Orange Conference 2017

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Greetings from Atlanta!

Right now, your children’s ministry staff is in the middle of this year’s epic Orange Conference. So far, we have experienced some amazing times of worship and teaching from folks like Jon Acuff, Andy Stanley, Danielle Strickland, and Reggie Joyner, the guy who started this Orange phenomenon so many years ago.

The theme for this year’s conference is For Our Neighbors. The idea being impressed upon us is that we need to care about and be advocates for the people around us. And we’ve been challenged to answer the question: Who is our neighbor?

Who is your neighbor?

Your neighbor is a Republican. Your neighbor is a Democrat. Your neighbor practices Islam. Your neighbor is Jewish. Your neighbor is poor. Your neighbor is wealthy. Your neighbor is Hispanic. Your neighbor is black. Your neighbor is white. Your neighbor lives next door. Your neighbor lives in Omaha. Your neighbor lives in Shanghai.

We are commended by Jesus to love our neighbors. How do we express that love?

Is it be excluding them because they’re different than us? Or is it by stepping out in faith and starting a conversation? Are we capable of meeting our neighbors where they’re at in order to meet their needs?

“Everybody is somebody for whom Jesus died.” – Andy Stanley

When we step out in faith and meet new neighbors, are we treating them as if they are someone for whom Jesus hung on a cross? Are we loving them as if they, too, are a child of God?

We are so blessed to be able to attend this year’s Orange Conference and what we’ve experienced thus far is just a drop in the bucket. Pray for us, as we are challenged to love as Christ loves, not only this week, at this conference, but as we return to Blacksburg and meet our neighbors face to face.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:34-40

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