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Summary: Families are not always fun. We tend to be quite dysfunctional! But families are God’s design and we need to value it, work at it, and celebrate families!

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FAMILY – YOURS TO DISCOVER!

Scripture reading: Ephesians 1:3-6 (New Living Translation)

- Festival – an event that focuses on a specific aspect of a community

- Types – Jazz Fest, Film Fests, Food Rodeo, Strawberry!

- This weekend – Family Fest – an event that focuses on the specific aspect of Family!

- Slogan – Ontario License Plate: Yours to Discover! becomes Family – Yours to Discover! Or Rediscover? Google “busy families” and you’ll get at least 589,000 websites (50 Google pages!) that have something to say about it!

- I Google-searched “Family” in the Bible and got 413 responses. I’d like to highlight 5 very important points that stood out in my search.

1. Families are God’s design for all of us

Genesis 9:7 – have children and multiple!

- Creation – everything perfect. Adam & Eve disobeyed God; separated from God and we’ve been spiraling out of control ever since. The days of Noah as recorded in the first Book of the Bible – a world-wide flood because people’s behaviour was grossly offensive to God. One family cared about what God had to say – Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

- The ark – 150 days / 17 months later, the flood began to recede. They got off the boat and God gave them a bunch of instructions about food, relationships with other people, their relationship with God and the rainbow sign that he would never bring such devastation on the earth again. He gave them one other instruction – Genesis 9:7

- Procreation was always God’s plan. Relationship between a man and woman was always part of that pro-creative plan; that we live in a structured community called family!

- Whether married with children, widowed, extended divorced or single, your current family realities must be nurtured and given careful attention

2. Families are vitally important

Matthew 1 – lists the genealogy of Jesus going back 42 generations!

- Families are not always fun. We tend to be quite dysfunctional! But families are God’s design and we need to value it, work at it, and celebrate families! Families are critical to a balanced life.

Statistics Canada Survey in 2005 – “Even before a marital breakup, young children of parents heading for divorce tend to develop mental health problems. Children whose parents eventually divorce show higher levels of depression, as well as higher levels of anti-social behaviour, than children whose parents remain married.”

- Who can put a price tag on the value of family when in crisis – e.g. Danny’s story!

"The family, though the smallest and seemingly most fragile of institutions (is) proving itself to be humankind’s bedrock as well as it’s fault line (whose) strength lies in the cohesion and loyalty of the parent-child unit around which larger worlds of household and kin, community and nation necessarily revolve". Steven Ozement (author)

Layman’s note: what society looks like depends on what happens in the home and the measure of loyalty to the family.

3. God intends worship to be a family affair

Joshua 24:15 – as for me and my house we will serve the Lord

- Worship – not church going (though a wonderful family activity). Worship (Webster): “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.” Happens on Sunday at church but goes beyond that to everything I do everyday…

- History class - Jewish people slaves for centuries to the Egyptians. God delivered them and gave them a land in Canaan – a free people. In the stages of exodus from Egypt to Canaan, there were battles and lessons to learn. Various nationalities and cultures; tribal influences, beliefs and value systems. Easy to adapt and conform.

- Concerns of fitting God into other beliefs and values, settling in too well and forgetting God. Their leader, Joshua had something to say to them – verses 14-15…

- Religious pluralism (accepting different religions) is a definite reality in Canada. One neighborhood school has 65 nationalities.

- Accepting? Definitely! Engage and dialogue? Absolutely!

- Respect other religions and beliefs? We shouldn’t have to ask that question; people should assume we would behave that way.

- Conform and trade our faith in God? That’s the line we must never cross. Worship as a family means we factor God into our thinking, priorities and relationships with each other.

4. God intends we share our faith with our families

Luke 8:39 – go home and tell your family all the wonderful things God has done for you

- Luke 8:26ff – Passage says the man in this story was possessed with demons. Most times naked; lived in the cemetery; town tried locking him up but he’d break free. People were terrified of him.

JESUS SHOWED UP!

- Evil confronted God and demanded to know what he expected (verse 28)

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