Lights in Every Street - Christian Fellowship in Your Street
1) Service: Loving and serving others as yourself - transforming our homes, neighbourhoods, towns, gardens and fields, cities, country and world for God. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,35). “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32). See also Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 12:31; 1 John 3:16-18). The aim is open, sharing relationships. Suggestions:
a) Care for yourself and your own family - spouse, children, parents and other relatives (1 Timothy 5:8). We are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19,20).
i) You need regular time away from stress - for recreation and to reflect, discern and digest God’s will for you.
ii) Maintain your health and fitness with proper food and exercise.
iii) If married, commit yourself to regular times out with your spouse. If one spouse has to travel, set limits to the number of nights you are apart each month or year.
iv) If you have children, involve them in God’s work – but keep time to be with them by themselves too.
v) Allow time for leisure and hobbies – and your garden if you have one.
vi) Make sure you have some pension provision for old age.
b) Love your fellow Christians – sharing together as God’s family – so that the comment, “See how they love one another” is said of you also. You are a community together in Christ.
c) Fulfil your own daily work as for Christ - a very important part of your service to God (Colossians 3:22 – 4:1).
d) Give practical help to others locally and further afield:
i) Help people find solutions to their difficulties. Share money and goods according to need. (However, apart from emergencies, giving money or goods on a regular basis to the same people may create dependency and confirm people as helpless “victims”.)
ii) Visit people in your street and see how you can help and care for them practically - such as:
(1) helping older people living on their own – doing jobs and shopping for them, talking and praying with them, and asking for their advice.
(2) offering to play with the children or baby-sit so that couples can have opportunity to go out together for some free time.
(3) helping those who suffer from broken homes, fears, loneliness, illness, handicaps, disappointment and grief.
It is often best to do visiting in two’s – as the Lord sent out the disciples (Luke 10:1).
iii) Visit, write to, and send help to prisoners;
iv) Feed the hungry;
v) Help the poor, the weak and the sick.
vi) If people need education, help them to obtain it.
vii) Help those suffering from AIDS, and participate in programmes to halt its spread (see www.gmi.org/aids.htm).
viii) Be involved in development, making a difference where you are and further afield – http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/rough-guide/better-world.pdf www.developments.org.uk
ix) Give to those in need world-wide through proven international agencies (2 Corinthians 8:1-7).
x) Send support to evangelists and missionaries and their families who because of their travels have less income.
xi) Participate in the Micah Challenge goals (aiming to end world poverty) as best you can to bring help to all people of the world (see www.micahchallenge.org).
xii) Be real friends to people in the community and widen your circle of acquaintances. The website www.activatecv.org.uk has excellent ideas for this.
i) Have fun times together and with other people in your street such as parties for birthdays (make a note of everyone’s birthday, especially the children’s), picnics, games, dramas, craft activities, fun days, etc.. We build up a sense of family as we eat and play together. Everyone can bring contributions.
ii) Play with the children and be their friend. Earn their respect by listening to what they say, finding something of interest that you have in common and talking about that; tell them stories about your own life and laugh with them. Do not reject difficult children but, with God’s help, win them round by engaging them.
iii) Organize sports, outings, hikes, etc. and allow plenty of time for simply talking together. Some Christians are very good at organizing these activities. You can also use such times to develop relationships with those who are not yet Christians.
f) Participate in, and bring Christian influence to, local and national community and government structures and processes (Romans 13:1).
i) Start or participate in a Neighbourhood Watch to protect people’s homes or foster cleanliness in the street.
ii) Work to change any unjust practice or structure in your society, such as gangs, drugs, abortions and other social ills.
iii) Go to meetings and help the community in every way you can.
iv) Write to your parliamentary representatives and government ministers.
v) Campaign where this would be appropriate. See www.tearfund.org/campaigning
g) Start or participate in schemes to care for God’s creation – the whole environment (Genesis 1:28). For example:
i) Initiating or supporting recycling and composting projects, giving rest to the land periodically (Leviticus 25:4).
ii) Planting and caring for plants and trees in your garden and street.
iii) Clean up green spaces in the community.
iv) Improve the air quality in your city by pressing for measures limiting polluting vehicle emissions.
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