“Hey Mrs. Lisa,” is what I heard in the sweetest high-pitched little voice. I turned around and saw ‘the youngest Herndon’ with a fresh baked cookie in his hand wanting to get a hug! Oh!! Be still my heart!
That precious young’n and so many other boys and girls made my heart throb with JOY this past Sunday as they came into the new @Home Center at FBC Madison with their families, grabbed a cookie, and walked around with their parents to see everything available to them.
The site and sounds of my faith family gathering around the island that now stands in the center of the space, is where folks signed up for classes, plopped down their purses and Bibles to have free hands as they took loads of resources that is now available to them, whatever their season of life may be.
Nothing … absolutely nothing compares with experiencing “family” as God intended. For us to know,
“Coming to Christ is coming not to be judged, looked at with harsh or critical eyes, shunned because of your past or mistakes, rejected, ignored, overlooked. Coming to Christ is coming not to be held back at arms length, to be treated as though you have nothing left to offer, to feel without hope. No, coming to Christ is totally the opposite! Coming to Christ is forgiveness, seen with caring and compassionate eyes; it is being wanted, fully redeemed and totally restored, renewed and rejuvenated. Coming to Christ is a new life that daily has kingdom purpose, and is filled with peace, joy and hope! Coming to Christ is you choosing Him, and Him embracing you with every holy Trinity fiber in Him!! And THAT is what coming to church is to be all about! That is what coming to “the family” is to be for us all! We are Christians, and that is such an honor to share that family name with friends!
Gathering and being an active part of a local faith family is not only obedience to God, but it is how you draw closer to the heart of God (our eternal Home), and draw closer as a family.
In the photos above & below, those aren’t just people you see, … those are Masterpieces created in the image of my God who, every. single. one. of them … matter! They all are my family and they matter!
As I stood there taking it all in, and hearing my pastor, Ronnie Falvey, deliver one powerful and anointed message to all of us on “Family” …. there was a spirit of anticipation and plum excitement that came over me like nothing I have ever experienced before!
“It’s happening. Just as God said it would…it is happening!” That is what kept rolling around in my mind and heart, because God gave the vision a while back on what He has for this faith family and our community. And as many of us have taken hold of that vision through prayer and planning and being as productive with Him as He gave us the strength and abilities to do …. we are all seeing a “much more” happening among our family and families.
Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:30 – If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 7:11 – If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
We are family.
As I looked around, I saw my brothers and sisters hugging each other, crying together, reassuring one another. I saw my brothers and sisters worshiping and leaning in to learn together. I saw my brothers and sisters talking, laughing, wiping away each other’s tears, and sitting side-by-side in a large worship center perched and ready to gather for one purpose – to draw closer to God. And the most amazing thing about all that is,…as we gather together to draw closer to God, we are actually drawing closer as a family. It’s how our Father planned it all along.
We are family.
Christ’s family. And Christ intends for us to do family as He does –
- With unconditional love (that means I love you without a smidgin’ of expectation).
- With stupendous sacrifice (that means I will do whatever it takes to help and serve you.)
- With intentional focus (that means your life matters to me.)
- With driving passion (that means loving you with pure-dee wholeheartedness!)
- With active support (that means I’m not your critic, I’m your friend.)
- With inspiring belief (that means I am for you, not against you.)
- With everlasting encouragement (that means uplifting you all the way to glory!)
We are family.
The photo is not of just a brick and mortar building. Those are only the elements used to build a structure. But the photo represents a living breathing body of believers who “get to” gather together to live and experience what Christ came for – to give His life so we can become a part of His family … forever and ever! Not only a part of the Family of God, but to be held together by Christ as His local faith family. It is Christ who holds us all together!
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” Colossians 1:17
We are family.