The NBRHD Vision
I stumbled across Luke 10 this summer, quickly skimming it so I could finish that week in my staff devotional. Although I read it briefly, it stuck in my mind and I found myself coming back to it again and again. It was this chunk of scripture that inspired me in laying the foundation of The Neighborhood.
To me, this scripture is dense. It can be read again and again, always allowing the reader to walk away with fresh insight. But, what really drew me in was the Great Commandment and the story Jesus uses to convey his message.
This passage highlights all three aspects of our vision at The Neighborhood, and it’s my prayer that by building community with one another, we would be known as people who ask questions, who Love God, and who love the heck out of their neighbors.
Luke 10:25-37 CEB
“A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”
1. Question Everything:
As we talked about during week 1, Jesus loves asking questions. In fact, he asks them more often than he answers them. Jesus is intentional about his use of questions, and so are we. We encourage asking questions because they build relationships, they require us to internally reflect, and they push us to consider perspectives outside of our own (read more about asking questions here).
This is the base of our three values. I don’t think that someone could learn to know and understand who God is, or could grow deeper in their faith, without asking questions. Questions are how we process and learn. Seemingly simple or difficult, every inquiry is important to the development of a relationship with Jesus and those around you.
Everyone is in a different stage in their faith journey. But no matter how new or established you are, we encourage you to bring your questions. We might not have all the answers, but we can promise to walk and search right along with you.
He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
2. Love God:
Expression of love for God can take on a variety of forms. This is one thing I love about maintaining a personal relationship with God - I can demonstrate my love for God in the way that feels most natural to me.
We’re all different, created with a different set of skills and traits that allow us to be world-changers in our own context. That’s what I envision when I think of what it would mean for us to all love God with all our hearts, beings, strengths, and minds. This is going to look different for everyone.
We don’t want to be a group of people who all do things the same way. We want to embrace the things that make us unique, and we want to encourage individuals to grow in those areas. True expression of love for God is to utilize our skills to better the world around us. It’s when we live into our gifts that we can find true, full life.
All that aside, we recognize that it takes time to grow to love something. There’s no expectation that this kind of admiration appear overnight. This is where a foundation of questioning comes into play. We believe that by engaging with God through questioning, studying, and community, individuals can grow their faith to one that actively demonstrates a love for God. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’re all here to encourage and grow alongside one another.
But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”
Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.’”
3. Love Neighbor:
Ultimately, loving our neighbors should be a natural outcome from living into our values. When we ask questions, we develop and cultivate a relationship with God. When we learn to love God, we learn to love the things that matter to God - our neighbors.
It’s interesting how that tends to happen. You start hanging out with someone, and suddenly you find yourself showing interest in the things they care about. You’re listening to the same music, eating the same foods, and hanging out with the same people.
The concept is the same with God. And if there’s one thing God loves, it’s us. So, it’s our prayer that you’d be able to find a space in The Neighborhood to ask your questions. That through those questions you’d come to encounter a God that is the definition of love. And that, because of the relationship you now have, which demonstrates the ultimate compassion, you’d begin to share the mercy you’ve encountered with the world around you.
Question Everything. Love God. Love Neighbor.
Our door is always open.