Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Tell Me About Your Neighboring!

I'm getting a lot of great stories, and I want to hear yours, too!  How did you participate in National Night Out?  Or what have you experienced through other efforts at getting to know your neighbors?  Write me at, and I'll try to read as many reports as I can this Sunday!

No More Hermit Holes
by Tom Goodman
October 7, 2015

"God told me it was time to come out of the hole.  But I don't know if I have the energy."

I love that line.

It comes from an old Boston Globe story about Thomas Johnson, an eccentric hermit.  For ten years he avoided society by wandering deep into a Boy Scout campground on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts and burrowing eight feet underground.

Then a deer hunter stumbled over his stovepipe jutting out of the ground, and soon federal agents and state health officials were demanding he abandon his unauthorized hideaway.

He surrendered to the inevitable.  "God told me it was time to come out of the hole," he told the Boston Globe with a shrug, adding, "but I don't know if I have the energy."

Like Thomas Johnson, believers are tempted to burrow down into bunkers in escape from the world around us.  But when Jesus was asked to identify the most important commandment, he answered with two:  Love God, and love your neighbor.

It's impossible to love your neighbor from the comfort of your hermit hole.  That's why I challenged you six weeks ago to simply discover the names of eight of your closest neighbors.  The deadline for that challenge is this Sunday, October 11.

Some of us can identify with Johnson.  Though he knew what he had to do he admitted, "I don't know if I have the energy."  That's where prayer and dependence on the Holy Spirit comes in.  Take a step in the direction of a neighbor today:  Once you start you'll find God supplying what you need to finish.

This Sunday is the end and the beginning of our neighboring project.  It is the end of the six-week challenge to simply discover the names of eight of your closest neighbors.  But it's also the beginning of actually building relationships.  Some of those relationships will remain superficial, but some will go deep.  And some may even impact eternity.  I'll tell you more about the "next step" in good neighboring this Sunday in our 10 a.m. service!

Keep on Prayerwalking.  We had a great experience at our first prayerwalk through the neighborhoods immediately around our church building!  We'll schedule another churchwide effort in the future, but you don't have to wait.  Write Lisa (, and she will send you a map with a one-mile assignment.  Return that map with your name and the date you walked it.


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