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Family Koinonia Gathering- 9-17-12- John 15 is key to building Christ centered relationships

Last time I wrote I described the failure of my Family Charter time.  My daughter seemed to be rebelling from our Family Charter time and even against our extended Family Koinonia Gatherings with my wife, my sister in law, and my mother in law.

It was very discouraging, but the post was written as a testimony to my worshiping God and trusting in His way even in the midst of disappointment.  It was about being a good witness of God’s glory even when you feel you have failed or things just aren’t going your way.

My concern was that my daughter was rebelling against God, but I have come to see that my daughter was not rebelling against God, she was rebelling against boredom.  I did not experience this knowing through cerebral analysis, but rather as a blessing from our last Family Koinonia gathering from this past Sunday.

This Sunday was really a great blessing of God for me, extending myself, and seeing people I love extending themselves as well, in deliberate, Christ centered relationship building.  But it started before this Sunday, actually, with my last post, which I shared with my sister in law.  I also called her to share my disappointment and to seek help, guidance in how I, how we, as a family, might better draw Nela into a positive Kingdom witness that gave her every opportunity to have those personal encounters, personal relationship with Christ.

My sister in law, and I will refer to her simply as my sister from this moment forward, gave me some good advice, one that was reiterated independently by my covenant sister, Juanita, whom many of you know from interactions with her through Kingdom Insight.  Her advice was that my daughter needed a proper vehicle to experience the disciple teaching and learning we were pursuing. 

That conversation happened almost two weeks ago.  I did not think too much about our conversation as the last week we were not able to get together as a family.

This week, my sister asked me if I would go to her church with her (she goes to a different church than I do, and my Mother in law, Mumzy, goes to yet another church- our family represents three churches coming together).  My wife could not go as she had to pick up my daughter from a slumber party while we were scheduled to be at church, so my sister, Mumzy, and myself went to church.

The message was about friends and family and making Christ the center of your relationships.  It was a powerful affirmation of what we are doing as a family, building up our center in Christ so that we are a family whose identity is rooted in our shared commitment to Christ.

The Pastor used a lot of the same language we have been using, though he didn’t walk fully to the core of some of our basic recognized core Kingdom building standards of Family Discipleship.  He talked about being able to speak truth into one another’s lives, but he didn’t outline the principles of standing and accountability.  Nor did the Pastor talk about what we call the fruit AND the tools of building authentic Christ-centered relationships with the people in our lives, the Seven Devotions.

Still, he validated the path we as a family have been already pursuing, and listening to his sermon I felt so blessed to be where I am in my life with so many people, including my family.  He asked us if we had people who we knew would be there for us at 2 in the morning and I have so many brothers and sisters in Christ, covenant family, Christ-centered family members, growing friendships in Christ that I could cite in my head who would be there for me at 2 in the morning.

He asked how many friends and family we have that could speak deep truths into our lives (this is standing and accountability, though he didn’t name it).  Again, I had the same growing group of family and friends I could think about.

It was a blessed day at church, where Mumzy, my sister, and I fully practiced our first devotion together, loving God.  We worshipped and glorified his name together in song.  As it worked out, and this is God at work, before my sister asked my wife to see if we would go to church with her I  had already decided I was going to ask her if we could go to church with her.  This was a difficult day for her, having lost a dear friend at church who died suddenly.  She was having a difficult time getting back to church because her friend was always there and they shared much together in worship in that church.

Having her family there with her made it much easier for her, though it was still difficult.

After Church, my sister told me she had a game for us to play tonight.  She hadn’t forgotten about the problem I shared with my daughter.  She got a game from Focus On The Family called “The Ungame”.  She got this game three years ago and never got it out.  Our conversation and my post I shared with her from Kingdom Insight triggered her to get this game out for Nela.

For those of you who have ever played this game, you already know it is a game with no losers.  It ends when the players decide to end it.  Theoretically, it is a game without end.  It is a game of sharing authentically with one another.  I recommend this game for multiple uses, from family connecting in Christ to witnessing Christ to ‘mixed’ gatherings of believers and non believers, to growing in understanding how to disciple, mentor new converts.  There are many more uses than these, but these are the ones I am most interested in.

In the course of playing this game, my daughter got to be an active and eager participant in our family koinonia gathering.  She got to hear multiple kingdom of God witnesses from her mother, her aunt, her grandmother, and her father.  I had multiple opportunities to share with my family more deeply on the seven devotions, on the critical building blocks of building the broken walls of the kingdom (next to God himself, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit), authentic connecting in Christ.

We had opportunities to discuss disciple building, witnessing, becoming aware of how we were answering so many questions that didn’t directly ask about our, yet our answers were still more often than not connected to our faith, to our shared love of Christ.  This made a principle of good witnessing really obvious and visible.  If you want to be an effective witness of Christ, you must seek to live Christ daily, hourly, minute by minute, second by second.  For when you do, Christ shows up again and again.  And when He shows up, you have more and more witnesses to share, witnesses you cannot help but share, because the more your life is connected to Christ the more you cannot help but talk about Christ when you share any part of your life with others.

When the Pastor talked about family and friends, he cited John 15, where Christ challenges us to love one another as Christ loves us.  While I was listening to him, it struck me the deep significance of that chapter to those of us seeking to build our relationships around Christ.  If Christ is not in the center of your relationships, wherever he is not in the center, those relationships are separated from the witness of Godly love we need to ever hope to express our love for one another as God expresses His love for us.

My relationships with my sister, Mumzy, my wife, and my daughter, will only grow in Christ so long as we continue to put Christ in the center of our connecting.  Our little family is pursuing that center and that pursuit is giving all of us, myself, my sister, Mumzy, my wife, and, in time, my daughter, with witnesses to the Kingdom of God that will just burst out of us when we share our lives with others, and thus, the Kingdom of God extends.

____________________________

Note:  I have learned something in these last two gatherings and in my interactions with both my sisters, that we need to think of families that have kids and how we can share Disciple building standards, how we can go through family discipleship building, how we can work on our family covenants (or charters) in ways that our children can be involved, engaged, not bored with all that 'adult talk'.  This is a new challenge we would not have discovered, thought about, unless we were simply out there seeking to live, learn, teach, extend, witness the Kingdom of God with the people in our lives

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Comment by Juanita on September 17, 2012 at 11:03pm

Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to share your family's 'Kingdom Journey' with all of us on Kingdom Insight.    Isn't it awesome how God provided a solution for Nela?    I played the Ungame years ago and totally forgot about it.  Yes!  I can see how it would be a perfect vehicle to help children engage with discussion and discovery regarding God and his Kingdom.

Awesome!!!

PS  NICE writing - It is neat to hear the details of your family discovery time.  Thanks.

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