Next Door As It Is in Heaven: Getting to Know Our Neighbors
Nobody really wants to go back to the 1940's and 50's, but authors Lance Ford and Brad Brisco suggest that we can be part of living, vibrant neighborhoods like those that often existed back then. In their book, Next Door as it is in Heaven, they suggest that Jesus is waiting for us to join Him in our own neighborhood. We can be a part of a neighborhood that really lives out God's Kingdom, one in which God is already working. With a little planning and a lot of prayer, we can show those living around us the compassion of Christ, His love, and what it means to be a part of God's family.
This book makes a good case that the people around us are hungry to be included--to be a part of a real God-defined family. So many things today can take us away from developing face to face personal relationships with people living next door. Technology, social media, and busy schedules scream at us to hurry, hurry, hurry. The authors give us some ideas on how to incorporate changes in our lives and schedules that allow us to become better acquainted with our neighbors and begin this outreach. These ideas are simple, straight forward, easy to begin implementing. Among other things, the authors discuss how important a "hang-out" is, Biblical hospitality, eating together, and the importance of sharing gifts and abilities among our neighbors.
The book is an easy read, but it is not just a how-to book nor a treatise on slowing down. It encouraged Gary and I to really take time to see the people living next to us, to realize that God has us here in our neighborhood to interact with my neighbors just as Jesus ate, talked, and lived with the people around Him. Gary and I are already doing some of the things in this book! At the beginning I found it time consuming to make changes to schedules to include new folks---both physically and emotionally—but it quickly became a joy instead of a sacrifice. Now I cannot imagine not spending time with neighbors. I am glad to be a part of what God is doing in my neighborhood! It has been a good experience to learn from them and to be able to share abilities and talents, whether they are believers or not.
If you are on fire for your neighbors, add this book to your bookshelf and enjoy the creative ideas to reinvent your neighborhood. If you are hesitant and uncertain about how to begin getting to know your neighbors, read this book and make a plan to add your hands and feet to the Gospel in your neighborhood. Pray, and then see what God will do.
Tanya Register and her husband, Gary, have been attending Peace for over 30 years and have recently moved into a new neighborhood where their door is always open.