Tag Archives: family

Family Life

I’m going to start by being controversial.  I do not like church being described as ‘family’.  For all the same reasons as I don’t agree with celebrating Mother’s Day, the entirely secular construct, in church, I don’t think family is always a particularly helpful metaphor to borrow.  Also, I have a family already, I do not need another one!  I think community is a much better idea of what we are together as a church.

However, just to be contrary, on this occasion, I can live with it!  Because here, it is quite clear that the church was living as like family to one another.

Acts 2:42-47  (CEV)

42 They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together.

Life among the Lord’s Followers

43 Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked. 44 All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. 45 They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. 46 Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, 47 while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.

Unlike us, they were clearly spending all their time together, sharing together, learning from one another, praying and worshipping together.

We have lost so much of this.  We live largely individualistic lives, coming together for an hour on Sunday and maybe a couple of events during the week.  We are not living as a Christian community as they were.  I wonder what we have lost?

Would our lives and faith be enhanced by living together more closely?  Day by day sharing everything we have?  Caring so closely for one another, that we didn’t just know each others every need but responded to it?  Praying and worshipping together so regularly, it was like breathing together?

I am as guilty as the next person of keeping myself to myself, not sharing, holding back – partly because experience has taught me it is not safe to do so, from being let down or ‘news’ being inappropriately shared; and partly… why?  Because I like my own space?  Find the needs of other oppressive?  Like things my way rather than others?  Like to keep what I have to myself?  Some of those more than others, but it is a question worth asking ourselves.

Do I long for the kind of life and church style the early church had?  Or is it my worst nightmare?  Would church be better if we did it this way?  Was it a particular model for a particular time?  How would, could and should it look today where I am?  To me this passage is a genuine challenge – what do you think?

Whatever my answers, I can’t help but look at verse 47!  If that is what we long for our churches today, what are we going to do, what am I going to do, to make them living communities of faith that people see the vitality and attraction of, find God in them and want to join – not to boost numbers but that we all may find a deeper relationship with God?

Thank you Lord
for tall those
who love you
and live for you.

Forgive me the times
I have preferred
to live my faith alone,
keep myself to myself
and hold back
from sharing with others.

Heal the hurts
that make me wary
of getting close
and letting others in,
I pray.

Help us,
your people,
to find a way
to live in sharing,
in risk,
in support of one another,
that makes people see you
and share themselves
with you
and us;
that together
we may find
a deeper relationship with you

Welcome to the Family

Why Do You Care?

How much do you care about those around you?  If you saw that someone in need would you go and talk to them, or give them a wide berth?

I’m sure we all have days of doing either, depending on what kind of day we’re having, but perhaps it raises the question of why do we care?  Why should we care?

And if we continue to think about suffering, maybe that leads us to the question,

Why does God care about me?  About us?

Hebrews 2:5-12

The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved

We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,

“What makes you care
about us humans?
Why are you concerned
for weaklings such as we?
You made us lower
than the angels
for a while.
Yet you have crowned us
with glory and honour.
And you have put everything
under our power!”

God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don’t see it all under our power. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God’s wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honour!

10 Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11 Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 He even said to God,

“I will tell them your name
and sing your praises
when they come together
to worship.”

Why does God care about us?  He has the whole world to think about – why should he be worrying about me?

Yet care God does.  He made each one of us, knows us intimately, and makes us part of his family.

I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty awesome!

Thank you God,

that you don’t just exist in some far away place;

but you know me

and love me

and actively care for me.

Thank you that you have made me

part of your family,

and Jesus has done all that needs to be done

that I can share in that.

Are You Crazy?

Have you ever done something that has made others think you are crazy?

Perhaps you’ve given up a good job, sold your house in a nice area, taken on something that you never thought you would, followed the call of God in your life?

Jesus and the Ruler of Demons

20 Jesus went back home, and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat. 21 When Jesus’ family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.

22 Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, “This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul.”

23 Jesus told the people to gather around him. Then he spoke to them in riddles and said:

How can Satan force himself out? 24 A nation whose people fight each other won’t last very long. 25 And a family that fights won’t last long either. 26 So if Satan fights against himself, that will be the end of him.

27 How can anyone break into the house of a strong man and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.

28 I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. 29 But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.

30 Jesus said this because the people were saying that he had an evil spirit in him.

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 Jesus’ mother and brothers came and stood outside. Then they sent someone with a message for him to come out to them. 32 The crowd that was sitting around Jesus told him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside and want to see you.”

33 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother.”

Jesus’ family heard what he was doing – and they thought he was crazy.  Nice to have some family support!  You would have thought that those who grew up with Jesus might have grasped something of what he was about – but clearly not!  Perhaps they were trying to save him from the danger they could see coming, perhaps they were embarrassed by his association by the family name, who knows, but they wanted him back under control.

The Teachers of the Law wanted him stopped.  They claimed he was under the power of a demon.  What warped logic is that?  How could someone be freeing people of demons in the name of that demon – that makes no sense, as Jesus points out.

Jesus is facing people on all sides who want him to calm down, rein it in, and start to live a normal life.  He’s showing them up, and they don’t like it.

Is that how Christian life is for you?

Are there people who would really rather prefer it if you weren’t a Christian; or if you really must be that you tone it down?  Are there those who accuse you of having got it wrong and want you to return to a “normal” life?

I’ve never know that, but I know some do.  The constant questioning of what you’re doing, why you bother, do you need to, are you crazy?

Does it help to know that Jesus had that too?  Even the Son of God was challenged about living the way he did.

Jesus has invited us to a new way, to be a part of a new family – his family.  We’re not crazy for following him, for trying to live by God’s ways.

Thank you Lord

that in you I find true sense in life;

a purpose

and a reason.

I pray for those who do not see it that way,

that they may find the truth of you.

And for those who are persecuted by others because of their faith,

we pray for your strength and courage,

to continue to stand with you,

and live as part of your family