“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do,
and it gave him great pleasure.”
Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)
Hello my brothers and sisters,
This past Sunday Matthew Crane brought the message, recognizing Orphan Sunday across the nation, as well as reminding us that we ourselves are all orphans adopted into the family of God. This family is a remarkable collection of people. In this family we serve one another, minister to each other, and grow in our faith walk. I appreciated Matthew’s testimony about how important the Crosswalk family has become to him and Valerie. They walked in, felt a connection, and are bringing their stories and ministries to the community. It is one of our most important callings as a church to welcome people, not only into the Kingdom of God, but into the local family as well.
I remember reading 40 Days of Purpose by Rick Warren, and being struck by the first four words: “It’s not about you.” I’m sure the majority of you remember those words! Rick writes, “the purpose of life is far greater than personal fulfillment, peace of mind, or even happiness.” Not the typical way I live out my life. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever. Because God is love, he wants us to learn how to love those around us. We are called to belong, not just believe.
Most of us feel a desire to belong. With the holidays coming, some of us plan on spending time with family and friends who hold a special place in our lives. A time to relax and fill ourselves up with relationships and of course, good food. Sadly for others it can be a time where it becomes more painfully clear that close relationships and family are not present. This past Saturday I performed a funeral and during the reception I heard more than once that the upcoming holidays were going to be particularly difficult this year.
We walk among broken people. We are broken. Noticing people is so important this time of the year. Listening to someone, taking time out of a busy schedule to share some hope, opening up our homes for those who would love to be in community on Thanksgiving, and being thankful for the family of God around us. This is family. Be purposeful about breaking away from individualism and be a part of the family.
Did you notice the Help One Child Christmas tree on Sunday? There were 40 tags representing gifts for foster kids, and by the end of the morning, they were all taken. Praise God for generous hearts. The tree will be re-stocked next week and you are invited to stop by, learn more about the ministry of Help One Child, and take a tag. We may not know each foster family that love these children during transition, but we can help shine the love of Jesus into each home by making a simple contribution.
Welcome to the family. Be blessed by the family God has given to us here at Crosswalk Church, and may His arms wide open abundance flow through us all during this holiday season.