Acts 9:27-29a

But Barnabas took Saul, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.
Acts 9:27-29a

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1 John 4:7-12

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
– 1 John 4:7-12

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It’s What Neighbors Do

Working the late-night shift at any job is difficult. But when a gas station attendant got terribly sick while on the job in the early hours of the morning, it was an awful experience. Sensing that their health was getting worse, the Alto, Michigan gas station employee called his boss and asked them to call in a replacement. Not long after that, the employee was forced to call 911.

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True Neighbors

One evening at about 10 p.m., I was sitting in the living room when I heard a loud pop that sounded like something exploded near the garage.  It really scared me.  I slowly opened the door to find hot water spewing forcefully out of the hot water heater.  I searched frantically for the do-hickey that turns off the water in the yard.  It was nowhere to be found.  Not knowing what to do next and realizing it might take hours for a serviceman to appear, I walked across the street to knock on a neighbor’s door to see if they had the tool I needed. I have to admit, although I’ve lived in my home for over 20 years, I didn’t know my neighbors.

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Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

When we know we are loved, it does something to our soul.  When we know that someone cares about us, it gives us a strength and a confidence that truly comes from beyond us.  Recently, my wife brought a book to my attention that teaches this point.
The book that illustrates what love does to a person is the children’s book, “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch”by Eileen Spinelli.  The book tells about Mr. Hatch, a man that normally keeps to himself.  He lives a dull, solitary life.  Each day, Mr. Hatch goes to work and eats the same thing, by himself.

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Only Love Will Defeat Hate

How could he possibly say that?  George just saved his life!
That was my reaction to a dramatic moment from the popular sitcom, The Jeffersons, in the early 80s.  I was only a kid, but just one line from that show has stayed with me ever since.
In the episode called “Sorry, Wrong Meeting,” George Jefferson (played by Sherman Hemsley) and his fellow Manhattan high-rise friends attend a tenants meeting that they thought was going to address a crime wave. Instead, they discovered it was actually a KKK recruitment meeting.  The Klan leader and George soon had to be separated.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past summer, my family and I took a road trip. It was a wonderful time of relaxation and exploration. We journeyed through several states, spending time at the beach, eating great food and having fun wherever we went. We also took time to visit several historical sites on our trip.
One of the places Aimee and I wanted to visit while we were in the state of Alabama was the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. For many years this beautiful church served as a place of worship, a meeting hall and a center from where the fight against segregation was organized. It was the building that was the center in the struggle for justice.

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Acts 10:21-29

“And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to hear what you have to say.” So he called them in to be his guests.

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Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Matthew 5:43-48

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Not Defined By Geography

Neighbors are not defined by geography.  A neighbor can live next door, down the street, or thousands of miles away.  A neighbor is not defined by distance, but by how we treat each other.
Aidan Jackson showed the world this week that you can be a good neighbor, regardless of distance.  Aidan was in his room in Widnes, England.  He was playing an online video game with his friend, Dia Lathora, who lived in Texas.  While the two were playing their video game, Aidan experienced a medical emergency.  Dia was sure that Aidan was experiencing something like a seizure.

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