May 31, 2019

Genuine Family

By Kyle Carden

Genuine Family: Grace frees us from performance and lets us live unafraid.

Eight years ago, Angela and I had left the church where I had worked for for our entire relationship. We were unsure about everything our future held when it came to church.

I left my ministry “job” to pursue ministry in a secular context, and I started managing a CrossFit Gym while also doing interim music work on Sundays. The camaraderie and shared experience that you encounter in that type of athletic environment is compelling. We found ourselves regularly sharing meals with gym members and staff and generally being a part of their lives, both good and bad experiences began to feel like living as family with others. Though this, we saw people added into our faith family as well.

Alongside this journey at CrossFit, we began talking with Grace about launching the Oviedo campus. Some of those people from the gym became family at Grace and served alongside us at the Oviedo Campus. Even in our earliest experiences with Grace, we could see the marks of what would become family for us.

Genuine Family means we get to live with and for each other as we take our next steps toward Christ. We are in this thing together.

I started attending staff meetings to see what the culture was like and what it might be like to be a part of Grace. On any given Tuesday, there would be other church planters from the area, out of town friends and pastors, and sometimes other pastors who just needed to be loved on and encouraged. It’s against this genuine family backdrop that we began our journey with Grace.

Some of our experiences with our earthly families complicate our understanding of what genuine family is, because we’ve never received true love there. As believer, we have the gift of being part of the family of God, where true love has changed our lives. We’ve been brought into relationship with Christ and with one another through his sacrifice on the cross.

John 3:1 says See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. And, in Romans 8:14-15 we read For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of iadoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’

John 15:35 tells us By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another, and we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love sounds awesome when we get to receive it, but we also have to be willing to love others this way. That’s what family does, and we are family because of the grace that has been shown to us.

Family means that we get to share in each other’s joys and bear each other’s burdens. It means we get to grieve loss and celebrate life with each other. We sit with one another in sorrow and celebrate together in life’s joys. Family means we get to lay aside our pride to live in humility and self sacrifice for each other, honor each other, and forgive each other. Genuine Family means we get to live with and for each other as we take our next steps toward Christ. We are in this thing together.

As Angela and I and our family head into our seventh year with Grace, we feel more deeply than ever about our Grace family as we all work together to help people take their next step toward Christ. We want to love, laugh, cry, show grace, love each other well, and live as genuine family for the glory of God.

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