Life in the Family

Hey Church: 

People often tell me funny things given my occupation as a pastor and shepherd. Recently someone told me of a list of requirements they had for a church. While I am usually quick to offer Normandy as an option for them to check out, their list made me hesitant to invite them to check out our church family. 
I believe we are wired, actually designed to want to be in a family. Yet many of us do anything and everything to avoid being a part of a church family. Yet this is who we are - a family. We are the blood bought sons and daughters of God (John 1:12-13) and members of His household (Ephesians 2:19-22). As believers we don't really have a choice in it; Christ brings us into His family. As we dedicated our babies this past Sunday I was reminded of that fact. These babies didn't choose their family - they were born into it. 

So today I wanted to remind you to be who you were made to be. Be a member of the family. Act like you belong!  In A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson paints a wonderful picture of life in the family:

Whether we like it or not, the moment we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior... we are at the same time a member of the Christian church - even if do not permit our name to be placed on a church roll, even if we refuse to identify ourselves with a particular congregation and share responsibilities with them, even if we absent ourselves from the worship of a congregation. Our membership in the church is a corollary of our faith in Christ. We can no more be a Christian and have nothing to do with the church than we can be a person and not be in a family. Membership in the church is a basic spiritual fact for those who confess Christ as Lord.

He continues... 

So the question is not, ‘Am I going to be a part of a community of faith?’, but ‘How am I going to live in this community of faith?’

How are you going to live in a church with a bunch of sinners? As Peterson says, "Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. As if that weren't bad enough, they all have sinners for a pastors." Thanks Eugene. I will take it from here. 
You belong in our extended family because Christ has made you a part of His family. A family is a place to love, to grow, to be accepted, to contribute and to serve. No matter what you feel on this ("I don't feel a part" or "I am hurt and alone" or better yet, "this church family isn't doing it the right way"), Christ, the creator of the universe and conqueror of death says you are in the family. You are accepted in the Beloved. Become who you were saved to be!

Grace to you, 
John