Newsletter podcast, 14 December 2019, episode 24

Learning to be family

Penny and I and our son Fred made a quick trip down to Bristol last weekend. We went to see our daughter Lydia and her husband in their new home. It was our first time seeing them together in their own place. What a joy! “Thank you” to Lydia and Bintesh for welcoming us and putting us up in such style.

We were also very blessed to spend time with his brother, Ketul, and his mother and father, Paresh and Bhavna. Indeed, Bhavna cooked some authentic Indian dishes including Idli and dal. Delicious!

Now that we have our own ready and waiting Airbnb and local Indian restaurant in the West Country, I’m sure we will be back time and time again.

The experience reminded me that learning to be family takes an investment of time and energy. It was a long way to drive there and back for one night. But it was worth it. We are learning how to relate my daughter as the wife of our son-in-law. Were learning how to relate to our in-laws and extended family. We want to be friends, but none of this is guaranteed just because a ring has been slipped on a finger.

The same principle applies in church. Simply attending, singing some songs and agreeing to a set of doctrines does not a family make. In my Tuesday teaching tip this week I examine the idea put forward by Lloyd-Jones that there are dangers in individual learning as an alternative to corporate learning. We need to learning community if we are to explore new ground and grow.

As the writer to the Hebrews says, “..let us not give up meeting together” (Heb 10.25). But of course, he does not mean simply meet up. He means more than that. He means, help one another.  Help that is meaningful requires consistency and heart-level connection. And that won’t happen without conscious investment of time and energy. Usually beyond that which we would prefer to expend!

Believe it or not I turn 60 year after next. To celebrate that milestone and to build family, we are planning a trip to Gujarat in India to the area where Bintesh was born and his family still have many connections.  We are hoping Lydia and Pentyrch as well as his parents will come with us and we can all spend time learning to be family.

I hope my podcasts and other materials this week will help you to build family in every sense, but especially in your connections with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer request

The results are in on the election here in the UK. Thank you for praying for us, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2 NIV11). Please keep our nation in prayer in the hope that wounds will be healed.

Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm