How to move out of the crowd and get near to God – Our Identity: In God, Part 5

Remember the parable of the princess who hid her identity, and never spent time with her father, the king? There’s more to the story.  The princess was an adopted child of the king with all the rights, benefits and privileges of being in his royal family. But she did not actually spend time to getContinue reading “How to move out of the crowd and get near to God – Our Identity: In God, Part 5”

The rights and privileges we have as adopted children of God – Our Identity: In God, Part 4

When my wife, Michelle, and I were talking about this idea of being adopted as God’s children, she reminded me of one of her favorite parts of the adoption ceremonies. At those adoption ceremonies one of the final components is that the judge reads the decree of adoption.  In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a decreeContinue reading “The rights and privileges we have as adopted children of God – Our Identity: In God, Part 4”

Do you dread holiday family gatherings? – Characters: Ruth, Part 1

I recently heard a news report about a family fighting their home owners association because the family put up Christmas decorations on November 1st, and the home owners association said it was too early.  I don’t know if there is a right or wrong time to put up holiday decorations.  Our local Lowes was sellingContinue reading “Do you dread holiday family gatherings? – Characters: Ruth, Part 1”

Why we need to wrestle with God – Characters: Jacob, Part 4

In this series, we’ve been looking at a character in the Hebrew Bible, a guy named Jacob. In the previous post, we left Jacob about to cross over the border of his brother, Esau’s land. He had deceived his brother 20 years before, and when Esau found out, Esau threatened to kill Jacob. Jacob fledContinue reading “Why we need to wrestle with God – Characters: Jacob, Part 4”

How Jesus redefines “family” – Philemon 8-25, Part 3

How do you define “family”? Biologically? Qualitatively? Some other way? As we continue studying Philemon verses 8-25, today we’re going to see Paul explain how Jesus defines family, and get ready, it is shocking. So what did Paul say?  Let’s continue his flow of thought from what we already learned in Part 1 and 2Continue reading “How Jesus redefines “family” – Philemon 8-25, Part 3″

What that little pocket on jeans can teach us about church family – Titus 3:9-15, Part 1

Family.  Who do you think of when you think of family? Growing up my family was my dad and mom, and my brother and sister.  Five people.  I’m so thankful that they are still my family.  When my wife, Michelle, and I got married, though, we started our new family.  God blessed us with children,Continue reading “What that little pocket on jeans can teach us about church family – Titus 3:9-15, Part 1”

The one thing needed for a church to become a family

One church I visited during sabbatical did something that weirded me out a bit.  You know what they did?  During the worship service they introduced themselves to new guests by saying, “We’re a family here, and we want you to be a part of our family.” You might be thinking, “Joel, why did that weirdContinue reading “The one thing needed for a church to become a family”