Jacqueline Derrah is our guest blogger today. This is her first time blogging, but you’d never guess that! Her passion for God, passion to join God in her own neighbourhoods and passion to help equip others to join God in their neighbourhoods is huge! Jacqueline works with Andrew and I on the Youth and Family team at CBAC. She’s our amazing Administrative Assistant that goes above and beyond. I remember one occasion in particular when Jacqueline and I were at a conference, outside of our denomination, and a gentleman came up to speak to me just after he’d been speaking to Jacqueline. He said, “Do you work with her?” I said “Yes” with a smile. He said, “She just completely converted me and sold me on the vision of what God is doing in Atlantic Canada! Sign me up.” Jacqueline has that affect on people. Here’s Jacqueline, reminding us what Neighbouring Month can do for us…

On my 15 minute drive to work today I was struck by the thick fog that obstructed my view of the amazing fall colours, glances of the river and the Bay of Fundy, and the view of different parts of the city I usually see during my morning commute.  I was reminded that the beauty still exists but the fog creates a darkness that prevents us from seeing all of the good.

In those moments I reflected on how this fog is like the sin and evil that is in our world.  It often becomes the focus of our attention and we fail to see the good.  The fog is like a dark shadow that covers all around us.  As I think about neighbouring month, I asked myself how am I being a light in the midst of the darkness?  Jesus said “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  (John 8:12) That means that I have the light in me already.  We, who follow Jesus, have been given clear instructions to shine our lights brightly in the darkness.  Matt 5:15-16 says “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

As we go to work, school, play, social events – we are called to take action.  Notice that the light on a stand gives light.  “Give” is an action, meaning that it is more than just being light.  This is intentionally demonstrating, living, modeling and drawing attention to the light (Jesus); we are called to live a life of making a difference in our world so that others “may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”.  This means that as Christians, being good and loving Jesus isn’t enough.  We are called to serve him all the time.  Being a follower of Jesus becomes who we are and it’s not something that we enter into and out of for church, Bible study, youth group and other special events. It is about building relationships with people who we are already in contact with and looking for opportunities to tell them about Jesus.  It is about finding opportunities to serve the poor, sick, elderly, and others in need – doing it with an attitude of thanksgiving because of what God has done for us.  It is about encouraging someone who is having a bad day.  It means taking the time to thank someone who is doing a good job.  It is going the extra mile in all that you do.

While driving this morning I came to a place on the highway that was at the top of the hill.  The sun was shining brightly in that spot and it had burned away the fog.  I’m thankful that our Light is brighter than the darkness around us.  Today I ask myself, how am I shining my light brightly?  What am I doing to burn off the darkness of the sin, evil, violence and injustice in my world?  What opportunities will I have today to do good deeds, encourage someone who is struggling, to be good news to my neighbour?  I started my day by asking God to give me opportunities.  Then I asked Him to help me to take the time, even if it interrupts my own plans for the day, and to give me wisdom and courage to do what he may be asking me to do today.  I’d like to encourage you to look for opportunities, seek ways to be good news to your neighbour (friends, family, team mates, co-workers) and try to find the good in every situation.

We have the opportunity every day to join God in our neighbourhoods, to give light, even in the darkness.

Join us for Neighbouring Month right now, October 2016, with daily opportunities to open our senses to where God is shining his light in our neighbourhoods. God is shining in our homes, schools, workplaces and play-spaces. Will you look for opportunities to be good news to your neighbours?

You can download the calendar with daily challenges and more here: http://cbacyf.ca/1month

@cbacyf #1neighbourhood