Tag Archives: family of God

21. my discipleship group and the power of prayer

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2.42

I love my discipleship/accountability group and I could not imagine going weeks (or years as I had been before) without those strong relationships; relationships where we can disagree, hash it out and know that it we will still be okay moving forward. I’m okay with them confronting me about my stuff even when I may or may not want to hear it at the time; even when I don’t realize it’s there.

And it’s because of Jesus’ use of those relationships that he’s forming me into the woman God intended me to be and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I met Rick first, back in the fall of 2005, while I was away at college. I had just started my sophomore year and, having fallen in love with the local church I attended, I wanted to find a way to get more involved. I had been involved in a campus ministry but didn’t feel connected or part of a community; not the way I did when I was at that church.

That September, I received a postcard in the mail about a new college ministry that would be starting up at my church. They were looking for singers, musicians and others interested in being on the leadership time and after “chewing on it” for a few days, I emailed Rick and got my foot in the door. We met that November during one of the bands’ first meetings.

I met Holly shortly after and although our friendship at the time didn’t have the depth then as it does now, I’ve enjoyed going into those deeper waters with her, knowing that Jesus will keep us afloat the further we drift out as long as we remain in him.

It’s been nine amaznig years since and Rick has become more than just my pastor. He’s one of my best friends and a pretty stand-up guy (minus all the teasing I get). It’s been an immense blessing to watch God work through him in the lives of those his touches as well as knowing that I can get a solid, truth-filled answer or opinion if I weret o seek one out.

The same goes for Holly and I met her shortly after. She’s intense and in my face when it comes to most things and while there are moments when I want to kick her out of my apartment or walk away, I love her. It amazes me how a person can frustrate and move you at the same time. Only out of the love and grace of Jesus Christ is that possible.

In this last year, we made the decision to start meeting at least once every three weeks to discuss more deeply what God’s been doing in each of our lives, seeking out truth together, and being the iron that sharpens another (Proverbs 27.17).

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12.2

We’ve devoted ourselves to one another to learn from Jesus’ teaching and from those of his God-inspired followers (Paul, Peter, John, etc.). We’ve devoted ourselves to fellowship and community with one another and just last night, we talked about what that should and will look like in our church. We sometimes enjoy food or coffee together, partaking in the elements of communion with the rest of the body and we always pray for one another, sending sporadic notes of encouragement throughout the week/month.

Combining this with my relationship with Jesus, I’m being transformed from the inside out. I’ve seen the evidence of this my life, which is now, so much fuller.

I am so grateful for those who have chosen to partner with me and God in helping me become the woman he created me to be…especially when they have to call me on my junk when it shows.

Accountability goes a long way, as does love, truth spoken in love and a large dose of grace when it comes to these relationships.

Rick and Holly – I’m so incredibly thankful for you and I pray that God also enriches your lives with blessings, not earned by these actions, but because you are his children, my brother and sister, too.

17. the family of God

familyIsrael was frequently referred to as “the children of God.” They were his chosen people and had this family relationship with God that no one on the planet had. Before Christ, all gentiles, of any pagan faith, had to convert to Judaism to be recognized as true children of God. Even dating back to Cain and Seth (the sons of Adam) we see this referenced:

Cain’s lineage was referred to as the sons of men.

Seth’s as sons of God.

And we follow the story of God’s children and their interactions with “outsiders” all through the Old Testament.

Enter Jesus.

He came to establish a new family, a family based on faith in God, not physical lineage. This was made clear from the beginning of his ministry. Read Matthew 12.

His physical family had come searching for him and when they found him, someone informed him that they had been looking – verses 48 and 49 capture Jesus’s response.

Jesus was God in flesh and he is the only one who could establish this change. There was authority in his teaching…not arrogant authority.

Authentic authority

Humble authority

When he established the last supper (communion as we observe today), it went against everything the Jews believed. He did not celebrate it with his blood relatives, but rather with his family of faith.  He identified the bread and wine as his body and blood, broken and spilled for all of mankind and thus, making a new covenant with all who walk this planet.

I don’t believe he disowned his own physical family; he was welcoming in and making room for the new family based on faith. And no matter what who my physical relation is here, I’ve been adopted into the family of God based on my faith.

And it’s that same family that I look forward to serving with, lifting up and spreading the gospel with each and every week. This family is always growing. It’s kind of like living in a house full of kids and we all get excited (and throw a party) when another finds his way home.

While God’s family is scattered all over the globe, I’m thankful for the local branch he’s given me: The Vine.

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The photo above may be outdated, but we’re still there…serving together, both near and far.

I love you guys. And I thank God for each and every single one of you.

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