“We are Family”

6/6/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog

It was in 1970 and Bill Gaither wrote a song entitled “The Family of God.”  The first verse went like this…

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here-

It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near;

When one has a heartache we all share the tears,

And rejoice in each victory, In this family so dear.

It was May 28, 2018 and the Brian and Judy Gower family met at Lake of the Ozarks,  located in the heart of Missouri, for a week of vacation.  There were 22 of us living in a 4-bedroom condo for 1 week.  Of the 22 people, 8 were our children and 12 were our grandchildren, with the oldest grandchild being 16 and the youngest being 3 years of age.  Plus, we had 2 grandchildren with us that we still have not met, because they will not be born until the end of the summer.

22 people sharing one house for a week. 22 different personalities, 22 people to feed, to spend time with, 22 people to entertain and play games with, 22 people to clean up after, to clean clothes for, 22 people with different expectations, different likes and dislikes, 22 people with different bed times as well as different times to get up.  22 people, that are just… people!

But I must tell you, we just had a great time together!  We did life together. During the day we would go swimming together, some would go fishing, we rented a boat for a couple of days for boat rides, skiing, knee boarding, wake boarding and everything else one does with a boat. We also rented a couple of Jet skis for those of us that were a bit more adventurous and weren’t afraid of losing life or limb!

One night Judy organized a mystery dinner theater for the adults and older grandchildren.  We started off with a very nice steak dinner with all the fixings and then dressed up to match our role, as we played the game of clue. I won’t bore you will all the details, but if you are interested you can go to any of our Facebook pages and see the pictures that proves I am not lying!  We really did have a fun and enjoyable week together.  We are family, and I think God has designed us to enjoy being together.

One afternoon we heard screaming, yelling, and crying coming from one of the condos a few doors from us.  A few of us ran down to see if we could help. As we enter the condo, we found people screaming out of control.  A young girl, maybe 1 or 2 years of age had had a seizure and stopped breathing.  My son Jeremy and my son in law Josh went into the bedroom and found the girl laying lifeless on the floor.  As they worked trying to get her to breathe, Jeremy’s wife Candice gathered the grandmother and the other children together and prayed out loud for God’s intervention and help.

As a dad, I just watched as my family gathered around this family, a family we did not know, but a family that needed help, because that is what families do.  My boys were able to get the girl breathing again and shortly thereafter a policeman and nurse showed up and everyone and everything worked out fine.

As I was thinking about these two events, our time of fun and enjoyment as a family as well as this time of crying and distress, I thought of the verse… Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

God’s family should be experiencing these same things! We should be rejoicing with our church families when things are going well, but we should also be ready to step in and mourn with those that mourn.  But it will never happen, if we do not choose to do life together.  I am pretty sure the Holy Spirit knew this as well, and that is why He inspired the writer of Hebrews to pen… Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

The Church is the Family of God.  It is a family like mine: one that isn’t perfect, but a family that is on this path of sanctification, the life path of transformation, conforming into the image of Christ. Yet as I see the Church today, often I do not see a church operating as a family, but a church that is operating as individuals.

Instead of doing things as God’s family, we become individuals, which often leads to isolation from the family.  We end up doing our own thing, running in our own direction and developing our own little cliques. And when we end up living out our own agenda, it makes it impossible to be able to run to that family that is screaming out in fear and pain, to encourage or mourn with them.  It makes it impossible to rejoice with that family in the good times.

22 Gowers in one house, doing life together.  It was a wonderful time of rejoicing, and God even gave us a time to help encourage a family that was mourning.  I look back at our time at Lake of the Ozarks in amazement.  Isn’t it neat, when God allows you to live out your life, just like He designed it to be in the first place!

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here-

It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near;

When one has a heartache we all share the tears,

And rejoice in each victory, In this family so dear.