What is it like to step out of the security of one's "comfort zone" and into a world that is filled with uncertainty and pain? What is it like to leave one place, where "love for neighbor" is preached in word, but ignored in deed, and to go to another place, where there is a desperate need for "love for neighbor" to be lived-out? Ever since God called me into his kingdom, the idea of "love for neighbor" has become an increasing part of my life - it could never be any other way. Since that time, God has worked in my life - not only to change values and replace old interests with new, but also to reinforce attitudes and build a consistency in my desire to do what characterizes a disciple of Christ Jesus. As a result, I find myself in circumstances I could have never expected, even just a few years ago - circumstances that he alone could have brought into existence.

One of the ways that God has made a complete change in my life has to do with my attitude toward living in a large city. More than half of my life was spent out in the country or in relatively small communities - not necessarily in total isolation from other people, but out where there was plenty of room, independence and the ability to be "outdoors in God's creation." Yet God has taken me out of what I would have called "my environment" and brought me into a place that, years ago, I would have never been willing to live. Along the way, he has changed my entire perspective, to the point that I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. God has moved me into the heart of the inner city, and at the same time, he has moved the inner city into my heart. I have discovered that, though the effects of sin may be more visible here in the city, the city is also part of God's creation.

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Dennis Hinks ©2001