith:  What does it mean to join God on His mission to reconcile the world to Himself and to restore individuals and communities to His intended design?

Many of us are aware of this calling, this invitation to the abundant life, but something keeps us from living into it. The 101 retreat is an opportunity to begin exploring what that something is. This is not a pep rally calling you to ‘try harder’ – most of us are already trying as hard as we possibly can. Instead, it’s the chance to view our spiritual lives from a completely different perspective and to consider the possibility that we will never be free to live in missional obedience until we give God’s Spirit access to the hidden and broken places in our hearts.

The retreat introduces participants to a mental model of discipleship composed of three core components: 1) radical obedience that leads to a missional life, 2) a reflective life of increasing intimacy with God that leads to greater stewardship in the places we live and work, and 3) authentic community mobilized around a shared vision. Each component is experienced throughout the weekend as the retreat follows a rhythm of presentation (the call to obedience), guided solitude (the reflective life), and a time of sharing in a small group (authentic community).

Let me be clear about one thing – this is not an invitation to a “retreat experience.” Most of us have had our fill of spiritual experience for the sake of spiritual experience, the kind that terminates on ourselves and leads nowhere. What we’re offering is the chance to begin a journey of faith that will lead you places you’ve never been able to go before. It will require a good deal of hard work and there will be many challenges along the way, but the path is a place free from shame and legalism – it is the path of the abundant life of Christ.

If this invitation stirs something up in you, please consider joining us the weekend of April 11 to consider these questions further. We have limited capacity, but hope to accommodate as many as possible on this retreat. To register your interest, fill out this simple form and someone will be in touch with more information (see http://bit.ly/FW101interest).

For more information:

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Guest Post: “The Second is Like It”

Several Oak Cliff congregations are participating in BODY’s Fall Neighboring Initiative. Dr. Brent McDougal, pastor of Cliff Temple, has been preaching on the topic. This post is used with Brent’t permission from his column in Cliff Notes, Cliff Temple’s newsletter.]

We’re focusing the next several weeks on the call to love our neighbors and how to build genuine relationships with people right outside our doors. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded by saying, “The greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And the second greatest commandment is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:27; Mark 12:30) It’s like it because when your heart is truly filled with love for God and God’s love for you, you’re going to also love your neighbor; and when you love your neighbor, you’ll also be showing your love for God.

If everyone took this teaching on its face, and every day sought to practice these two things ‐ loving God with everything you have, and loving your actual neighbors ‐ then how would the world be different?

“Who is my neighbor?” That was the question that the lawyer asked Jesus before he told the story of the Good Samaritan. Often the teaching of that story is understood to be, “Everyone is my neighbor,” whether it’s my friend or the person on the side of the road. If someone is in need, they are my neighbor. So, that means the people across town, at the courthouse, even in a country far from home. Everybody’s my neighbor. But if we think we’re neighbors with everyone, we often end up being a neighbor to no one.

When Jesus told people to love their neighbor, he wasn’t speaking in the abstract. He was talking about the people nearest to you. Real people with real names ‐ those are your neighbors. And Jesus says in words that are completely clear: you’re called to love your neighbor as yourself.

So, for the next several weeks, get specific. (Remember the line from a few sermons ago. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. In other words, nothing takes on life or has real meaning until it becomes a specific action.) In worship this past Sunday, we gave out refrigerator magnets to help you get to know the eight next neighbors nearest your home, on your block, or in your building. We asked the congregation to find out 1) the names of their neighbors, 2) one fact about them (job, interest, etc.), and 3) one “deeper” fact about them (a hope, a dream, a fear, etc.). This involves doing something specific to learn about your neighbors. Knock on their door and introduce yourself. Invite someone to share a meal. Try to be present when others are walking or working in the neighborhood, looking for ways to have a conversation. Don’t go after the hopes, dreams, and fears immediately; remember that those things are shared as a gift, and trust takes time to develop.

When you love your neighbor, you’ll be loving God; and when the love of the Father is truly in you, you’ll want to love your neighbors. I look forward to hearing your stories about connecting with your neighbors.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

‐ Dr. Brent McDougal