You’ve got family you’ve never met

We’re all adopted. You know that right? If you’re a Christ-follower, you’ve been adopted into God’s family, and you automatically have brothers and sisters in every nation on Earth. You may not know their customs. You may not speak their language. But you both belong to Jesus.

There’s nothing more amazing to me than meeting someone from another country and instantly having a connection because you both love Jesus. Even if you have nothing else in common, Jesus is enough to bridge cultures and bring people together as long as He stays the main thing.

We’re all one family. Have you ever thought about that? So why is it easier to focus on how we’re different instead of how we’re the same?

people-crowd-child-kidToday’s verses are Ephesians 2:19-22.

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Family means different things to different people. But to me, my family is one of the central, most important factors in my life, but I’m well aware that family isn’t as important to other people. But family, as it was supposed to be, is designed to be our shelter, our starting point, the place where we experience God’s design.

So what would your life look like if you had a brother or a sister you trusted? What would you be like if you were best friends with your brother or sister? Maybe you’re blessed (like me) and have experienced that relationship. Maybe you’re not, and you’d leap for joy at the thought of having someone in your life like that.

Did you ever think that maybe the person you’re looking for is someone you already know?

That guy you sit next to on the bus? If he knows Jesus, he’s your brother. That woman at the office, the one who drives you nuts? If she knows Jesus, she’s your sister. But it’s easier to focus on the things that you don’t like about them than it is to treat them like family.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about people. Yesterday I was sitting at Mead’s listening to a guy in the corner go off the rails about how much he hates America and wants to change his citizenship and move to Singapore. And I jumped to a conclusion about the man. That he’s not very bright. But that’s wrong of me to say. He could be perfectly bright and just vocal about his opinions. Fair to say I don’t agree with any of his conclusions, but that’s not my job.

Don’t switch your brain off. Obviously sometimes you have to make judgment calls about people or situations, but there’s a vast difference between making a judgment call jumping to conclusions.

If you’re lonely or looking for family, you have one. You have access to family members from around the world. You don’t have to look very far. There are millions of people all around you who know Jesus. We just need to stop seeing them from the outside and hear their hearts instead.

You have family you’ve never met, and eventually you’ll get to see them someday. But there’s nothing wrong with looking for them now. Who knows, they may be just as lonely as you are.

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How I remembered that God is always working

I have been working in the corporate world for over a year now. I started at Viega on March 22, 2010, the Monday after I got back from my last trip to see Jim and Shelley and Jonah and Silas. And although I really love what I’m doing and the people I work with, I will be the first person to tell you that the transition has been difficult — much more difficult than I expected.

When I worked at the library, my projects were all large, but they all had an end. And usually, once a decision to do something was made, it stayed the same.

Where I am now, I have project after project after project that don’t seem to have any end in sight. Theoretically, they are supposed to end, but from everything I have seen I doubt highly that any of them actually will. And the powers that be change their minds constantly. Granted, their input is valuable and they all have wonderful, creative ideas, but after I’ve spent four months on accumulating copy and photos and layouts, having to start again at the very beginning is somewhat discouraging.

The corporate world is teaching me the subtle art of balancing passion with indifference. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. I want to be passionate about my work. I want to do my very best, but usually my very best isn’t good enough. And I have to be okay with that. That’s the job. I can be as creative as I want, but if it’s not creative enough or if it’s not directed clearly enough for the powers that be, it won’t work. And I can’t get my feelings hurt becuase that’s silly. That’s the job.

So I am learning how to be passionate about the things I can change and how to distance myself from freaking out about the things I can’t change. . . . . maybe it’s a good life lesson . . . .

In any case, this is a very long introduction to a story I’m gearing up to tell. I don’t have my usual 15-20 minute morning blog deadline like I do with my devotional posts, so I’m kind of taking my time this morning.

I do a lot of traveling for my company, mainly because I’m accumulating stories on product installations around the country. The first time I traveled by myself, I went to Tampa, FL for a couple of days to cover three different jobs. The way the process works is that our field sales guys sell the product, build a relationship with the contractor, and if it’s a high profile enough job they call us. And if we can fit it into our schedule (and our budget) I go down to cover the installation. The sales guy is usually responsible for picking me up, making my hotel reservations, ensuring that I get something to eat, etc. etc. etc.

My boss had told me that it’s like having 150 brothers out in the field. I was kind of skeptical of that, but I doubt doubt her anymore. It’s actually very true.

The sales guy I met in Tampa is a Christian. And not just in name only but he lives it. He’s passionate about his faith. He’s passionate about the Bible. And the few days I had down there with him were great. I hadn’t expected to find another Christian in Florida like that. It was neat.

But I still thought it was a fluke. That is, until this last trip.

I had to fly to New Jersey to cover a product installation on McGuire Air Force Base, and because it was coming at the absolute worst time imaginable for us (and a budgetary issue) I had to make the trip an overnighter. We hired a videographer because we were also making a video out of this installation, and he traveled with me. I thought he seemed really nice. Come to find out he’s the technical director at a local church in Wichita and he watches Pastor on television! It was so refreshing to be able to sit and talk about missions and the Bible with him, discovering that his beliefs about everything from music to translations were almost identical to mine.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

We landed in Philadelphia, PA and the sales guy picked us up. And five minutes after we got in the car, his boss called him, asking why he had turned in his resignation. This was a surprise for me, because not many people resign from Viega. It’s a great company to work for. But the sales guy when on to explain that he was resigning because he and his wife felt called to plant a church in Rhode Island. He spent twenty minutes explaining to his boss how he and his wife had everything the world said made them secure, but that they wanted to do what God had called them to do in spite of the fact that the decision made no sense secularly.

When he got off the phone, both the videographer and I were so excited. And we all went around the car sharing our testimonies, talking about our churches and what God is doing in the world. We went ahead and went to the Air Force Base to scope things out, but afterward we went out to dinner and spent hours talking about faith and callings and the Bible. And it was awesome!

That night I went back to my hotel and lay awake for a while just thanking God.

It’s one thing to find believers at home. It’s another thing to go to a different state — one you’ve never visited — and find family you didn’t know you had. Between this sales guy and his wife and another couple of people who I think are some of the most amazing people in the world, I honestly think we may be on the verge of seeing revival in New England.

It’s so very easy to get tangled up in the day to day affairs of life. It’s easy to get so focused on what you’re doing in your life today that you forget to see what God is doing around the world, around the country.

God isn’t confined to your life. He’s out in the world, working through people every day. He’s working. He’s doing something out there. Do I know what it is? No. I have no clue. But He knows what He’s doing, and every event in life is evidence that He’s up to something big.

Leaving Kansas and meeting people who are passionate about God and about His Word helped me to remember that God isn’t still. He’s never still. He’s always moving, especially when it feels like He’s not doing anything in my own life.

It was beyond encouraging to remember that.

If you think about it, say a prayer for Gus and Debbie Piazza. They will be leaving New Jersey for Rhode Island in August, and they have no other source of income.