Summary: How the church c an be a caring family
"Becoming a Caring Family"
A. Introduction: The early church
B. God made us to relate to one another
1. Relating is our greatest need
2. We are commanded to love
C. Becoming real
1. To love and to learn
2. We don't show the "real us"
3. Time, talk, and trust
4. Two are better than one
D. Practical steps to caring
1. Identify who needs your love
2. Don't wait for them to act first
5. Listen without judging
6. Respond with a caring gift
E. Everyone is important
F. Conclusion: A letter from the church
Becoming a Caring Family
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe. Many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
God made us to relate to one another
Just like the disciples in the early church, our decision to receive Christ puts us into a relationship with him and with all who believe. God made us to be relational beings; we need to be loved. God did not make us a new creation in Christ to be alone.
When God saw Adam, his first creation of the human species, he said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18).
God made us to be relational beings who live in relationship with him and with others.
Our greatest need, then, is to grow as relational beings.
The only way we can do that is through loving God and loving one another.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
In other words, we can become complete by loving with God's divine love.
We can become real. Many of us are asking about life, "Why am I here?" The answer: Because we need to be loved, and we need to love. "How can we become real?" By loving others.
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their main springs and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. ". . . It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." (Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Publishers, New York, 1983, pp. XX.)