Tag Archives: Church

Family Setbacks

One of the real family tragedies of our culture today is the loss of community.  Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock, among other futurists, had predicted that as our world became more connected electronically we would become more isolated; burrowing was a term often used.  Content with television, the internet and our electronic entertainment combined with a fear of the world ‘out there’ families would become increasingly isolated from each other..

With the loss of community comes a loss of connectedness that was commonplace only a generation or two ago.

I was reminded of this dynamic recently when we noticed that a family’s home in our neighborhood had a large white sticker on the front picture window.

We also noticed that a professional company was mowing the grass; they had always done it themselves.

A carpet cleaning company pulled up to the house one day and a roofing company delivered shingles a few days later.  The lights are out at night.  Nobody home.


It happens every day in neighborhoods all over southeastern Michigan as a microcosm of a national tragedy.  For any number of reasons from unemployment to divorce or debilitating illnesses, families find themselves in houses that they can no longer afford to maintain.

Families uprooted, displaced, transitioning, struggling, suffering.  How many times have we seen the sudden transitions in our own neighborhoods over the last several years without warning.  One day a family is there; the next day they are gone.  They just packed up and left for who-knows-where.

These things don’t happen overnight.  Usually they are preceded by months of discussions with lawyers, bank representatives, real estate agents, families and friends.  Done quietly in late night discussions, morning coffee and afternoon consultations.

Then, with all options exhausted, the deadline finally arrives and they’re gone.  The tragedy is that, as neighbors, no one knows what happened.

One of the really encouraging trends in churches today is the emphasis upon small groups and people becoming salt and light in their own neighborhoods.  One innovative approach worth noting was identified by Randy Frazee, the pulpit minister of the Oak Hill Church in San Antonio, Texas.  In his book Making Room for Life, he advocates a simpler, more organic type of family lifestyle that seeks to help people connect with the people who live next door, down the street in the neighborhood.

The reality is that to connect with each other requires determined effort and a conscious decision to leaven our immediate communities with neighborly care and concern.  In churches we call this a moving away from attracting people to our church buildings and focusing more upon helping our people think more like missionaries to their neighbors and fellow workers; i.e., being missional.

The effect of this realignment in lifestyle is that we know when families are struggling and, as good neighbors, we can rally other neighbors to care for one another, to celebrate the victories together and to mourn losses together.

Key word: together.


What’s Right With The Church?

Library of Celcius, Ephesus

What’s right with the church?  In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus he makes three logical points that challenge us today.

Step One: Appreciate What God Has Done For You Through Jesus Christ (Chapters 1-3).  Paul is referring to God’s resurrection power that brought Jesus from the tomb and that is now at work in us as we are presently seated with Christ in God’s throne room (Eph. 2:6).  God took the initiative to rescue us while we were ‘dead in our transgressions’ (Eph. 2:4-5).

Step Two: Based Upon What God Has Done For Us Through Jesus Christ Our Daily Walk Should Change (Ephesians 4:1-6:9).  Now that we know what God has done for us we begin to walk in a way that reflects our gratitude for what He has done.  We begin imitating God Himself (Ephesians 5:1).

Step Three: Based Upon What God Has Done For Us Through Jesus Christ, As We Imitate Him, We Put On The Armor He Has Given Us, Standing Confidently To Defend Ourselves Against Satan’s Forces, Praying That His Will Be Done (Epheisnas 6:10-24).  The armor is for our protection as we stand our ground praying and petitioning God for the saints and for those carrying the good news about what God has done for the lost (Ephesians 6:8-20).

These three points by Paul give us a working plan for learning to live in faith.  If your faith is weak in times of struggle, Paul encourages us to sit down at the feet of the cross to begin to grasp the love that God has for you and what He did for you so that he could save you while you were still steeped in the things of this world.  Learn to walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk as you follow Him and strive daily to imitate the one who laid it all down for you.  Finally, depend upon the tools He has given you to stand your ground and to defend yourself against Satan himself and pray, pray, pray, that God’s will shall be done to strengthen the saints and to further the great news to the rest of the world so that they, too, can see what God has done for them.

Starting on June 3 I will be teaching a class on Ephesians on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. at the Twin Oaks Christian Church, 22333 King Road, Woodhaven, MI.  I hope you will join me as we study Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus with an emphasis upon applying His word to our lives as we live them out each day.  Taking it a step further, the book of Ephesians challenges churches as well as we come together to celebrate what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, how He wants us to walk each day and how He equips us to stand our ground and let Him fight our battles for us.

A great book for further study is Watchman Nee’s book, Sit, Walk, Stand.