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Living as a Church Family

But he trusted God. And God told him to go and lay hands of healing on Saul…told him twice…assured him that Saul would be God’s “instrument” to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles, to those who had not known the God of the Hebrews, the God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. God said “go”, and Ananias went.

He entered the house, placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul…” think of it: Saul did not have to prove himself. Ananias did not have to get an apology from Saul, a signed and notarized certificate promising that he would never again attack Christ-followers. Saul was his brother because God said so, because they both were now followers of Jesus.

They were family.

We often talk about the church being a family of God. But how are we at living out that reality? How are you living that reality? Do you look at others in the church as your sisters and brothers in the Lord? Do you pray for them as you would for family? Do you look for ways to be helpful, thoughtful, and interested in others of Bethany? And that one whom you don’t trust…or don’t particularly like…or agree with…do you treat them as brother or sister? Remember, we’re family.

At our devotions on Ministry Team Night, one person told how he and another fellow in the church, when they first met, playfully called each other , “Brother…” with their name attached. Then they included the wives as ,”Sister…”. Now years later, he reflected, the terms have taken on a deeper and more tender meaning. They truly have become brothers and sisters in the Lord, loving with the heart of Jesus.

Again, how are we doing? How are you doing? No excuses. God does not give Ananias nor us that option. Just “go”…pray…serve…give…love like Jesus…and like brothers and sisters in him.

Here are some quick notes and glimpses to pass on to you:

  • Sunday is Father’s Day. Come and worship as we hear men of the church, including fathers and sons, lead worship.
  • Worship times are 8:15 and 10:00, the summer hours.
  • What a Saturday it was with the Strawberry Festival. Thanks to the Presbyterian Women and all the helpers ( at least 50) for a great day.
  • I am still getting comments on the role play sermon from Sunday with Paul in prison…including the brilliant whiteness on my feet and ankles. My grandson, Jamie, gazed with shock at my bare feet and exclaimed, “Poppa, you have your toes on!”

Lastly, I leave you with the prayer of illumination, from the youth service on June 1. I found it- in the handwriting of the pray-er, still in the pulpit:

“Heavenly Father, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.” Now that prays!

See you on Sunday, my brother, my sister.

John Hamilton


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