Orange October Q&A - Redefining Family Relationships

Questions from Sunday about Carl’s message on relationships in the Kingdom of heaven

I’ve been thinking for some time now that this study we’ve embarked on as a church, looking into the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, is more than a bit challenging. Carl’s message on relationships on Sunday was certainly evidence of that. On the one hand it’s easy to paint a picture of perfect brotherly love, as one would expect to see in the kingdom. But on the other we face the realization that our experiences so often fall short of that perfection. So what do we do with that? 

To answer that we need to remember what was said about the kingdom of heaven in September. How does one “enter” the experience of the kingdom? We have to change and become like children (Matthew 18:3). Our willingness to humble ourselves before the truths of the kingdom’s secrets, and to adjust the way we approach life, is essential to our being able to experience more of the kingdom of heaven on earth here and now. Without that, the kingdom’s realities remain out of reach for us, until Jesus returns. 

Here are a few more of the questions that were texted in during Carl’s message on Sunday:

If our biological family is all Christian, are they also our spiritual family?
The answer is “yes”! In fact this is the ideal that God desires -- that one generation will pass on faith to the next. When your biological or adoptive family is also your Christian family that’s a bonus! You have the best of both worlds. 

What do you do when your relationships with your spiritual family put strains on your biological family?
This would seem to be the opposite question from the previous one. What if your biological family does not share your faith in Jesus Christ? This is a real possibility for many and often means difficult relationships for believers. In such situations the short answer is to simply try to do your best. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” It isn’t always possible for us to keep the peace with others, even in our own families, who don’t share our spiritual values and commitment. But as Carl stressed in his message, God is for our families! He is for marriage, parenting, and grand-parenting! Prayer should be a constant thing for any of us who have partners or family members who do not share our faith. If this is something you’re really struggling with why not reach out to one of the pastors at Forest Brook? 

How do I become more a part of my church community when I am new and unknown to that community?
​​​​​​​I have the desire but not the holy boldness. 

It’s so great to hear that you have the desire to be more involved in the church community! That’s more than half the battle. In her book on spiritual journey, Catherine Stonehouse says, “The church has the potential to be a wonderful extended family in our mobile society but too often the North American spirit of independence leaves us sitting lonely and overburdened in our pews with unrealized support and care all around us.” There is always great potential for community in the church – but we don’t always achieve it. Sometimes it’s because those of us already in the church become self-focused and we stop recognizing and including new people. Sometimes, when we are new, we don’t step out and take advantage of the church’s efforts to draw us in and include us. Anytime we experience either of those realities we are not experiencing the kingdom of heaven. We are experiencing the human frailties of the church. What’s the answer? We need to change – to humble ourselves and become like children again (Matthew 18:3). Practically, when we are new, we can offer to serve as a volunteer in one of the church’s ministries, or join a small group. These are two easy ways to get started in building a new community.