Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Have We Experienced The Family of God?

As I get older and my health isn't what it used to be, (although I haven’t given up hope and still work on it) I have come to realize, we all have 2 families. If we are lucky one is good, if we are blessed both the spiritual and natural family are good.

The first family that comes to mind is our natural family, mother, father, brothers, sisters, etc…  Most of you know my family history, or likely do so from my book The Keystone Kid and/or other writings. While I had some difficult times in my life, I have come to appreciate more and more my blood family. I love my sisters my half sister Teresa whom I have spent little time with and my full-blooded sister, Andrea (Sissy) whom I grew up with. Growing up in the same household Sis and I experienced many of the same things. I admire her for her courage and sticktoitnuss, God used her in a mighty way to bring me into His family. I love my sister and wish we lived closer. There are others in my family I miss. While I am having some health issues as I write this, I spoke with my Uncle Larry last night. He was checking up on me and asked how I am doing, I responded, “as well as can be expected, but I am keeping my spirits up trying to find ways to make people laugh and enjoy life, I am after all a Furches.”  I was moved by his concern, because, he is family. I could write a great deal about how much I love my family, whether they realize it or not. I am healing and the more God provides healing, the more I am learning to love.

There is another kind of family, one where Jesus brings people together. The Bible speaks often and eloquently about the Family of God, brothers, sisters, babes, and so forth. We see an emphasis on the community of believers, from the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus instructs us to say, OUR Father, deliver US, give US OUR, and so forth. Then there is a passage some find troubling, Matthew 12: 46-50:

(46)  While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers came and stood outside because they wanted to talk with him. (47) Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to talk with you.”
(48) Jesus answered, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” (49) Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “These are my mother and my brothers! (50) Anyone who obeys my Father in heaven is my brother or sister or mother.”

While the above passage can be troubling, I don’t think Jesus is saying forget about, ignore, or having nothing to do with your blood family, he is saying your family is more than your blood relatives, it includes all of those who are a part of the Kingdom of God who have surrendered to His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Unfortunately in today’s world we live in a place that focuses on individualism.  Don’t take me wrong, to discover ones gifts, talents, to love one’s self, etc…, is important, but one of the ways we discover self is by loving others, to be a part of the group or community. We are to share in life, care for each other, see to it that no one has a need. We are to be there and love each other. Unfortunately, this concept has been lost, many of us don’t even know our next door neighbors, those we call brother and sister. If we don’t know each other, how can we be a family?

I have learned the importance of my spiritual brothers and sisters. Much of that comes from living away from my blood family for most of my life. I hate it but it is a part of the call of ministry. I go where God leads, not where I want. I have been blessed to have many brothers and sisters. While I enjoy keeping up with many of them via social media and meeting new ones, nothing replaces the hands on experience, a hug, a holy kiss, a love that family understands, a communion where we commune in life, not just a ceremony of breaking bread and drinking wine.

God has compelled me see to it that the ministry I am involved in experiences what the Greek calls, Koinonia, or Family and Community, where all things are shared.  I believe it is what God would have for his people. While there are times to be alone, there are also times to share in life, even to help each other out through our problems. Many make the excuse to not share in life with a body of believers, for years I was in that boat but the more I study scripture, the more I realize how unbiblical that belief is. I joy because I share in life; I have blood family I love and others via spiritual family via faith in Jesus Christ. 

Lastly, I have a son I deeply love. Nathan is adopted and I love him just as I love my daughter by birth. I have learned of the ability to love and the value of coming into a family via adoption, that is what the Kingdom of God is, people who have been adopted into the Family of God. I would challenge, enjoy this family to the fullest, if in a good church, experience community in shared life, stay for the pot-lucks, and develop relationships where you want to be with that family. When you aren't and you find yourself missing those special moments, maybe, just maybe, God wants more, and that more is community.

To see the video below, just click on it, if for some reason it doesn't work, click on the following link:

The Virtual Pew and our other work is supported solely by the kind contributions of others. You can click on the donate button below to give any amount to this work that does so much more than just post articles on the net; I draw no ongoing salary from the church I pastor, Mosaic Wichita which is predominantly a homeless church; I am grateful for any small amount you can contribute to help with this ministry. Believe me there is much more going on than most realize. I will also provide information to verify the ministry and income that comes into this ministry and work. Thanks and feel free to share any material from The Virtual Pew, I only ask that appropriate credit is given and a link to the original site with the material is provided.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
1249 N. St. Francis Street
Wichita, KS 67214

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew