Last week Browncroft celebrated our renewed commitment to reach our neighbors, our city and our world. We said yes to more prayer, more generosity, more growth, more change and more courage! We said yes to sharing the life-change we have in Jesus with others.
What’s this look like in the everyday? Here you go. When I read Christina’s note below, I knew that I needed to share it here, because this is EXACTLY what it can look like.
The Reach Initiative has made such a huge impact in the way I approach life. I’m in prayer more often during the day and I’m acutely aware of the people God is positioning around me. I come from a non-believing family, and I often pray that God will put believers in my parents’/family’s path, and I have made mention before that I’d get angry if a Christian was befriending my family and not sharing with them who Christ is and what He’s done for them. So this initiative has been a wake up call to me – I am that Christian God is placing in the lives of those around me – I am the person who should/can/will be sharing His love with them, as I’m sure their beloved friends and family have been praying.
A few examples of that: An old classmate in college and now acquaintance of mine has seen some artwork that I do in my spare time (whatever that means when you have 3 little ones!) and she mentioned how she’d love to have something in her home. So, I went ahead and created something for her, free of charge. It was wonderful because I was able to pray for her while I was making the piece and on my way to her home to deliver it. I was able to give her a hug and write some encouraging words down for her to be reminded of the kindness of God that was shown to her. Who knows what God will do with that relationship, but I know that when she looks at the artwork hanging in her home, she’ll remember who it was from, and the genuine heart behind it.
Another example. Because I have been praying about people God wants me to be reaching, I was able to have the courage to reach out to old friends we haven’t spoken to in a few years, just because I happened to be in their neighborhood and I took the time to send one simple text message. They got home at exactly the same time I’d texted to see if they’d be up for a visitor. It was great – we chatted and have a dinner date set up for our families to catch up and re-open the door to that relationship as well.
God has been changing my heart, and helping me to feel less fear of awkwardness when I meet new people. We have a neighbor who lives behind us whom I’ve never met. But last week while my kids were playing in our leaves, they had their kids outside at the same time. So we invited them to come play in our leaves and I was able to find out she just arrived last month. She moved in with a family member because she needed help caring for her 16-month-old twins. She will be having very serious surgery soon and will not be able to do much for a while. What an amazing opportunity to shower them with love and meals as they walk through this stretching time. But even more, what an amazing opportunity to pray for them! I feel empowered and courageous! I feel like God has equipped us to reach out to them while they’re in need so that they can see who He is during this desperate time. All because of a simple “Hello, my name is Christina.”
Another neighbor we’d been praying for finally made it over to our house over the weekend. She’s also having surgery next month. I wouldn’t have known there was this place I could be serving them if we hadn’t had them over for dinner. I’m so grateful God opened up the times for our schedules to line up to make those connections. We’ll be bringing them meals as well, as they have a perfectly chunky little 1-year-old who will need nourishment and care🙂.
I’m so encouraged by the way God has been opening my heart to the idea that, just as I pray for Christians to surround my unbelieving family, God has arranged my husband and me to be “the Christians” in the lives of those nonbelievers around us. It’s encouraging to know that He is the Master Planner of these meetings, and the Master Planner of the trajectory of the lives we’re encountering, as well as the Equipper for us in our own story.
Could it be any simpler? God is speaking, calling, nudging, pushing us to REACH to those around us. Let’s keep asking him to grow us, change us and give us courage. Let’s hold each other accountable and ask how we’ve been able to put our growth and change into courageous action. Let’s pray expectantly and see the great things God has in store.