family relationships

What is your priority in life?

Pay attention to advice and accept correction, so you can live sensibly. We make a lot of plans, but the Lord will do what he has decided. Proverbs 19:20-21 CEV

The magnificent Northern Wisconsin leaves change their colors this time of year. The beauty is reflected onto the lake I've known since birth. I am staying at our family cabin in Northern Wisconsin as I write this blog. My brother and I are the third generation to own and care for this cabin. My grandmother bought the cabin over 55 years ago as a way to keep the family together following my grandparents' divorce. It's easy to become nostalgic here. Tragedy, divorce and pain have been part of our family narrative for as long as I can remember.  I am easily reminded of all the changes and seasons our family has endured as the surrounding memorabilia tells the life-story of our family experience.

This cabin has also candidly captured some of my best memories. I can hold onto them like precious pages of a rare manuscript. When I am here, I can remember early morning fishing expeditions with my dad and uncles. I can certainly bait my own hook but I could never get my hand around the wiggly fish to release it from the tiny jagged edge. I always needed help and someone was always there to help release my 4inch fish from the hook. I have some fond recollections of late night kick-the-can games, s'mores by the fireside and swimming competitions that included neighborhood kids and my cousins.

I am not afraid to tell people who know my story that I am the prefect testimony that God still does miracles. I've chosen to write my story in a way that is contrary to my family's narrative. I can tell you with all seriousness, I don't know who I'd be if God hadn't intervened into my life.  It was very tempting to accept the narrative that seemed to be written for me in stone by my ancestors. But, God provided a different story line for me and I accepted it. Authenticity and humility have been my stark companions because being a pastor has its rewards and challenges around people who can help remind you who you could've been.

This week we can discover together why our family must be a priority in our Christian life as we learn how to integrate God onto the pages of our manuscript. I've included some points to mull over here to prepare you for hearing the Word Sunday.

  1. The core of every family is our relationship with God as individuals first and then as a family.
  2. We must protect our family from negativity and the most important way to teach the next generation is by example.
  3. Responsibility and discipline help the next generation grow in wisdom and keep parents from embarrassment.
  4. The next generation will become what we work together to make them.
  5. The Church can be a place where we share the burden of leadership and responsibility as we recognize the awesome task of creating a Godly family which has eternal significance.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV