Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Living Stones

Down the corridors of time symbols have always been important. For countless years a "family crest" has been an identifying mark for everyone from Royalty to the pub owner and his family down the street. In light of my own growing family, and some of the families I serve in my practice, I have often wondered how we could more clearly identify who we are as followers of Christ in an affluent culture. It is, for me, a constant battle to capture the hearts and minds of my children with the reality of the gospel, so I believe we need to take advantage of creative opportunities that will capture our children's hearts and minds - and may change ours in the process.

So, our family along with several other families are creating a 'mark,' or 'identity' that will act as a reminder of the blessings and responsibilities of affluence.  (This is not a new church or non-profit....I promise...this is simply an exercise, or opportunity to disciple our children and create family unity.)

Because the culture we live in, and our children are growing up in, has such a heavy influence on even the strongest of Christian families, we need ways to help encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ - and as fathers and mothers who wish to help our children to identify with Christ. To that end I suggest families and small groups, perhaps even churches, create, along with the support of a few friends, a group we will call something like New Living Stones (I know the name isn't new or creative, and frankly the name itself isn't that important). However, for my family, Living Stones are a title given to Christ and His followers in I Peter 2:4,5 which states:

As you come to Him (Jesus Christ), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

In this lifetime exercise, we encourage one another to "be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in His love, as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." As "imitators" of Christ we will be offering, hopefully in one more way, as a family, "a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Since most people reading this blog are already givers to their church perhaps New Living Stones can be done through the church or by simply choosing a few ministries you know that are faithfully serving the Lord by ministering to widows, orphans and the poor to help support them financially. Our families giving will be strategic, utilizing collective wisdom from others in our New Living Stones group, and our churches mission's committee, to identify where we know work is being done well and in the name of Christ. I recently heard a great quote, "Social work done in Christ's name becomes Sacred work." I believe this is true.

As an 'identifying mark' and as a witness to our world my family will wear a bracelet(Sort of like Livestrong or the others that have come along) made by hand in the areas we choose to support (Or made in that part of the world). In this we are creating economic development and creating a symbol of solidarity (which kids love!) as well as following a principle of scripture. Deuteronomy 6:8 says of God's law and the principles of communicating a generational and covenantal system of belief, "
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes."

And, as a group of followers of Jesus, we do this we may even encourage our brothers and sisters, as well as a world that there is great joy and power in following Jesus. As His children we seek "to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

The final principle I believe would be a good idea to articulate throughout this process would be that your family, or giving group, wish to see manifest a spirit of generosity, and hopefully this will strengthen, or begin a course of following Jesus in the area of giving of your life and not simply your money.

Giving is a private act but can be used in community to demonstrate acts of love and obedience to our children. So perhaps if we ask others to participate we would be wise to articulate the following principle from 2 Corinthians 9:6,7:

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

It's not necessary to "join me". I hope you can use this idea as inspiration or as a catalyst to think of ways your family can more clearly identify your calling and mission. I see this as one more opportunity to show the love of Christ within our families, churches, community and the world in a creative and fun way I think our kids might like.

For more information email me: or just come back to the blog often.

"A Christian should not follow the crowd, but rather show them the way!" I like that.

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