“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.”
A Psalm of David, 22:27
To borrow from Roy Hession’s words from THE CALVARY ROAD,1
THOUSANDS of years ago, in the most beautiful Garden the world has ever known, lived a man and a woman. Formed in the likeness of their Creator, they lived solely to reveal Him to His creation and to each other and thus to glorify Him every moment of the day. Humbly they accepted the position of a creature with the Creator – that of complete submission and yieldedness to His will. Because they always submitted their wills to His, because they lived for Him and not for themselves, they were also completely submitted to each other. Thus in that first home in that beautiful garden, there was absolute harmony, peace, love and oneness not only with God, but with each other.
Then one day, the harmony was shattered, for the serpent stole into that God-centred home, and with him, sin. And now, because they had lost their peace and fellowship with God, they lost it with each other. No longer did they live for God – they each lived for themselves. They were each their own gods now, and because they no longer lived for God, they no longer lived for each other. Instead of peace, harmony, love and oneness – there was now discord and hate – in other words, SIN!
It was into the home that sin first came. It is in the home that we sin more than perhaps anywhere else, and it is to the home that revival first needs to come. Revival is desperately needed in the church – in the country – in the world, but a revived church with unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy. It is the hardest place, the most costly, but the most necessary place to begin.
To Recapture the Church We Must Recapture The Home
Giving the modern description of the church today there is no resemblance to with what the New Testament portrays. Instead of its leaders ‘fathers’ the church more like a family, they acted more on like a committee, and treated it as a corporation, and their ‘congregations is the clientele, and evangelism is sales and marketing. And there is competition with other corporations (“churches”) in the same town2.’ What is once a ‘world-changers’ followers of Jesus has now become one of its ‘multi-billion’ enterprise in the business-world who is being conformed to its patterns.3
There are many sad church stories attached to this phenomenon, to name the most deadly one’s in the lists is the attacks of the family in which none of these so called ‘methods and strategies to win and earn more’ can support it nor protect it. Family members are in high risk of our own man-made persecutions. I was once in a ‘Blessing the Pastors Christmas Party’ attended by 200 Christian Leaders in my province. One recognized pastor of a mega-church was invited to speak instantly. I was surprised to hear his message to his co-pastors, “There is one thing that concerns us as pastors if our children would be willing to take over our ministry when we retire.”4
It was mentioned that for younger generations today the life of a Christian ‘had no appeal; for them, it was a sham of an existence, plastic, stenciled, prescribed, something to flee from, not something to pursue.’5 Or I should be merciful enough to say that church for many is something to run to for temporary relief of the pressures of the world, but still not something to pursue.
I should ask you politely and hope you will give me an honest answer. If you have been going to church for more than 10 years have you ever heard a sermon about family? I hope you did hear it more than 5 Sundays because me; aside those family seminars that I attended, only 4 Sunday on the row: 1st Sunday: Husbands, love your wives, 2nd Sunday: Wives, submit to your own husbands, (the pastor have even a hard time preaching about it in front of children around and singles!) 3rd Sunday: Children, obey your parents in the Lord and 4th Sunday: Sorry, I can’t remember it!
My point, we hardly hear sermons about how we should behave as family together but if you check out most of our problems? It’s almost all about family! One Sunday I was invited to preach in a church in the next city, I purposely tried to ‘prophesy in my mind’ just to see it for myself if this is really true. I tell you, I am not in the ‘spirit mode’ as I did this, as I said, I just tried if what I thought out is true. So, just after I prayed before my sermon on family, I called out personalities one by one,
“There are some wives here that have some marital problems with their husbands, stand up.”
“There are husbands here who have some relationship problems with their wives, stand up!”
“There are some mothers here that have problems with their children, stand up!”
“And lastly, there are some children here who have problems with their parents, stand up!
And honestly, you can count the heads of those who remain seated. Ninety-five percent of them stood up to their feet and the church numbered around 150 members! And I said to all of them,
“Our enemy, Satan, will never destroy God’s people by church but by family.”
He, Roy Hession, rightly said, “a revived church with unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy.”
His Dwelling: Temple Body
My Dad was saved about 3 years now in an ‘unnoticed’ organic church coffee talk meeting in a pastor’s friend’s house. After few weeks of being a Christian and can hardly go to this pastor’s friend church for a Sunday Service for he lives in the north, about 3 hours from the city, urges me to take my sisters to attend church next Sunday. I told him that ‘God, if He would choose to find a place to dwell either in a ‘church building’ or where he is at his home then He chooses to be with him. In His spirit inside my Dad, God chooses him to reveal Himself to him. That church is not where we meet but where His spirit lives. That church is not about ‘going’ or ‘attending’ a series of religious meetings once or twice a week for 2-3 hours nor ‘doing’ something to maintain his Christian life, but being with Him 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a daily life that is affected by Him. My Dad ‘talks to God alone every night about his plans and dreams’ and ‘wakes up at 4 every morning and read his favorite Christian books and prays every dawn’ before doing his cleaning routine in his ‘My Home, My Garden’ as he calls it. And he doesn’t need to know what to call that. We Christians loves to have ‘themes’ in everything that we do; that’s a devotion, a prayer meeting, or a Bible Study and even name a ‘testimony’ when we shares our ‘Christian experiences’ to our brethren. Can we stop creating our own ’Christian Dictionary’? A simple person can know Christ without these eh?
God’s Very Own Family
If home is really where the heart is
Then home must be a place that we all share
for even with our differences our hearts are much the same
And where love is we come together there.
“You came back” says the older Gorilla to Tarzan, after fighting over with the humans which he thought was his family. He replied, “I came home.” Coming back home from my trips is important for it is where I could be with my family. And we all share the same longing: to be with our loved ones. It is the person’s last resort or request here on earth aside God is to be or to see his or her loved ones! He maybe in death bed a husband always calls his children, or tried to find his lost son and see his face for the last time. Remember the rich man and the Lazarus? What was his last request? Is it to put his money and treasure in a safety box? Or is it to let Lazarus go back and take over his properties? Nope, but to let Lazarus go back and warned his five brothers to his current situation in hell. Who can live without a family? I interviewed a lady of his 60’s, we recognizes each other’s faces when we bump into each other. When I ask about how she feels about separating his husband for 15 years she said, “It is ok.” But when I ask about her not having her own children she replied with regrets by not having a family. “How pity I am and poor and needy that even when I die no one will take care of me.” I realize then how important family is to her. Another incident I could not forget was when I was a youth pastor. Playing ‘ice breaker’ with the youth’s we bump into a question, “What is the most painful experience you’ve been through?” The answer turns out to be a story – it is to see my mom having a fight with dad.
God’s Broken Family
In my own experience was when my Dad was once have another woman and see my mom hurting I cried out in my bed. I was months of being a Christian then. I ask God many times with the same question: Why? God switch the topic from my family to His and said to me, “Have you not felt how it hurts me to see Adam and Eve fell?” With just that sentence I was feeling the heart of God. I have the desire to see my own family restored but God gives me that desire by putting His desire in me!
“Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. It can be read also as follows, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you what to desire in your heart.” I am having His desire to restore families wherever I go. This is the way ‘to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Lk.1:17
- The Calvary Road, Roy Hession. Chapter 6: Revival in the Home. http://www.christianissues.biz/pdf-bin/sanctification/thecalvaryroad.pdf
- Reimagining Church, Frank Viola. Chapter 5. Page 99-100
- Pastor Mel Caparus of Living Word Christian Fellowship. ‘Blessing the Pastors’ Party hosted by OMF Lit. Inc. held at Royal Concourse, 2006.