We’ve got some big news from the Docusen family on our next season of ministry … we are starting a new organization called The Neighborliness Center.
Instead of waiting until everything is perfectly ready to share the news, we’ve decided to invite our friends into the journey in a new YouTube channel called Becoming Something Maybe. It’s a channel that will explore the entrepreneurial spirit … with all the ups and downs that go along with starting something new.
Feel free to share the link with your entrepreneur friends so we can learn from and encourage each other.
Would you give up a few things that you enjoy to cultivate your relationship with the person you love the most?
That’s the idea behind a season of fasting and prayer called Lent.
Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter that helps us focus our attention on God. Fasting, quite simply, is removing something from your normal routine and replacing that time with prayer and reflection toward God.
I highly recommend some sort of a fast multiple times per year. The spiritual and physical benefits are well-documented. People mistakenly assume that fasting is simply going without food.
You can fast anything that will draw your attention to God consistently. One of the most effective fasts that I have seen in recent memory was a friend of mine fasted social media for Lent. He made the comment, “I never realized how compulsively I checked social media updates until I took that away from my normal routine.” The inclination to check his messages was replaced by a reminder to pray, meditate, or fix his attention on God.
Dara and I are doing a Daniel fast (click here to see recipes). We will incorporate 40 days of clean eating, prayer, and exercising our spiritual disciplines. There are books by Henri Nouwen, Walter Brueggemann, CS Lewis, and more that can be found by searching for “Lent devotionals” online.
Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17 and ends on April 1. We prepare our hearts to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter weekend. If you have never participated in an intentional season of fasting and prayer, join us as we move into this season of Lent.
Additionally, remember that this is not a spiritual requirement. You don’t get bad grades on anything if you slip up or have a moment of weakness. This is your choice and it can be started or stopped at any time. Our life of faith is not about rules. Our life of faith is about relationship with Jesus. We choose to fast and pray. We are not required to fast and pray. Changing your perspective on the practice of fasting and prayer changes your motivation and experience in the process.
I hope you’ll join Dara and I as we prepare our hearts to remember the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021!
After being a pastor in the local church for twenty years, I know how important it is to have the right message at the right time for your church family. I believe that the message of Neighborliness is a timely word from God for our nation. It’s been a joy to see people all across the country using our resources to spark conversations that help us practically embody the presence of Jesus for our neighbors.
Neighborliness has been used in every imaginable setting across racial, economic, and cultural lines in our country. I have been so encouraged to see the way that God has used this to update our lexicon to talk about getting to know our neighbors across dividing lines.
Small group curriculum (embedded in the book and available for download on the website)
Community prayer guide
We have just uploaded the frameworks that we use to take churches on a six-month journey toward building a Neighborliness Team around the lead pastor. The idea is to give the pastor support by having a team that addresses racial/economic justice within their church family.
Finally, we also just uploaded the framework we use for helping churches & business leaders that are ready to engage their communities through an initiative called Holistic Community Development. This is a more robust, long-term strategy for partnering the skills and talents of residents of historically high-poverty communities, faith leaders, community leaders, and business leaders to bring sustainable and lasting change to communities.
God is doing something beautiful through this work and we would love for you to join us as we see the spirit of neighborliness sweep the nation.
Here’s a preview of some of the resources available:
“Dad, I really want to read and Bible and pray, but sometimes I just don’t know what to read or say.” My son, Max, looked back at me with a genuine look in his eyes. He continued, “Sometimes I walk in and see you reading the Bible or hear you praying in the morning and I just wish I knew how to do that for forty-five minutes or an hour.”
My four kids are amazing. They love Jesus and share his love with others. But like any other teenagers, they are still learning what it means to have spiritual disciplines. I spent quite a bit of time at the end of the 2020 reading, thinking through, and praying for my kids and how I can better help them establish rhythms for engaging with God in a meaningful (and sustainable way).
I recorded the video below to help you see how you can teach your kids … or yourself … to engage with God on a regular basis in the coming year. Every day isn’t exciting as I engage with God … and some days I linger in my time with him longer than others. But the goal is to spend time with Him every day, whether I feel like it or not. Many times, the days that I did not “feel it” are the days that God ends up speaking to me through his Word or prayer in a powerful way.
I pray that this year is the year that helps you to establish rhythms that are sustainable and lead to intimate times with God.
What are you doing to intentionally move toward racial and economic unity/diversity in your church or organization?
This is a question that is vitally important to ministering/leading in the context of our culture. The world is watching. I think that the church and God-honoring organizational leaders can be a shining beacon of light that stand out in the darkness.
However, there has to be a practical plan.
Seeing churches respond to the message of my book, Neighborliness, has been awesome, but I my favorite piece of the journey has been seeing the way that pastors and community leaders have reached out to me asking about next steps.
I believe that churches need to naturally address issues of racial and economic injustice well after the national attention on this topic dies down. However, this needs to be done in a strategic, intentional, and courageous way that shows understanding of the depth and complexity of these issues in our churches and organizations.
I had the joy of working with Dr. Mike Rakes at Winston-Salem First Assembly to develop a six-month plan to practically help churches and organizations move toward racial and economic diversity/unity.
Courageous leaders take courageous, intentional, and strategic steps. I have seen pastoral teams and leadership teams of churches and organizations take courageous steps for personal and systemic change in their church and community.
If you’re interested in taking a similar journey, I would love to help you develop a plan. If I’m not the right person, I would love to point you to others that can help you develop your plan. The bottom line is this: every church and every organization needs a plan.
Loving God and neighbors is the single most important thing that we can do in our expression of faith (Mark 12:28-34). We simply cannot love our neighbors if we do not seek to understand each other.
If you’re interested in taking this journey together, reach out to me at www.daviddocusen.com.
Let’s do this. For the sake of our neighbors and for the glory of God.