We are heading into episode 3 of our series about being a good neighbor. What does it look like to be faithful in this area of our lives? Let’s dive in!
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Narrator: Purposely. Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com. Welcome to Purposely Equipped. We want to help you go deeper in your faith by learning truth from the Bible. Our new series, What Does it mean To Be a Good Neighbor will help you discover what the Bible has to say about how we treat and love those around us. This is a practical podcast where we’ll learn together what God desires of us. For this series, we are joined by Pastor Jesse Bradley of Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington.
Welcome to the Purposely Equipped Podcast. We’re talking about loving your neighbors and we’re growing and learning together. In this conversation we’ve been first covering what is the definition of a neighbor and what has God called us to do as neighbors looking at different scriptures like the Good Samaritan and also Jesus came not to be served but to serve even to his final breaths right there next to a thief. He still bringing the love, bringing the grace, bringing the forgiveness, and take an initiative. So we’re going to focus now on the question, what does faithfulness to God look like? I would say in this series so far we’ve been discovering that the more we love our neighbors, the more we become like Jesus. And we are growing as we’re serving other people. As we’re building relationships, we are learning and we’re relying on God.
But what does it look like? I mean, how do you know if you’re in a spot, the words, the attitudes, the actions. You’re actually being a good neighbor. You’re actually loving people like you love yourself. And we’re going to unpack that. I have with me Wayne, who’s our outreach pastor and Wayne’s love for people something that’s so evident. And Wayne is someone who’s intentional in building relationships, caring for people. I would say when you’re around someone who loves our neighbors, you really feel loved, you feel valuable, you feel special. And I think that’s something Wayne does. It just flows out of you. Wayne, Wayne, I know it’s not just something you do as your role as Outreach pastor, but it’s in your own neighborhood. And I think, I’m just going to start there. <laugh>, like we say, where you live, work, learn or play with 24 7 relationship with God, where’s ambassadors. And sometimes in our neighborhoods there’s opportunities that aren’t convenient. We didn’t see ’em coming, but there are situations that happen where we just know, okay, if I’m going to be faithful to God here, I’m not going to ignore it. I’m not going to pretend like it’s not happening. God’s leading me to do something. So just start with that story that yeah, you’d shared recently and what does it look like in your own neighborhood to be faithful to God.
Man. And even in that, unpacking that a little bit, being faithful to God is you’re talking about consistency. It’s not a part-time thing. Being faithful, you’re committed to it. It is funny when you look at faithfulness, anybody can say I’m faithful. Anybody can say I’m loyal. You can say you’re all those things. But the reality of it is you’re only those things in theory until you’re tested. I love you in theory until you know, don’t put the dishes away. I I’m loyal to you until you know, scratch my car and when you borrowed it. And so there’s so many things and so understanding tests and Paul talks about contending for the faith. So faith is something you have to fight for to be consistent. And so me and my faithful self <laugh> these neighbors I thank God for them. Me and my wife you know, have to be very intentional about relationship and loving your neighbors.
God it, it’s mentioned in the word eight times and God repeated himself. So for him repeat himself and eight times, but then to back it up with a command to love your neighbor, I mean that’s a pretty powerful thing. That means that there’s a benefit from what it is that he’s asking us to do. For him to command it from us. There has to be a benefit for us because it, it’s all working for our good. Late one morning, I’ll say one morning it was night and two morning I’m at home and sleeping and everything and I’m waking up to hearing the crashing of things being thrown out a door. And I live in an apartment complex. I’m on the third floor and these neighbors in particular on the bottom floor and I’m not going to say where they’re at in any direction cause I don’t want anybody to go be like, oh this is where he stays, this is where these people stay at that did this.
But what I will say is they stay on the bottom floor. So it was a pretty good distance away for me to be able to hear the activity that was going on outside. And I hear things being thrown, I’m hearing crashing of things outside and they weren’t small items. There were some pretty big things being thrown by a pretty small woman. So there was a lot of anger going on in those moments. And I thank God for opportunities before this day. To kind of backtrack a little bit, because we built a relationship with this couple and because we’ve built a relationship with them where there was after church bringing them by food, they have some young babies and so we can tell when people are struggling and dealing with some things at times. And so they were struggling a little bit. So we had a relationship with them.
