Good morning, everyone! In my previous post, I spoke of identity, specifically that our primary identity for the duration of our existence is one of being found in Christ. I really enjoy Colossians 3:3 as I consider such a truth, which states,
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Now, if this is true, that before I am a father, husband, or pastor, I am first and foremost God’s child, then my primary community is that of being a part of God’s family. And every other role that I play in this life ought to be a reflection of being a part of such a family. Let me give a quick example. If I am a Christ-follower who has been entrusted by God with children of my own, then I believe that I am to raise those children, as God’s steward, in a way that is constantly keeping in mind that I am God’s child and a part of God’s family. Not only should every interaction with my children flow from my relationship with Christ, but they should also flow from my relationship with Christ’s Church, my brothers and sisters in Jesus. And my goal would be to raise up my kids as a part of that family.
Now here is where I see some disconnect. Many Christians seem to believe that their primary community is that of their own biological family, or of their social circles, or possibly even of their group of coworkers. Thus, being a part of God’s family falls outside of our commitments that we make to whatever we find to be our primary community. I simply get the sense that this is backwards, or short-sighted. Rather than view my family (Ali, Aletheia, Azariah and Ainesis…oh yeah, and Samba) as being my primary community that sometimes interacts with my secondary community of the people of God (the local church), I’d rather see myself first and foremost as a part of God’s family and that my responsibilities to my family fall under the umbrella of being a part of that community. So what might this look like practically?
First, I always want my kids to be engaged in the local church. And not just my kids, but my whole family, Ali and myself included. I want everything that we do together to be a testimony to the fact that we are a part of a group of believers, namely New Horizon Christian Church. This means I want our Sunday mornings to be devoted to our church family. I want to do everything within my power to make sure that our family spends at least that time with the folks who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. But it goes beyond simply worshiping together on Sunday mornings. My desire is for our house to be a place where we are in constant fellowship with other believers. This is why we have the great desire to be a part of a Life Group weekly, meeting with and studying Scripture with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only do Ali and I have the opportunity to be with these folks, but they pour into our children as well.
This is why we look for opportunities to be with believers often, whether on weekends or simply having people come to our house for a visit. It is because we view our church family as our primary community. We love having people come and sit at our dining room table, or play on the floor with our kids, or play board games, or eat dinner together. Again, please understand. We love this because it gives us yet another opportunity to remind ourselves that we are part of something greater, something bigger, than our mere household.
To be honest, this is the view of the local church that I see in Scripture. Life was lived as a part of God’s people, meeting together, eating together, worshiping together, praying together, reading Scripture together, etc. When reading through the book of Acts, for example, one never gets the sense that being a part of the community of faith was secondary to anything. It seems to drive everything that believers were doing. Thus, Hebrews 10:23-25 seems to make a lot of sense:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
I would love for these verses to define our church family at NHCC. Rather than being a group of families who sometimes find the time to be with one another, I’d love for us to be one big family who sometimes, unfortunately can’t be around each other because we are working or sleeping. This is a paradigm shift for many. But here’s why I think this is so important…because I think our lives are supposed to reflect our eternity.
The Bible states that our human relationships (marriage, etc.) will not look the way that they do now. As much as it pains me, I don’t think I’ll be married in heaven. And I don’t think that I’ll be a parent in heaven. And yet, I will be a part of the global community of believers. I will be a brother in Christ to those countless saints who have given their obedience to our Lord Jesus. I will worship God on the throne for all of eternity, as one person, a drop in the great sea of believers. If that’s where I’m going, may I engage my life now as a part of such a community, and may we teach our children to do the same.
Thanks for listening (or reading) everyone. : )