It’s All About Families
We’re kicking off the fall season at church with a new series that has to do with drawing people in from the local community to hear a non-threatening series that can help anyone. During the last year, the leadership team at Grace has been in prayer trying to figure out what God would have us do as a church to continue to spread the Gospel in Hamilton county. This summer, we paid off the balance of the mortgage on the large addition that was built several years ago, as well as the regular mortgage on the original building. That means that we are debt free and looking for additional ways to invest in the kingdom of God.
It appears that we will even be launching additional campuses throughout the area that will be part church and part community center. We have tried the initial experiment in our own church and have successfully converted space in the north wing of the church into a food pantry, including fresh vegetables and dairy products, as well as a care center for families in distress who need counseling.
Church volunteers staff both the pantry and the care center; and there are several other ministries that have really taken off as well. These include an off-site vehicle ministry as well as other ways that we can assist people who are struggling financially and can’t make ends meet. Of course, all this is in addition to the giving and regular work that we do as a church. In fact, 10% of what we collect in offerings comes off the top and is used to support ministries outside the walls of the church.
The common element that we have really embraced is the idea of supporting families. Which brings me back to the fall series that is starting off the season. It’s about being better parents, which results in healthier families. And you don’t have to belong to Grace, or even be a regular attender, to be welcome for this amped up look at how God wants to build our character as parents.
We’ve touched on topics such as surrendering to God, being in communion with God, maintaining moral integrity and ways that we can clarify our calling as parents. These issues include practicing better health through establishing better habits, giving and living with generosity, a commitment to justice and mercy, and giving our time and resources to the community and to each other.
I realize that this list looks a little like some standard boilerplate but I assure you, I can always use help on being a better parent, and I am sure that you can also. In our case, the fact that Kristin’s boys need a a good, strong male role model has made the sense of urgency even greater. And no matter how old you are, the chance to be a better parent is always there. Even our own kids, now all in their thirties, seek advice from time to time and know that they can depend on us to love them well while also doing what is in their best interest. Sometimes, of course, they hear things that are not exactly in agreement with what they thought we would say. But that’s okay…
God makes it quite clear that families are important to Him. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – to Noah and his family being spared in the great flood, to the patriarchs and the twelve tribes of Israel, families are a central theme in the Bible. In the New Testament, we are made aware of the family of John the Baptist before we are even introduced to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Peter, later in the New Testament baptizes Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and his family… And in Romans, Paul makes it quite clear that we are to lead with diligence, and this includes the way we lead our families.
In fact, families are so important that Paul admonishes his young pastor friend, Timothy, that not caring for your family is really bad stuff in the eyes of God. That verse, our verse for the evening, appears in 1 Tim 5:8 when Paul states, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Wow – worse than an unbeliever, really? Apparently so.
Because when a person professes a belief in Christ, they are to adopt a position of love and caring and unfortunately, it’s often said that if we treated our families as nice as we treated strangers, the world would be a better place. How sad…
So my encouragement this evening is to remind you that God desires us to take great care of our families. My prayer is that you will amp up your effort, even though it can be difficult at times, so that we can raise Godly children of strong character and clear calling. Everybody benefits when we do a better job with our families. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…