In Ephesians 3:14, Paul began a written prayer. It opens with this declaration: "I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every (or "the whole") family in heaven and on earth derives its name . . ."

God is the Father of all in the heavenly realm and all on earth. He created all of us in both realms. He created the opportunity for all of us on earth to come back to the family. Originally, we were part of His family. Through redemption, we again can be in His family. We are family because God is Father.

If we accept the opportunity again to be in God's family, certain things must happen. We must allow His power to strengthen our inner person through His Spirit. We must let Christ make his home in our hearts through faith. We must be rooted and grounded in love. We must be open to God's total work in Christ. Our comprehension of the full dimensions of God's work and purposes in Christ must constantly expand.

We must be able to comprehend. We must know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge. Our goal must be to let God's fullness fill us.

The state of the American family causes us to groan, lament, and predict dire national consequences. The family problem that concerns us the most is this one. Too many kids control and run the family. Perhaps for much too long the same problem has existed in God's family. Perhaps we assumed that being Christ's church meant that the kids run the family. The Father needs to direct God's family, not the kids.

We desperately need to bow the knees to the Father as we humbly seek His fullness. We must try to comprehend the full dimensions of God's work in Christ. Our conscious goal must be to be God's family rather than to run God's family.

Attending worship assemblies and being God's family are not identical. Assuming church habits and accepting family commitments are not identical. Being religious and becoming spiritual family are not identical.

Do you want West-Ark to be a great church or to be a great family? Could we be both? Yes! But, becoming a great church is dependent on being an exceptional family.

We love for people to attend our assemblies! Whatever the reason, we love for people to be a part of our worship. But we are committed to being God's family, and that requires far more than attendance. Be informed! Be involved! Grow spiritually!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 September 1998

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