So I had access, right, because you don’t want to just run up to anybody just because you don’t know what situation’s going on. It is dangerous in the world today. But I had access and so I went down the stairs and she was getting ready to throw this PlayStation five out. And me being a gamer, as we talked about this before, you know, kind of know the story but it’s like you don’t throw a PlayStation five out that that’s a lot of money and there’s just so much worth in that. And I’m a gamer that just kind of hurts my heart. So before she got an opportunity to do that, I was able to speak with her and kind of calm her down and then to not make this story long. Cause we all know I can be very long winded. Right? Well I, I’ll say that I was able to wake my wife up and we’re talking about two in the morning, three in the morning, waking my wife up who loves every bit of her sleep and believes that it is sent directly from God and she needs every bit of it.
And so with that she was able to wake up and we went over and we talked to that couple and they were struggling with just trying to meet eye to eye and just trying to understand how you not thinking like me, right? Because of course we want mind readers and as couples he’s like, you should know what I think and we should know what you think. Nobody’s a mind reader but we want that. So one thing we know about our relationship as being two married men, it’s like communication is cool but comprehension is even more important cause we can communicate all day long without comprehending it doesn’t fit. And so in helping them, we had an opportunity to sit down and calm the situation down, praying first, which was really cool because praying with them was a little bit different as though the woman in the household, she grew up in the church but she became a medium and a tarot card reader and all these things.
And so having a moment to re-interject God into that household was pretty cool cause they both received their prayer and now they want to come to church. And we kind of talked about that, but we diffused that situation. God diffused that through us. And at about four in the morning we conclude that. And now they check in letting us know how they’re doing where their relationship is at. Yes, are they still struggling but now they feel like they can come and talk and speak with us and even wanting to dig into the Word. And so those are the great things that come out of that. And loving your neighbor is that easy? No, but what relationship is? When you think about it, there’s no relationship that it’s just a cakewalk. We’re talking about from bosses to pastors to worship leaders to choir, direct, whatever it is, all relationships. They have a season in which you kind of face opposition in some way, shape or form. And so loving is not easy, but like I said at the beginning, it’s just a theory into us tested. So will you pass the test?
Right. Yeah. Thanks for being real. Yeah, because like you said, we all want to say, yeah, I’ll be faithful to God. But the 4:00 AM test that you share, cause we all see that in our neighborhoods where someone isn’t getting along, it becomes evident there’s tension. What do you do as a peacemaker? And it doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone because all of us are working on our marriages, all of us have conflict and if we were in that situation, we’d want someone else to enter in. But because you’re abiding with Jesus, you bring this non-anxious presence and you’re able to come alongside. I love what you said, that you had earned some access in some trust and it just didn’t start day. But you had been building a relationship. And when you have that, you’re able to then say some things or even pray.
And sometimes it’s when people are at their lowest points that they’re most ready to receive love or prayer or turn to God and there might be physical needs or relationship needs that aren’t being met. And that can become an opportunity for them. And you did that. You took a risk. And I like to say be faithful to God and trust God with the results. Take the initiative and trust God with the results. You didn’t know how they’d respond. They could hit you over the head with the PlayStation. They could get out to my house. But you know, risked the prayer. You trust a guy with the results and look at their hearts. They were ready to respond. And one scripture I’m thinking of is in John chapter three, where Nicodemus, who’s religious, but he doesn’t know Jesus. And maybe there are some people here listening right now you’re religious but you don’t know Jesus.
He hasn’t started the relationship. You don’t understand grace and that it’s an undeserved gift. You can’t earn this. More than half America thinks you earn it. So now we’re getting to the gospel. But Nicodemus was curious and Jesus provided a safe place where it was at night. But he came to Jesus. Why? Because he saw something in Jesus. He heard something in Jesus. Jesus loved his neighbor differently than the others in a religious circle. And Nicodemus came to him and Jesus said, John three 16, for God so loved the world, he gave his one. Only son, whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. And religion won’t satisfy rules, won’t satisfy. But Jesus is going to give him living water and Nicodemus has a chance and it’s that relationship that was built out and someone that’s safe. So when you think of being faithful to God in what God’s called you to do in terms of loving your neighbors, you shared that example just from your own neighborhood what else comes to mind in terms of your life and how when it’s going well or it’s not going well in terms of loving your neighbors how is that evident?
Man, for me it’s evident in, I always go back to love and that God love, not that worldly love that I love you today because you know, bought me some food or, you know, got me some new shoes or for my kids you let me be on social media today. It is not that. It’s the unconditional love. And what happens within that love is you have this moment where, I don’t know about you, I’m 40 years old, so you know are a little bit more seasoned than me, but in my 40 years of living, I’ve never heard anybody say, Hey bro, if you don’t stop loving me, that me and you are going to have a problem. I’ve never heard them say, Hey, if you don’t stop me loving me like that, you know what I’m a I’m going to hit you in the mouth. I’ve never heard that in all my 40 years.
