I am blessed to have a family group that spends most of our life together, it basically is a non-stop Jesus party. We tend to always have “borrowed” kids over for the weekend and this morning (Sunday, December 18, 2022) wasn’t much different than most other weekends except we strategically had planned not to attend church Sunday for various reasons, one of which was to stay home and watch the Argentina – France World Cup final match that started at 9:00am. Now before you raise an eyebrow, please hear me out on this!
Normally I wouldn’t do this. Well, not really anyway. My boys are way into soccer and have been playing club just about from the time they could walk. I usually would tell you that club sports are one of the Satan’s best tools for removing families from Sunday morning fellowship. My friend Dr. Steve Cassell would say (in his best “waterboy” accent), that “club sports are the Devil”. So, throughout our club soccer days we have made it known to the club, coaches, and team that there are times, particularly Sunday when we just won’t be there, and the boys in some cases have been penalized for the decisions which is fine (I wouldn’t say that they have been persecuted for it either though). Some may argue we are breaking a commitment to club sports, but we firmly believe that our commitment to God always trumps everything else. We aren’t legalistic about club attendance or church attendance.
Which brings me to the main thrust of this article. Our family tries to not separate things sacred from other things in life, everything should be sacred before the Lord and thus we should worship Him 24/7 as much as we are able, that should be the goal. As homeschoolers, my wife and I have worked hard to make all of life an enjoyable learning experience that is continually honoring to the Lord. That said, we have decided to “skip” church quite a few times and these have become some of our favorite moments together with family and friends. I am sure that sounds strange but my wife and I and many others in our group have made a commitment to be our children’s primary educators in all aspects of life. I can think of several of these home church days that my kids will remember forever; and sadly, I can’t say that I can think of any traditional church services I feel that way about (perhaps the baptism services of my children.) We have many partners in this educational process and prefer them to be in the Jesus kingdom, we would love to start a Christian soccer club; but often it is also important to model Jesus to those outside of this community. Every now and then, (especially when we have friends over in a situation like this – that might be surprised we are skipping church) we are intentional to have something “churchish” in its place. Today, and most Sundays we call this “home church, but in our family, we also have experiences similar to this throughout the week at various times as well.” There is importance in Sunday morning church attendance, I won’t deny that; but there is also importance in families conducting their own “church” services with their friends and families, and I don’t think most evangelical American Christians do this enough. I would venture to say that these services likely will have more overall spiritual impact on my family and yours than most other conventional church services will, especially if you choose to really invest in them. And I would argue that this intimate description of teaching, testimony, and praise is far closer to the biblical intention of the body of believers meeting as the body of believers from the beginning of the pages of the scripture than what we have turned church into today. Today we have made it an entertainment party for everyone to attend. In bible times it was intended to be a meeting “for those that believe.” unbelievers weren’t invited to the assembly of the believers. That wouldn’t have made any sense. In a sacred world that was actually defilement towards those that were set apart. That is just one small example, but there are many more such as the size. Most of the Bible implies a meeting group smaller than 72, perhaps there was a good reason for this. Church has evolved far from what the scriptures modeled for us.
I knew the day was going to be unforgettable, so I wanted to take the opportunity to teach a special lesson. Matt and I have been doing a huge video series on our YouTube channel on the church and I wanted to share some of what we have been covering with my family.
When God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, we get the idea that the “halak” journey was based on intimate fellowship. Covenant story after story, and then with Israel the continued message that we get is that God wants a sacred relationship that is unending covenant relationship with us (signified by a ring in marriage.)
Our life and church should have the trajectory of complete sacred living (set apart in holiness). The scriptures say that David had a heart after God’s heart, he wanted to be intimate with the Lord 24/7 and sought for Israel to also be.
David’s goal was that all of Israel was to be sacred and set apart to be Holy before the lord. His kingdom was based on 24/7 fellowship in God’s presence which was, at that time, seen through the ark of the Covenant in Israel. In 2 Samuel 6-7 and I Chronicles 15-16 we read that one of the first things David did as King was to place the ark in a tent of worship and commanded Asaph to worship the Lord Day and night (I Chronicles 16:37.) David enabled 288 musicians in 24 teams, each with an elder of 12 family members in continual prayer and worship. All of Israel including the government would be sacred with worship as the center piece through David’s entire rule (I Chronicles 25:6-7). By the end of David’s rule, the number of musicians had grown to over 4000 (I Chronicles 23:5) that continued to minister night and day in the center of life by the ark, but also grew to other places throughout the nation with the idea that every family would follow the model and live as a unified set apart holy nation before the Lord. God gave David a vision for his earthly kingdom to be linked to the throne room of God and begin functioning “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I hope you are picking up on the correlation without me spelling it out.
Today was incredibly memorable for our family. The last time we had a world cup my youngest doesn’t remember it, He was 7. My oldest was 12 and it simply was not an epic experience for him, he likely just thought it was strange dad was watching tv and specific sports (My wife and I often consider spending precious minutes or hours watching TV a complete waste of time and very much limit digital viewing in our house.) The next time we will have a world cup my oldest will be 20 and likely playing soccer in a college hopefully with all of his “covenant” friends. In other words, this will be our family’s primary world cup experience together in our lifetime. What would my family remember? Maybe they will remember the game, but my goal was that they would remember this as one of our epic “home church” and family experiences. They will remember growing up that home church was the best! And hopefully when they have kids, they won’t think twice about leading their families as the primary worship leaders of the scriptures and Jesus kingdom in their families. What happened that morning was likely the best soccer match in history. My kids will remember this day forever. But they won’t simply remember Lionel Messi, or the double hat trick by him or Mbappe, or the shootout; they will also, and I pray more importantly, remember those things that our family was dedicated to the Lord in all we do.
Today our family dynamic grew incredibly close. We put God first, and emphasized what Jesus continually taught; love, compassion, family, communion, and discipleship.
That is also our prayer for all those that we interact with, that we might create a discipleship Jesus culture to all that we come in contact with where King Jesus is worshipped 24/7 and we as a family lead the way to a better way of church as those set apart to do his will bringing Heaven to earth.