This is my family.

It was the perfect Fall day in small-town Indiana. Everyone is showered, our clothes are color coordinated, my gray hair is strategically covered, and our kids are all smiling because we promised ice cream if they gave us one good picture. Just one picture, ya’ll. Heh.

But not every day looks like this, because we’re human, and we’re family.

In case you have any misconceptions, I’ll let you in on the skinny of it all…

I’m a sinner.

I married a sinner.

And our four amazing kids are cute little sinful versions of the both of us.

We come from families that are broken. And we live in an imperfect world that has us confused about our commitment to this once revered community called family.

Once revered? Uh, that’s pretty questionable too. You don’t have to spend much time in the Bible before you get to some seriously messed up families. In the book of Genesis alone, we read about how families encouraged disobedience, held grudges, played favorites, engaged in sibling rivalry… deceived, manipulated, cheated, abused, dishonored, and even murdered. Aahhh… and you guys, that’s just the beginning.

While it’s true that family houses all of our not-so-neatly packaged imperfections in the closest of quarters, we’ll read this week that it’s also God’s design for our good. He made us for community. He set us in families. And because of Jesus, his grace is greater than all of our messes.

“The ultimate litmus test as to whether or not we’ve truly allowed his grace to become our default mode is how we treat the people in our family. Home has a best-of-times-and-worst-of-times nature about it. As such, family can either be a watershed opportunity for us to move from walking in the flesh to living in the power of God’s Spirit, or it can be our Waterloo.” ~ Tim Kimmel

When it comes to living in community with our families, the question we have to ask ourselves is just that: Are we walking in the flesh, pursuing our own sinful desires, or are we living in the freedom, power, and joy that comes when we approach the gift of family with God’s intention and instruction in mind?

Another way to say it is this: is YOUR family an advertisement for the gospel? Not some photoshopped image of perfection that only shows up on Sunday mornings (people can spy that a mile away, you know), but a real, beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy and redeeming work in one of the most precious communities given to us on earth.

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

Because of Jesus, there is great hope for the state of the family today. Consider these three pieces of encouragement as we study together this week:

1. The family reinforces our need for the gospel. “The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners. It teaches us that what God wants most for us is that we 1) become aware of our sinfulness and 2) our powerlessness to save ourselves, as we 3) believe and love his Son and the gospel he preached, and 4) graciously love one another. And it turns out that the family is an ideal place for all of these to occur.” – Jon Bloom

2. Even in less than ideal family situations, God’s sovereign hand is at work. God can use the good, the bad and the ugly dynamics of our family situations for our good. You’re right… I don’t know your story, but I do know a God who brings purpose from hard places (Genesis 50:20) and causes all things to work together for our good and his glory (Romans 8:28). If you’re still in doubt, read what God did in Joseph’s family from Genesis 37 -45.

3. Advertising the gospel in our families can start with you and me. As we build on this concept of living in community God’s way, we don’t have to wait for someone else to initiate the cycle; God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). When we’ve experienced the gospel for ourselves and are abiding closely to the Source of light and life, we can be instrumental in bringing joy, peace, hope and reconciliation to our families. As much as it depends on YOU – and me – let’s shine Jesus into our close quarters called family starting TODAY (Romans 12:18).

*LET’S TALK: Where do you need God to show up most in your family? What is ONE thing you can do today to advertise the gospel in that situation? Share in the comments how our team can best pray for you this week…

At His feet,

{Week 3} Reading Plan:


{Week 3} Memory Verse:


{Week 3} Challenge: Identify one practical way you can intentionally invest in your family this week. Ideas: Serve an elderly family member, write a thank you note to your parents, surprise your husband with a date night, play a game with your child, pursue reconciliation, create an atmosphere of joy in your home, begin reading the Bible together as a family.


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