So what I’ve learned that if I’m loving somebody, right? Yeah. The godly love, the unconditional love, that agape love, that is a great barometer for me to know whether or not I’m doing my job with the neighbor. Because God’s love stretches far and wide and if I am the hands and feet I’m supposed to be the hands and feet of him. I’m supposed to go out to the highways and the hedges. So that doesn’t mean right, we’re just sitting in our comfortable church building and we’re just having church and we’re doing it and clapping and we’re here, but we’re not spreading that out then are you really being a good neighbor in any way, shape or form <affirmative>, are you spreading that love because people think a neighbor is just the person that lives next door to you? To me, and I’ll say this to me because I’m not saying this is in the Bible, but to me, I feel like a neighbor is anybody that doesn’t have access to Jesus, that may need some access to Jesus that maybe I can inform of some Jesus.
So that you know what, now we are neighbors, kind of blood related neighbors. You know what I’m saying? Yeah. Because we’re both, you know what I’m saying, tied to the same Jesus that died for me too. And so it’s create, you create neighbors. So by going out and doing what God tells us to do in the Bible, go out to the highways in the hedges and talk to these people. So I got neighbors that are right here in Washington state. I got neighbors that are in California. I got neighbors that are in Arizona. But the only way that I know I’m being a good steward of that is if I’m lining up my life right. Because it talks about it First John three and 18. It talks about not loving just with your tongue but with your actions. What I do action-wise is going to speak way louder than what I can ever say with my mouth.
Because we are great talkers on many different levels. And I know Covid made people some cyber warriors and keyboard warriors and everything else. We can say a lot of things where we’re not face-to-face, but even in all the saying, our actions speak so much louder than words.
That’s good. That’s good. Yeah. Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying. And it’s true that love requires action. And again, go back to Jesus and how he loved. People like Zacchaeus, a tax collector, everyone despised him. Jesus saw him, right, valued him. And then Zacchaeus invited him over to his house and Jesus, he probably people threw shade at him for that because he’s over at the house of a tax collector. But Zacchaeus is going to turn to Jesus, like you say, seeing who needs the Lord and then building that bond together, leading him to God. And in the end I would say this, as you look through as Jesus loves different people, it’s going to be messy. There’s going to be denial, there’s going to be disappointment, there’s going to be misunderstandings. And some people are going to hate you for you going out and loving people that they don’t love for you, forgiving when they won’t forgive. And we’re not trying to paint a picture at all here and we’re on the same page, it’s messy. It’s a conflict at 4:00 AM this is what it looks like to be faithful to God is to take that initiative and love and trust God with the results at whatever cost too. Yeah,
A hundred percent.
Wayne, anything else you want to add to encourage people to be faithful to God in their journey of loving their neighbors?
Nah, just when it’s all said and done, I guess I said nah, then I start talking. Right? When it’s all said and done, just be consistent with what you’re doing when it comes to Christ, being consistent is the key. Literally I’ll say consistency, commitment in communication is what me and my wife, we tell these couples that we deal with and stuff like that. And this was one of ’em, but, and then we add comprehension on the end. We used to be the three C’s now is four. But commitment, consistency, communication, and comprehension, it will take you so far. But all of that coupled with God. God is the center of it all. So if you don’t know him, if you are listening and you don’t know him, find a place and a home that’s teaching some good word or you can get to know him because it will change your life.
That’s it. Yeah. That’s at the heart of this neighboring is knowing God, his love, and check out for going deeper. John chapter three, Jesus and Nicodemus, and look at how Jesus brings truth and love and that’s being faithful to God, full of truth and full of love. You can’t be full of love and water down truth and you can’t just be truthful and but then you don’t have love. So if we’re going to be faithful to God, full of truth, full of love, and you’ve got to trust God with the results, it’s worth the cost. Take the risks and that’s how we love our neighbors. We have two more episodes in the series and our next question is, how can you get started with outreach? Let’s say this is new. Let’s say you want to take a next step. You have no idea where to start or it’s scary. We’re going to get real practical. We’re going to break it down. How do you get started? Let’s do that together. Thanks for joining us on this podcast. We’re growing together in our faith with Jesus.
Narrator: Special thanks again to our hosts from Grace Community Church in Auburn for their help with this series. And thank you for downloading. What does it mean to be a good neighbor? A Purposely Equipped series. Let’s keep growing in our faith together, purposely equipped as part of Purposely a podcast network with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts and faith resources and onpurposely.com.