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In the Family
by Steven Hieronymus, elder on November 3rd, 2011

The phrase “in the family” has been pretty important to me over the past few months, or I guess more accurately it has certainly been more in focus. Today is the one month mark since the death of my father. In the painful weeks leading up to my father’s passing, as well as in the days of grief since, there has been two very real constants that I have experienced. First I have received comfort from the Lord as His child, thus in His family, and received comfort from brothers and sisters from the Lord’s family.

I struggle to understand how those that don’t have the hope of heaven, through a personal intimate relationship with the Lord, cope with death. Either their perception of finality or questioning as to what really happens simply would seem to consume the mind and impact emotional stability. In my case; I have experientially received comfort from the Lord and know peace as a result. I recently shared with my ABF class the following:

My dad’s passing has been painful in that we were exceedingly close and I miss him terribly. Yet I also celebrate not only the life he led and legacy he provided, but the knowing that he is with our Father. I don’t mean this in the somewhat generic usage we often hear in that someone is in a better place, but that my dad is truly in the presence of the Lord Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of all creation, most especially of life itself. It is my confident celebration of this knowledge, which also convicts me over the sad fact that so many do not have this confidence.

So I can express that the Lord has addressed and supported my soul, my mind and my emotions over this past month given that I am in His family. However, he has also provided support from being “in the family” as well. When I was in Springfield with my mom leading up to and during the memorial service for my dad, it was reinforced to me the power of our familial relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. People that I did not know previously, were uniquely capable of connecting with me and providing significant support to me. Similarly, I received so much support from within our Canyon Creek family, people that I know and have the privilege to serve alongside and it has been greatly appreciated.

So I guess the question is where might I be heading with this blog? As usual I seem to have a multipart heading, but here goes. First - The loss of my dad has further focused my thoughts on the reality that we all must address death, with either hope in Jesus thus confidence, or with trepidation (fear) while being hopeful for a better place. Do you see the difference? I am ever so convicted to share hope in Jesus. Second – I am also more convinced than ever over the significance of the gathering and bonding of the local church body (family). I Cor. 12:27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”. If you are reading this blog and still seeking a church home, then I encourage you to seek the Lord for discernment and then obediently take the step to align yourself with the body. If you are already a part of this family, but not yet feeling connected then please reach out to one of our leaders or please touch base with me so that we can help guide and assist you in becoming an integrated part of our body. I would also encourage our church family to be specifically aware of those that might not yet seem to be plugging in and then take a step out of the comfort zone and invite engagement.

The bonds and benefits of being “in the family” simply cannot be overstated. We are connected to strangers in that we are brothers and sisters, joint heirs to the kingdom with both spiritual and eternal connections. We are also connected through our being fitted together within this church family; worshiping, serving and supporting one another. Thank you Lord for your grace and provision, such that I might be in your family.

Is it not totally awesome to be – In The Family!

Please know my appreciation to you all and let me know your thoughts.

Steven Hieronymus
Steven.hieronymus1@gmail.com
512-415-4785


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