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Thankful for Family

How do you feel about your family? I’ve been thinking about the topic of family this week for three reasons: First, I’m preaching about it this week in our summer series The Good Life. Second, it is Father’s Day on Sunday and it would be nice to get our family together to honor my Dad. Third, we’ve had Vacation Bible School (VBS) at church all week and I’ve been getting to meet lots of families at my new church.

I’d really love some help on this sermon. I posted a plea here, but haven’t received much feedback. Maybe it was bad timing. Maybe it was too sensitive a subject. Maybe no one is reading the blog. Please feel free to leave comments that describe your family of origin and complete the sentence, “To me, family means…”

Here’s the direction I’m heading for the sermon at this point. The Big Question is, “How can we live the good life in our families?” There are three important things to keep in mind:

1. Family is a Gift…Embrace It. You don’t get to choose the family into which your were born. You don’t get to choose the children you have. Even if you adopt them, you don’t know how they will turn out. Family happens. Like many things in life, we don’t get to choose what our family is, but we do get to choose how we respond to it.

Further, it is important to note that families come in all shapes and sizes. There is not one perfect type of family. The Biblical families took all kinds of shapes, and were ALL a “dysfunctional” mess of broken people…just like us.

God loves your family…warts and all.

2. Family is a Practice Field…Build It. The family is the core unit within society and offers us the opportunity to learn interpersonal skills like communication, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc. Jesus said that anyone who listens to his words and PUTS THEM INTO PRACTICE is like one who builds a house on a rock. The role of the parent is to equip children to put Jesus’ teaching to love God and love neighbor into practice. More is caught from parents than is taught by parents.

3. Family is The Church…Live it. One of the strongest metaphors for the church is the FAMILY OF GOD. God is our parent who creates us, trains us, and unconditionally loves us. The Apostle Paul said, in Ephesians 3:14-19,

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We are brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter how good or how toxic your own family may be, you have a place in God’s family.

May God bless your family today…warts and all.

some doodles for the sermon…